Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What a Day!


One day, while cleaning out my closet, I came across an old box. Since we were going to have a garage sale the next week I thought I'd better get rid of a few unused things. And what to my surprise! I found an old Gaming Console that I stopped using. It was my old Nissan Game Cube! I used to love playing that in my old bachelor days. It was still in great shape too. I wonder what I'll get for it?

I had some old High School chums round for coffee the other day. Things were going swimmingly, until I got out the sugar! I was sooo embarassed! The sugar I had all went to CUBE! Last Night I made the most delicious clam chowder. I started sauteeing seven rashers of thick sliced bacon, cut small. Then one and a half medium sized onions, CUBEd. Three peeled, CUBEd carrots. Four stalks of celery, CUBEd. And about two ounces of butter. I sauteed all these ingredients with a dash of Thyme, Nutmeg, Fennel seeds and one teaspoon of salt. When the onions were translucent, then I added about two ounces of flour, stirring off the heat. Adding about two cups of milk (I actually used water and skim-milk powder!), brought it up to simmer, then added two peeled, CUBEd potatoes. Then once the potatoes had simmered till they were tender, i poured in a ten ounce can of baby clams:juice and all! Finished with two Bay leaves and fresh chopped parsley! DEELISH! Remember to CUBE, not dice!

I just watched one of my favorite episodes: I guess I didn't remember how it went as well as I thought. There was this scene, just before the "Bad-Guy-Alien-Robots" attack. A strange voice comes over the communicator, "YOU WILL ASSIMILATE!" Not exactly as I remember.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cubist Cubes

Cubist Cubes

A little known piece of history seldom told is this; turn of the century artists, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso started designing automobiles early in the 20th century.  They collaborated with early European auto pioneers "F√°brica Hispano-Suiza de Autom√≥viles" as well as others.  This design is one of their later design initiatives.  Known as the 1910 Cubist, we can see their use of Ochres, Umbers and "Natural" Colours as well as the sharp clean edges that spawned the later "DADA" movement.  Clearly this design can be seen to overlap boundaries of style and even compare to the modern auto: even 100 years later!


The most interesting phenomina concerning this early design may be the synchronous design that has occured in of all places, urban Japan!  This "new design" was recently spotted posing beneath the Tokyo Tower in front of an Edo period Ginga.  The similarities are striking- to say the least!  But we'll just have to chalk it up to happenstance.  Pure coincedence!









Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tax Time

Tax Time.

‘Tis that time again.  Grumble grumble!  Snurffle Phorp Frazzle-futzitz! Gord-Dimmed Fupping Thiefs!

These and other bitter sounds one might expect to emanate from one such as me.  Alas, no! I actually don’t fear the tax-man! 

I am glad that I pay taxes.    No, really!  Let me explain.

I have been one of the fortunate people who has grown up in a lower-middle-class, working family.  Able to see my peers growing up in better surroundings, with better toys, nicer clothes, and shinier families.  When I left the town and bitter memories, moving away from it all, I thought I was near the bottom of existence.  Boo-hoo-hoo! POOR ME!  It took a couple of years to snap out of my blue funk, but eventually I did.  I went to College; Chef School.  I was there recruited into the Naval Reserve, eventually able to apply for a posting with the U.N. Peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights.

This was the first time I had ever travelled abroad, and for a young kid of 23 – still wet behind the ears, full of vinegar and urine, it was a great opportunity.  I didn’t know what to expect.  We were flown into Montreal from all over the Country to spend two weeks orientation-training.  Then after our brief stay, getting to know each other and the Streets of Montreal, we were flown to Tel Aviv Airport.  We landed and were acclimated to the late-summer heat of the middle-east as we waited to clear customs inside the CF Jet (a 737 I believe).  We then boarded one of the two CANLOG UN Busses which took us on the long trip to the base.  As we drove through Tel Aviv, there didn’t seem too much different with what we were used to; traffic, stores, gas stations, people, billboards. The Cars were mostly Japanese or German (Subarus or Mercedes for the most part!) The people were mostly brown-skinned and dark-haired with UZIs and MP5s.  The billboards mostly in Hebrew, with Arabic and a hint of English.  But overall, Tel Aviv looked like any other Major centre.

As we left the City, however, it was apparent that the infrastructure stopped, or at least hiccupped!  Along the rural roads, litter, potholes, scrub-bush and the like was the norm and the further you got from any town, it was quite obvious that services from any government agency lessened. We got to CANLOG (Canadian Logistics) Camp Zouanni which is situated on the Israeli side of the temporary border between Syria and Israel.  The roads to the camp are kept quite well, but not quite to the standard that we in Canada are used to. 

After staying and working there in CANLOG for the first couple of months, and being able to travel around as much as I did, (we cooks worked 10 on and 4 off: every 2 weeks was a long weekend!) I saw the countryside of Israel and was able to get to Damascus in Syria too.  Everywhere I went, there was not what I’d call abject poverty – they hid it well! But rather, the people didn’t know of the things that we would take for granted. Things like street-lights, sidewalks and covered sewers. OK, ok… it wasn’t like thiseverywhere, but it wouldn’t take anyone too long to be able to see and feel the difference.

I was able to catch the weekly flight from Tel Aviv to Lahr, Germany for my leave.  I rented a car and drove around Europe.  It was an obvious change from the Middle East. Germany was clean and well kept! (The countryside was rich and green!)  Austria: mostly the same!  France: dirty and grey (well at least it was where I went!).  I was in Europe at a very special time in its history. It was late January, 1989, and the Berlin Wall had been broken just two months previous.  Now as a member of Her Majesty’s Canadian Forces, I was not permitted at the time to go to any country that was a member of the Warsaw Pact. However, this time in history was never going to come around again, so I and one of my CANLOG buddies, also on leave, drove to Berlin.  At this time, Berlin was locked inside what was then East Germany, and we had to drive on one of the “Closed Highways” which was a direct route from Leipzig.  As soon as you passed through the gates at the border it hit you: the Poverty!  East Germany’s landscape along the highway was barren and bleak. Grey and still (yeah, yeah… it was in the middle of winter… I know!  But it’s true!), there was an obvious change from the clean crispness of the west to the raped eastern landscape. When we arrived in the city (West Berlin), things seemed to go back to how it was in West Germany; clean streets, manicured gardens and no litter.  The transformation was obvious.

Holiday over, I went back to the Golan.  Back to the job. Back to seeing what the world could become if nobody cared. That is what it is there.  Sure, there are people who care. They care for themselves.  They might care for there families. They might care for their own fences.  But the neighbours?  In the Middle East, fences, walls and borders are what they care most about.  And especiallywhich side of the post the razor-wire is on!

I have brought back two signs from my travels, one from the Golan, the other from West-Berlin.  The Israeli sign is sadly obvious, the German one also (if you can read German).  The Berlin sign is painted on a phosphorescent background (ready to glow at night!) and says something like “Caution, when there is snow and ice, it gets slippery!”  Both signs warn of danger.  Are both from civil nations?



Tax time always reminds me of this point in my life.  When I was young.  When I went travelling.  When I saw reasons to feel as fortunate as we all should be.  Next time you walk to the corner store and don’t worry about being suicide-bombed, be happy that you pay taxes.

…deductions from space 17 on your T4c go on line 153.  Subtract line 153 from line 152…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fear: I’ll have none of it, thanks.

Fear: I’ll have none of it, thanks.

Written somewhat as a letter to the boy.  I am proud of him.

As you go through life, you will come to situations that may seem insurmountable.  How many have you turned away from?  When you were six years old did you shy away from things that, at ten you faced with a smile?  Let me try and empower you with some of my theories.

I do realize that after a certain age, sometime before puberty, if you haven’t been exposed to doing some things (No dirty minds for a second, please!), you will find them difficult later on. 

Let’s start with language.  If you expose a child to many different languages very early on, they are able to accept the syntax, diction, and vocabulary far easier than someone ten years their senior.  And to go further, this child will be able to accept and process other different languages later in life.  http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/shl13/pdffiles/iversonETAL.pdf  states; Exposure to speech during childhood alters neural organization such that individuals,

born capable of learning any language, develop perceptual and cognitive processes

that are specialized for their own native language. The changes in neural organization

are particularly evident when an individual tries to learn a second language as an

adult. The second-language speech can be difficult to segment into words and

phonemes, different phonemes in the second language can sound as if they are the

same, and the motor articulations of the second language can be difficult to reproduce.”          I have seen a News Program in Japan (I forget the name), that stated that the actual synapses of the brain that “comprehended” the sounds “R” and “L” closed and were difficult to (if not impossible) re-attach.  This is brought close to home, as many of you know that my wife, who is Japanese and has only recently begun to learn English, and my Son, who has grown up bilingual with English and Japanese.  His accent in either language is imperceptible; while hers is, and always will be, apparent. 

What does this have to do with fear?... I’ll get there!  Patience, young one!

If language is easily learned by the young, then I put to you that anything is learned easier when young.  Anything that can be learned young that is.  You can’t teach advanced Calculus to a 3 year old.  Things like that require a vocabulary.  However things like a fear of animals: snakes, mice, spiders and the like are taught to us at a young age.  Many of these “Safety” fears are unfounded and have been iconized by generations of parents who have had the same things taught to them.  This is unfortunate, and the inherit cause of many of the wars and hatred that has evolved throughout the world.  We have been taught to fear our neighbours, fear their dog.  Be afraid of cats walking across our path, the number 13.  Be afraid of death.

Ahh, death.  This is perhaps the first and foremost fear that holds us back from doing many things. 

OK… Stop the press!  Self-preservation is something that you should NOT try to remove from your 10-year-old!  Nor should you walk out into traffic for shits and giggles, just to prove that it won’t be painful.  I do not condone thrill-seeking behaviour for the mere experience.  I’m trying to expand your minds to accept the possibilities. 

About 20-odd years ago I read a few books, and got into druidism, Wicca and the like.  WHERE ARE YOU GOING!?  COME BACK!  Please be patient!  One of the main credos that Wiccan-ism has goes something like: Do what you will, lest ye harm none.  Very poetic, non?  What it means is simply, “Do what you want, unless it hurts someone else”.  A selfish version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  But the rule, combined with a firm belief in reincarnation, as I have, has allowed me to accept all new experiences with wonder.  I Live this rule daily.  I don’t fear anything.  Period.  I will not put my body into harm’s way purposely, unless it would be to protect my family. 

But I am not talking about large fears like these.  We aren’t all James Bond, or Lara Croft.  I mean fears that stop us from making life-changing decisions; Buying that house, Getting married, stretching yourself thin by taking on two jobs.  The fear of budgeting.  Not being afraid to ask for directions.  Being able to say no to Tele-marketters.  Daily tasks that may sound simple to you, but for some, may be next to impossible. 

I will admit.  I have been lucky.  Having grown up doing many things as a boy on the farm, I started life grabbing many skills.  I regularly moved herds of Highland Cattle between fields alone when I was a teen.  I helped replace engines (some on my own in motorbikes) in large farm-trucks.  Re-wired the barn.  Canoed along the banks of Pitt Lake and through the Allouette rivers.  Rode horse all day for 20 some-odd miles up in the mountains.  Ridden my motorbike to Edmonton from Maple Ridge in 24 hours when I was 16 and stupid.  Played Saxophone professionally: opened for BB King once.  Cooked professionally for more than half my life… “Yeah, Bullshit!”, you might say, but it’s true.  And more. 

I have been lucky as I said. 

This is all to help you understand “lack of fear”.  I believe that I can do anything that I put my mind too.  I believe this is possible for anyone.  Keep a positive outlook, don’t quit.  Take the time to learn as much as you can before you begin anything, but don’t stop until you are sure that the task has been complete.  Don’t fear what others may think.  Most critics are simply voicing their jealousies.  Pay little attention to them, and trust yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, however.  Basically… Don’t be afraid.

Backward thinking – Forward thinking.

Backward thinking – Forward thinking.

Working as a Chef for the last twenty-odd years has given me advantages which I would like to pass on to my son.  These ideas have helped me day-to-day and continue to propel me forward.  Where to begin?

When I was growing up, my mother and step-father taught me by bad example that “any task worth doing, isn’t worth completing”.  The farm was littered with junk cars.  The house was never clean.  Budgets were always broken, causing a runaway debt.  Any “legacy” was spent before it was received.  Great lessons for anyone.

When I first moved out on my own, I lived meagrely.  I took over a two bedroom suite from a friend.  At the time, this took up more than half of my budget.  I was working full-time in a popular downtown restaurant, Naval Reserv-ing part-time and overjoyed to be alone in a very sparsely furnished pad.  I loved the solitude.  Eventually I got some roommates to share the costs.  But to spite my early upbringing, I never let the apartment become a mess.  Junk  was never allowed to accumulate.  And budgeting became second nature.  I never had a credit card.  (I got my first credit card after I bought the house with your mother!)

While working as a Cook, you learn that the best part of the job is after the clean-up, when you sit down in the closed restaurant with a cold drink in your hand.  It’s like the feeling you get after the last hill on a roller-coaster, just as you head into the station.  It’s that un-named “Ahh”.  To get there in one piece when all the customers leave happy, you don’t have any knife-wounds or burns, and the pretty waitresses smile at you with gratitude: This is the best.  To get to this point, requires planning.

To this end, the end with ”cold drinks and pretty waitresses”, you need to think backwards.  Backwards?  “What do you mean?” you ask?  Let’s take this in steps.

Thinking backwards:

1.     Drinks, Sitting and Waitresses (Goal!)

2.     Clean-up of kitchen

3.     Last order (including time check)

4.     Dinner service

5.     Kitchen set-up

6.     Prep and specials (daily menu specials)

7.     Sign in and change into uniform.

This outlines how I started to look at my day.  I looked forward to the positive end of the day.  I looked forward to the best part, but to do that I had to think backwards as how to get there.  Then I would simply reverse the order of these tasks and assign a time limit for each.

For example:

1.     Sign in and change into uniform – 3 min.

2.     Prep and specials (daily menu specials) – 1 hour

3.     Kitchen set-up – 10 min.

4.     Dinner service – 6 hours

5.     Last order (including time check) – 5-10 min.

6.     Clean-up of kitchen – 20 min.

7.     Drinks, Sitting and Waitresses (Goal!) – Unlimited!

When you start to break each work day into parts such as this list, and as you become more proficient at each task, you can shorten the time it takes for each (ok… not things like the ‘dinner service’ part!).  As you shorten the time it takes for each task, you can then insert a bit more ‘flair’ or pride in the task.  As you have more pride in your work, others will notice.  Others who mean something!  Others who will recommend you for promotion, or who choose to be with you. 

This idea can be inserted into any part of your life!  I have used this to plan out the basics of my entire life!  Planned from today to my retirement and even my death (how morbid!)  I have even imagined what legacy I can create for my grandkids (not having any from my parents).

I have tried to imagine ways that would best suit the future “Morgan Ondas”... my son; his kids.  I wish I had the support of a wise family member who focussed me into a real career.  Not that there’s anything wrong with what I have, but, there are paths that I should have taken perhaps.  I have seen people waste their talents, time and sometimes money searching for a career that is beyond their reach or unattainable because of the lack of “Friends” in the right circles.  I’ve also seen my parents try to schmooze with the High Mucky-mucks and fail bitterly.

The failure of many who I have met usually goes with this adage: “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”.  How exceedingly true.  Plan any major thing in your life.  First, what is a plan? 

“A set of Intended actions, through which one expects to achieve a goal”, says one dictionary.  Therefore we need to have a “goal” to focus these “intended actions” upon.  Goal… goal… what is the goal?  Before I start out on any Idea, I first think strongly about what I want. 

My life has evolved into a basic desire to ensure that I have left a legacy of a strong future for my family; my present family.  Nami, Hyoga and myself.  This is my family.  I also would like to imagine that Hyoga will marry and produce two worthy children.  If I can create enough wealth to educate my grandchildren, live a happy life with Nami, travel occasionally and die knowing this will happen… This is my goal.  The realization that higher education for Hyoga is not feasible for us hurts me, but I have accepted this.  I feel that “if you aren’t able to do it right, don’t do it at all”.  For me this means if I can’t send him to school to become a Doctor or a Lawyer, then don’t.  I won’t hold up this carrot and stick to him.  I tell him how sorry I am, but I won’t lie to him.  If I can do this for his children, however, I will.

The goals of a ten-year old boy may include a daily dose of PS2, bike riding with the neighbour and dinner, but his dream of becoming a pilot can and will be nurtured.  From my brief stint with Canada’s military I constantly kick myself, especially this year.  This year, I turn 44.  This is the year that I would have retired had I joined the Military when I was 19.  I would retire, start a second career; earn a pension and a wage.  If I had known.  Well, I do know!  My boy wants to be a pilot?  They have pilots in the Air Force.  There.  I have set him a goal.  Even if he doesn’t “get it” yet.  Even if he despises me later, I believe this will be the best for him.

Here’s a Goal Chart from me (the controlling father) to the boy. 

My “Hyoga Goal”:

1.     I die happy - (at 88 yrs in 2053)

2.     Hyoga Starts Flying for JAL or Air Canada.

3.     Hyoga retires after 25 yrs service - (at 44 in 2043)

4.     Hyoga signs for another ten years – (34 in 2033)

5.     Hyoga’s wife has 2nd child – (Hyo 29 in 2028)

6.     Hyoga Marries – (27 in 2026)

7.     Hyoga graduates HS, joins Air Force – (19 in 2018)

8.     Hyoga Joins Air Cadets – (13 in 2012)

Let’s turn this around, now.

1.     Hyoga Joins Air Cadets – (13 in 2012)

2.     Hyoga graduates HS, joins Air Force – (19 in 2018)

3.     Hyoga Marries – (27 in 2026)

4.     Hyoga’s wife has 2nd child – (Hyo 29 in 2028)

5.     Hyoga signs for another ten years – (34 in 2033)

6.     Hyoga retires after 25 yrs service - (at 44 in 2043)

7.     Hyoga Starts Flying for JAL or Air Canada.

8.     I die happy, knowing that his family is happy and my grandkids are better off than I ever was! - (at 88 yrs in 2053)

For me to get there from where I am right now, requires me to keep my belt as tight as possible (please, no fat jokes!)  Budget ourselves as our investment grows.  Retire to Japan, start a business using the skills I have.  Grow said business, and sell it for a profit (or keep it in the family, depending on circumstance).  Leave a heritage of pride and hard work (and lots of cash!) to my Grandchildren.

Forward thinking, no?

How to start a fight

Firstly, begin by finding a subject with only a "Yes" or "No" answer. 

Then by gently probing your opponent with sly, yet subtle questions not immediately focussed on the "Fight" subject, you determine their views about the subject. 

Once this has been established, you take the contrarian side, and then with logic and phoney statistics, you should easily create a situation where a good argument begins.



I use this  to determine the intelligence (intellect) of my opponent.  Not that everyone should be viewed as an "opponent", but in order to build trust in any relationship, I find that a good understanding of someone's capabilities is essential.

 

Insanity

Woke up this morning.  Grabbed the remote.  Turned on the news.  CBC was going through the motions as usual; 3 more Canadian soldiers sacrifice their lives in Afghanistan, The Commodities crisis, The International Criminal Court issues warrants for the President of Sudan, and… The issue that I am sure will make people squirm: The Case of the Albertan Vince Li, who has been accused of stabbing, decapitating and partially cannibalising a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus.

This violent and unusual act which I’m sure most of us will agree is abhorrent and vile in any country of this modern age, is especially abhorrent to me by the plea that was allowed to be entered in one of our (Canada’s) courts:  Not Guilty.  Preposterous! “By reason of insanity”.  This excuse has been pushed far too long.  Pushed through the courts for only one reason… to justify the existence of social-work, pseudo-scientific “Psychiatry”.  When does a thing like murder lose its validity?  When the “body” becomes detached from the “mind”, I suppose.  I think this excuse may now be validated for ANY wrong-doing, thus creating lessened sentencing for all crimes and misdemeanours. 

Drunk driver- “Sorry, oshifer… I knowzh Ize been dzrinkin’, but I plead inshantitty!”

Officer- “Allrighty, then.  You are a naughty citizen!  Get in your car and drive straight home, now!  And don’t hit anyone on the way, or we’ll have to take away your beer next time!”

This is what should be happening soon, if this case happens the way the Defence Council for Mr. Li hopes to see it. 

Witnesses – Yup, Murder Weapon – Yup, Blood on the Accused – Yup, Victim’s DNA inside the Accused (I’m sure no Court-appointed Psychiatrist checked this, nor anyone else for that matter!)… Yup!  The Case against poor Mr. Li is indeed overwhelming.  And who but an “insane” person would do or even contemplate such a thing?  Contemplate…? 

WAIT JUST A SECOND!  I remember many years ago, reading a very violent book, “American Psycho”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Psycho which followed the life of a well-off Manhattan investment banker as he becomes more and more violent and torturous.  The Author of this book (Bret Easton Ellis), obviously has contemplated many a violent and ghastly thought.  Is he insane?  Was it temporary?  Is any thought that contradicts “normal, morally accepted behaviour” to be grouped with the categorically insane?  I have read this book, and so doing have also had these thoughts of extreme violence in my mind.  Was I suffering from some kind of “Criminal, temporary insanity”? 

Should we then try to separate the mind from the body? 

Should the actions of the body be tried in court separately from the mind? 

Defence council- “I’m sorry, Your Honour.” “My client’s Mind was at the time being controlled by the Demon, Zuul, and therefore, had no cognitive control of his legs, boots and feet as they curb-stomped-to-death the victim, whom had caused his own unfortunate demise by conversing with my client during his pre-Zuul state of mind, by saying “Hey, how’s it going” (as reported by eye-witness account), which has hereby been accepted by the expert-witness testimony of Dr. Freudington as being a “key trigger mechanism” for such behaviour.” 

Judge- “Then, according to the laws introduced in 2009, as per ‘the Crown versus Li’, I sentence your client’s Legs, Boots and Feet to spend no less than 25 years in jail, while your client’s Mind shall be released on a bail-bond of no less than $100,000.”

This is what should be happening.  If insanity is ever mentioned in court, then try the mind and body separately, as if they are two separable entities.  NOT!  We can not function without our mind, nor can we function without the body.  If the person has a mind that is truly insane, then normal body function might also be impaired.  Things such as breathing, blood circulation, the immune system would be “haywire” causing the person distress.  Mind and Body are inseparable. 

Show me where the mind exists.

“How about any ‘External Chemical Substances’ causing a temporary behaviour?”  Some of my more argumentative friends may wish to add.  Yeah, I’m sure that the Cryrstal-Meth in someone’s system can cause a “Temporarily Insane” state of mind, leading to many an unfortunate event (pushing another Human Being underneath a moving bus, for example).  But unless you can prove without a shadow of a doubt, that any substance internally taken is there by accident, I submit that it be the user’s fault.

Let’s get back to poor Mr. Li, shall we?  He was a tormented man, by all accounts – awww!  He was picked up wandering along the 401 in Ontario five years before.  He was a landed immigrant from China who never was able to find meaningful employment.  Divorced by his wife two years before the incident.  Read more here:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Court-hears-closing-arguments-in-Greyhound-decapitation-trial-40716652.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090304.LI04/TPStory/National

OK, so somehow Mr. Li slipped through the cracks.  He became a “haunted soul”, without proper psychiatric evaluation.  But now he’s not responsible for his actions?  BS! 

The human being is always capable of doing ghastly things.  Whether it be stomping on a spider crawling across the floor, or chasing a fly around the room with a newspaper!  Or devising a method of exterminating many souls with Zyklon B.  Or by stabbing, decapitating, disembowelling, eating and later throwing the head of your victim at a window.  Or by living in a country that allows the death penalty.  We all are capable.  Sane and not sane.  There are both states in all of us.  We choose daily to make “morally correct” decisions.  It is when we allow “Learned Professionals- the Psychiatwits” to decide for us all what is technically impossible (the dissection of mind from body), that we all become the insane.

Lock Mr. Li up.  Feed him chicken, noodles and vegetables until he dies an old man.  Clothe him in orange jumpsuits with plastic snaps.  Let him have access to a library of novels.  Full cable.  As much toilet paper as he needs.  Heat in the winter, air-conditioning in summer. But please… Keep him away from churches- god might want him to act again.

Cell Phones

Cell-phones are the Devil.

25 years of this social experiment is long enough. Please, whoever you have been, gather up all the data. It is now time to go to your dorm-room and crunch the numbers. Oh, by the way, once you have your dissertation ready, simply hand it in at the dean’s office and take one of the blank “PHDs-to-go”, fill it in and then do the following;

1. Please inform all the idiots that think they have nine arms to stop multi-tasking in their automobiles.
2. Take away all the mishandled phones from kids. Children don’t need them.
3. Tell the Koreans and Finns to stop building these things with goofy, loud music as the “Ring-tone of the hour”
4. Design a program that enforces the learning of at least one of the world’s official languages before being allowed to use the text function.

OK… Guess which side of the debate I’m on. I do realize that these “things” are just that, “things”. The same way that a pair of shoes, or an umbrella, or a Ford F-150 diesel is: simply a “thing”. And that being a “thing” makes it nigh impossible to control as to who may purchase and/or use. There are too many corporations that realize the money making potential with these “things”, creating new improved things every day. I don’t have a problem with that. The problem is a regulatory one.

I know. In our present world of liberal, P-C-ness (Politically Correct ) it is every breathing person’s right to do anything they want as long as they acknowledge that whatever David Suzuki or Al Gore says is right. This includes being able to purchase a cell-phone and immediately start pissing me off with it.

Morgan’s Caveat: I, myself do own a cell-phone. I have had for years. Maybe even decades. BUT I NEVER USE IT WHILE WALKING, DRIVING, OR IN A FRIKKEN RESTAURANT!!

The problem with cell-phones is not the equipment, but the operator. We regulate the use of many things; Automobiles, Beer, Cigarettes, Care-cards, Bus passes, homeless shelters and the like. Why is it that there has been no regulation for the use of cell-phones?

Can’t there be a simple 10-minute IQ test that gives you a license? This license could eventually be used for other things as well (let’s explore this at another time). Once you have your license, you may then buy a cell-phone… with the appropriate government added cell-phone manual for BC.

Here might be some of the rules that might be applied;

1. No cell-phone may be used by anyone while operating any moving vehicle: Cars, Trucks, Bicycles, wheelchairs or dogsleds. This includes On-star in most high-end GM vehicles.
2. A cell-phone may not be used while walking unless there is a free and clear distance of no less than five meters between the user (of the cell-phone) and the next person.
3. Children under the age of 13 are not permitted to own, use, touch or see any cell-phone. This shall include equipment known as PDAs, Blackberrys, iPODs and the like that have any two-way communication device installed. The latest “Texty-Toni, Two-way Ultra-Pink Wrist-watch” from Hasbro is also included in this list.
4. The use of cell-phones inside any public gathering place, i.e. Restaurant, Lounge, Library or Bank Line-up is strictly prohibited. This includes incoming calls.
5. All cell-phones shall be tested with the user of said device AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE to ensure that the user understands how to immediately silence said cell-phone. Further to this, it shall be considered an offense if any user’s cell-phone disturbs any person through fault of the user not being able to, or refusing to silence said annoying cell-phone.
6. Using a cell-phone for “Text-messaging” shall not negate any of the aforementioned rules, however shall compound the offense by 2. Further to this, any Medical Doctor having a patient complaining of any of the symptoms of “Text-Thumb” shall immediately report this to the authorities.
7. Any person caught using “TEXTing” language, “U” for “You”, “ROFL” for “Rolling on the Floor Laughing” or other things like “JCYAFN”, shall be taken to one of the many reform schools to relearn one of the official languages.

Now I’m sure that I can think up more rules, but put quite simply, it should be common sense! Which is the same as anything. Before the days of testing and licensing drivers –Yes there was a time when you never needed a license! People used common sense! Maybe we should apply the same rules that we have for smoking? First, lets stop “Cell-ing” in Banks and Libraries. Then restaurants can have a no-“Cell-ing” section, eventually becoming “Cell-ing”-free. Then Bars. And finally Cars.

Let’s all think back… not too far… there was a time when we humans survived without Cell-phones. We lived without needing to talk inane nonsense 6 hours a day. We used to have a diverse vocabulary, using words like exquisite, morose, stoic and conundrum. We used to keep our eyes, ears and minds open to those things around us that would hinder our progress. We used to be able to think of others AS we passed them. The use of these “things” is surely replacing our need for trueness of life.

I would like to dedicate this article to two of my best friends, for different reasons, Brian and Chuck. 
To Brian, who was the first person that I knew to “delete” his land-line and go completely cell – applause! (I know he doesn’t offend with his Moto-razr.)
To Chuck, who after decades of abuse (mostly with good-humour and awe), who has NEVER OWNED a Cell-phone, I would like to stand and say: Your resolution has stood you in good stead! May you NEVER find the want to have one of these evil devices! <…looks down at his own Samsung A950 and sneers loudly!>

I hope that I haven’t offended anyone who sees the absolute necessity of using their Cell-phone every hour… NOT! Mayhaps you will think long and hard before you start texting Aunt Bertha “I’m Here!” while turning left in front of oncoming traffic without signaling. For those of you determined to do this, when you do finally kill something, I hope it’s just you and your family, not someone else’s.

Homeless

Homelessness.

Let’s start by examining the word and its meaning.  Firstly, we break it apart.  It has three parts; “home”, “-less” and “-ness”

            1 HOME - A place of residence or refuge. It is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and be able to store personal property.

            2 -LESSLacking something.  As a suffix, usually the opposite –ful.  It tells us that the prefix has become “without” any of its normal attributes. 

            3 -NESS - Appended to adjectives to form nouns meaning "the state of (the adjective)", "the quality of (the adjective)", or "the measure of (the adjective)".

So, we’ve taken a noun, made it an adjective, and then made it a noun again.  Who doesn’t want to be a Noun, eh?

In the case of the word Homelessness, the first example of the use of the –ness suffix applies, “the state of”.  It is a state: not a permanent thought, idea or function, but a transitional.  If the –ness suffix is removed, then adjective have we!  We’ve all heard the term, adjective poverty haven’t we? (he he! It’s actually abject, with a “B”… just a little of how my brain works.)  Homeless is an adjective which therefore means “without a place of residence or refuge”.  So homelessness, a noun, becomes: “a transitional state, being without a place of residence or refuge”.

So we should understand that the word itself has a transitional nature about it.  It is not the norm, nor is it the want of any individual (except those truly suicidal) to “be” homeless.  This fact said, it isn’t a right to be “homed” or housed, but rather an individual’s desired state (forget the suicidal).

Here in Canada we have developed over time many beneficial social programs that the largess of our society has deemed to be rights.  Things such as medical care, public safety, education and the like have become “rights” we have perceived.  However only public safety is a right 1.  Education, medical care, as well as other things we take for granted; like roads, pretty sunsets, clean water and a McHappy meal once in a while just to get the latest toy… Are all simply PRIVILEGE!  Like the old joke says, “Spandex is NOT a right it is a privilege”!

So it is with having a home.

Home ownership, be it via a deed, or a rental agreement, or a handshake or barter is NOT guaranteed.  It, like many of the things we as modern humans perceive that we need, must be earned. 

As I was growing up, I, like many of you who read this now, was fortunate enough to always have a roof over my head.  There was a time, when this roof was no larger than 8 foot by 7 foot and nothing more than a sheet of plywood covered with tin (a tiny truck-box camper), but a roof it was.  I did earn enough at some kind of job which let me afford this roof.  I knew that enduring this meagre roof and bed allowed me to save up; to better myself, which led to better opportunities.  As my prospects have improved, so has my “roof” (I’ve treated myself as I’ve progressed! A little self-indulgent, but my family and I are worth it!)  I have seldom taken any of this for granted, as it was not too long ago that I was under that 8’ by 7’.  I do know for certain that I could have never accomplished any of what I have without the aid of my wife.  Without her support I would not have struggled as hard and would not be where I am.  That being said, being without a “roof” is a thought that is incomprehensible.  If there is a time when I might become jobless, I would get up off ass and find a new one!  Priorities are fairly straight forward; Shelter, Food and Clothes.  These are the basics.  Once you have all these, then and ONLY then can you deviate and add other things.  In pre-modern times, before currencies, humans would do this almost instinctively.  They’d build a lean-to, gather berries and leaves, hunt for food, create clothing to protect their flabby delicate hides and eventually trade with those who were better at things than they were.  “I’ll give you three fine grass cloaks for two fish” and so forth.  Now, with the age of “Free stuff ‘cause I’m poor”, instinct has been removed.  Other than the “pop-can” hunter-gatherer, a small, albeit seemingly larger, population where I live, are not heeding their instinctive inner warnings as before.  Preferring to wander the street, find a corner and sit with a hat between their legs. 

This, to me can mean only one thing.  If they are sitting begging, then they already have their “Shelter” priority solved.  So they either must be working on the “Food” or the “clothing” one now. 

Money does not supply shelter.  Be it a lean-to, tent, room, apartment, Condo or Palatial 17 bedroom Georgian manor house, Money is not the means to these. Determination or family support allows us to get these.  If an individual has either of these attributes, then shelter is easy.  If someone has not the will to change their surroundings, preferring to live in a cardboard box for months, then it is not up to me to give him a room.

The main problem that the Homeless population has is that their Priorities are not the same.  If we (society) continue to step in and do the “prioritising” for them, then their priorities (individually instinctive) will change.  Example: If someone gives you all the food you need, whenever you need it, you will remove “food” as one of your priorities, likely to be replaced by some other perceived need. 

“Homes for the Homeless” has become a rallying cry to many who have stopped saving whales, stray puppies and themselves via Jesus.  I put it to all of them who ever have said this with any seriousness of thought.  Take any one individual “Homeless” person from the street to yours.  Just one.  Give them a “home” as described above: A place of residence or refuge.  Be it a place on your living room floor, or a lean-to or tent space in the back yard.  Allow that individual to store their belongings with you.  Treat them with as much respect that you would expect they should show for your gift to them.  Then after a week, ask them if they have managed to think of how to better themselves.  If you can, offer advice and emotional support to them.  If they cannot gather enough to barter for food, then feed them.  When they tell you that their clothes are too shabby, clothe them.  When they tell you they are dirty, wash them.  If you feel this is not enough, then adopt them.  Make them part of your true family.  Give them your car. Give them a house, your house.  Marry your daughter to them.  Take them on a trip with you to the Bahamas. 

Am I starting to sound absurd?  The same thing should be said for charity.  If we as a society are all prepared to provide homes for everybody, make it a god-given right… then we should be prepared to provide everything necessary for survival.  Why not a trip to their hometowns first?  Why not find their families first?  Why not buy me a new house?  I need a six-pack, too.  OH!  I almost forgot, Mexico would be nice… for a week…

It is all absurd.

1 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” – from the charter of rights and freedoms http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/#juridiques