AIR NAVIGATOR

HMCS ATHABASKAN group photo, @ 85% male & 15% female. ©DND 2014
Photo by: Cpl Anthony Chand, Formation Imaging Services Halifax

Sacrifices on the Alter of PC

A beer executive was once asked why their commercials showed so much T & A and wasn’t this excluding a large women’s audience. The non-PC reply was beer is mostly drunk by men especially the 18-34 age group. In the business of beer, why would they target a demographic which just is not that interested in their product?

Private companies can flirt with disregarding PC driven decisions and otherwise operate on a market driven model. However, peace time Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) policies post-Afghanistan have been in full blown PC-mode.

I have thoughts on a few examples of where the military has rushed to respond with PC-motivated responses. This particular blog will focus on the military’s response to the latest spotlight on sexual assault and misconduct.

Operation Honour

I see three main reasons for the military turning itself inside-out over this issue:

  • Primarily, doing the right thing
  • Demonstrating to women that they will be safe and the military is a desirable workplace
  • Showing the political masters and the Canadian public that the military is an institution worthy of continued funding and support

Assault, sexual or otherwise, should never be tolerated in the workplace. Military members committing these type of crimes can be punished both under the Code of Service Discipline and the Criminal Code. Sexual assault allegations go to a special branch called the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS). The unit, created in 1997, is a reincarnation of the old Special Investigation Unit.

The latest spotlight on CAF sexual assault/misconduct arose mostly from a Maclean’s and L’Actualité May 16, 2014 article titled Our military’s disgrace by Noemi Mercier and Alec Castonguay. I haven’t met a French Canadian reporter yet who was pro-military and Noemi Mercier’s list of articles contain a significant number of women’s issues. I would say she had an axe to grind and may have had some bias. But people are free to write on what they feel like.

To compound matters, issues with abuse at the Royal Military College (RMC) popped up. There were allegations of a number of sexual assaults on campus. As part of the response to show they were addressing the issue, RMC asked a lady, Julie S. Lalonde, to come and lecture the cadets on the topic of sexual harassment. Looking through her bio, most people could assume she wouldn’t have much good to say about the predominately male military college culture. Someone should have predicted the inevitable outcome when she had a rough time with the third years. I know from inside sources that the cadets took umbrage to her assertion of ‘all men are rapists’ and engaged her in discussion over her lecture points. After that session, when it came to the fourth year’s turn, they were told to sit down, shut up and listen. No discussion, period. These cadets are some of the brightest, hard-working, critical thinkers you will find anywhere in Canada and they were told to put up with an over-the-top feminist who denigrated every male present. Imagine ordering a whole year of Queen’s students to shut-up and take a mandatory weekend lecture from a hostile speaker.

No matter the biased attitudes of reporters and activists, military leadership rightly took the issue seriously and quickly responded to the reports of sexual misconduct and assault plaguing the military.

The military commissioned Madame Marie Deschamps to conduct a study of the issue. Reading through her bio, the French Canadian judge had no ties to the military but participated for years in University of Montreal advocacy classes. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that she was impartial but I would say she would have no idea of what a military life is all about. For example, in her report, she determined that there was a sexualized environment in the CAF, particularly among recruits and noncommissioned members, characterized by the frequent use of swear words and highly degrading expressions that reference women’s bodies, sexual jokes, innuendos, discriminatory comments with respect to the abilities of women, and unwelcome sexual touching. No kidding, NCMs and the officers (men and women) are a little crude. The name of the operation almost immediately morphed into ‘Hop On Her’. Quickly, finger wagging,  I told you so stories popped up in the media causing the Ottawa Public Affairs Officers to go into damage control mode. But this type of crudeness, black humour and being rough around the edges is not limited to the military. Spend some time with nurses and you will see how foul-mouthed and stomach churning their language can get. The judge was seeing the service through the eyes of a government bureaucrat and advocate, not as a military member. The military world is generally incomprehensible for civilians who do not have the proper context or shared experiences. Ask any MARS Subbie about the denigration and harassment they have to put up with from both genders. Ask any military member to explain Basic Training to a civilian. They can’t because you have to go through it yourself to understand. Civvies and military live in two separate worlds and we should be careful about having the former judge the latter. But unwelcome sexual touching leads past venting mechanisms and crosses the line.

The Dechamps report was released April 20, 2015 and started a flurry of news conferences and initiatives. The military moved quickly and the CDS, General Tom Lawson appointed MGen Christine Whitecross to head up the newly formed CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct. She and her team crisscrossed the country holding mandatory townhalls to educate and inform military members. Ships had their crew sit through Powerpoint sessions and had discussions on the matter.  New door plates reminding sailors to loudly announce Male/Female on Deck went up. 120,000 Do No Harm cards were issued. The military is regularly issuing stats and updates through the Response Team site. The military can be quite thorough when tackling a problem.

But was all of this recent self-flagellation warranted?

Maclean’s ran a series of similar articles on the same issue back in 1998. Women at the time were just starting to develop solid careers in the combat arms trades and reports of harassment and rape were trickling out.

Rape in the military – May 25, 1998

Speaking Out – June 1, 1998

Of Rape and Justice – December 14, 1998

Rape numbers were reported as high, stories of abuse were told and the government and military vowed to stamp out the problem. In 1998, military women did not appreciate the magazine’s assertions. “It’s so unfair of the men to be thought of as predators and us to be thought of as playthings,” says Cpl. Karen Westcott, a 15-year veteran who has served on both army bases and aboard naval ships. “We don’t deserve this. As for the morale of the military, I think that Maclean’s has really set us back.” Eerily familiar sentiments were echoed by MGen Whitecross 17 years later. If you were a man such as Gen Lawson, talking about the issue, then you were on thin ice with no leeway for misinterpretation. One bad interview with CBC and he was gone.

The RCMP, fire departments, male dominated industries and even female dominated industries all report higher incidents of sexual harassment/misconduct towards women. Gen Lawson may have awkwardly used the term ‘hard-wired’ but there is evidence that this issue is wide spread in the whole of society and not specifically a military problem.

My point is the military is the perennial whipping boy and due to their special civilian/military apolitical relationship are not allowed to speak out. Instead they are forced to over-compensate to show they are dealing with a problem. The leadership is fond of saying their members need to be held to a higher standard. Higher, yes but a perfect standard, no.

It is commendable for the military to take a leadership role in regards to stamping out sexual misconduct and harassment but I believe the furor has unfairly targeted all military males as predators and all military females as victims. It just serves to drive another needless wedge between the sexes and stirs up the ‘females in the military’ pot. One person raping another is not to be tolerated, condoned or explained away and the military has always had severe mechanisms for adequate, timely punishment. But the ‘crudeness’ of military culture comes from the process of producing warriors not snowflakes. I reject that acting politically in-correct, being off-colour or having some nudie pics up of women (or men) inevitably leads to sexual misconduct or assault. It just means you’re a boor and you’ll make the dainty souls blush.

I would rather take a foul-mouthed boor (male or female) into battle than some sensitive office snowflake.

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

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SHORT ORDER COOK

The Quintessential Chileno Asado

Since it is summer in the southern hemisphere, here is how Chileans are enjoying the Canadian equivalent of the summer BBQ.

Up in the Great White North, BBQs have the usual menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, potato salad, coleslaw, Caesar salad, soda pop, wine, coolers and beer.

Here is the menu and order of a typical Asado with a translation of some of the terms:

Exerpt from my 2013 Chilean Journal
  • Choripáns (chorizo + pan) are mini-hot dogs usually served plain. (I will cover regular Chilean hot dogs in a future post.) They are served as an appetizer.
Choripans on the grill
  • Corte Americano are simply plain ripple chips. Mix some ketchup and mayo and that’s your dip.
Mmmmm, ketchup & mayo chip dip
  • The Carne can be chunks of beef seasoned with salt (urban Chile) or a skewered whole lamb (rural Chile). Usually the younger men present will cut the meat into smaller pieces and circulate with platters.
Lamb, beef and Pisco
Asado on Isla Dawson
Crew of Chilean ship George Slight
  • Chileans typically do not eat many vegetables and have one main salad made of peeled tomatoes, chopped onions and cilantro. The tomatoes are peeled as a sign of civility. They will make a potato salad made of cold cubed cooked potatoes, peas, carrots and mayo.
Preparing tomatoes for peeling
  • Cocktails of Pisco Sour are served to start the night.

  • Cervasas are cheap, Cristal was the beer of choice.
$10 for 12 litres of beer!
  • Once the main meal is finished, on to the Piscola! Straight up Pisco with a tiny splash of Coke. (Piscola is another example of Chilean papa puree or mashing of the language.) This distilled wine flows like devil water and will sit you on your butt.

 

 

 

 

  • Here’s the recipe for their cracker spread when you had to nibble something with your Piscola:

Asados are common through-out Chile. Since the southern part of the country experiences significant rainfall, the grills are set up indoors with venting. Natural charcoal or carbone and wood are the fuels of choice. The beef is fattier and hence tastier than the leaner North American cuts.

The grill is on a pulley system to raise and lower the meat
Weird name for the Asado shack. Chalaco is a person from El Calloa, Peru’s main seaport. Chileans hate the Peruvians. My guess is this is a dig at Peru.

Salud!

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

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COURIER

Toronto Rush Hour Traffic

Road Habits

I am sure everyone has witnessed incidents out on the roads and highways that have made you shake your head in disbelief. There are bad drivers, bicyclists and even pedestrians who should not be anywhere near hurtling tons of metal or out of a bubble-wrapped cocoon for that matter. On top of the general lack of respect for basic physics and courtesy most of us see on the roadways, each chunk of the country has its own weird little habits, idiosyncrasies and stuff that just makes you go whaaaaaaa, did I just see that?!?

Here are my observations, good, bad and plain weird:

Manitoba
  • This is the most law-abiding province when it comes to speeding on the highways and lack of it. There are plenty of flat, open spaces with little traffic begging for a travelling speed of at least 10-30 km/hr above the posted limit. Everyone knows the usual spots on the No. 1 to slow down for the cops ie. Brandon for the Moose Jaw student pilots heading back to Portage after weekend partying. But no, more than anyone else, the average Manitoban will have that needle stuck right at the speed limit or just under.
  • But once you cross the Perimeter, Winnipeg has some of the worst drivers in the country. The ‘Prairie Turn’ comes from here ie. Going directly to the far lane without doing a proper lane change. Driving down Portage Ave, you will see plenty of lane drifters, speeders and generally a lot of bad drivers. Using blinkers seems to elude them also.
  • Outside of the City, you’ll find either the overly courteous or timid drivers. Imagine a merge lane on to a single lane. If the car merging is ahead of you and if the relative speeds are not too different, you should let the other vehicle accelerate and avoid cutting them off before the merge lane ends. Instead, you can get into a game of reverse chicken where they start slowing down, you slow down a bit, back and forth until both vehicles are almost stopped.
  • These same country drivers will pull over to check cars in the ditch especially in winter. It’s easy to freeze to death at -40 ˚C.
  • Friendly Manitoba is on the license plate for a reason. Out in the country, everyone does the finger wave to opposing vehicles.
The Manitoba Wave
 Prince Edward Island
  • Never trust a man driving with a hat!
  • Do not trust a car signaling their intent to turn until they actually start to slow down and move into the turn. More than anywhere else in Canada, drivers on the Red Sandbar will drive for miles ignoring that click-click of their blinkers.

Saskatchewan
  • A whole lot of nothing; straight, flat and boring especially in the south along the No. 1. The worst thing about driving here is passing semi’s on the one lane highways. Even in Regina and Saskatoon, there is not enough traffic to cause an over amount of friction between drivers.
  • If your eyes were good enough, you could look for the square headlights of the old Crown Victoria’s far in the distance.
Alberta
  • These are the speeders of the prairies. They had historically higher speed limits, low gas prices and a younger work force interested in getting places. They get ticketed as soon as they hit SK and MB because it is hard to slow down.
British Columbia
          Vancouver and the Lower Mainland
  • This is an area that would comfortably hold a million people but has over two. Add to the extra volume, multiple bridges, hills, curves and the occasional shot of ice and snow. Next you have a mix bag of drivers; the old and slow, the young and aggressive, prairie folks who don’t know what a curve or hill is, Asians and other immigrant groups with poor skills and shaky licensing (Dragon Driving School). The only time traffic is not heavy is at three in the morning. Finally, every Vancouverite is in a hurry to get to the next thing. Unless it is an accident, then everyone slows right down. Guaranteed, you will be in an accident in this town and gawked at by lookie-loos.
  • Here is the only place I have observed the disgusting habit of drivers at lights who open their door and spit on the pavement.
  • Slamming on the Asians again, in Richmond (Hongvouver), the gas stations all have attendants pumping your fuel as the patrons have issues working a gas pump. Also, on the ferries, the employees were told to let the Asians just park whether it is in the right spot or not.
  • Bridges, bridges, bridges. These are Vancouver’s bottlenecks and creative and aggressive merging is normal. Taking space away for bike lanes doesn’t help.
  • Not much blinker use in Vancouver other than a one-two count because typically the car in the other lane will close the gap if you give any notice.
  • Snow and ice: the rest of Canada laughs at the silly West Coasters for their inability to deal with a little ‘winter’. Poor tires, lack of practice and that need to hurry contribute to the mayhem. Intersections quickly turn to sheer ice because instead of creeping or slowly accelerating, drivers spin their tires.
Usually Vancouverites are helpful with pushing cars
  • This is one of the few places where I have seen drivers regularly cut off large trucks. Those big rigs have issues slapping on the brakes going down hills but people like to defy basic physics.
  • Driving towards Horseshoe Bay, you’ll be passed by excessive speeders headed for the ferry. Stay slow, there are plenty of cops waiting.
          Vancouver Island
  • If you are a motorcyclist, take care, all the old people can barely see over the dashboard let alone see you. The Lower Mainland is bad too but volume is the issue there. Also, stay out of the curb lane as drivers on cross streets will pull out in front of you.
  • Nice tip for bikers, you are first on and first off the ferry and there is always room. No need to hurry and risk a ticket.
  • Also as a motorcyclist, you always give the little wave to each other but never to scooters.

  • Speeding to the ferry in Nanaimo is common as is Swartz Bay outside of Victoria. The latter highway is heavily patrolled but coming down island into Nanaimo, just watch for cops in Nanoose Bay close to the PetroCan.
  • Thankfully for Island residents, the new Inland Island highway runs pretty much from south of Nanaimo to Campbell River. The four hour Nanaimo-Comox trip (or longer due to the summer tourists) was reduced to two. At 140 km/hr on the motorcycle, I had ferry to door time down to 90 minutes.
  • Live on the Island long enough and you will hit a deer or two.
  • Worst place in Canada for drivers insisting on driving in the left lane of two lane highways. No one taught them to get out of the passing lane, hence eventually the signs went up.

  • People at intersections insist on crossing opposing traffic on solid greens. Again, they need signs to remind them that this is a really dumb practice.
  • Some of the worst tailgaters are found here.
  • Lots of hydroplaning opportunities due to the high rainfall.
  • There are a significant number of long-boarders using residential roads for boarding, not the safest of endeavors.
          BC Interior
  • Hills, summits, curves, avalanche season that lasts into April; this is some of the toughest driving in Canada.
  • Tourists and drivers with Alberta plates piss everyone off with their slow driving on curves backing up traffic. Then on the straight-aways and passing lanes, they speed up so people can’t get away from them.
  • Semi-trucks travel fast in the interior, stay out of their way.
Clearing the Kootenay Pass
Ontario
          Northern Ontario
  • Slower drivers on two laners will pull over to the shoulder to let traffic pass. Two thumbs up!
          The 401
  • Most drivers will pull to the left lane to let traffic merging on the right come in.
  • Unlike the Prairies where blinking headlights mean ‘Head’s Up, Cops’, blinking lights in your mirror mean get out of the lane because a faster car is coming. On the 401, the far right lane is for the speed limit and each lane to the left is faster by 10 km/hr.
  • Sun, rain, sleet, fog, ice; there is no slowing down on this highway. This is why they have multi-vehicle pile-ups regularly.
Quebec
  • These are the worst speeders in all of Canada. The government had to come down hard with high fines to slow the Francos down.
  • Worst place for motorcycle insurance as accident rates due to speed were too high.
  • If you are a bicyclist out on the rural roads that do not have paved shoulders, good luck! Unlike most other provinces where vehicles will pull out a bit to pass you, Francos pass as close as they can about a foot away.
          Montreal
  • Every last one of these drivers are crazy! But they are all crazy and that makes them predictable. If you make room for one vehicle to merge, five will scoot in ahead of you. Just be prepared to drive aggressively.
  • Pedestrians will jaywalk at will and will just trust that vehicles will miss them.
  • Just to screw with the Anglos, for some reason you could not turn right on red in the province. That has been reduced to just the Island of Montreal now. Still makes no sense.

New Brunswick
  • Except for the in-bred hillbillies in the Miramichi region and the moose in the interior, this is another province with sparse traffic.
Nova Scotia
  • Tourist traffic down-line to Yarmouth slows traffic and the main highways need more twinning. The Cobequid Pass can be treacherous in the winter.
The Cobequid Pass is rough on Semi’s
          Halifax
  • Bluenosers in the city are some of the worst drivers and pedestrians in Canada.
  • People have to be taught how to walk in this town. There’s a government initiative called ‘Heads Up Halifax’ aimed at pedestrians to pay attention. There are red flags for people to carry across pedestrian activated cross walks.

  • One of the most dangerous practices is vehicles crossing left in intersections in front of oncoming traffic. I guess they just assume people will slow down instead of T-boning them.
  • Another danger on the streets are bicyclists in all weather conditions. The roads are not built for them to be there let alone in a snowstorm travelling Quinpool or the Bedford Highway.
  • A particularly annoying habit is drivers sitting at a red light in the left lane and just as the light goes green flicking on their turn signal. Now you are stuck for a stop-light cycle when you could have been in the right lane and on your way.
  • There are lots of no-look merging on to main streets and poor or no use of blinkers.
  • Pedestrians will sit on the curb if they do not see the white walking man. The reasoning is the red hand means you can’t cross with the green light. This creates confusion for a vehicle turning across the pedestrian crossing area.
  • Also with pedestrians, too often when they have the right of way, they will wave at you to cross. With oncoming traffic, a misunderstanding will lead to an accident. Then there are plenty of places like Robie Street where pedestrians think they have the right of way and cross where they shouldn’t.
  • Turning is difficult for Halifax drivers. When turning right, unless you are a large truck, you do not need to swing wide to the left partially into the other lane to avoid clipping the curb. At an intersection with two lanes, a vehicle from each way can pull into side by side lanes. This is difficult for many drivers here.
  • Round-abouts: If you want some cheap entertainment with your meal, eat at the Armview patio and watch the idiocy of the Armdale Rotary. Congestion, poor drivers, pedestrians, and badly placed bus stops contribute to the general mayhem and numerous accidents.
Armdale Rotary without congestion
  • If you still do a bit of drinking and driving, there aren’t many Check Stops, even during the Christmas season. Vancouver and Victoria have plenty but one of the only ones I have seen in Halifax was on a Sunday morning after the Men’s Olympic Gold medal game.
  • I want to find the driver instructor who told people to stop a full car length or more back from the intersection stop line.
Newfoundland
  • Watch out for MOOSE everywhere! Except during hunting season, then you won’t see any.
That is a really angry looking Newfie moose!

So that is the weird, crazy, dangerous and sometimes courteous road habits I have observed, coast to coast. Comment if you have additions for your part of Canada.

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades & Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add Blogger to the list.

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SHEPARD

The New Religion

The First World is witnessing the coalescence of the Religious Age of Irrationality.

Traditional forms of Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism and the rest of mainstream religion has waned in the West and in their place, the religious fervor of social activism and irrationality has risen.

Human beings crave a calling that is beyond their ken and full explanation. The vast majority of humanity toils from cradle to grave with very little individual impact upon this mortal world. Frankly, without a bit of order, large groups of people easily descend into outright anarchy with the strongest and the cleverest ending up on top. The ones in positions of power had to figure out a system to keep the rabble in line or the cycle of anarchy would repeat and the next set of clever and strong humans would be in charge. Enter the ages of gods and organized religions.

Millennia ago the Egyptian pharaoh’s were the earthly equivalent of gods. Kings and queens since have had god-like status conferred upon them. Their word was law. Even heads of state, such as President Trump’s swearing-in invoke the name of God. But gradually, especially in the First World, the wonder, awe and fear of these figures have worn and been chipped away. Most royalty are merely figureheads and tourist attractions. These are mere human beings after all, kings and queens, the Pope, heads of church, prime ministers and presidents. They are not mythical beings who can smite us at will, any rational person can see they are just trying to keep the rest of us in line while keeping humanity back from the abyss of anarchy.

But instead of this being an Age of Rationality the First World has made a sharp U-turn and this is becoming the Age of Irrationality. There is an unprecedented Age of Information sweeping the world where the average person has access to untold amounts of data. Every First Worlder should be able to look at what information is available, listen to the experts on a particular subject and then be able to come to a consensus opinion on what direction the group as a whole should decide upon. Instead, there is an overabundance of information and the clever have learned how to cherry pick which pieces to push their agendas. Then just like the old school religions, their ministers like the Al Gores, Michael Moores, David Suzukis, through their ministries of Greenpeace, Black Lives Matter, PETA, (Insert name of your favourite activist group or random Native group) indoctrinate their disciples to spread the politically correct word. Do not get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is the religious zealot who continuously pushes their agenda on others and cries heresy if you don’t agree with them and adopt their lifestyle.

Try having a rational conversation with the vegan crowd, the anti-vaxxers, the LGBTQIA/LGBTQ2 groups (these people? are going to run out of letters soon), feminists, chemtrail believers, animal rights activists, seal hunt protesters, pro-organic, anti-oil sands, anti-pipeline, anti-sugar, anti-gluten, anti-smoking but pro-marijuana, anti-GMO, anti-hormone, anti-antibiotic, anti-everything groups and individuals. Even in the face of clear, incontrovertible proof and facts, they will still hold fast to their faith. Oh, this celebrity said this. Oh, there was a study. Oh, it is all a conspiracy or all the experts were paid off by such and such industry. Oh, the middle-aged white man made a patriarchal remark that mocked some (insert ethic group). Or in the cases such as how to mitigate changes in the climate, man-made or not, you cannot allow rational discussion enter the conversation because Mother Earth must be protected at all costs and make sure you are consulting a Native group. Latest and greatest, oh, the Russians did it!

We even have the high-tech equivalent of the Holy Inquisition from the Dark Ages in Europe. Recently, the internet again set its hair on fire over an animal supposedly being mistreated. The film company releasing ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ cancelled the premier of the show over the social media controversy of a dog doing a stunt in the water. As is the norm with these social media lynchings, the persons involved were tried, convicted and ‘executed’ with the speed of the internet. I won’t even tread towards gorillas, orcas or lions.

The latest testament to this new Religion of Irrationality is the millions of First Worlders participating in the Women’s March protests partly due to the election of Trump vice Hillary. I am sure a sizable portion of the crowds wanted to see a woman in the White House but a man was elected, again. A man who is not politically correct. A man who was secretly taped over a decade ago making derogatory remarks reference women. A man who has ideas that counter the anti-everything crowd. But he is the person who has the legal support of his nation that elected him. That nation also saw fit to put in a Republican House and Senate. But this is not about politics but perceptions, myths and larger than life ideologies.

As I watch the Women’s March in Washington, DC (reportedly the largest one day US protest) and smaller gatherings around the world, listening to their speakers, I hear fears of bigotry, misogyny, eroding of women’s and minority’s rights. I did not hear anything of the sort promised by Trump in his Inauguration speech yesterday. If anything, he quoted the phrase of no matter the colour of skin, we all bleed the same. The man is definitely a boor but some would say he is a straight talker who wants to get things done. What is so bad about an American president wanting to look after Americans first? So what would make people so passionate, angry and upset? If it were just over policy and politics then these same people would be involved in local government talking about sewers, roads and bridges. Maybe, if people were concerned about the bigger picture, how about the fact that Obama is the only two term President with eight full years of war under his belt with no end in sight. I guess as long as the bombs drop on Third World countries then we can have the luxury of worrying about hurt feelings. But when it comes time to vote, no one shows up. Local municipal elections barely record over 20% voter turnout and even this last so-called hotly contested presidential contest only saw about 50% of eligible voting Americans making the effort. If a person is so upset about something, then rationally, you would think they would gather up all their friends and do something like vote their wishes. Instead, the norm is becoming if you did not bother to vote and your wishes were not granted, then march in the streets and bust up the place.

In polite company, the convention is to refrain from discussing the three trigger subjects: sex, politics and religion. But your grandparent’s religious arguments over Old and New Testament are gone. A vacuum was left by the retreat of established religion and it is being replaced by something just as irrational. As a species we seem to crave being part of something greater, something larger than life, something that says our existence in this world counts for something whether it makes sense or not. It is just human nature for us to put visceral, irrational ‘faith’ in something that transcends our regular existence.

Welcome to the New Age.

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

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