Good Old Socialism

While I can’t spell worth a damn, I am fond of keeping useful simple words around. Mike Campbell made the following statement on his well written – if somewhat politically divergent from this local norm – blog which I cannot let pass:

While Coady may have used the word ‘socialist’ to describe his activities, he was not a socialist. A ‘populist’, yes. His classic book on the Antigonish Movement is “Masters of their own destiny”. The title says it all. He wasn’t looking for a central body/agency to take care of everything, but rather for the people to do it for themselves. To put in their own money and labour into the enterprise, and to reap the rewards, as well.

This is exactly what socialism is. Collective control of the means of production. Socialism plus a military or bureaucratic tyranny is another matter just as capitalism so encumbered is. Nobody wants any of that – except those made rich off these dictatorships whether as seen in your 1978 Chiles or your 1958 Bulgarias.  Populism better describes social credit or reform party voodoo economics.  My other grannie was a municipal politician, slightly left of Stalin and Dad would say, and some of here best work in industrial Scotland in the mid-30’s to mid-50’s was fighting in the interests of private capital to ensure collective capital could do its good work – clearing out slums despite lobbying of shop keepers unhappy with seeing the population move to better housing, supporting adult education through the trade union movement, even arranging access to cheap camping in the countryside for the urban poor.

In a world which the language of politics is more and more defined by the influence in by the right, let’s use words like liberal, socialism, capitalism, tyrant and citizen in their plain, historic and real sense.   Use a park, a library or a non-toll highway and you are reaping the rewards of our perhaps less radical but still socialist forefathers.

Last of August

The air took a change today which, if we were still in the Maritimes, would have come after the first hurricane of the season had passed through, up from the Caribbean. Cool and dry. The downtown Kingston market is full of tomato and basil.  Found a locally grown watermelon to eat.  The corn is the best I have ever tasted this year so packed and juicy the cobs are bendy. Only one seller tried to pass cow corn off as sweet.  

Everyone is going on end of summer weekends or a week off camping to get one last kick at the can before the fall comes. Even though we are a month from autumn and maybe months from the first frost, having your oldest kid going into kindergarten puts you back into the cycle of holidays when the schools tell you you will have holidays. Pencil cases. Corduroys.

Keith Haring

I was looking at a blog I had not read before this morning and came across reference to Keith Haring, a NYC subway artist from 1980 to 1985, who died of AIDS 13 years ago. His images are very familiar. I was especially interested as I spent an afternoon in 1986 walking through an exhibit of his at a museum in Amsterdam, at the time when I was working in the Netherlands at the big cut flower auctions of Aalsmeer. I now see it is referred to as his 1986 solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. One web bio for Haring states:

Haring’s earliest critical acclaim and museum exhibitions took place in Europe, in 1985 at the Musee d’ Art Contemporain in Bordeaux and in 1985-86 at one of Europe’s most prestigious contemporary art venues, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

The display was immense. Room after room of floor-to-ceiling canvasses with bright-coloured cartoony stick people, some with extraordinary privates. I remember not having enough change for both a T-shirt and a bus ride home. I figured the 15 km or so hike was not worth it. [Dumb kid. Same dumb kid who didn’t spend the 25 bucks a few weeks earlier in Paris to drink a botle of wine from the year he was born 23 years before.] I left the museum without catching the artists name, most of all from being overwhelmed with the art. I think I came upon the exhibition after looking and asking directions to the Van Gogh museum. People only kindly but inexplicably told me how to find the “Vin (hork)-aw-(hork)” musuem…so I never found the place.

Wayne’s World

Being booted off another blog for rue-ning threads, I have made a home for the mystery man on Moncton where he can spout off about anything. I will take him on but this is a dirty fight so you can all jump in too.

Later: Feel free to add your own rants here too for general kicking around…

Much Later: Wayne is now on probation if he cares to come around.


45 cents. Dad got the 45 cent orange popsicle. Four year old gets the 1.99 ice cream sandwich. Three year old gets the Rollo caramel centre for 2.19 or so. Cheapskate Dad gets the 45 cent treat. Watched the Montreal to Toronto VIA train roll in and out of the station with the kids as melting sugar water dripping down my chin. In grade 4, thirty years ago, they cost 7 cents. Was it a better world when pennies had value? If so, more TV channels make up for it.

I didn’t know it was legal to price stand alone separately packaged items under fifty cents. Sure sugar, water, orange colour and two sticks of pine should not be over fifty cents but when are things ever priced right? If I eat enough by the time I retire I can be a really crazy old cheapskate building models of the great castles of the Balkans in my garage with popsicle sticks.


All his kids recovering from the blackout of 2003 blackouts.  Only grandkids 1500 km to his west.  Behind my mother’s voice on the phone, Dad can be heard shouting out his only real concern: “Who are they playing?”

Stenhousemuir, as it turns out, where they, the mighty Greenock Morton, won 2-0 away from home. Arsenal won, too, over an outclassed Everton – despite Arsenal being down a player after the reappearance of Sol Campbell’s boot’s desire to practice proctology. Sol is the best defender in England but has had a bad run of involuntary arse kicking lately. Caught the game on Rogers Sports Net. Oddly, here in Canada we can get more soccer than most anywhere: four live or nearish English league on two channels, German live, French live, Argentine, Spanish, Brazilian and Dutch on tape delay. I may spend another $2.99 a month this winter to get TeleLatino to pick up the Italian league.

Not just a slave to the tube, the August When Saturday Comes showed up yesterday and I am working through a small stack of fitba books from One, Out of His Skin, is about John Barnes – one of my favorite players from the days of TSN’s Soccer Saturday – and the crap he had to put up with from his own Liverpool fans for having the gall to be both black and good at soccer. Even just 15 years after he entered the top level of the English game, it is amazing to this that this was the case watching the diversity of players on Arsenal. The implicit racism of the game is now seen more in the lily white composition of the fans in the stands. If you get ESPN Classics Canada, you can see Barnes play on certain Friday evenings in a few of the late 80’s early 90’s English FA Cup Finals they show from time to time. He taught me everything I know about crossing from the outside – everything I know…not what I can do.

Blackout Day 2

Highlights so far:

  • Woke up at 7:57 am. Alarm messed up.
  • Called at 8:01 am. Do not come to work but stand by in case needed by my boss the City to man a phone or something.
  • Watched private golf course across street water fairways 8:01 am to present.
  • Watched Howie Mandel on Regis and Kelly for 2 minutes. Considered why blackout such a bad thing.
  • Co-worker calls to say he is heading out to the cottage and planned supper off. Noticed lack of invite. Then again I can’t stand me for three days.
  • 11:00 am listened to Mel Lastman, Mayor of Toronto, talk of difficulties Toronto had faced. Noticed similarity to recent interview of Keith Richards discussing difficulties Toronto had faced.
  • Following good Toronto coverage from The Flea.

My plan for the afternoon is a search for a box of chilly clinky ales, conserving energy – not just the grid’s… my own, switch back and forth between local Canadian and US radio stations to follow the game of “blame the other’s electrical infrastructure” ping-pong.

Later:  No power from 3:30 to about 8:00 pm.  Molson Stock Ale plus wedge of lemon = Molrona.  Clear night so heat should clear down here by the lake.   Had a picnic supper in the park.  Big waves crashing in from the heart of the big pond to the south  west.   Stick some dulse up my nose and it could be Lunenburg.

Gee…another new word

Just when you thought it was safe to go out on the information super highway, we are now going to hear about “fisking” – a new word for a usenet-old practice of interweaving replying within the text of what is being discussed, used often in flaming. For the first round of response it is slightly useful as it directly relates a paragraph of response to a paragraph of original statement. It is useless for the next level of response and beyond as it creates a mess.

I hope “to fisk” gains some new meanings – to pointlessly create new words, to confuse a discussion through unnecessary structures…suggestions?


Back. Nice to see the typo twins chimed in over the weekend. I don’t know why I don’t care too much about spelling but I don’t I think it was all the teachers who made so much about it but didn’t seem to have anything to say with their perfect grammer. Couldn’t have been. That being said, I am sure it is on my “permanent record” so I should start feeling bad any day now.

Tales of the road? Not really many:

  • Vermont’s unoffical state bird is apparently the Crow – gotta love that. The law says the hermit thrush. Who picks a hermit as an emblem?
  • The nicest vista on a highway is the view at the top of the hill on I-83 just west of Barre heading for Montpellier, Vt. – layer upon layer of Green Mountain each one a little more faded than its next nearest neighbour.
  • Tim’s is a welcome site whether in South Portland, Maine or Cornwall, Ontario.
  • I had the best raw oysters ever from the Portland Public Market – each one was about a ten-chew half-cup of living sea animal. Dandy with a Shipyard ale.
  • Burlington’s Church Street is kinda losing it having an Old Navy and a Borders and losing its own independent bookstore – was it Hickson & B****? Heidi will know. That being said, Borders has a heck of a music section. Everyone I know under 30 will think me a fool for buying 145 US bucks worth of art on 1990’s media.
  • The Gulf of Maine at 60F is better swimming at Higgin’s Beach than 70F water farther north or south.


The road back was pretty much off the highway again so I can’t say we broke any speed records. Interesting how the Thousand Islands here seem more than anything a continuum of the Lake Champlain and even New Hampshire’s busy lakes region. Best drive back twisty road – New Hampshire’s 25A west to the beautiful little village of Orford on the Connecticut River, shown here.

The Road Taken

New Hampshire has redeemed itself. For years bad thinks happen everytime I am driving through New Hampshire – people giving me the finger, getting lost out of Dover because the “Live Free or Die” folk don’t like spending on road signs. I only drive through New Hampshire – like New Brunswick. Last evening at 7:00 pm, we blew a tire on highway 4 at the westerly Durham exit and New Hampsire came through big time.

I can change a tire. I cannot change a tire when the tire jack and lugnut wrench was left in PEI in a house I have since sold. We started to walk into town down the highway on ramp. First, a guy about 19 in a pick up driving the other way goes down the ramp into Durham, goes around and up our ramp to meet us as we are walking down. He drives us into town calling on his cell phone to all the VW owners he knew. We make about 5 stops with no luck. 25 minutes minimum.   He leaves us with a happy wave at the cop shop where we call for help (being after hours). This guy has just done this one a Friday eveing coming home from work at the Portsmouth Jiffy lube. Someone raised that kid right.  Didn’t get the name but thanks.

Next, the cops call Smitty’s Towing and in 15 minutes we are back at our car where for 30 bucks on my VISA, the nephew of the owner – about 23 – replaces the tire with our doughnut in about 47 seconds. Tells us all about the town as we are driving back, how the University of NH sucks up property taxes, how they came second in NCAA hockey last year, tells us about being a tow operator in Durham (picked up two DWIs Thursday night) and gives us directions on to Portland via back roads to stay under 50 mph. Again, someone raised this kid right.  Again, didn’t get the name but thanks.

The trip was made by this.  Less than one hour delay.  Before that the highlights were the drive on NY highway 3 through to Saranac Lake; the 10 mile drive up and over the Green Mountains east of Middlesbury where you can pretend you are in a car ad pumping second and third gears through hairpins at a 12% ascent and decent; seeing Middlesbury College founded in 1800 sitting in a landscape of rolling farms with the lake to the west and the mountains to the east.  Also ate beef jerky for the first time.  Ate a whole bunch and then worried for an hour whether a entire pot roast was rehydrating in my gut.   Buy a VW, by the way. Whole drive was less than 30 bucks Canadian for the gas. My car is a ’93. And make sure the jack and lugnut wrench are in the back.

Route: Kingston to Cape Vincent to Watertown to Saranac Lake to Lake Placid (avoid) to Westport to Champlain Bridge to Middlesbury to Concord to Dover to Gorham to South Portland: left house at 7:35 am, got to Ross’s at 10:20 pm.   Off to the tire shop today.