Thoughts while waiting for winter
Reflections during a dismal post-election, pre-Halloween week:
Presumably, and hopefully, blackface will not be part of Halloween costuming this year.
It was when I was a child. The only concern back then was expressed by our mothers. They worried that shoe polish would irritate our skin because the polish contained solvents like naphtha and Turpentine.
Mom insisted on applying a coat of protective cold cream to my face before Dad applied the shoe polish.
Times change. We all move along, often becoming smarter and more sensitive.
Evidence this week that animals tire of being pushed around and hunted. Sometimes they push back.
An Arkansas deer hunter died when a buck he shot and presumed was dead, gored him with its antlers.
The hunter dropped the buck with a muzzle loader, then walked up to check that it was dead. It wasn’t. It got back to its feet and gored the hunter, who died later in hospital.
Meanwhile in Olonets, Russia last week a 660-pound brown bear attacked its trainer during a circus performance. The attack occurred during an act called Clubfoot and the Wheelbarrow in which the trainer forces the bear to stand on its hind legs and push a wheelbarrow.
The bear was not in the mood. It attacked the trainer, pushing him to the floor then climbing on top of him.
Another trainer ran into the ring and began kicking the bear to get it to stop.
Neither the trainer nor the bear was injured.
The trainer later attributed the bear’s attack to its age and joint pain that flares up seasonally. I understand that completely.
Still with critters, there is new research on ants that provides us lessons for avoiding traffic jams.
Researchers built highway systems connecting large ant colonies with small village type colonies. Then they watched ants moving between the places.
There were no ant jams, nor multiple ant crashes. Ant traffic moved steadily without the traffic snarls we humans see on our highways.
The researchers concluded that ants avoid traffic foul-ups by changing their behaviour to meet changing conditions. No individual speeding up and slowing down. No lane changes to get ahead of the guy in front.
The lesson: humans drive in ways that satisfy their individual objectives. Ants travel collectively, co-operating with each other to optimize food collection for their colonies.
The recent federal election brought us some new faces to Parliament and a lot of new talk about separation.
The sovereigntist Bloc Québécois more than tripled its standing in the House of Commons but said it will follow a nationalist agenda. For now. Still it is a party formed to achieve Quebec separation from the rest of Canada.
The election also revived talk of separation in Alberta and Saskatchewan. There’s even a new name for western separation – Wexit, a meme concocted after Britain’s Brexit movement to leave the European Union.
Separation talk, of course, is old hat in Canada. Those of us born and raised in northwestern Ontario lived with the dream of not being governed by provincial powers created and exercised in Toronto the Good.
Toronto and a large chunk of southern Ontario surrounding it grabbed our natural resources and taxes on money earned from our hard work in the pulp and paper and grain elevator industries. Little of it ever came back to us, leaving us like orphans forced to fend for ourselves.
Those industries declined, killing many jobs and the taxes they paid. Toronto the Good did not give up on the northwest as a source of income, however. Now it has sent its gangs, pimps and drug dealers to suck dollars out of northwest Ontario folks, Indigenous people in particular.
Thunder Bay has a booming illegal drug industry and was Canada’s murder capital with almost seven homicides per 100,000 population in 2018.
Despite the federal election mess and Winter whispering “Run hard, I’m almost on top of you,” we Canadians should not feel down. We still have our sense of humour, despite most of our comedians having moved to the United States.
So what if our roads are bumpy messes? It won’t be long before all those unrepaired potholes will be filled with snow. There’s smooth sailing from here on in.