Normally I would have started this Ramble on New Years Day but to be honest I really didn’t feel like it. So here it is the sixth day of January, my youngest daughter’s birthday and the forty-seventh anniversary of my marriage. That is if we were still together. In the Christian calendar this is the feast of the Epiphany, (when the three Magi arrived in Bethlehem) it is also Christmas Eve according to the Orthodox Calendar. What it is on other calendars I don’t know and I admit I haven’t much inclination to find out. I only mentioned the above religious events because up until my late teens I was a Catholic. Now, not so much. It is the year Two Thousand and Eighteen C.E. (common era which used to be A.D. Anno Domini). I like the term common era as it has no religious connotations, therefore it shouldn’t upset any one’s religious sensibilities.
Two thousand and eighteen years ago a Jewish Reform Rabbi (thought to be the Son of God by his followers) was executed and a new religion sprung up around his life and works, Christianity. Around the mid seventh century another new religion was born in Arabia, Islam, this religion claims that the two previous Abrahamic Religions, Judaism and Christianity got it wrong so God sent Mohammed to straighten things out. Result. The three religions have been at war off and on for the past fourteen hundred years. Three religions one God and they can’t get along.
It is now the ninth of January and there is a two-day break in my ramblings as I was busy with other mundane aspects of my life. On the very few occasions that I am asked for advice the only sage statements I can think of is “don’t grow old” and “if you must grow old don’t retire” both suck. The individual who coined the term “Golden years” should be hung, drawn, and quartered. I find this post Xmas, early New Year a somewhat depressing time the excitement is over with and there is but looking forward to an other year which no one knows what it will hold. It is the time of year in which I am cabin bound as the weather does not permit me riding my scooter and I have to rely on either public transit or the generosity of others with a car. I don’t even have a drivers license any more as I couldn’t see paying for it when I don’t own a vehicle.
As this is under the category “Ramblings” I will be jumping around hither and yon on subjects that pop into my mind at the time. We live in interesting times, but then that has been said time and again. I wonder if there has ever been an “uninteresting time”. Surely at some point in our climb up the ladder of evolution there must have been point where someone said “well that was a boring time”. Sometimes, not often, I survey the world around me and think it just might have been better if we hadn’t fallen out of that tree. No evolution, no civilization, just anthropoids living day to day with only the worry of finding their next meal and not being some other creatures next meal. A lot less complicated that so called modern life. Alas it is not meant to be. Humankind are an aggressively curious species and the view from a tree branch became very boring over the course of time.
So here we are in the early years of the twenty-first century, still aggressive, still curious, and still wearing a thin veil of civilization that masks our brutal nature. As I said I think the trees might have been better.



On 31 July 1917 the 3rd battle Ypres commenced, it is also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, and 102 days later on 10 November 1917 it ended with the Canadian Corps capturing Passchendaele ridge and town. The cost to all British Forces was 275,000 killed, wounded, captured, or missing which includes 15,654 Canadian casualties. The Germans sustained 220,000 casualties. Passchendaele is synonymous with the frightful conditions and waste of lives which was the 1st World War.
After the Victory at Vimy Ridge the 4 Canadian Divisions were pulled from the line for rest and refit and to fill the loses in the ranks. This was merely a short respite as more tough fighting lay ahead. After Vimy would come Hill 70, Passchendaele, and finally the 100 Days. The reputation that the Canucks had built was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it built a great “esprit de corps” and enhanced Canadas’ reputation amongst the allies and on the worlds stage. A curse because now when the Imperial General Staff had a particularly hard objective to overcome the job fell to the Canadians.
This is also the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Hill 70 which took place in August 1917. This battle is often overlooked because of the Vimy Victory. Again the Imperial High Command call on the Canadian Corps to crack this hard nut with the hope of drawing German Troops from the Passchendaele offensive. The Canadian Corps took Hill 70 sustaining 9,000 casualties. The Germans lost an estimated 25,000 casualties. Although Hill 70 was taken the probing attacks against the town of Lens were unsuccessful and by the 25th of August the Canadian attack petered out leaving the Canadians holding the western part of the town. Soon the Canadian Corps would be ordered to move north to Passchendaele.
In mid-October 1917 the Canadian Corps was ordered north to relieve the ANZACs (Australian/New Zealand Corps) at Passchendaele. If Passchendaele itself wasn’t Hell it was surely the foyer. The Ypres Salient was very familiar to the Canadians as it was here on April 22 1915 that they were exposed to the first use of poison gas deployed by the Germans. Here their reputation started and here in October of 1917 it would again be strengthened. Just 7 months before at Vimy it was confirmed and from October 1917 until the end of the Great War it would become enshrined in the History of this first World War. For 3 years the area around Passchendaele had been relentlessly pounded by artillery bombardments that the centuries old drainage system for this low lying area was totally destroyed. Now if one looked out from either frontline they gazed upon a pockmarked carpet of gluttonous mud, shattered trees, and filthy water filled craters where carcasses of the dead floated and hanging over all was the stench of putridness.
The Canadian Corps now under the command of Lt. Gen Arthur Currie were given the task of taking Passchendaele Ridge and Town. Upon inspecting the battleground Currie did not want to commit his corps but was overruled by his superiors. Currie immediately put the Canadians to work improving the roads and tramlines in order to move his artillery and ammunition up to their positions. Currie had predicted that the coming battle would result in 16,000 Canadian casualties. This was almost prophetic as the butchers bill was 15,654 dead and wounded. Since the Canadian Corps stood against the first German gas attack in April 1915 the Imperial High Command put the Canadians at the “Sharp End” of any thrust against German strong points. They became the British “Shock Troops” and in July of 1918 they would be called upon again in what is called “The Hundred Day Offensive” that ended the “War to end all Wars”. Twenty-one years later Canada would be called on again. One year and one day after Passchendaele the war ended and Canada had lost almost 60,000 dead. They are laid to rest in the fields of Flanders and Northern France. Some have never been found and some never identified so it is on November 11 of each year we honour them and all the other brave young men and women who go in Harms Way to keep us safe. LEST WE FORGET.

My Opinion, Politics


USA: (Magical Republic) MINISTRY OF TRUTH 2017/10/20
In Orwell’s novel “1984” the language of Oceania is called “Newspeak” and methinks this will soon become the language of USA that Magical Republic. In Oceania there is the “Ministry of Love” (secret police, interrogation, and torture), Ministry of Peace (Ministry of War), and the Ministry of Truth (propaganda, alternate facts and History) in USA there is the Emperor.
The new combed-over Emperor keeps ranting about the media and “Fake News” this is, I think, a plot to eventually gain control of the news and undermine the truth. He has maligned and, I would hazard to say, slandered every major News outlet in USA but one, and that one wouldn’t know the truth if it bit it on the backside. It is almost as Yogi Berra said “Déjà vu” all over again as Trumps war against the media is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 30s. Tell a big lie long enough and it will become the truth.
The new Emperor labels all criticism, including that which is legitimate, of him and his court “Fake News” and the reporters of such as “Dishonest” people and they along with the media outlet they work for should have their credentials and their licenses investigated. If this should come about it is the first step along the road to control and censorship. The shadow of the “Ministry of Truth” looms large on the horizon. The Emperor like so many would be tyrants adheres to the 1st Amendment of their Constitution only when it is convenient. The majority of the time it is a nuisance and can be ignored.
If Emperor Comb Over isn’t ranting against the Media he is rattling his sabre, threatening fire and destruction to certain nations for developing nuclear weapons. At every opportunity he seems to deliberately provoke these nations and undermine the efforts to his Foreign Secretary to attempt a diplomatic solution. He publicly criticises his allies for not doing more and complains that certain treaties that have been made in the past are unfair to USA and need to be torn up and renegotiated. He has, it seems, set himself a gaol of demolishing all the work of previous administration and rewriting History to his liking. In his conceit he has proclaimed himself the “Greatest Deal Maker” a dubious title at best. His idea of deal making relies on innuendo, lies, threats, and bullying. He is the quintessential braggart and bully. He is to put it bluntly a “Head Case”.
This, orange-haired Emperor has little or no empathy or compassion in fact I think it is safe to say he tends to be very callous. The Republics’ armed forces lost 4 of it special forces warriors and when Orange-Hair call to wish condolences to one young widow who is with child he had the gall to say “Well he knew what he was getting into.” Such callousness is absolutely despicable and only an ignoramus would dare say that. Well unless something unforeseen should occur, like a bolt of lightning, the world is stuck with the Orange-Haired Emperor Comb- Over for the next 1, 441 days. Surely the Fates will not permit his re-election.

My Opinion, POLITICS


It is now four days since the latest mass shooting in the U.S. which occurred in Las Vegas. This time the deranged individual opened fire from a 32nd floor suite in the Mandalay Hotel down on a Country and Western concert with some 22,000 people in attendance. In the aftermath of this atrocity where 58 were killed and more than 520 wounded the hypocrisy of the American political system kicked into high gear. The standard phrases were spouted. “Our thought and prayer go out to the families of those killed or wounded”, “This is not the time to discuss gun control”, “This is not a gun control issue. It is a mental health issue”. These clichés are sickening. The hypocritical politicians bow their heads and spew prayers to a being who in my opinion does not exists as if this will solve the problem. The evangelical preachers blame it on the devil and the godless society they claim their country has become. No one in a position of power seems to have the courage to tell it like it is. There are to many damn guns in the hands of civilians and America has a massive gun problem. Every time a mass shooting happens the N.R.A. goes quiet as if in a huddle to figure out how they can best profit from the carnage. After a shooting people rush out to by more guns, they say is for protection, but in reality it is adding to the problem.
The shooter in this instance, Stephen Paddock, will be classified as a mentally deranged person and he more than like was but he was also a very methodical terrorist. It is reported that he had planned and built up an arsenal of 29 weapons and 1000’s of rounds of ammunition for a long time, reconnoitring the Vegas Strip and it is suggested he checked out another concert held the weekend before. These are the actions of a cunningly insane person. No motive has been found for his actions but maybe he just wanted the notoriety. From the moment he shot his first victim he went into the history books because every time the Las Vegas Massacre is mentioned his name will stand out prominently.
It is almost certain that individuals of this stripe are suffering from some form of mental illness yet the U.S. laws allows these persons easy access to weapons. State and Federal government will ban certain weapons one year only to revoke the ban a few years later when the government changes. They allow the manufacturing and sales off devices that are made specifically for enhancing the power of weapons and now they are set to pass a law allowing silencers to be legally purchased. The Americans boast about their Democracy but in reality the live in a dictatorship run by the N.R.A. in partnership with the weapons manufacturers.
Perhaps Euripides was correct when he stated “Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad”. Evidence shows that the United States of America is governed by Mad Men.


My Opinion, Politics


My Opinion, Politics


One of the favourite sayings attached to a Mountebank or Con-Artist is “Believe Me” or variations of that. President Trump is overly fond of that expression. There are times when watching him speak the image of a Snake Oil purveyor comes to mind. There is also that of a land swindler who has Prime Water Front Property in the Florida Everglades.
A day or so ago on CNN they had cameras at a Cabinet meeting with Trump and his people present. The first part of the telecast was Trump spouting personal aggrandisements and boasting as to how he is the most productive President in History. This self praise was followed by each of the cabinet members thanking him and praising him like the clique of “Yes Toddies” they are. President Trump may just be the greatest “CON-MAN” ever. He some how managed to con almost 63 million gullible American citizens to vote for him. I think his candidacy started off as a possible lark that soon snowballed out of control and now Trump is so far over his head he is on the verge of drowning and he had no business running for President. Trump is like a small child demanding praise and attention and if denied reacts as any spoiled young child by throwing tantrums. Somewhere along the line his humility gene got cannibalized by his narcissistic gene and the world got an orange-haired Troglodyte. After he is long gone the Oxford Dictionary will revise the definition of “Conceit” to mean “an individual with Trump-like characteristics” (see Trump).
Trump is also the epitome of vindictiveness with his almost continuous stream of insultingly derogatory Tweets. He is trying to govern the country by “Social Media”. He has, I believe, conned himself into thinking he is a genius and infallible. His pettiness has no bounds and he is determined to destroy every act done by his predecessor and turn the world back 50 years to be remade according to Trump. On the evening news the other day Trump announced in, “Little Havana”, a neighbourhood in Miami, that he was reversing some of the deals made by the previous (Obama) administration with Cuba. In said it was a one sided deal giving Cuba everything and the U.S. nothing. Irregardless of the deal made by anyone else Trump always insists he can do better. Neither he nor the Republicans can get over the fact that Obama, an educated Blackman with class beat them twice in elections and they are out to destroy his legacy.
The latest out of the White House is that he is/is not under investigation for Obstruction of Justice, Neither Trump nor his staff seem able to get their act together and get on the same page. The White House also says that Trump has the legal right to fire the Special Prosecutor appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, but he won’t do it. Maybe he realizes that if he did that he would add more fuel to the fire making it look more and more that something has gone on. Either way if he isn’t impeached or forced to resign soon the world is stuck with the buffoon for 4 years and the fates forbid he gets re-elected.

My Opinion, Politics


It is just over four months since the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. It has been roughly 140 days of chaos, stupidity, lies, and incompetence. To say that Trump is totally unfit for the job is a gross understatement.
I am not an expert on the American Political system but fortunately politicians are the same the world over so with that in mind let me voice a few thoughts on the American Presidency and Political make up of the day.
In the U.S. there is a Republican President a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate in other words the Executive (President) and the Legislative (Congress/Senate) and even the independent Judiciary is Republican dominated. As long as this is the case the hullabaloo over Trump will remain just that a lot of gum beating. Today at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, James Comey the former head of the F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) was the star attraction. The committee questioned Comey about his meetings with Trump prior to being fired by Trump. They are trying to find if Trump obstructed Justice by vaguely suggesting that Comey and the F.B.I. drop their investigation into the former N.S.A. (National Security Advisor) Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and his connection to the Russians, if any. There is proof that the Russians hacked into the Democrat Party E-mail and released a lot of damaging e-mails about the Democrats candidate for President, Hilary Clinton, which interfered with the election process. There is talk about impeachment but that is all it will remain until the Republicans begin to realize that Trump is going to cost them seats in the mid-term elections in 2018 and they could lose their majority in the Congress.
It is known that Trump is a pathological liar yet to about 40% of the American voters he is akin to the second coming as one can get. He is narcissistic, overbearing, spoiled, smug, and 70 going on 13. He is determined that he can make better deals than all his predecessors. He is also obsessed with destroying everything that Obama accomplished. He is a racist and it must gall him to no end that a black man with far more class and intelligence than himself could become President. There are reports that when Trump was told of the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the so called Russian Affair he went ballistic. Personally just form looking at him I can see that. In his arrogant conceit he is going to cause possible irreparable damage between the U.S. and its’ allies.
During his campaign for the Presidency he kept referring to a Deep Vetting process for refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries and an alright ban on people coming from six Muslim States that he maintains aid terrorism. Why didn’t the Republican Party do an in-depth vetting of him. This is twice now that the Republicans have screwed up on checking out candidates. The first was Sarah Palin for vice-President and it didn’t take long for them to realize their mistake with her. Trump is a buffoon and I think every derogatory word in the English language, and a few others, have been used to the point of boring repetitiveness to describe him. In closing it looks like the world is stuck with him for the next four years. That is if the world survives those same four years.