Saturday, November 20, 2010

And the Bid Is ... NO TRUMP!

Donald Trump is thinking about running for president. Yes, he really is ... and if there was ever proof of the man's monumental ego, this is certainly it. And, as if we needed further proof of the man's duplicity, he is actually affecting modesty over the idea. Now that's actually funny.

What isn't so funny? The results of an ongoing CNN poll where, at last count, something like 17 percent of those responding say they would support his candidacy. Somehow, in the minds of a large number of people within this muddled, ignorant, frightened and lazy electorate of ours, celebrity has come to equal competence.

As a garrulous old English teacher of mine was wont to say when confronted with some particularly egregious lack of scholarship, "It is to weep."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All Hat, No Cattle

The Republican governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is about to take over as titular head of the Republican Governors Association.

This is the same outfit that recently poured a million dollars – yes, literally! – into Hawaii media in an effort to prevent Democrat Neil Abercrombie from becoming our governor. To no avail. Abercrombie crushed his Republican opponent, Duke Aiona, by 17 percentage points.

And this same Rick Perry has, on more than one occasion, said that if the federal gummint doesn’t stop trying to tell the states what to do, secession could become a serious option. Yes, he really did.

It's tempting to simply dismiss Perry as a fool and a buffoon. On the other hand, he is very likely an accurate representation of much of his constituency. After all, the elected Texas School Board has voted to include creationism along with evolution as part of the curriculum in public schools. Not content with that, the board has also instructed textbook publishers to minimize the role of that notorious liberal, Thomas Jefferson, in their history texts and start including more info on some of the more conservative founding fathers. No specific names leap immediately to mind, but I'm sure the School Board will tell us who they are.

Actually, now that I think about it, secession is starting to look like an attractive option.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Heading North to Polar Bear Country by Hudson Bay

The ride from Winnipeg up to Churchill on Hudson Bay – some 1050 miles and almost due north – takes almost two days. We left Winnipeg at noon on a Sunday and arrived in Churchill the following Tuesday morning.

First impression of the scenery along the way -- pretty bleak, mostly flat terrain with scrubby trees that got shorter and shorter the farther north we went. Still it was interesting, and certainly different, as we passed through little towns between long stretches of wilderness that was frequently broken up by streams and small lakes crusting over with ice, most of which were dominated by domed beaver lodges.

VIA Rail train # 693 rattled along at a respectable speed for the first day, but by the following afternoon would occasionally slow to a crawl over stretched of track where the roadbed was spongy because of the permafrost ground softening.

Nevertheless, we arrived right on schedule, bright and early on the second morning. Well, not “bright” exactly, since the sun never appeared through the sodden low overcast that and it wasn’t until well after 8:30 that the darkness had fully lifted.

The warmth came the moment I stepped in Bluesky Bed & Sled, a bed and breakfast establishment run by Jenafor Azure. This is their busiest time with guests coming and going on a daily basis and Jenafor’s mother, known only as “Grandma” to guests throughout their stays, had come from Alberta the week before to pitch in.

For the balance of the morning I wandered around town a bit, then drove over to the Churchill Northern Studies Center about 20 kilometers away to chat with Mike Goodyear, the executive director. More on that meeting in a few days.

Tomorrow I’ll watch Jenafor’s husband, Gerald, hook up his dog team and take visitors and guests on a wild ride in a dog cart, and the following day I’ll be on a tundra buggy out in the surrounding countryside in search of polar bears … which is why all us shivering tourists are here in the first place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Give that man a big ... hand!

The latest Kukai-Nui Award, given periodically to a politician who is unafraid to put party before country, goes to the Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is right up front about where the Republican Party's priorities lie:

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Atta-boy, Mitch … polish up that American flag lapel pin and take a bow.