Sunday, October 4, 2015

Kevin and Anna Bustard's Wedding.

I met Anna through my friend's Elizabeth (Dr. Feeley) and Phil. Elizabeth has all the Christian virtue of my mother with her strong will and the great warrior woman, Boudicea in her veins.  Phil and Elizabeth are all that makes Christianity the living religion it is. They are two of my all time favourite Bibles.  We all attended St. James Anglican Church together.  Anna was their god daughter.  

Anna epitomized the finest in young women, bright, beautiful, creative, thoughtful and spiritual.  She’s the model of today’s Christian young woman. My mother would not approve her tattoos and piercing but would love her kindred soul. It was no surprise that Kevin fell in love with her. Who wouldn’t!  What surprised us all was why such an amazing young woman would fall in love with Kevin.  It’s not an uncommon thought for men in love.  The love of a good woman has brought many a man to their knees in thanksgiving.  For many a man it’s the true and humble encounter with Grace.  

Kevin, my friend, is a good man. Not that he always was.  What Anna loved about him was the love he had for his son, Izick, from his first marriage.  She loved his spiritual longing and hard work and intellect.  They dreamed family together.

I like his poetry. He’s a regular Carl Sandburg, a man who works with his hands then writes the most sensitive and moving thoughts of a fervent heart.  Kevin and my life overlapped outside of church and we had many a conversation about God and life. It was so refreshing to hear his love of God, his love of Anna, and his love of family. He is so deep and real in a oftimes shallow and plastic society.   

Kevin and Anna grew together.  Then Alexander came along to celebrate their love, then Kendra, such wonderful gifts of God.  Elizabeth and Phillip went off to Saudia to work and I felt that old man’s need to watch out for the young till their return. Next thing I knew I was a god father.  Gilbert, my cockapoo figured Izeck and Alexander and Kendra were his brothers and sister.  Families grow in church. The community of St. James Anglican does its things.  Grace abounds.

The Phoenix is a bird that rises from the ashes of the past.  Kevin was born again, once slated to be a preacher, he turned to heavy machinery and poetry instead. Now he was blessed by the fullness of new life and love. 

What God had joined and the church had blessed was this day made one in Christian marriage. It was a beautiful wedding.  Anna wore Elizabeth’s wedding dress.  The brocade was lovely.  Kevin’s suit looked so fine but it was a near disaster as no one knew how to tie a bow tie.  Thankfully one of the women did.  The pre wedding chaos was fun to be a part of. I was the groomsman. Laura sat in the audience. Gilbert stayed at my side because if I leave him he makes a fuss. So there was Kendra held by Kevin unwilling to be parted from her parents and Gilbert only quiet because he could  lay happily at my side  in the wedding party.  Izek and Alexander were most mature, great young ring bearers. They look terrific in black suits emulating their father.  Everyone was part of the wedding.  It was a moving service.  Rev. Canon Douglas Williams was the loving celebrant. Rev. Canon Kevin Hunt, priest in charge St. James, participated with reverence. 

The maid of honour, Kathryn Smith and bridesmaid, Anna’s sister, Joslyn Bustin were truly beautiful. Little  Kendra and Lisa  were the flower girls one sprinkling flowers and the other crying loudly.     Kevin’s Best Man Adrian was a lark. What a sense of humour and joie de vivre!  I loved my fellow yellow rose men who work with Kevin too.  Al Bustin and Phllip Feeley presented the bride. Anna was radiant.  Kevin was suitably humble.  Grace was present.

It was a beautiful ceremony.  I loved the choir.  I loved the choice of songs that included “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee’.  The sacred was everywhere.  Everyone was smiling.  The wedding concluded after communion, a communion I felt so deeply in the presence of such love.

Gilbert was delighted to reunited with Laura as we headed off for the abundant potluck lunch in the hall. It is always fun to talk with Karen and see others like Father Matthew I know better in the church. But then the photographer wanted my old face as a contrast to the youth there that day. Phillip Elizabeth and I seemed surprisingly to be the elders.  I still don’t know how this happened.  But the photographer hopefully knows photoshop and will assist me.  Kevin and Anna and the rest of wedding party would need no such assistance.  They all fairly glowed.

I was shocked to be asked to give a toast and blurted out whatever good came to mind.  Thankfully I got through that and everyone was so happy and smiling I didn’t detract from the joy of the occasion. Karen actually said I sounded just fine. Then others gave speeches, brief and celebratory.  Father Matthew summed it up with the words family and community. It touched my heart deeply to be there.  

Thank you Anna and Kevin for sharing your love and  precious moments with us.  May your family always prosper and God’s light shine on you and yours.  



Thursday, October 1, 2015


Thank you God for this new month October. Thank you for seeing me through the spring summer and September. Thank you for my brothers well being.  Thank you for cures and remissions and reprieves. Thank you for Grace. Thank you for Church. Thank you for Medicine.  Thank you for our leadership. We are so fortunate to have the least bad of the world’s often corrupt social systems.  Please let the politicians in general look to their own business and not interfere in ours.  Limit the reaches of government and control the cancerous spread of control and domination and regulation and taxation.  Please leave me some little freedoms and the finances to end my life with some dignity.

Thank you for the blessings that have brought me this far. Thank you for the glorious autumn we are experiencing. Thank you for the weekends. Thank you for watching tv and reading novels at night. Thank you most for Gilbert who even now nestles up against my back letting me know he is there.  Thank you for his readiness and willingness to join me in whatever endeavours. Thank you for his companionship.  Thank you for the dreams I had last night , the sex and the adventures and the friends and the exotic places. Thank you for holding back the nightmares. Thank you for these days where fear is overcome by love.  Thank you for family and friends. Thank you for work. Thank you for gifts. Thank you for my motorcycle and my car. Thank you for this body despite the aches and injuries.  Thank you for CPAP machines and ibuprofen. Thank you coffee. Especially thank you for coffee. Thank you for the fish too Lord. Thank you for light and chairs and couches and desks and food and all the basics.

Thank you for bringing us through all the doomsday prophecies for September. Thank you for proving wrong all the naysayers. Thank you for not fulfilling the climate change prophecizers and not boiling us off the planet like fried eggs as we were told would happen. Thank you for leaving us atmosphere despite the dire warnings and promises of the fear mongers. Thank you for the error in Silent Spring.Thank you for the rains. Thank you for the sunshine. Thank you for the ever greener vegetation languishing in the increased C02 which was never factored into the projections which are already as off as the Millenial Madness fears.

Thank you for the mundane.  Help us make it through more Obama madness with regard to Iran and save us from Syria’s folly and the further invasion of jihadists. Protect us here from those who would bring their medieval anger and tribal vengefulness to this country which has been made polite by hundreds of years of terribly hard work at peace.  Please keep us free from the past. Protect us from the misery that now is Europe and the Middle East.  Let our children know the joy of wilderness.Thank you that i grew up in Canada without AK47’s and people who kill comedians and those who cheer about it in masses in the streets.  

Thank you for quiet Lord. Thank you for ‘universal education’ and ‘universal health care’ and all the attempts that have been made to level the playing field. Thank you for the efforts of my grandparents and parents to ensure that tyrants didn’t rule in Canada. Thank you for a religion of equality.  Thank you for the sacrifices of my parents and grand parents for the world I live in today. Thank you that they made a life here with little more than the shirts on their backs and hard work and no welfare system but willingness to accept direction and to do what was needed.  Thank you for their sacrifices and their discipline. Thank you for the training they gave me and the years I worked night and day and 7 days a week before I was told I was a fool for caring for anyone else but myself.  Thank you for the idyllic Christian days when I believed that my country would care for me when I could no longer care for myself.

Help me not to fear that those who are from more desperate places with much more calculating and criminal ideas of money will steal what little I have acquired by ‘delayed gratification’ and ’saving’.  Protect me from the ever growing ‘party’ mentality of the ‘party politicians’.  Help me maintain hope in face of the coming elections where some are promising to give a way what I thought would be my future and my rest after I sacrificed so much for so long. Thank you for the last years of my parents and grandparents lives and the pensions they had.  Help me believe that I won’t have to kill and steal when I am old to eat in this country which I worked so long to protect and help others to enjoy.  

Please forgive me my fears Lord. I’m afraid as I listen to the one world government and despotic United Nations Agenda 21.  I know that an elite want to kill me and everyone I know with physician assisted suicides.  I'm not happy with all the abortions they have forced upon Canadian women.   Now they want to take even more  dividing and conquering  bringing scab labour from all over.  I know their aim is to destroy any unity that might be left. The Totalitarianism reaks today from all aspects and parties in Government. The media is propaganda.   Thank you for the lessons of history, knowing the methods of theof the NAZIs, National Socialists and the Communists,  because I see this day as that day.  I fear world leadership has learned the control, suppression, dominination tactics from  Imperialists,   Nazis and Communists obscuring their designs in smoke and mirrors.  I fear  I live among the stupid who have never studied history.   They seem so vegan happy when they are told ‘let them eat cake’. Today the cake is marijuana.    Let them smoke weed!  Let them inject their poisonous heroin safely.  Give them CNN and CBC.   Lie, lie, deny, deny! Oh there goes the fear Lord. Save me from the fear this Halloween election, this Season of the Witch election.  

Help me to laugh as  all this deserves. Thank you for sobriety. Thank you for meditation. Thank you for prayer. Thank you for exercise. Thank you for the planet. Thank you for the galaxy. Thank you for NASA.  Thank you for Virgin. Thank you for the 80,000 years of others like me who waffle between love and fear and hopefully come out going forward. I know I sometimes back into the future but thank you for those times I walk face forward and eyes open. Forgive me those fetal position mental moments when I close my eyes and wait for the next catastrophe.  Forgive me for remembering too well those lying thieving women who were protected by the gender and deceit. Thank you for helping me forget their long necks and the boys who gathered in vicious gangs with them. Thank you for all those who rescued me from the pit.  Thank you Lord for saving me from despair.  Thank you for teaching me too that I so often create my own folly by my lack of listening to my elders and my peers. Help me to hear your wee small voice. Thank you for being there when I was such a wanker.

Thank you Lord for all your blessings. Thank you for helping me develop and mature and become less a whiner than I was yesterday.  Thank you for stopping me from killing people and help me remain a pacifist even when you begin offer to  pay me really big bucks for physician assisted suicides.  Thank you for the empathy and depth of character to made me stop doing abortions even though they were so lucrative.  Everyone wants on the killing band wagon. Thank you for helping me be a physician instead.  Thank you for the oaths I took. Thank you for the ethics of ‘do no harm’ and the message of ‘just for today’.  Thank you for all the wisdom I’ve gained, the teachers I have had. Thank you for the guidance. Thank you for showers and running water and indoor plumbing and sinks and refridgerators and laundry and soap. Thank you for love Lord. Thank you for your presence and the reminders I’m not alone. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Doc-Side Medical Clinic

Dr. G. Horvath has had  low key Downtown East Side medical clinic for many years. A family physician with advanced training in physical injury and addiction medicine, he manages this 'walk in clinic' as well as maintaining a methadone/suboxone clinic.
As an addiction psychiatrist I met him when I was licensing to provide methadone treatment. One of the most respected clinicians in the field he commonly trains new physicians in the addiction medicine practicums.
Licensed now in methadone treatment and well credentialled in psychiatry and addiction medicine,  I was actually happy to continue to work  at Doc-Side clinic if only because Dr. Horvath is an excellent colleague who is glad to share his knowledge on complex cases.  He's a doctor's doctor, a consumate clinician, caring and extremely conscientious.
I've worked here five years now.
In addition to managing methadone patients a couple of afternoons a week I provide psychiatric consultation to addiction medicine patients one morning a week.  This is possible because if patients don't show for an appointment the clinic has a 'stand by' arrangement so I'm able to work and not lose income.
Private psychiatrists who make up over 75% of psychiatrists tend to be cautious about seeing patients with drug or alcohol problems because this group is notorious for missing appointments. When a patient misses the appointment the doctor doesn't get paid. Since we're all running businesses with overheads of roughly forty per cent, drug addicts and alcoholics, often the most in need of psychiatric services, fall between the cracks.  Further the DTES patients are no able to pay the 'missed appointment' fees that the better heeled carriage trade can.
The other 25% of doctors work  in salaried positions with all the benefits. The public mental health programs have physicians as 'consultants' but mostly the patients see counsellors.  The 'team' approach is ideal to care but patients complain commonly about a variety of factors, some of which might well have validity.
At Doc-Side medical there is an Administrative Assistant and two or three administration personnel maintaining records, ensuring clinic payment and managing medication timing and urine testing.  The clinic costs at a methadone clinic are substantially more than a regular clinic because of the urine testing, random urine testing and required provincially mandated rules for clinic maintenance.
In British Columbia there are three forms of methadone license.  A physician or psychiatrist may have a license to prescribe methadone for pain. Methadone is a potent long acting narcotic that has specific benefits and use in oncology and palliative care as well as other areas of medicine.  I have this license but while I prescribe narcotics occasionally for pain haven't had a major pain practice in which I'd be using that license for this purpose.  Other narcotics not requiring special license are usually sufficient for most doctors who don't 'specialize' in pain areas specifically.
The second methadone license is that for prescribing methadone in a Methadone Treatment Clinic.  All the doctors working in methadone maintenance programs must have this special license and must in addition to academic training, have a day at least of apprenticeship experience with a senior methadone doctor.  Dr. Horvath, as an acknowledged leader in the field of heroin addiction and methadone maintenance is such an individual
The third methadone license is a clinic license.  Dr. Horvath, having a license for methadone maintenance also has a license to run a methadone clinic.  Methadone maintenance programs in the province are run out of clinics.  I and a half dozen more doctors who have a methadone prescribing license rotate through Doc Side Medical Clinic.  The requirement for a methadone doctor to have a methadone clinic license includes extensive experience and standards of excellence in their history of medical practice.  Others, such as pharmacists may obtain a 'methadone clinic' license, I believe, but the process is rigorous.
Because addiction is often associated with a higher risk lifestyle, from a public health perspective there is increased concern for communicable diseases and trauma associated illness.  There is further a very high overlap between addiction and alcoholism and co morbid psychiatric disorders.
Since working in the clinic I've treated all manner of psychiatric disorder, from gross psychosis, schizophrenia, neurotics, psychopaths, sociopaths, personality disorder, Bipolar disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, Paranoid Disorders, Disocciative Disorders, Anxiety disorders  and alot of PTSD.
I was a supervisor in the Vancouver General Hospital Psychiatric Emergency so the psychiatric conditions are well within the range of my subspecialist training and experience. What is difficult about the work is the overall lack of resources.
Two of my suicidal depressed patients went to the hospital last year only to be turned away. They hung themselves. I don't fault the ER because the threat of suicide is high with alcoholism and addiction.  I only wish that I was there and  grandiosely hope that I might have stopped my patients from premature death.  Working with addicts and alcoholics I've seen more death than when I worked with HIV patients.  Suicide is difficult to deal with an I know many psychiatrists who have avoided the high risk areas choosing more boutique practices where patients are less suicidal and have more resources available to reduce the risks.
What I find interesting though here is the burden of physical illness I encounter.  The other doctors I work with, like Dr. Tsung and Dr. Kljajic are excellent family physicians like Dr. Horvath.  They have excellent cutting edge diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge .  I was a country family physician and treated the physical illness of many patients in my psychiatric practices but it's been often years for me in terms of therapeutics. I daily look up the latest treatments and often have luxury of asking one of my esteemed colleagues their opinions.
 Diagnostically I believe I'm far better than I was as a young doctor, simply because of experience.  I did appreciate asking my colleague when I saw a classic case of erysipalis.  Thankfully he knew what it was and what the treatment was.  I just recognised the pathology  but couldn't remember the name and treatment.  I am blessed with having seen so many patients I know 'normal' and am very alert when I see 'abnormal'.   The forms of cellulitis here are very variable. Last month I diagnosed a new TB case. Hep C is prevalent. I have several HIV patients.  Among ourselves invite each other to listen to heart murmurs and observe unusual patholgy. It's a joy working with other clinicians.
Only last month Dr. Horvath diagnosed a pulmonary embolism we all auscultated.  Last year I sent a patient to cardiology with myocarditis because the heart sounds were abnormal. We've felt our share of abnormal livers so don't bother each other with those.
 Every patient entering the Methadone Program gets a complete physical and standard screening laboratory and hematology testing. So we pick up our fair share of anemia and hypothryroidism.  I diagnosed a cancer last month sending the patient for confirmatory xrays and onto the appropriate sub speciality clinic at the hospital. I appreciate asking the other doctors who work on the same days I do their opinions and they seem very happy to have my psychiatric input on some of their more unusual patients.  Psychopharmacology is second nature to me as is physical pharmacology to them.  We do see a lot of trauma and order a number of ultrasounds and xrays. Dr. Horvath's orthopedic training has been as helpful as my rodeo doctor experience in diagnosing dislocations. Addiction obscure symptons and often patients aren't that good historians because of mental illness. So it all helps.
Methadone clinics reduce crime and disease spread by stopping the theft and sex trade that so often goes with addiction. But it's especially good for it reduces and stops illicit needle use. Doc Side Medical Clinic is a major unsung public health resource in the Downtown East Side,
In addition to the medical and administrative staff with patient follow up and administrative close contact with pharmacies we maintain a close collegial relationship with the various housing assistance programs, the major local detox programs such as Harbour Light  and the long term facilities such as Union Gospel. We're also fortunate to have a very good relationship with Vancouver's outstanding "drug court".   We encourage attendance in peer support programs such as NA and AA and the new SMART group programs routinely.
Presently there is a counsellor associated with Doc side who is here half the week. He's highly informed about various resources and has been most helpfull getting patients a variety of services. He's assisted people on the methadone program finding housing, getting rape crisis assistance, advocacy and as well provides both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for patients.
All we're lacking from my perspective is an outreach community nurse.  When a patient misses their methadone for three days the dosage must be lowered to the starting dose because of fears over overdose.  The pharmacists keep a record with computers of 'reversal' of methadone dosage. If a person were to miss 2 dosages an out reach nurse could find out what the problem is and hopefully arrange for the person to get their methadone rather than being lost to follow up. It's the one major disruption in care that often results in the patients ongoing relapse.  Relapse is common with addiction but the key is ensuring that the person gets back into the program as soon as possible. Further we have patients with major medical and mental health issues who just fall below the radar. A community nurse could follow up with a home visit to see what the concern is.  It's sad to say but patients have been found dead in tenements after days. This could be preventable.  I think of my patient who had a heart valve issue and simply with the winter cold didn't have the energy to get out to the pharmacy.  With a community nurse we would have found out early rather than late.  Just like my schizophrenic patient who became psychotic and afraid to leave his room when he stopped his anti psychotic medications.  The drug dealers sell door to door and do deliveries so we're commonly 'competing' with 'saving souls' from the lowest forms of drug dealers. It would be nice to have the resources.
Increasingly addiction is being conceptualized as very like an infectious disease. It 'spreads' through neighbourhoods.  This is especially true with young people.  A drug dealer will show up at a school or workplace or construction site also and slowly 'push' to a widening circle of addicts. It starts as 'recreational' but the aim of the dealer is to find the vulnerable because addicts are major cash cows.
The good news is that Recovery is even more 'infectious'.  For most of my patients , I am the only person they really get to know who is 'clean and sober'. They get to know the staff and counsellor then the pharmacists and slowly a widening circle of people who are normal surround them.  It's further recognised that physicians have a great deal of importance in initiating behaviour change.  It's no surprise that the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 50 years since it's inception continues to start with the Doctors Opinion. A day doesn't go by that my colleagues aren't promoting smoking cessation and working here I see every once and a while their gargantuan efforts pay off.
Drug dealers are death salesman and they pile lies upon lies. Commonly patients are grossly misinformed about addiction and alcoholism. The methadone clinic is commonly their first contact with the recovery movement.
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Horvath , all the doctors who choose to work at Doc Side maintain a recovery focus.  We encourage people to change their life style and get better health care and move onto abstinence based programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. We encourage patients to get into 'safe' housing.  We discourage crime. It's a great atmosphere to work in.
Research has shown that patients who are in well run methadone programs will tend to progress out of the sickness and criminal life and back to work and health and better social relationships by 2 to 3 years in methadone treatment programs. By contrast patients who continue to use heroin IV on the streets may be dead in that time or have acquired more chronic lifestyle related diseases. We also detox mostly younger patients over months from shorter addictions to heroin and other narcotics. Increasingly Suboxone has helped in this regard.
By contrast there have been reasonable criticism of some methadone clinics where the doctors and pharmacists were running a 'drug pushing' factory.  The patients were seen as 'customers' and the pharmacists especially didn't seem to want to lose the high priced drug sales that are associated with methadone maintenance programs.
The College of Physician and Surgeons of BC and the College of Pharmacists of BC are both involved in tight regulation of the programs overseeing training and maintenance. Personally critical of some of the highly expensive and destructive aspects of political correctness in government bodies I've only seen the finest work done by the College in this field.  The Colleges even have 'sting' operations and work closely with the Vancouver Police and RCMP to manage the programs. Just this summer 46 pharmacists and pharmacies lost their licenses to dispense.  Every once  in a while too a doctor is reprimanded for mostly negligent work. Dr. Horvath is asked, for instance, to review the work of colleagues and other clinics to ensure their records and management are at the standard set by the Colleges for this program.  The Colleges much to their credit run a very tight ship.  The area of addiction is rife with potential for abuse and corruption so I've grown to admire those in the College that ensure these programs run with excellence.
So Doc Side Medical Clinic is this rather low key clinic doing a rather large amount of work in an area of greatest need. There are other methadone clinics nearby where friends work  too.  I know they're 'run' with the same concern and consideration that Dr. Horvath shows. We often run into each other in the regular continuing medical education events for addiction medicine we attend each year. Most of us are certified with the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine which maintains the highest standards of care.
Methadone clinics, especially the well managed ones, are often under appreciated and not that well understood. There are no Doc Hollywood  working here, that's for sure.  I daily see the work and it's paying off with time. I see the benefit.   Because we cover for each other I see my colleagues work and talk with their patients.  I especially appreciate the work of Dr. Horvath and the other doctors he's attracted to working in one of the most difficult areas of medicine, in one of the most notoriously difficult areas of Canada.  Doc Side Medical Clinic serves the the Down Town East Side of Vancouver (DTES).  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bungalow Motel, Cascade Adventures and Harrison Lake Hunting

Laura and I love Bungalow Cabins at Harrison’s Lake.  They’re rustic and Canadian, truly Canadian.  All the benefits of town living, hot showers, microwaves, gas stoves, refrigerator, and great tv, as well as the privacy of separate living space with view of lake and mountains. They’re right on the water with the beach directly in front of them and a five minute walk into town.  Little flower boxes adorn the outside of the log cabins.  Best of all the area is  quiet.  We love it.  I don’t go often in summer because it requires at least a week booking ahead.  So much of there business is like me, returning year after year.  They’ve always been popular.  I’ve been coming for 25 years always watching the technology, like wifi,   keep up while the setting remains the same.   I come in the fall mainly for hunting but sometimes in the late spring just to get away from the city.
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I love Harrison Hot Springs. The public pool comes from the healing source. Normally Laura and I would walk down the town block to the pool but this time I forgot my bathing suit. I’d planned to buy a new one at one of the terrific little Harrison fashion clothing shops but the glorious bed swallowed me up when I got to the Bungalow. In the dead of winter we like to go the Harrison Hot Spring resort so we don’t have to go outside, other than to walk the dog.  There the hot springs, coming from the same source, are in doors.   We always love to eat at the various Harrison Lake restaurants, our favourite dinner place being the Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House.  This time we ordered Chinese. After my day in the woods the couch held me hostage.
This time my friend Tom had come along with Laura me and my cockapoo, Gilbert. It was a hectic getaway after a long day of work Friday, after a worse demanding week.  Tom had brought the boat trailer in from his place in Sardis.  My hard bottomed AFB centre console inflatable with 20 hp Honda four stroke engine  was in Coal Harbour. Laura had taxied with her bags to my office.  We met Tom at the marina where he’d found my boat battery was fried.  Nearby Canadian Tire was happy to sell me  new battery.  They even had power steering fluid which the truck needed.
With the new battery, I fired up the Honda  and drove the boat up  2nd narrows  to the park boat launch.  The boat was gutless. I was so very lucky the tide was at the turn.  I’d never have been able to go against a current.   When I met Tom at the ramp towing the trailer now with my truck, we found the boat was carrying half the ocean in barnacles. The whole bottom was a regular ecosystem.  Two  crab an inch or two across fell off when I used a paddle to scrape the bottom.

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We next stopped at  the gun locker. Tom had his Mossburg lever action 30:30. I picked up my stainless Winchester  300 win mag and my stainless Ruger semi auto 22.  Stt]ainless steel, composite stock rifles are good for west coast rain forest hunting. In addition, for the boat I had a waterproof gun sheath.
Our last stop was my place for hunting clothing, VHS radio, binoculars, gps and thermo I’d told the folk at Bungalow Cabins and Cascade Adventures we’d be up around 8 pm.
Thankfully when I said I was planning to use my boat boat to hunt,  the wonderful Cascade Adventures guide Andreas Sartori recommended some prime island hunting.  As well as guiding hikers, photographers and everything else in the outdoors,  he guides alpine hunting tours.  A true Canadian Mountain man, he's also fluent in German and English so guides a lot of Europeans as well as American and Canadians. The last time I visited I asked Andreas  if I could  look in his photograph album.  What an experience to see a true wilderness adventurer’s photograph album.   It only followed that after that we’d share wild game cooking and marinading tips.  He's a chef as well.  Listening to him, I knew I’d met my match in another wild game gourmet chef. My mouth was watering after his photographs and tales.
One of these days I’ll find the time and money to go sheep or goat hunting with him.  I’ve never shot either.  He loves the highcountry.  Sometimes helicopter. Sometimes horseback.
This weekend Tom and I had my boat.  The trouble is when I phoned the insurance folk to ensure the trailer was insured, they dropped off renewal for my ’travel trailer.’  I didn't know the difference between a ’travel trailer’ and a ‘utility trailer’.  So I had Tom put the new travel trailer sticker on the utility trailer plate.  The RCMP stopped us pulling into Bungalow. After an 8 hour clinic and late night with emergencies the night before, 2 hour drive, the hassle with the boat, and rigamarow getting out of the city, now nearly midnight, well, I was exhausted  So the poor fellow was insisting the license didn’t belong to the trailer .  He was really pleasant about it.   Just pointing out that there was a discrepancy.
I had the 5 insurance policies I had for the truck and trailer and boat and other vehicles spread on the truck seat. I can’t see anymore in dim light. I’m seeing double.  I’m utterly overwhelmed. All the lawyer insurance goobly gook has me flummoxed. Every attempt by physicians to make our profession and language inclusive and civilized is destroyed by others making their language increasingly arcane and exclusive. The sheer volume of words is an obscenity.   I just wanted to sleep. We’re supposed to be getting up at 5 am.
 Well, I apologised for being tired and irritable.   It’s a sign of getting old too.  Meanwhile, I want to walk away from my career.   Taking a fetal position on the ground is looking extremely appealing.  I' m thinking I’d like to be arrested if that meant I'd get to bed. They say the only difference between sleep and death is a lack of commitment.  I might be ready to make that commitment. After countless nights on calls, years and years of interrupted sleep I just find these days that my bladder and my desire to sleep are no longer hearing me when I say "wait, wait, just a minute, I'll get to you."
 I’m beginning to want  to sell anything that comes with  insurance. Modern society is fast approaching  utter failure.  I need a lawyer to sort out this goobly gook in semi darkness. Government forms are increasingly confusing. Why do I pay exorbitant amounts of money to everyone and still I'm caught in situations like this.  Totally helpless.   I can’t even see in the darkness. I don’t know why the trailer tags don’t match. Don’t the police have better things to do? I know a dozen criminals who get away with murder. Why me. I'm a good guy.  It really must be time for me to quit.  Is this God telling me that I’ll never be good enough. It’s fruitless to  do everything everyone demands of me.   Maybe I can join a monastery. I am a failure.  I’ve always been a failure.  My life has been an endless series of shaming humiliating events.  People in authority always have an air of infallibility and perfection.  Why don't you floss more says my dentist. That's where my thoughts are.
Meanwhile, what it finally came down to was I didn’t know the difference between a ‘utility trailer’ and a ’travel trailer’.  All the hundreds of times I’ve been told how stupid I was and how I should have known this or that.  Everyone condemns me because I don’t know everything.  I’m imperfect.  A day doesn’t go by that someone isn’t angry with me because I’m not perfect.   It all floods over me. I'm too tired to cry. I just want some time off. I want to sleep. And my bladder is beginning to demand attention too. Getting old isn't for the young. They're not made of stern enough stuff. I wait.  
The  gracious RCMP  explained  that all my insurance was up to date.  He has read his computer again.  The license plate is right but the tag is wrong. I just had to remove the ’travel trailer “ sticker from the utility trailer.   The fellow was great. The situation was a nightmare.
Later when he was gone we figured he was probably out on Friday night watching for boat thieves.  A good guy doing his job.  I can put the Buddhist can of gasoline down and not set my self on fire this moment. I'm actually going to be able to sleep. It was 12:30 am then when we got into the cabin.  Thank god the cabin was perfect.  Everything clean and fresh. Tom and Laura and Gilbert are delighted.  I love Bungalow Cabins.
In the morning Tom and I were up, not at 5 am as planned, but at 7 .  I needed an extra 2 hours of sleep to process the insurance paper trauma. We launched the boat.
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Despite having scraped the bottom we weren’t making good time.  We  beached the boat at the first island and scraped some more. Our speed doubled.  Still it took a couple of hours to get to the island we were headed for.
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We beached the boat at the top of the island.   It was still morning.  No one was about. Lots of deer sign.  Great experience.  I ‘m way too much a desk jockey. I forget I’m  in my 60’s.  Climbing through the woods was exhausting. I fell a lot until we found some logging trails.  Gilbert and I set off stalking in one direction while Tom headed off in the other.

Gilbert and I had a late morning break. He shared my spicy hot Ranger trail mix and beef jerky.   I loved the Starbucks cold vanilla coffee drink.  It began to rain.  I headed back. We had Tom’s little radio and kept in touch. Gilbert was ecstatic to join Tom again.   We drank some thermos coffee by the boat.  We climbed back in the boat and this time found  the place I’d been told about. It  was that much better.  Wonderful slashes. A lot more sign.  I sat on a hill eating more Ranger camp mix and beef jerky with Gilbert.  Tom hiked another logging trail.  Around 3 pm we met up again at the boat. There we finished off the thermos coffee and shared in three equal portions the cheddar cheese we’d brought. When it comes to hunting, Gilbert’s an equal partner.
The way back in the boat was exciting. A 15 knot wind had blown up with 2 foot waves. Harrison’s is a long lake and the south wind made crossing the wide space between the islands  bit treacherous.  My boat, though, is similar to what life guard uses. I could be completely safe going slowly but because the wind was picking up I wanted to go as fast as I could without capsizing.  This made for a rough and exciting ride.  We were relieved when we got to the lee of the island.  Then it was easy going. Once we came out the south end the lake hadn’t as much length to build up waves. The wind had  picked up but the waves were not getting bigger. Waves matter most.
I’ve been knocked down in my 13 ton 40 foot  sailboat in 40 foot seas. I’d even had some exciting times in 10 foot ocean waves but my sailboat has a big keel.  Lake Harrison’s is notorious for wind and waves. So we had a bit of fun in the little open boat. .  Mostly standing at the console I found my back aching.  Tom and Gilbert were both standing too. It  was easier than sitting with the boat crashing into those steep oncoming waves.   I was glad to finally arrive at shore..
We lifted the boat out and ran it up to the Bungalow which sits right beside the boat launch.  I was into the ibuprofen immediately.  Laura had spent the day walking about the private lawns and enjoying reading her book in the cabin, making snacks for breakfast and lunch.  We ordered Chinese. It was fast arriving, hot  and simply delicious.
My friend Victor, hearing we were going to Harrison’s told me he had tickets for Cannery Row, a band playing at the Harrison Cultural Centre.  My back was happy on the couch.  Laura was glad to stay in the evening with me.   Tom, an avid fiddler was keen to hear Cannery Row. He joined Victor for the evening. As it turned out a couple of fellows he knew from St. Mathew’s Church were there with Victor.   I don’t know when he got in.  I was long asleep.  I’d set the alarm for 5 but got up only to turn it off and set it again for 6.
I stayed up when the alarm went off again at 6. Everything was stiff.  Good stiff.  Desk jockey had some exercise climbing through the bushes the day before good stiff.  We loaded the gear and boat in silence. I’d had a cup of coffee and some ibuprofen. I forgot the thermos.  Stupid.  The day before whatever barnacles we’d had on the bottom had been knocked off in the blow.  All that crashing in the waves had been good for something.

We made it up to the island in 45 minutes.  Another great morning.
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I hiked up the logging trail with Gilbert then headed cross country till I found a well trod deep tracked deer trail.  I sat on that with Gilbert, the two of us nibbling hot spicey Ranger trail mix.  My dog has some weird tastes.  No deer came along.  We didn’t see any grouse.  When we got back Tom had found the lake we’d been told about, seen the terrific slashes and watched three deer kibuttzing about below where he was sitting.  A bear had had a dump in the middle of the road as well.  He’d shot nothing but had a terrific time.
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Great drive back in the boat on the plane. We’d have done it in 45 minute but ran out of gas. I bumbled around with the tank and filling and finally got the motor  started again. I love Honda outboards.  We were off on plane roaring back to Bungalow cabins.  Laura had loaded everything into the truck so all that was left was for me to pay.  I can never get over how reasonable the Bungalow Cabins cost compared to the Hotels and the Spa.
I love Bungalow Motels.. The advice on where to hunt was perfect.  It turned out to be  mostly lovely sunny blue sky days.  Boating this time of the year was incredible. It may as well have been summer.  The weather was so mild. The whole weekend was perfect. Even the RCMP police were terrific. I'm feeling so good I'm ready to go back to work.  I love Harrison Lake.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Musing on Canadian Elections

I'm thankful for the Conservatives these last 8 years.  Under Mr. Harper we have remained relatively stable economically despite global depression.  Our natural resource industry has again carried us through tough times.  With China's difficulties we can expect more global economic threats.  Oil, gas,mining, pulp and paper, water, fisheries,  agriculture, are specifically the main producers of the economy.  Canada is a successful country in a time when so many are doing poorly. We can be thankful. I hear so much criticism of government and Canada by Canadians yet realize that overall we're very very fortunate.

Economically,  we have a Gross Domestic Product of approximately 2 trillion, which is per capita, roughly $56,000 per person, the 10th leading in the world.   That's drawn from Wikipedia, normally a tad left leaning for any conspiracy theorists. There's discrepancy in details but overall that's a damn good picture and doesn't just happen. It's a combination of the tremendous riches of Canada plus good  government management.  Our unemployment rests between 6 and 7% but we have all manner of protections for the unemployed, workmen's compensation, disability, job retraining and welfare, healthcare etc as just some. Other countries don't have these.  In many places if you're not on good terms with your family you have no social supports. Our social supports are at all levels, city, provincial and national.

Our main industries are as follows:  Transportation Equipment - we make vehicles. The latest of which I've learned of is the best armour protected people transporter wanted by arms dealers, international criminals, rock stars and ambassadors.  Pretty damn impressive. We're also involved in NASA projects.
Chemicals - note that - chemistry.  With all the anti science elements in the country especially in our 19th century media, chemicals are one of the major industries in Canada.  I remember my friend Kirk's father making the soaps for the Hudson Bay. He was a chemist.  Today because of the ignorance of the dope smoking activist "rebels without a cause" he'd probably have his house egged for his scientific wizardry.  My undergraduate major was in biochemistry but to admit that is to be seen as some kind of CIA agent in Canada.  Yet Chemicals and the chemical industry is where Canadians are making money. It's chemistry that is paying the welfare recipients. The Pharmaceutical Industry is all about chemistry.  So chemists are behind the latest greatest cures for cancer. Chemistry is behind the cures for AIDS.  Chemistry is in the cleaning agents we use in the kitchen. Chemistry is being used everywhere but sometimes when I listen to the media I get the very strong impression that Canadians collectively are scientifically illiterate. So many people, especially those in media, have only an arts education. They drive cars and live in houses and participate in society but their intelligence about the world they live in is no better than those who still believe the Sun revolves around earth.  There's a joy often in dealing with immigrants from countries where sciences and realityh are appreciated. They understand the world isn't about spirits and unhappy
Gaia planet and denial. Having graduated from a Canadian high school I only appreciated the limits of my public school education when I travelled overseas and met with students from other countries who high school education had better equipped them for the world we live in.  They had skills where as I'd had so much emphasis placed on fashion and propaganda. To study medicine I had to repeat my sciences at university then do undergraduate science education to be educated in modern terms.
Processed and unprocessed minerals - that's mining.  Mining is the back bone of Canada.  We have had a Gold Rush. We have copper mines. We have all manner of raw minerals that we extract from the soil with the greatest skill. Our mining engineers are the greatest in the world.  They're the Beatles and Rolling Stones of world wealth but I've never heard a positive statement about mines and mining engineers on CBC news. A day doesn't go by that these heroes of wealth production aren't maligned by one activist group or another. Yet this is where Canadian taxes are being generated.  It's a dirty ugly job and the brightest and best need to study physics and technology for decades before they get to the top of a very dangerous field. It's not about sitting in air conditioned offices and chatting with others about how to run the world after smoking a joint.  These people are the back bone. They're the heavy weight lifters.  Everything we use day to day has minerals. They find them and they process them. Here in Canada. Who would know listening to our media.
Wood and Paper Products - our forests and forestry industry are another great producer of the money that pays for all the excess of government employees and all the administrative jobs in the public sector. Its the taxes taken from the pulp and paper industry that pay for all those fashion do dads the city boys and girls like to wear when they party.  Government excess is the parasite on the principal producers of income.Government doesn't make money.  It takes money.  Everything the government says it's going to do will be done by you. Governments supervise and regulate but they don't produce.  The western world became rich because we always until recently wanted the least government with the most producers and workers. In third world countries often everyone and his dog work for the government.  You see the massive beurocracies.  In communist countries the same.  All this dead weight taking a cut out of the pie
Yet again I have for decades heard only disparaging remarks about Industry. Here in British Columbia the news is all about environmental terrorists who spike the trees to prevent logging.  Yet I've treated loggers who make $80,000 a year for 80 to 120 hour work weeks in camps doing the most dangerous of jobs. They often work in really difficult conditions and see their families only when they're out of camps. A month in the life of an industrial worker is often worse for family life than nurses yet we know about nurses shift work. But few people seem to be aware of how the primary producers are commonly away from the city. The city itself is usually a parasite on the country. The city is full of regulators and distributors and stores but it's not a place of factories and workshops like it once was.  So many city people simply don't know how to make things or how even their money is produced.  They do 'service' work and banking and such activities but it's not the same thing are the real work of industry.  The blue collar worker is so often maligned yet they are the back bone of society. The white collar workers aren't necessary in general whereas the blue collar workers are essential.
I 've seen men in industry who have had their limbs amputated despite the world's best safety standards. I've seen bad logging practices, some clear cuts which by any standards would get a 'B' or a "C" grade. Compared to the logging and seeding practices in Germany our wilderness logging is A to their A plus standards. But our wilderness is just that. Germany's forests are pretty fairytale places compared to the rugged BC forests. We're out there. We're on the edge. Our air ambulances have hours to get to hospitals. The German forests are pretty much parks by comparison.  We produce timber for building and all the packaging and paper and so much else that wood produces.  That's what's making money in BC.  That's what pays the bills in Canada.
Petroleum  and natural gas: Now if there was ever anything more maligned by CBC I'd like to see it.
Petroleum and natural gas are our major industries. These pay for all those CBC critics who live off white collar welfare subsidies.   The CBC  constantly celebrates social terrorists who block pipe lines and make a parasitic business out of interfering with industry. They say that they're there to 'protect the land' but more often than not they're making money out of being social terrorists.  Their catch words are 'big business'...."Big Oil" companies. The greatest story of stupidity this year was the great Obama blocking Alberta - Texas Keystone Pipeline.  This caused Canada to collectively suffer so his rich fat cat money mogel friend Warren Buffet could continue to transport oil more dangerously by trains at higher price, higher cost and more risk.    The stupidity of Canadians is that they actually rarely follow the money trails.  Solar panels are great but are they made here. No they're made in China. So before we slamm Canada's own oil perhaps we'd better make a better solar panel cheaper than China.  Most of the choices we've been offered are 'anti Canada' industry promoted by people who are living off the gains of Canada's principal resources.  In Ottawa they have a fusion generator which uses the sun's light to turn garbage into fuel.  If it weren't for family living in Ottawa I might never know of this but do we see Canadian cities being encouraged to buy this very 'green' fuel production, no.  Instead we hear about anything but Canadian made.  Canada produces oil and gas. We have been a rich country because we have natural resources and have this last decade managed them well.  Instead of hearing all the goodness that this has brought, all our prosperity, we have heard daily propaganda about. Big Business, Big Corporations, Big Industry, Big Pharma.  The very politically correct people who are so color sensitive and language nazis don't seem to see that they use the world BIG with predjudice and hate. Yet the economy of scale is what has brought us prosperity.

Note, even Wikipedia doesn't list a whole lot of 'green' industries as our 'major industry'. Green industries more often than not are the child of rich kids whose parents got wealthy on the major industries above. Now those wealthy children with their pet projects want Canadian governments to ;protect them' from the competition.  They get a lot of lovely coverage in the news but they don't make anyone but themselves alot of money.  Big Industry is tackling the problems of climate change and pollution.  They are doing it daily. They're making everything better because that's what profits them.  If a competitor makes a chimney for smoke that does better than another, that chimney gets support. Tesler cars are gaining a portion of the market because the BIG TESLA Car company has produced a product that competes with old fashioned Buick.  It's taking a share of the market just like the little cars took over from the big gas guzzler boats.

Meanwhile in Frazer Valley there's a company that makes FLACK Jackets. They're the best in the world. The most sought after kevlar mixed armour proofing jackets are a Canadian manufacturing product.  Who would know?   We have a half billion dollars spin off in the defence industry with the planes alone.

In Vancouver Coal Harbour has come alive with ship building.  Hundreds of highly skilled and high paid jobs have come into our ship yards.  This is thanks to the federal and provincial governments.  It's apparent. The North  Shore is booming with industry. But we'd be more likely to hear of day care for small dogs opening than the immense benefits of heavy industry products listening to 6 oclock or 6 30 news on the national radio station CBC, which our tax dollars support.  The CBC news is appalling stupidity and selective bias and propaganda.  It's no news.

I'm thankful for the economy as managed in Canada. I'm aware of where the real money is coming from.  I'm aware that we have 20 times too much government and I'm afraid of Big Union and more jobs with less 'meritocracy'.  I'm afraid of Big Government because seen how it destroyed the Communist countries and countries like Greece.  I hear too often that the union jobs are great but that the 'quality of training' and 'work' are not what they once were.  Ideally 'union made' should be a statement of 'quality'.  Unfortunately too many people think that 'union made' is the same as 'government made'.  We look to private contractors and private schools and private health care because the standards have been dropping.

There's a lack of high standards which once attracted manufacturing to Canada.  Pot smoking industrial workers aren't going to attract big business manufacturing here.  Our education regarding real meaning ful subjects like physics mathematics chemistry has fallen behind in the world.  China gets jobs that Canada used to have not just because the labour is cheaper but the quality of work is as good. I just bought a Swedish made product because the 'quality' of workmanship warranted the higher price.  I can't say that for 'Canadian Made", not like I once would.

I've seen that 'political correctness' and 'legal' and 'beaurocratic interference is lowering the standards of the main products of manufacturing. No one can be fired. No one can be criticized.  Every complaints department in the world is amassed in Canada.  We're a whiner nation.  We once were a winner nation.  So if we're going to be producing competitive products then we must raise the standards to compete. And we must restrict government to those areas where government is needed not where the burocrats can get a take of the action. This is happening but it's an uphill climb against the backward media and the whole industry of 'rights' where everyone has 'rights' but no one at the indvidual level will accept they're wrong.  There's a lack of accountability and this means lack of excellence.

As for the legal system, my father described having to see a lawyer only for a few times in his life, to buy a house, to marry and make a will. Now every action requires a lawyers presence. Everyone is afraid and second guessing themselves.  Lawyer don't make money for society. They may save money for society. But how is it that other countries can succeed with one tenth the number of lawyers and sometimes one hundredth the number of lawyers.  Lawyers are necessary but can we afford them.  Can business and society afford the high costs.  Should lawyers who 'profit' from laws be allowed to be in parliament that makes the laws.  Why is it that the Supreme Court has been so at variance with parliament. An appointed elite from a priviledged subsection of society is over riding all the time the democratically elected government of the day with the average Canadian not fear the fascism that the Supreme Court can represent with such potential menace. That said I'm thankful for our legal system compared to the highly corrupt legal systems of other countries, the bought judges of third world countries and the communist lack of judges. We're very fortunate yet it seems that that democracy requires an educated electorate that realizes that the Supreme Court should serve the people not just the lawyers. With physicians we know that once the ratio of physicians to patients drops below 1/500 to 1000 disease increases while once the ratio goes below 1/500 roughly the cost of health care rises with no obvious benefit to public health.  The appears to be unlimitted benfit from the profession of engineers.  But how many lawyers to populations will save society money versus increase the costs and reduce the productivity.  That's a critical figue to know but so far the Supreme Court hasn't come through with limitting the growth of lawyers in society, because it would not see that as it's role yet so many of it's pronouncements increase the need for lawyers.  By contrast parliament is supposed to broad based with equal representation of every form of worker so that the conflicts of interest are minimized.

Health care is a huge cost in Canada but it is supposed to be a major producer like other major industries.  The English surgeons in WWI returned soldiers to the battle field with such success using septic techniques and the lessons of Florence Nightingale from the Crimean war that the Germans complained that had to kill the English several times to make them stay dead.  War is primal competition.  In the Pacific the american Internists with sulfa  medications and battle field hospital maintained twice or more the number of fighters the Japanese did.  We as doctors improved and produced workers.  We maximized the industry.  In Vietnam the psychiatrists ensured the turn around from shell shock. Today Canadian psychiatrists working on the front lines in Afghanistan stopped the development of PTSD disorders by modern methods.  Physicians and psychiatrists were rewarded for their ability to return patients to work.

In the United States, the health care system is excellent if you are a worker. Health Care coverage is superior in many ways to what Canadians receive if one is working in a corporation. The american Industry model knows the benefit of returning workers to heealth and maintaining high standards of health.  Costs to american industry are a concern when it comes to health care because they see Canadian industry as not having to manage their health care costs. Most Canadians listening to the debate about Obama care don't realize that American have superior health care coverage to Canadians if they are working in good industries.  Increasingly all of Canadians have suffered from the waitlists and rationing.  Tragically in my work increasingly I've been rewarded for getting people out of work and if I try to encourage a patient to work they complain and I'm considered a nazi.  Popular doctors who go onto highest places in administration are the 'feel good' doctors who are easy with the prescription pad and quick to sign patients off work for medical illness. In the US there is still reward in getting people well and getting them back to work but I don't see any incentive for doctors to do that here. Indeed increasingly myself and colleagues object to our role in supporting people being disabled who by our standards aren't really 'that sick'.  People who get 'sick leave' as part of their union jobs demand it as an 'entitlement'.  The work ethic appears all but gone in major parts of Canadian society.

Workman's compensation also has to deal with all those workers who go home and now have home based businesses.  Nobody seems to realize but so many of  these marijuana grow ops not only were being maintained by criminal tax evaders but so many were managed by guys and gals off work from legitimate jobs.  I don't know if Canada has always had such a large swath of underground economy but today it certainly does.  Commonly as a doctor I'm coopted to write a letter for someone to off work yet they have a home based business that they're happy to manage but they don't want to 'go' to their regular job. They like 2 pay cheques.  Who wouldn't?

Education was historical paid because education produced higher level of workers.  People who could read and write produced by brain activity more than those who simply had brawn. The school was a place where children learned to take direction and learned the process of education. A student who had completed high school could go into a workplace and learn swiftly because they were adept at following orders and could read directions and communicate well with peers and authorities.  Last time I was consulting to a public school I didn't see this happening all the time.  In one public school I was in the students were highly abusive to the teachers and the place was a zoo.  What education is this.  The rise of private schools came from the decline of the public schools.  Teachers were well paid because their students did well in work and going onto university.  This isn't the case any more. There is no longer any correlation between the income of teachers and the success of students and likely this is the failure of the administration to put meritocracy above political correctness. The best teachers simply can't teach effectively in classrooms ruled by mob with administrations kowtowing to the worst parents and everyone worried about the media with it's 2 minute u tube video going viral.
Universities brought in entrance exams because the school were turning out illiterate students.  Now the universities are being questioned so that Corporations are increasingly doing in house training with Microsoft creating it's own university.

The real revolt occurred when the students coming out of high school and university had an education that did not get them a job.  The wealthy and priviledged sent their children to university for a 'Liberal Arts Education" because they were rich and their children were rich.  Education was like getting your hair done.  It wasn't like 'trade schools'.  The trade school was looked down upon by the rich.  Work was looked down upon by the upper managerial class, those in government and those  independently wealthy.  Working with ones hands was man's worked. Yet poets like Sandburg celebrated the Industry of Chicago.  Much of the art of the past was celebration of industry and work. Then with the rise of communism and anti west and anti authority and the rise of drug addiction suddenly all that was celebrated was destruction.  "Make the Rich Pay". I remember the children of the rich running about the university 'playing at being Marxists" and "Maoist" and demanding all manner of priviledged and attention while moving on to be the rich of this day.  Those very 'rebels' who populated my university days are today multi millionaries and really more fascist than communist. But they still like to 'dress like a refugee' and support radical causes  all the while having their banker and accountants and investment lawyers on speed dial.

Obviously there are a lot of other people working in areas of need , chefs, and all the food industry. We need water and we need all the nutrition. Much of this has to be transported to the city. The stores that provide foods are essential industry. Without food the world wouldn''t go around .Without water nothing would work. There's a need for sanitation in the city. There's sewage and buildings.

Now I love 'liberal arts' .  I'm a big fan of theology. I think education should result in people trained in 'critical thinking' but the intellectuals I know today think 'critical thinking' is 'criticism' without 'celebration'. They lack gratitude. They tear things down. Indeed we had a philosophy called 'deconstructionism' that served no one but the intellectuals.

So yes I enjoy those who produce  the books I love to read. I've written books. Not best sellers but books.  I love the movie makers.  Movies are a mainstay of my winter recreation.  I love to read politics and travel and tourism. The fact is that even these are Big Music Corporations and Big Publish Corporations.  Joni Mitchell wrote years ago, hoping to teach the Canadian hippies that her job was 'stoking the star maker machinery behind the popular song."  So many artists still want to be found or get a Canada Council grant for Fridge Art.   The trouble is the Canada Council is using tax dollars to support Fridge Art.  I love alot of this but to listen to the media they are the essential. It's like going to a farm and seeing the farmer in a cage and all the people talking about farming claiming they're the farmers. To hear people talk especially around elections the 'talker's' are the 'doers'.. To listen to the 'critics' they're the centre of the universe.  Without all the 'talking heads" there would be no Canada.

People come to Canada principally for the natural resources. They go to Whistler because we have a great ski hill that's been improved on.  The Whistler corporation and the Whistler Blackhomb tourist industry simply would not succeed in Saskatchewan.  Yes Canadians are nice but lots of people are nice. It's our natural resources not our architecture or museums that's promoting the tourism industry. We really could do more to support the performing arts that are indeed attractive. Fireworks are fine but really?

The point is that all of this is secondary to the major industries of Canada.  The major industries are coupled with Big Business and Multi National Corporations.  Yet to hear the News and to hear Canadians those words are worst than Pedophilia.  Canadians because of their smug stupidity bite the hand that feeds. Nobody is saying that industry can't be improved but our industry leaders compared to the Critics are saints compared to devils.  Our Canadian critics simply aren't Ralf Nader. They're a sad knockoff at best and they just seem to make a business out of cutting off the heads of others to make themselves look taller.

Canada became great with work, with industry, with business, with corporations.  We're a big country. It's really time for Canada to pull up  it's big girl panties.

I'm concerned about the coming elections.  I'm concerned about the economy. I'm concerned about the future. I don't know if the Conservatives should lead but I am thankful that relative to the other countries int he world they've kept us above ground. They also have acknowledged the tremendous contribution of our major industries.

Frankly I fear the Liberals want more goverment workers and Mulcair want's more Unions and we'll all be pot smoking and thinking like Cuba everything is ideologically sound while our minds are wrapped in bellbottoms and we're listening to vinyl disks.  Of course, making candles might be the hippy dippy solutions to our country's future. It's not what I want.  But I want everyone to vote in Canada.  I want the elections to be democratic and I want Canadians to accept that Mr. Harper and the Conservatives were the result of the democratic elections.  All this talk of technicality and winning because of some people not coming out is bullshit.  People who don't vote are saying that others can make the decision for them. They're satisfied with government or they don't care. But I'm personally tired of those then complaining.  Canada has way too much complaining but people who are not active in the elections or in the parties.  

Maybe Mr. Harper and the Conservatives aren't the answer.  Maybe they are.  The future is uncertain at the best of times.  The fact is they and Canada has done a great job this last decade given what has been going on in the world. We aren't facing famine or war. We're not Greece. We're not Syria.  We're not the Third World.  We're a very successful country that has been able to do very well in a very dark time.  The Conservative Leadership has been very good by my observation.

I hate the partisan party rewriting of history.  It detracts from the success of all of Canada in these last years.  Because of our continued success I'm supporting Mr. Harper and the Conservatives.  I know others would like a different coach or a different goalie. Maybe we could do better but frankly I sincerely believe that neither of the other parties could have done better this last decade

I am thankful for all those who've worked in major industries and contributed to this country staying afloat in difficult times.

Older I'm hopeful that we who have worked our lives will be protected and cared for in our old age. Alot of people who haven't worked feel they're entitled to everything. That concerns me.  I am concerned by those who want to give away Canada for profit.  That includes our water and our social programs and our pensions.

I'm concerned about these elections.  But I'm supporting the Conservatives even though none of the political parties have helped physicians particularly. Indeed physicians have done okay but by world standards we have collectively not had any of the major social benefits the European physicians or the great wealth that American go getters have. Increasingly we've watched as the health care industry pie has gone to outsiders and administration with doctors and nurses getting less and less.  In fact I would not recommend the next brights and best to go into medicine. If you're interested in excellence better to get into some other area where meritocracy reigns.  Corporations are rewarding doctors who do well compared to public sector assignments.  If you want money, the real money is in administration.   CEO"s are making a killings.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Expeditioning and the SV GIRI

SV GIRI was finally outfitted for offshore sailing again.  On the last trip back from Hawaii, the mast broke in a gale.  We jury rigged a solution with a Spanish Turnkey and limped back to North America.  Since the mast footing had to be welded, I had the whole cabin taken out to avoid fire. Surveyors used ultra sound to check the depth of steel and where there was decrease I had 2 huge steel plates welded on.  After that major procedure, the mast and hull of the GIRI were good to go for a few more decades.  My friend Tom who I’d sailed with and had undertaken the work said,
“I made sure that if something went wrong on the GIRI on her next ocean passage it wouldn’t have anything to do with the mast or hull."
I replaced the old workhorse Yanmar engine last year with a new Volvo D40.  Everything on my sailboat has been replaced 2 or 3 times in the 25 years I’ve had the boat.  It’s the third radar and second autopilot. I’ve upgraded the winches to a larger size and better quality.   I replaced the wind generator recently too. I’m on my second generation of self steering vane.  Everything has back up and redundancy.  Three anchors and even a portable electric winch along with a Honda 1000 cc generator.  
Meanwhile I’ve sailed the boat around the San Jaun Islands, Desolation Sound, Beyond Desolation Sound, the Gulf Islands, Queen Charlotte Islands, the Alaska Coast,  around Vancouver Island a couple of times,  my ex wife Sherry and I sailed to Mexico, then  I solo sailed in winter to Hawaii.  Tom and I sailed the Hawaiian Islands together.  Then we sailed back to Vancouver from Honolulu. That’s the trip the mast broke.   Between refitting I've continued sailing in Georgia Strait and  off and on lived aboard the boat for months or a year or two at a time.   I found that it was only when I was actually staying on the boat that I would ensure repairs and maintenance stayed on track.  I’d actually planned with Tom to begin sailing down the coast last year  with a view to completing my original planned sail to the Caribbean through the Panama.
I still need to do a topside paint. It’s a steel boat and the rust marks coming through my last painting a few years back make it look a bit of a scow.  It’s not.  I’ve sand blasted it three or four  times over the years, each time at a cost of $10,000. The last time we brushed and sanded and I painted it myself.  I’ve epoxied and painted the bottom countless times, every 1 to 2 year on average.  Topside painting was the task left to be done.  Sailing in April  with Laura I found that one of the cockpit drains needed replacing too. The Stem to Stern Marina guys , who had done a skookum job with installing the Volvo and upgrading matters in the bilge had pointed the damaged drain out to me.  I’d forgotten till I was in a gale and with water coming over the side had to tack mainly to allow the cockpit to drain so I didn’t have to bail.
Pro Tech rigging had done the inspection and had cut all the new rope so that’s going on next spring when I restep the mast.  They did an amazing job preparing the boat for hauling out by Lynnwood Marina and shipping across the country by Andrews Trucking.  Just last year Pro Tech installed new guy lines around the perimeter and I had some new hardware to replace the stuff we designated as worn. I haven’t replaced the main sail but I got a new genoa and Pro tech installed that and ensured the foresail furling system was in good shape.
The boat was finally ready for another expedition.  Another grand adventure.  Any bits that needed doing still could be done along the coastal hops that would come before any ocean crossing. There’s always fine tuning to be done in the first few weeks of sailing.  Before last heading out to Hawaii my antennae on top of the mast came lose and needed new fittings that would last an offshore beating.  I also had to get the leech of the old foresail reinforced in San Francisco before heading out.
The question for the last couple of years had been  where to sail to next..
 I’d wanted to sail around the world. The standing joke in boat world is everyone buys a 25 foot or more sailboat with just that intention but less than half a percent or less actually get the sailboat our of the main harbour.  Most don’t leave their slip for years on end.  That was the plan too when I  got to Mexico and stayed the year in the Sea or Cortez.  I was headed for the Northern Marianas Islands with a view to sailing around the world when I last stopped in Hawaii.
Pirates is the number one reason I don’t  set out again to cross the Pacific.  Also I’ve always loved the idea of sailing to New Zealand and Australia but I have a dog and dogs are simply not welcome in the Pacific. Stuart the Scotty I’d sailed with before had to endure horrible quarantine in Hawaii and later in Saipan. The people were wonderful but the poor dog lost months of his short  life to jail through no fault of his own. I have Gilbert the cockapoo now.   I really don’t like going anywhere where my dog’s not welcome.
I was in Dublin this spring.  I’ve always dreamed of sailing the British Islands.  Scotland and Ireland are where my grandparents are from. I met an 85 year old solo sailor after he’d crossed the North Atlantic in a little sailboat for the umpteenth time.  Tom says he’d love to sail to the Azores.
My brother became ill this spring. That really brought matters to a head and finalized the course of the future. I’ve always wanted to sail with my older brother. He taught me to canoe. I’d fish from our little skiff with the Johnson motor every summer of my childhood with him and my Dad.  My brother is the mensch in the family, a true salt of the earth man . He  was always the brightest and smartest of the family.  I actually hated following his genius going through school. Everyone remembered him fondly. His teachers would always tell me how smart and accomplished he was .  Meanwhile I got by muddling along at times, even excelling.  
The beauty of Europe is that they welcome dogs. I truly love the history of Western Civilization.  I was  humbled by the 5000 year old architecture of the Palace of Knossos on Crete. They actually had indoor plumbing back then and used natural lighting in amazing ways.  I loved standing on shore and looking at the little harbour of Jaffa in Israel where Jonah set out for Ninevah. That sent chills up my spine.  I’ve loved harbours the world over but those in the Mediterranean are so rich with western history that I find every view awe inspiring.  Athens was particularly breath taking.  Last year I loved being in Istanbul, previously called Constantine, taking a ferry on that fabled strait that separates Europe and the East.  In Israel I felt in my very soul that I was walking in the steps of Jesus but in Greece and Turkey I felt like I was following St. Paul.  And even Alexander the Great.  I loved Italy and Rome and would love to return. The art and people are so enriching.  I was in the south of Spain and Morocco in my 20’s crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in ferries, once in a horrible blow.
The ports along the northern coast of France and especially the sea farer Mecca of Amsterdam have always touched my heart.  But London is my all time favourite city, a place where I lived for a year with my gorgeous brilliant first wife when I was an intellectual and couldn’t get enough of the libraries and museums of that great city.  True I’ve always wanted to return to study at Oxford and Cambridge but other universities captured me with their more mundane designs. But the Thames has never failed to beckon.  Then Glasgow and Edinburgh and last year Dublin and Belfast were the places I was most enamoured with.
I read the Kon Tiki for sure.  But the voyage of St. Brendan is the one that always captured my heart being done in the ancient north Atlantic by Irish monks in leather boats.  As a sailor I’ve read hundreds of books by sailors. It’s been my passion. While I’ve loved the countless true stories of persons who set off in little boats to sail the seas I’ve also liked the historical fiction of the sailing vessels. I’ve especially  liked reading the tales of our naval explorers like  Captain Cook and Captain Vancouver.  The story of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic adventure and survival is simply miraculous.
There’s the great wealth of historical fiction of the great sea battles of the Imperial navies of Britain and France and Spain that I’ve thoroughly lost myself in during a Canadian winter ashore.  I’ve had thousands of hours of technical reading to do but never has a day gone by that I’ve not read adventures and mostly sea adventures for the sheer joy of it.  Many a trying week of work and a difficult winter has been made less so by reading of the stories of fellow cruisers in small boats.   Joshua Slocum is the great grandfather of the movement  for sure.  My ex wife and I setting out to sail around the world but got  only from Vancouver Canada to Quaymos,  Mexico We both most loved the stories of the Hiscocks and Myles and Beryl Smeeton. Not only were they made of sterner stuff so were the marriages of those earlier days.  No doubt the men were more courageous.   Like many a couple that’s gone offshore  one stayed with the boat and one returned happily to home on land. My ex was a fabulous helmswoman who could get the best out of sails coastal day sailing. I still love the adventure of the sea and love to read stories of all those who’ve travelled upon her vastness and mystery.  Tales of endurance and passage and arrival in exotic places still enthral me.
The trouble is pirates.  And governments.  I’ve found that wind and sea and boat maintenance challenges are more than sufficient for my appetite.  I’ve not particularly liked crew including myself.  The fact is I prefer my dogs company and all else is a bit of work.  In fairness to my lovely ex wife I found when I was a couple of weeks  alone at sea with my own thoughts I wanted to divorce me.  The thought of having to deal with unfriendly strangers wanting to kill me and steal my boat is simply too overwhelming to consider.
I chose to sail offshore with the trusty marine nickel plated defender shot gun. It’s fairly standard equipment for commercial fishing boats since some times one actually has to shoot the big halibut to get them aboard. I have spear guns for scuba and flare guns as well. I even have a cutlass which though real has a greater ornamental function in my rustic below deck Captains cabin.  Some might say it’s phallic.  The fact is the shorter cutlass is made for ship fighting as there would be no room to swing my Scottish broadsword.  I have these more for fashion or as one might pay for life insurance. I don’t want to use them.  I have a life raft on board too and am truly glad I’ve never had to use it and hopefully never will.  I studied fencing as a youth and as a hunter am an excellent marksman.
However the thought of taking another human’s life, even in self defence, would, to say the least, put a damper on a vacation, for me, a physician who has devoted his life to saving lives.  I remember the joy I felt off the Baja coast when we rescued a couple of men in a dinghy whose boat had caught fire and sunk.  I especially loved the time when my ex and I and a couple of other cruisers saved a baby whale that had got it’s self disoriented trapped and partially beached in some mangroves.  I would rather not have to tell a story of blowing the brains out of some psychopath trying to board my boat.  There’s more than enough adventure without that sort of nonsense. In fact going away to sea is especially enjoyable because it gets me away from some of the drug addicted psychopaths who seem unable to change their mind about seeing other humans as potential food rather than companions. These blokes have been part of my work especially when I worked with the jails. I certainly don’t want to meet this sort at sea.  That would be a busman’s holiday for sure.
In fact I’m happy to be alone with my dog and only just tolerate friends and lovers.  If there weren’t merit in numbers I’d probably just solo sail.  The fact is I get rather lonely after a week or two and actually enjoy my companions at times.  There’s a great deal of laughter when one sails with people who are adults and have got over that “I’’m a victim” stage of emotional development. As a captain I really don’t have patience for whining and passive aggressiveness or attitude.
I have heard that the cruising community has taken to hiring ex American navy personnel in guns boats to accompany the fleet as they passage south and east of Malaysia.  I was in Singapore a few years back and loved it dearly. I loved the rule of law and the order in the community. The harbours in the area are magnificent as well. Unfortunately the el Quaeda has taken hold in nearby villages so that stories abound of pirates killing foreigners, mostly Christians, or at very least stealing their boats and leaving them stranded. I’m very much a Christian but not the better sort that does a fine job of being martyred.  I was thankful that the Lord did this for me and know I’d do a very bad and messy job of dying for my beliefs.
Then there’s the Somalian muslims, a particularly uncivilized lot whose dangerous  stupidity and lack of civilization are becoming epic.  I confess I’ve loved reading of American cruisers who have been attacked by these high speed gun boats with 50 mm machine guns blazing.  The best story is of two ex marines who were sailing together on their separate yachts when a couple of these drug crazed Allah Akubar swearing criminals charged their boats.  The frightening thing was that they opened fire from far off targeting the cockpit and hoping to kill anyone on board. One American armed with a 12 gauge shot gun popped up at the last moment when the pirates came along side with their AK 47 assault rifles in hand ready to board.  With combat trained reflexes and skills he blew all aboard away with repetitive shots from his defender.  Meanwhile his friend at the last moment veered his 7 km maximum speed sailboat into the Somalian high speed tobacco boat riding right over it and sending that boats pirates to the bottom of the sea.
I read the story while I was in charge of advertising for Blue Water Cruising Association out of Vancouver, BC.  Discussing it with cruisers we all cheered the Americans. I think even the vegetarian pacifists were impressed.  Yet its not something I personally want to have to do.  When I was in Bombay, now called Mumbai, I loved the harbour and so wanted to one day sail there. I love India and must return. The people are the most fascinating and so many of my friends are Indian ex pats here in Canada.  Yet the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea seem like places one would only want to go with an American flotilla of war ships, not on a little sailboat with a cockapoo dog.
The other problem has been the governments.  Carrying weapons on board is a major issue with each port.  Most cruisers as a consequence don’t declare their guns and most authorities turn a blind eye but it suddenly puts one in a difficult position. Even if one declares them there’s all manner of insanity attached to this placed there by beaurocratic fools who have never been in a boat themselves.  In Mexico I was expected to turn in my shot gun at the first port and then pick it up again when I departed the country.  The only problem is I was coming from the north and expecting to leave the country hundreds of miles to the south.  Government stupidity is impressive in Canada but by world standards Canada is a genius compared to the silliness of paper work and restrictions elsewhere.  So who wants the hassle especially when a single corrupt official ,and corrupt officials are extremely common in the third world, can impound your boat and arrest you. Increasingly every other nation in the third world seems intent on taking Canadians hostage either officially or unofficially for extortion and ransom.
When I was younger Canadian tourists were welcome overseas and sailors were able to anchor free in harbours so the whole process was pleasant and relatively inexpensive. Now Canadians, indeed all westerners, are seen as mega rich, like Mini Fatuous Kardashians, and a source of easy income.  There are the pirates for sure, then the rapacious businessmen and finally the corrupt extorting government officials.  Friends tell me that everywhere they were charged to anchor and even a fee was charged for landing their dinghies on shore.  Prices go up the minute you speak English. too.  Whites are thought of as racist but they’re the least racist today compared to the racism they can encounter and the tribalism in primitive nations.
Further, the United Nations has created this Social Communism idea of the West being the bourgeoisie.  Meanwhile the local businessmen in all these countries are richer than the richest Canadians. The key to world poverty is not east and west but rather financial distribution within the countries themselves.  In Muslim countries the rich are obscenely rich while the poor are poor yet in Canada while we have rich, wealth is more widely distributed. Our poor indeed are the richest poor in the world.  To the third world though we’re now the enemy. Especially if one is Christian.
I love all the Fillipino nurses and doctors I know and would love to sail to Manilla but that country was only a decade back taken off of the international list of places that are not recommended for small boat cruisers because of pirates.  The South China Seas are completely off the list. Yet I’d love to sail into the magnificent Hong Kong harbour. I’ve flown there repeatedly and love the city and people. The harbour is one of the greatest natural harbours in all the world. Yet who wants to be killed a day or two out to sea by dozens of ignorant communist Chinese  who see all westerners as bourgeoise capitalists.  Communists have forever been poor at creativity and live to steal.  Without theft their thug dominated system would expire because none of the truly creative are rewarded in these principally totalitarian gang lead social systems.  Communism is so often confused with socialism which it is not.
So while I’d love to sail more in the Pacific it’s increasingly been the plan to get to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and Great Britain.  I loved being in the Bahamas.  It was a truly inspiring moment when I visited Vera Cruz in Mexico where Columbus had landed.  My parents took a Cruise Ship tour of the Caribean Islands and spoke of the variety and diversity of every island for years after.  So yes, I’d love to sail there.
Now my sailboat has been shipped from Vancouver British Columbia here in the west to Bath, Lake Ontario in Eastern Canada.. My brother has developed cancer so the best way for us to sail together was for me to get the boat to Lake Ontario. Overland was the fastest, and probably the cheapest too, at $10,000 cost.  I have to consider how much time I’d lose from work if I tried again to sail it down the coast and cross at Mexico or Panama.  I really am looking forward to sailing in the famed Thousand Islands near Kingston.  Fresh water sailing and fishing will be a welcome change. I’ve got nephews too that want to crew. Then when my brother is better we can take the 350 mile canal motoring cruise down to New York. I’d love to have my sailboat in the New York habour and take a train to Manhatten to take in more Broadway plays.  My friend Laura would love to do some more motor sailing with me as well.  She’s not fond of being in the boat when the wind gets up a bit.
 I know Tom would be up for a sailing across the Atlantic. His eyes light up at the sound of the Azores.  I would love to have my brother along for that passage.   I’ve found it’s only men that want to join me on ocean crossings whereas women have often said they’d fly to meet me in exotic places.   These are dreams to come. For now the boat is going East.  I still want to visit Australia and there’s a medical meeting in Sidney I’ve wanted to attend for years. I may just have to fly there like others do.  I’d leave my dog here because frankly it seems everything in the Australian wild wants to kill us, from spiders to lizards.
imagine Gilbert would rather be with us in Bath.  He’ll be definiely up for sailing on Lake Ontario with his cousin cockapoo Eva. I can see them turning the deck into a dog Indie 500 chase. As a cockapoo I also expect Gilbert would gladly go ashore in France and England.   There he could proudly tell countless stories of his many adventures to his distant canine relatives.
I love that Europe loves dogs.

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