Canada, as you know, is a bilingual country – English and French. Road signs in Ontario are in two languages as per book, and in Quebec in one only.
“Because we’re French.”
Of course there are people in Canada who speak English and French – they’re called flight attendants. Which means that to the safety instructions on the plane you have to listen twice. My favorite one is how to unbuckle your safety belt.
Everyone who’s been in a car since the 60’s knows it by heart, but they need to show you again. “What a surprise ma’am – I though that if I can get a good bite on the fabric, I could chew my way through”.
Quebec and Alberta also differ, and it is Alberta that mostly pays for Quebec lavish benefits, which is one reason they’re in the mood of separating. But for real effect try opposites like Quebec and Texas. A colleague of mine used to drive heavy trucks all over North America until he retired and is now mostly hunting moose and deer in the North, other game depending on the season.
He told me a story about a trucker from Texas, who got into a heated argument with a French officer at a weight control station on the border of Quebec. Finally the Texan had enough, reached under the seat, grabbed a gun and resolved the argument the quick way. The station was closed several months for investigation.
Speaking of hunters, moose-hunting season in Ontario starts late October, and to be allowed to shot, one needs to obtain a permit, or tag, as they call it.
It is pricey and regulated.
The moose is a huge animal, it could be over 3m in height and close to 1000kg in weight. And they’re black in color, I saw some myself.
I’ve never hit one on the motorcycle riding through the Algonquin National Park, which is the size of Belgium.
There are signs remaining you to get gasoline to make it to the other side.
I rode through it a few times, hoping my loud exhaust scared everything around. Lucky me.
I asked the man how do you shot a moose from a distance.
“You need to lead the target,” he said “ahead one full-moose length and about two feet over his back to adjust for bullet trajectory dropping. A strong grip on the rifle is essential, and then you softly touch off a shot.”
Hunting is a social event, once you have the tag, you make plans with your buddies to go up North for an adventure, organize the RV’s (campers) and wait for the big day to go.
So, my colleague, the ex-trucker, did just that. They set up camp in the wilderness, planning for a week stay, and when the morning came they were ready in camouflage clothes and with loaded rifles. The season started at 7:00am that day and some unlucky moose showed up about 20 minutes later. They shoot it, and then realized – “what do we do with the rest of the time?”
There is more to this story – this guy left the camp on a quad to get some supplies, but it was getting dark fast and he got lost in the forest. He spent the night sitting by a tree with the riffle on his lap, wolfs howling all around him.
He told me later – “I was never so scared in my life”.
Lumberjacks found him in the morning, exhausted from cold but alive, so his overnight prayers to Jesus were answered.
As an aside, I think Jesus taught every writer how to get attention of the audience early in the text. Cohen called him “the little Jew who wrote the bible”.
His first miracle was the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana (gospel of John) and it was a very right concept.
If he did it the other way around, they would chase him through the desert without mercy.
I turned forty, and this must be like, 11 years ago. Time has accelerated after that event and years are flying by.
I feel better than ever, maybe because the best of me is gone and I am reducing my expectations.
But, there's a desire living deep in my soul that still got a purpose to serve.
The Americans in the South call it “the last rodeo”.
Back to present happenings.
Chinese exports in December jumped a whopping 18.1% compared with the same month a year earlier. China’s trade surplus rose to a record $78.18 billion. The surge in foreign purchases of medical supplies and work-from-home gear, particularly consumer electronics and other home office supplies, during the pandemic is the primary cause.
So there are winners and losers as the result of this covid scandal.
Looking at other winners - in the old era we had the aristocracy, the military aristocracy to be precise, which now has ben replaced by the tech oligarchs like Gates and Zuckerberg. They have been consolidating power at an incredible rate and the background of it is ridiculous. These are high school dropouts, who are now experts on disease and population control.
Elon Musk is the richest man in the world as of now, but we have no power grid capacity anywhere to support any meaningful number of the type of cars he is producing.
His SpaceX program tells me that we’ll soon live on Mars.
Why, actually? We are not replacing ourselves as humans on earth; there are less of us year after year. What is the hurry? Isn’t it a beautiful planet? Just take better care of it.
Amazon business model requires a trip of a truck to every single customer with a package. Show me something more insane outside of the porn industry.
And the oligarchs target the emission levels.
Sometimes you don’t understand what’s happening and so you have to go quiet and deeper until you come up with an idea. And I did, reached a resolution, small but still.
Here it is - instead of using the word “insane” I will from now on say, “loosely correlated with a deeper sense of purpose.”
This is me being politically correct.
The Catholic Church used to enforce orthodoxy on the society to control it. And with age I learned to replace the word “control” with “unify”. The faith is a huge factor in keeping a nation together.
The difference to the media message is this - two thousand years of refined wisdom versus “what do we do this afternoon?”
Problem is, the church influence is fading away. The current Pope sounds like a communist. If there was a time machine, they should transfer him to 1970’s Poland.
He would feel right at home.
Jesuits now go communist, and I was hopping they’ll be the ones holding the flame.
They were supporting the Argentinian regime when the army was throwing people from helicopters deep out in the ocean.
Anyways, the capitalist order and the religious order have been replaced in a way that doesn’t impress me. There is a powerful social pressure for political correctness.
God, don't let me lose my nerve.
I mostly watch stand up comedy these days, it relaxes me.
Try John Wing or Derek Edwards, both Canadians.
I borrowed so much material from these guys, if they ever find out I will have to hide in the forests up North, and if I don’t want to be found, nobody ever will.
I had to cut my Caribbean vacation a little short, as they introduced new restrictions down there coming in effect end of the week. Specifically, mandatory covid testing before getting on the plane back home, and it costs $75, each attempt.
Now, this amount goes a long way in the south, plus the resort is half empty and I’m a good paying client, so it’s hard to see their incentive to let me out. I could be testing positive for weeks.
The curfew there starts at noon, so if you want to play golf, you have to wake up early and be fast.
I did catch one the last planes out, otherwise next time you’d see me I’d be really tanned.
Looking at the big picture worldwide, things seem a little liquid these days, and economic dysfunction will remain the driver of 2021 as it arises from a shift in the pattern of economic behaviour. People will limit spending and conserve cash, companies too.
Okay, nothing new, as the song by INXS goes – “the reasons why you live keep changing.”
It is important to remember that national power is not a matter of perception. It rests on the realities of geography, economics and military power. These are deeply grounded and minimally changed by internal social and political stresses.
The underlying power remains in place and a year is a short time in history - the system itself remains intact.
Washington is now engaged in a massive redefinition of its foreign policy, moving from global engagement to selective engagement in both - its military and economic actions. U.S. policy toward China and the Middle East reflects this. With the former, the U.S. is limiting its economic exposure; with the latter, it is limiting its military exposure. This will not change under Joe Biden.
However, given the dramatic actions around the election results and accusations of fraud, it will be important how and where the capital will move now. Will the Dow still rise, as the capital will park for safety? If you manage a trillion dollar fund, or even a half of it, you are sensitive to changes.
In Europe, the status quo will be as strong as ever, even though they’re moving towards socialism full speed. The bond market has been destroyed (ECB owns 40% of it, because there is no bid otherwise) and blue chips stock markets are increasingly owned by them too. Fissures within the EU were on full display in 2020, and yet institutionally the EU remained intact.
The covid scandal is just a sideshow, but it sure helped to quiet the nationalist movements on the continent.
The issue as I see it, is that there is a gap in the thinking process between the elites and the population and it is anyone’s guess how this is going to develop.
Most people know what to show and what to conceal, but only to a point. We had a saying back in the day – “never show your first emotions, because they’re real.”
Again – to a point. Conflicts start when people lose something.
Good thing is, the music is getting better and better. It was like this during the Vietnam war, the golden era of great bands and great songs, my opinion.
We lost the war, by the way.
So, play that funky music white boy. Play it 'til you die.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler