TRUMP….(sorry, I just have to)

I give up.

I generally avoid discussing politics either here or on social media but this time around I decided to test my toe in that turbulent torrent of turbidity. There’s an obvious target of course but writing about Donald Trump is akin to composing an unfinished symphony. I have drafted three posts but before I get them to the polishing stage Mr. Trump throws another sack of fodder into the trough. Honestly, it’s just too damn repetitive, silly, and depressing to pursue with any amount of enthusiasm. Add ‘easy’ to that list.

Coupled with President T’s confusing rhetoric is the influx of ‘fake’ news sites. These digital Enquirers pander to those who don’t have the wherewithal to spend a few moments researching real news. If you go by what you hear, even from some members of your own online circle, every news organization is fake or politically motivated. Even here in Canada news outlets from the CBC and CTV/ATV to my local paper present fake news or are bought and paid for by political parties…according to my catalogue of online friends. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that if the media doesn’t mate with your narrative then it is the media that is wrong.

Opinions are fine. I love opinions. That’s what this blog is. An opinion.

Opinions, however, are not always totally factual. An op-ed may be based on black and white fact but can easily be colored by the simple inclusion of the author’s opinion and sometimes separating the two can be difficult. That’s why we have to research.

As far as Mr. Trump is concerned I have to resort to my first line…I give up.

Following is the original blog I started two weeks ago. It’s a bit of a rant but I haven’t done that for a while so….

I tend to judge stories and comments based on presentation as much as content. If someone makes a point clearly and it sounds like they know what they’re talking about I’ll pay attention and often research what they have said. When it comes to Trump I usually don’t waste the time checking. When he uses phrases like “The CIA ‘are’…” I can forgive him. Fundamental English doesn’t build golden vanity towers I guess. When my grandchildren can spell better than he…well, I suppose I could blame the education system although I suspect he just didn’t pay attention. When he points to his head and says “Believe me, I’m really smart”…who is he trying to convince? If he was smart he would hire a communications secretary to look after his social media and try to keep him on track (or quiet) when there are cameras around. When he has to tweet that he is in charge…again, who is he trying to convince?

He has had many opportunities to correct the impression he made during the campaign. Instead he has taken every opportunity to show the world how self-obsessed he is. At a wall commemorating CIA members who gave the ultimate sacrifice once again he managed to make it all about himself. In his own words on video or Twitter he likened the same agency to Nazis yet it was ‘the enemy’, that ‘corrupt media’, that twisted his words. You said it Donald…on the internet and on camera. It doesn’t disappear because you delete or refute it.

When he can make a statement in a live, uncut interview then turn around and deny saying it, blaming the ‘dishonest media’ for taking something out of context or misinterpreting what he had to say, I know it’s only bull residue. When he can ‘tweet’ in the morning then six hours later unequivocally state that he never said it then, to my mind, there is a problem.

But, like it or not, Trump is the president. It’s as simple as that. I respect the position as I respect the position of Prime Minister of Canada. It’s unfortunate that the office and the person holding that office become one and the same. I’ve distantly dabbled in American politics since Eisenhower (yes, I’m that old) and I can’t recall any president disrespecting the position as much as Trump has. I’m sure presidents from JFK to Obama (and especially Nixon) dropped a few f-bombs in the privacy of the White House but they never did it live on national television.

Yet he was elected. What does this say about those who voted for him? That’s a question I won’t even try to answer. I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next four years and all those people tossing their comments around don’t know either. We can speculate but all the speculation in the world won’t alter what destiny has in store for not only America but the world.

He and his family all proudly state that Trump is the voice of the ‘common man’, Donald Jr. even commenting that his father was more blue-collar than the ‘average’ man. They’ve stepped on enough common men on their way up that I suppose they know what they’re talking about. Trump Sr. also declares that he’s building a cabinet of folks who understand ‘the common man’. Uh huh. Other than Mad Dog I’m not sure any of these people have ever experienced a ‘common’ lifestyle. To paraphrase…he drained the swamp and now he’s up to his ass in new alligators.

Some say ‘give him a chance…it’s early’. To a degree I agree although he was elected in November 2016. He’s had enough time to start acting presidential…to show respect for the office and the people. He’s had plenty of time to take off the campaign mask and show the kind of president he will be but he hasn’t…or has he?

If Trump can set up a government as transparent as he is then it could be an interesting four years but I doubt this will happen. He’s already backtracking on his promises. That bright light across America that you can see from space is the lightbulb coming on in the collective mind of his supporters.

 

A RANT…or something like it.

Excuse me while I gently let off a little steam….

People who know me know that it takes a lot for me to lose my temper. It does happen but not often enough to consider it a character flaw. When someone spouts a silly comment my way I normally resort to the Dude’s (The Big Lebowski) philosophy: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man” and move on. But it’s time I set one, no…let’s make that two things straight. These two naggy little things pop up every so often and I need to put them to rest. I appreciate that I might be preaching to the choir on the second reason but I have to say it.

Number one reason for the rant: Retirement. Ah yes…retirement. I sit around all day with a box of bon-bons, a few glasses of wine, and a good sci-fi flick in the dvd player. That’s how many people see me in my retirement. Of course these are people who aren’t retired. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a bon-bon, I might have an occasional beer after mowing the lawn and unless there’s a major news story breaking my television sleeps during the day. My wife is a realtor and she spends many long hours away from the house so the daily upkeep falls on me. I actually enjoy the housekeeping chores but it can be a lot of work, not necessarily difficult labor but definitely time-consuming. There’s also that sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished scrubbing down the kitchen and polishing all that stainless steel. That would be the time for a congratulatory glass of wine.

Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I’m not busy which leads me into reason number two…discipline.

I write, therefore I am. Okay that was cheesy but in a way true. I made a comment about how long it takes to properly maintain a blog (I admit I’m not all that good at it) and someone “inferred” that I need “discipline”. While it was just an off-hand comment it really got the hackles up. Most of the people that follow this blog are writers, thus the “preaching to the choir” comment. They know how much work and discipline it takes to write an average of 1800 words a day or edit that 115,000 word manuscript down to 85,000 words.

Everyone who works from home has to have discipline but those pursuing the creative arts (of any kind) have to have an extra measure. It would be so easy to turn on that television, cruise the internet, or simply take a nap. Y’know…just to recharge the creative energy. I would also suggest that many of you are like me and also fall into the category of writer and housewife/husband. We play out our lives jumping between the real world of dirty dishes, plugged toilets, and runny noses and our fantasy realm where we live vicariously through characters who exist only because we do what we do. I admit that I’d like to spend some time with some of my fictional characters…perhaps offer them a bon-bon or two and a glass of wine. Maybe we could curl up on the couch and catch a movie…but the dryer has stopped. Time to fold and file the underwear.

Those outside our world have no appreciation for the juggling acts that we sometimes have to perform. The conclusion of the workday is whatever time we finish doing what needs doing and sometimes that goes on well into the night. In the end we accomplish something that most of these naysayers will never accomplish. Whether through writing, art, or photography we have taken our thoughts, dreams and yes, the occasional nightmare from the abstract into a physical form that we share with anyone willing to join us.

If you don’t think that takes discipline…yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

pic

CYNOSURE

I admit to using the “synonym” feature in Word. It’s a handy little tool that I utilize to substitute a word in a sentence (or replace a word, swap a word, trade a word or interchange a word) that I feel I’ve overused. Usually I can come up with my own different word but that little synonym tool sometimes comes in handy although I will still choose the most common replacement and here’s why.

“The Grey wolf is the cynosure of the wilderness.” is the opening sentence in a blog that I just finished reading. “Cynosure” isn’t a word I use in my regular life and it isn’t one that I would use in anything I wrote. First, it sounds pretentious and second I’m not sure how many people would know what it means (a person or thing that attracts notice, especially because of its brilliance or beauty). It was on a ‘word-of-the-day calendar I once had so I’m familiar with the word but I appreciate that a lot of people might have to google it if I chose to drop “cynosure” into a sentence.

“The elk were deliberately traversing the field below…” This line threw me as well. Do these elk normally “traverse” a field unintentionally thus making this deliberation something unusual? Through context I established that the elk were slowly crossing the field…at least I think that was what the writer was trying to say. Why didn’t he just say it? While “deliberately” is indeed a synonym for “slowly” in this case it changes the meaning of the whole sentence, at least to me. Yes I suppose it is grammatically correct but sometimes you have to re-read what you write the way that a reader might…and this line just felt funny. Perhaps it’s just the way I interpreted it but I think others might read it the same way that I did and that’s not what the writer should want.

I don’t consider myself an expert writer but of all the good comments I’ve received on White Wolf Moon the one that pleases me most is that it’s “an easy read”.

An author should write for his market. My market just wants to escape into someone else’s world for a while…to be entertained and perhaps have a laugh or a cry. They shouldn’t have to work at figuring out what I have to say.

Okay my little rant is done…back to my book. Right now I have Evan traversing the scullery flooring surface en route to the coffee-manufacturing apparatus with the intent of filling a demitasse with his usual ante meridiem beverage.

wolf

I FEEL A RANT COMING ON….

What the hell is wrong with people these days?

I finished up my grocery shopping and stood behind a young lady with a cart who was between ten and twelve feet away from the checkout. She had sent her little brother down the length of the store to see if any of the other tills were less busy. After probably fifteen seconds I saw someone else step into the line so I also stepped in front of her. Another ten or so seconds went by and I was solidly punched on the shoulder from behind, a man’s voice telling me that they were in line and that I had butted in. I turned and this apple-cheeked very clean little-but-chunky “gentleman”, probably about my age and a foot shorter, was glaring at me.

I suggested they weren’t in line…that they were almost to the other side of the aisle. He called me an old man without manners. I told him I didn’t waste my manners on insipid little cretins then I saw the look on, what I assume, was his granddaughter’s face. She was embarrassed, no question. She had her head down and was looking away. I also saw the young lady in the next checkout unlock the till so I grabbed my basket and gave up my spot third back in line and took first spot at the next checkout. Another man with a basket followed and got behind me. He congratulated me on my self-restraint. He’d seen the whole thing and said that the old man was lucky that he hadn’t punched him as he would have punched back. That thought had crossed my mind.

I was through the till and heading for the door when I gave a little nod and wave to my adversary who had not yet managed to start unloading his cart. He glared at me again and tossed a finger my way. I won, he lost.

It was a shallow victory as, and I hate to admit this, my gut feeling was still to circle around behind this jerk and give him a solid punch on the shoulder but the look on the girl’s face somehow washed that all away. And I don’t know why.

In my mind I was clearly in the right but even if I hadn’t been I object to anyone thinking they are entitled to punch me without some sort of retribution. I now find myself angry that I didn’t lash out at him, give back a little of what he gave me but this is, and always has been, against my nature. Of course the fact that other than a couple of incidents in my old school days nobody has ever actually punched me makes it easy for me to make this claim.

And so this apple-cheeked, squeaky-clean little bully got away with one…or did he? I keep thinking of the girl pushing the cart and how she probably knew they weren’t really in the line-up as such. She saw her kindly grandfather punch someone then give them the finger. Was this a shattering of his image or was this something she was used to seeing? I think of how my kids or grandkids would react if I had been in his position and done what he had done. It would be so out of character for ‘Grandpa’ that I think it would shock them and perhaps taint the impression they have of me. I wouldn’t want them to see me assault another human being no matter how minimal the aggression was.

On the other hand if I was the one being assaulted I’m pretty sure that all my kids would have thumped the guy before I’d had a chance to turn around. Of course whichever one of them had done it would definitely receive a stern lecture on kindness and peaceful co-existence from me…over a celebratory drink or two.SIGN25

KNOW THY FOE (the missing 75th blog).

This is the blog I had decided not to post but I was informed by a friend that I had been mentioned on one of the anti-wolf pages a few months ago. Although I can’t find the mention it appears they miss me. Since I wrote this in July I have steered away from confrontation with those folks and I have not visited their pages…just a waste of time really. That much negativity and plain stupidity isn’t good for the emotional diet. So with apologies to those who expected more about White Wolf Moon and the sequel I present the following (far wordier than usual) tirade.

Let it be

The following is a lot more than a “bit” of a rant. It has been sitting on my desktop for weeks as I have resisted posting it due to length and subject matter. I know I promised “no more wolf rants” but this one has been festering for quite some time and I really need to vent. I decided to upload this a few days ago but fortunately I used some judgement and had it pre-approved before actually posting it. The wife of a friend of mine is a legal authority on writing, slander laws, and the like so I sent it to her first. It came back as the edited version that follows…shorter by about eighty words and without the names, locations, places of employment, and any other details that might actually identify the people involved. Seems I could have gotten into a heap of legal problems had I not had the foresight to have done this. It matters not though…all one has to do is what I did and study a few members of this sub-culture for oneself.

First I need to go on record, as I have many times in the past, and state that I appreciate that the particular people I researched for this writing are, I’d like to believe, in the minority. I’d also like to remind people that I am not opposed to responsible hunters and hunting and, while I don’t agree with it, I can see that there could be situations where the wolf population may need to be controlled or “maintained”. I hasten to add that in order for something to be maintained it first has to be working and, as far as balance in the ecosystem goes, it isn’t. Concerning all the cries about elk decimation and livestock predation…well, check the facts and numbers for yourself. There is simply no basis for using these as justifications for wiping out an entire species (which is the wish of the majority of posters to these anti-wolf sites).

According to most of the comments I receive from the anti-wolf side I’m a city-dweller. I’m also ignorant and uneducated and have never lived on a farm or even seen the country. I have no respect for wildlife, never had experience with wild wolves and I’ve never fired a gun. I refuse to accept “science and fact” because I live in a fantasy world where I believe wolves are the cuddliest critters and would welcome them into my home as pets. I have been called a psycho, a wolfaboo (I’d personally like to thank the six-year-old that came up with that one), a tree-hugger, a wolf-humper, and the most offensive of all to me, a NAZI (the final straw that started this blog). Obviously I didn’t include the more colourful and disgusting names they saddle us with or the poetically picturesque expletives accompanying each of these comments. Suffice to say that if profanity be the tool of the inarticulate some of these folks are master craftsmen. Other than the fact that I am currently dwelling in a small city absolutely none of the above is true yet this is pretty much how they see me and all pro-wildlife people.

Ahah, I thought, they assume they know me…perhaps I should find out a little about them, besides I’ve grown really tired of being called “a igorant city dweler” by people who can’t spell. I clicked on a total of eight of the contributors to three anti-wolf sites all with, as my grandson says, potty mouths. For this exercise I wasn’t interested in the noticeably few rational and relatively well-spoken posters (surprisingly none of the page moderators fall into this category). I sought out only those who take delight in branding anyone who doesn’t agree with them “a special kind of stupid” among other things. Incidentally “a special kind of stupid” is the parroted buzz phrase right now. One person uses it and everybody does…it’s a Lemming thing. And I certainly hope Judge Judy is collecting royalties for her “can’t cure stupid” comment because that too is over-used whenever they can’t come up with anything better (which is pretty much all the time). Another current flavour phrase of the day is “SSS” which is a recurring theme and seems to be the one to fall back on when again, surprisingly, nothing else comes to mind. Then there’s the “wolf lovers should put on their big girl panties” slam that was going around for a while. I guess hackneyed stuff like this is supposed to upset me but honestly I simply see it as merely a pathetic attempt for attention by immature individuals, nothing more.

Amazingly many of these folks have yet to figure out those dang privacy settings therefore tapping into their personal facebook pages was pretty easy. That should have been a clue. The first thing I noticed was that not many of them have the mettle to stand behind their convictions. They choose not to have a photograph of themselves or to use their real names, preferring to wallow in the anonymity of a small, secret world. We certainly wouldn’t want family or friends (or the boss) to know how twisted we really are now, would we? Plus it’s really easy to be opinionated when nobody knows who you are and you don’t have to account for your gibberish. By the way it’s also surprisingly easy to find out who has two pages, one for their trash-filled hate comments/photos and another for the lovin’ family & friends. I found a few of them but one in particular was really quite psychotic and disturbing as this man holds a rather respectable and responsible position in Public Service, is a devout Christian, and is regarded as a grandfatherly pillar of the community in a small western state town. But like a real-life Jekyll and Hyde his secret identity page displays a totally different persona and contains the foulest, most hateful comments of any that I checked out (don’t worry “Unka Bill” your secret is still safe with me…for now). I actually got a chuckle from one of the more clever A.K.A.s…“Richard Cranium”. That’s one of those nom de plumes that pretty well sums it up. Those that do have the confidence to post pictures of themselves all look pretty much alike. Camo, manly rifle, self-serving pose and grin…you know…same old same old. These photos are very much like the comments they post about the pro side that offer up no originality…just clip and paste. There’s even a photo of a hunter holding up an obviously photo-shopped wolf. This has accompanied stories of hunts in four states and one province. Dang dead wolf sure gets around. Over the past few months when they’ve posted their worn-out opinions on some of the pro pages I have suggested they come up with some new material but I have yet to see any so I’m guessing they can’t. Like summer re-runs, it has all become so predictable and boring.

Let’s move on to some of the “other likes” on most of these pages.

In the words of George Takei, “Oh my….”

A quick glance revealed that most of these folks don’t just hate wolves…they hate pretty much everything except beer ‘n bullets and teenage girls. Rape jokes, gender, and racial slurs abound. “My wife wanted rights so I gave them to her…and a couple of lefts for good measure.” Really? No wonder you’re hiding in the shadows dude. There were a number of the usual hunting pages which is fine but there were also a surprising and disturbing number of graphic animal (not just wolf) torture pages, everything from dogs to deer. Okay…that’s a serious mental deficiency no matter how you cut it and regardless of which side you’re on. One of these fine folks also ‘liked’ the Jeffrey Dahmer facebook page…I guess we all need heroes. Two of my lab rats actually like “animal mating” pages. Wow, critter porn. I bet their favourite book is the Camel Sutra. One interpretation of the Constitution caught my attention and actually says more about this person than anything else. Under his profile pic (a rather bloodied cougar) were the words “I have the right to bear arms, I have the right to kill.” Enough said about the mentality behind those words.

Moving along…Ted Nugent seems to be the next Messiah and Jessie Ventura is his dad which I tend to read as paranoia with guns but I could be wrong. A few are still following Scott Rockholm even though he’s finally been exposed as the conman most rational people already knew he was (see the suggested “to cover my butt” link at the end of this blog).

A couple of these folks also celebrated “May is Masturbation Month” which goes a long way to explaining why they always seem to be seeking attention. In a similar and perhaps related discovery the number of liked “upskirt”, “Hot Teen Girls”, “MILF”, and “bikini-butt” pages would indicate to me that there are a lot of thirteen-year-old boys playing Mighty Joe Wolf Hunter but again, I could be wrong. If I am wrong and this is actually a statement on adult intelligence…well, that’s pretty sad.

So there you have it…my first and last excursion into the slimy sediment at the bottom of the well of life. There’s a lot more but I think this is enough. It was an eye-opener to say the least, especially discovering what is really out there on some facebook pages. I guess I’ve led a sheltered life, for which I am thankful and I’m more than happy to return to the sunshine of my world. As I said these are some of the more extreme voices and like the extreme voices on the other side of this emotional issue they shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of everyone who has an opinion. Unfortunately most times they do.

P.S. – Before posting I did my pre-determined final search of a couple of these pages in the hope that I would find something positive with which to close this. I did. One anti-wolf site has banned a couple of the people that provided some of this material and I do commend them for that although some of those that haven’t been banned aren’t a whole lot better. It is this sort of nonsense that gets the general public up at arms and does nothing but create and strengthen the backlash that is growing increasingly more wide-spread and militant. They also cast all of the six-percent of the population that are hunters in a bad light and I can’t believe that ‘responsible’ hunters out there aren’t ‘up in arms’ at the way these guys and these pages are representing them. Hopefully it isn’t because it’s an accurate representation?

Whether these people are banned from pages or not, they are still out there using whatever means they can to destroy any chance of any useful dialogue and that’s too bad. There is a lot of emotion on both sides and both sides feel they are 100 percent right so finding a way to meet halfway on this issue will always be a struggle. I do believe there’s a middle ground but as long as some folks insist on living in the dark tunnels beneath we may never find it.

http://www.idahoforwildlife.com/component/content/article/2-content/30-wolves-in-anti-wolf-clothing

Wolf Humper? That’s the best you got???

In one of my more lucid moments I decided it was time to grow up.

Of course during another somewhat lucid moment I voted for a city councilor based on her hair length and bra size.

Lucidity is much over-rated.

So now, fifty years later, I have finally completed my grade nine English assignment (which was to use the word ‘lucid’ in a sentence). I should get extra marks and a fast-food fry voucher for ‘lucidity’.

Not that I’m a proponent of fog-based realizations either, never have been really.

There has to be a middle ground between fracked-out ignorance and harsh reality where degrees of awareness are tempered with furry kittens, warm summer nights and sipping whiskey.

I haven’t found it yet.

This was the original beginning to this post. I was actually winding my way towards telling you about my favorite guitar chord but since I started writing this I have had some comments made about me personally and generally on a few of the Anti-Wolf sites. It is no secret that I am Pro-Wolf and when I make a comment on any of these sites I like to think I present a logical, well thought out and, above all, educated point.

Every so often I make the mistake of giving some people credit for intelligence. I believe in letting anyone have their say and even if I don’t agree I try to understand their point of view. Before getting into a dissertation I like to research the subject so that I have at least an inkling of what I’m talking about. I try to leave emotions in my back pocket and approach the subject at hand in a reasonable, non-confrontational manner without resorting to name-calling and profanity. I have come to the conclusion that it has all been a waste of time, that trying to approach such an emotional subject with those “on the other side” is basically a futile effort.

In the last week I have been called, among other less-civil things, a “wolf-humper”, a “hunter-hater”, a “perpetrator of myth” and an “inogrent city-dweller”. I choose to remain neutral on the last one as I have no idea what “inogrent” means although I suspect the writer still hasn’t figured out spell-check (the defense rests your honor). While I have a few names I could fire back at these people, I choose not to. Every time one of them opens his mouth, every time they show a video of proud “real” men skinning a wolf alive, every time they brag about shooting one more wolf from behind they accomplish more for the Pro-Wolf side than we ever could. They hold people like Bill Hoppe, who baited and killed 831F (a Yellowstone radio-collared wolf) as some kind of saint rather than the cowardly low-life that he is. Good ol’ Bill’s story in all its unbelievable and twisted gory detail is far too long and sordid to get into here. Suffice to say that commerce has once again taken precedent over the environment.

The cry on the Wolf Hunt page is “Kill a wolf, save an elk”. I don’t know…it seems incomplete to me. How about “Kill a wolf, save an elk, so I can kill an elk”. Ah yes, much better.

This may upset a few of the Pro-Wolfers but I am not a “hunter-hater”. There are responsible hunters out there and while I could never hunt, I don’t have an all-out condemnation of hunters. I don’t understand the mentality and I certainly don’t like it but I’m told there are enough measures in place to control and maintain reasonable numbers of game animals so, at least for now, I have to live with it. I also don’t condemn ranchers who are merely protecting their investment by killing a wolf however I have to question why they haven’t explored the non-lethal approaches to wolf/livestock control as so many truly wilderness-conscious cattlemen have.

Then there is the argument about why the Government “planted” a non-native species into Yellowstone Park to begin with. Give your head a shake folks…the wolves were “planted” there before there was a Yellowstone and long before you “planted” yourself. It was some guy deciding that wolves might be dangerous to tourists and the other wildlife that resulted in man “unplanting” them. The subsequent and fairly rapid deterioration of the Park’s eco-system brought about the wise decision to “re-plant” the wolves and the results have not only been positive and surprising but an undeniable testament to the value of this keystone creature in the system at Yellowstone and elsewhere.

One last thing before I end this rant. The term “non-native” animal is threaded through a lot of the posts on the Anti-Wolf sites. Most of the wolves, these people insist, are Canadian wolves. Really? That’s your argument? Honestly I have so much trouble wrapping my head around stuff like this. Wolves were here long before there was a Canada, or America for that matter. They freely roamed across this unnamed continent. All of a sudden we declare borders and we expect the wolf to respect that invisible line between the countries? Grey wolves, as they have been since before we started keeping time, are spread all across the Continent, north and south… how can you tell it’s a Canadian wolf? Besides it’s really not a “Canadian” wolf is it? It’s just a wolf. I won’t even stir the stew by pointing out that anyone in North America whose ancestors came from another country is, technically, a planted non-native species.

Thanks for the time folks, sorry for the rant but I had to get some of this off my chest.