Friday, July 28, 2006

Dodge the Morons

Summer is upon us and the highways are thick with traffic. Now, it is a matter of my observation that most people are incompetent – some on occasion and some perpetually. No matter what the field of activity, some few individuals excel, a few more muddle along fairly well, and the great multitude should be kept out by walls, electric fences, and Dobermans.

Cartooning is a growth industry in our society, both on paper and video media. Ninety percent of these cartoonist produce drawings of a quality that I could duplicate when I was seven – and I'm not an artist. The storylines are even more juvenile. The more people who participate in any activity, the quality of the result declines. Take elections – 'nuff said. Q.E.D.

Bread is not only a staple of life, but an addictive substance – especially when taken aromatic, fresh from the oven. Some people who bake bread are true bakers, some can serve up an adequate loaf, and others . . . well, the dog likes it. I'm lazy – I let the bread machine carry out the initial stages, and then take out the dough for my own kneading, rising and baking. I experiment with extra ingredients and quantities of yeast or rich goodies that the dumb old bread machine could never handle. But my loaves are quite dense at the bottom and float away into airie bubbles at the top crust; they also rise inordinately – so much that no earthly bread knife can span them. I must admit, as a baker, I'm incompetent.

Now we come to drivers. Ordinary drivers of campers, motorhomes, cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trucks with trailers, U-Hauls, tent trailers, bicycles, mule carts, carriages and four, prairie schooners, logging trucks, grain trucks, cowboys in cattle liners – in short the whole damned schmuck of misdirected iron that clog our summer roads and make the most innocent of journeys to sunday school or to the bar to get smashed a positive bloody hazard until the blessed snow returns and sweeps them all away.

How can a poor body find safety amid such chaos? Firstly – don't go where everyone else goes. Don't travel when everyone else does. Long weekend? Stay home and catch up on all those damned jobs that have been hanging over you since last summer. Four lane superhighway on a summer weekend – deathtrap. Take the old highway that it replaced, or even better the gravel roads that hide behind the fields of ripening grain and burgeoning pot. Oh, we're not in BC? Sorry, I'll get on. It's true that gravel roads have a habit of petering out into fields or at unbridged rivers, but what the heck – the scenery's beautiful and you've all the time in the world.

What? You don't have all the time in the world? You have to keep the pedal to the metal from six in the morning until nine at night to make it to the cottage for a relaxing weekend. Buddy, you have more money than brains. You are probably the moron who's most likely to pass over the brow of a hill and appear in front of my own car, in my lane, at ninety per, when I'm out on my appointed rounds. You don't damnwell belong on my roads. You don't belong on anyone's roads. Buy a new lawn set and keep everyone safer.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Smart Questions

There is a website and an organization called ‘dropping knowledge' (the lack of caps is their idea) on the Internet ( ) which is a global initiative that seeks to turn people's apathy into activity. I think bloggers are into that idea.

Everyone is invited to post questions on the organization's website that will be answered (or discussed) by a hundred people around a table of free voices in Berlin on September 9th . It's a pleasant change from inviting people to send letters to newspapers and other publications, in which they express little more than their own lack of knowing what constitutes an answer, or even an argument.

Bloggers might take note of this revolutionary proposal, but then – we are all so knowledgeable we have little need to ask questions of anyone. But I was tempted, and by delving deeply into the fringe areas of my own vast experience, I was able to drag out a piece of opinion that I could loosely re-frame into the form of a question. I await its appearance on the website with great anticipation and will no doubt check daily (nay, hourly) for votes of approval from other surfers who find it relevant and likely to change the world.

Because changing the world appears to be the hope of the organizers and questioners. A noble cause if ever there was one – the ashtrays are full on the one we have. A brief surf through questions already posted revealed a whole range of offerings – from "What is the meaning of life?" to "Why do I always pick such poor boyfriends?" Who knows? Perhaps the answer to that question will lead to vastly improved mating practices among human populations and eliminate some of the losers we see wandering about, slack jawed, with their fathers' shorts on, and their caps on backwards.

They do have interesting and provocative material linked to the website. Take a look. A reduction in the apathy among our revered citizenry can't do any harm – except perhaps to dictatorial corporations, governments, and other elites. We would do well to practice our knitting while waiting for the tumbrils to roll again. We haven't had a really bang-up, world shaking, first class revolution for almost a hundred years. The last one was against the entrenched power of a financial and political elite and lord knows we have enough of those.

If you're tired of being lied to by your ‘betters' it might be time to get off your fat, overfed butt, turn off the trash on TV, and look into sending a question of your own. You might just change the world.