Posts Tagged With: consumerism

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

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Categories: Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My own meandering experience.

Dear Readers, those of you who are still with me, I sincerely regret my absence from my own blog of late. I have no explanation other than Life sometimes gets in the way of what you really want to do and so now, after re-reading some posts of other bloggers’, I realize that I, too, must jump back in the fray if I am to do what I really want to do and that is, simply, to write.

On the other hand, the time I have been away has allowed me to make several observations as well as to learn a few things along the way. The following is a potpourri of sorts of these revelations which seem obvious when written down, but were quite eye-opening when they first occurred to me:

Finding Joy and, more importantly, allowing Joy to find You:

I don’t keep a large circle of friends and I will openly admit that I frequently assess and evaluate the need for certain people in my life. Occasionally, these needs fall short and I am forced, for want of a better term, to trim the fat. This isn’t done out of hate for the person I’ve cut adrift, but more for the sake of my own soul. I am tenaciously and sometimes terrifyingly protective of those that I love, including my own soul. If there is someone in my life who no longer promotes a positive element in my life, then my soul is not being nurtured in the way that it must and so, sometimes regrettably, sometimes with great difficulty, a person has to leave. This is obviously a bittersweet process, but a necessary one just the same. The upside is that having made some room in my life, I have opened the door to other people whom I might never have met, and who have filled those holes in my life with their positivity and creativity and lovely souls. I hope I do the same for them.

Value what you have and stop yearning for what you don’t:

We all occasionally fall prey to the Quest for the Material. This could be items such as new furniture, a new TV, a new car, a new outfit, a new Whatever. We all need Things from time to time, but sometimes that quest to obtain becomes all too engrossing. A recent death in our family, of a not-so-close relative, has allowed me to observe that a person can spend their entire lives accumulating but have very little of true value. This person was for all intents and purposes a recluse. This rendered him a decease hoarder with a bunch of people who rarely gave him the time of day during his lifetime now attempting to, well, hoard his hoard. Again, it is not in tribute of the man or his life or his contribution to their family or society in general that they want his stuff. It is simply that they want his stuff. I pray this is not the legacy I leave when I leave this life.

Accept the faults in others as they evidently accept the faults in you:

There are none of us perfect, and far too few of us try. And this is all right. Harkening back to my first revelation above, keep those who nurture your soul with you, warts and all. While they may not be perfect, they do make a positive contribution to your life and clearly mean well. I butt heads occasionally with those closest to me, but they have a permanent place within the House of Lisa. I just hope I don’t screw it up.

Like Minds:

There are those who say opposites attract. Sometimes they do. My own experience has been, however, that like minds open up your mind and soul to things beyond your own reckoning because they give you a starting point, and then open the door to things you may not have considered yourself. Again, try to do the same in return for those lovely souls who share so much in common with your own, for these people are few and far between. Over the past few months, I have met two people in particular who share such similar interests as I, but the collaboration of ideas and creativity which flows through each of us has grown exponentially as a result.

Take note of where you’ve been, to know where you’re going:

My trip to Scotland last year left me with one thing: the visceral need to return. During my first visit, I learned so much about myself simply by observing the people who live in the place from whence my family came, as well as learning about the people who have lived there over the past several hundred years. I saw similar physical characteristics, personality traits and most importantly to me, similar glints in their eyes as we both looked at the same things and had the same reactions to what we saw. We all take this for granted, particularly if we have lived in the same place all our lives. I have had the benefit of living in many different places across North America and I can tell you firsthand that not all senses of humour, for example, are created equal. This is easily explained since certain regions are made up of certain ethnic groups which share a common thread of thinking and perceptions. But what if you’re the outsider looking in? How do you fit in? Can you ever truly fit in? Not being much of a “joiner” myself, I prefer to observe these conditions before making my move, as it were, and so I have learned through this process that there are places where I am meant to belong, and places I am meant to not. I am not personally affronted by this, but it was heartening to be in two places on this planet where I evidently fit in so seamlessly and that is a true comfort I value beyond the measure of any material good which might take its place.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts for now, but I will undoubtedly share similar observations with you in the future. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave your comments and observations of your own. Slainte mhath!

Categories: Random Crap, self acceptance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Epic Hypocrisy

I recently “got into it” a little bit on Facebook and at work with some Baby Boomer friends and coworkers, and their misguided and unequivocal defence of old people based simply on the fact that old people are, well, old.  That’s on par with liking 80s music based simply on that music having come from the 80s.  I came from the 80s, trust me, not all that music was gold.  But before we start lauding the merits of past generations, perhaps we could do with a bit of history.  For instance, it’s alarming to me that many people currently in their 20s never heard about Apartheid or, for that matter, Live Aid.  Perhaps it’s a good thing that they have not had to endure the horrific images or have the awful stories emblazoned in their minds as my generation was forced to, but at the same time, Knowledge is Power.  I am not saying that it’s your best interests to age-discriminate (though I have found it pretty effective for myself), but I do think you should consider and question the information which is being dispensed and not simply take it at face value because the dispenser happens to be over a certain age and appears authoritative on the subject.  I invite you to verify the information which I supply as well.  Fair is fair, after all.  Not only that, but think how this ‘oldie’ is able to widely communicate and transmit this email.  Yeah.

Therefore, I am putting forth some factoids to go along with this obnoxious email which has been circulating:

The Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags

[Plastic bags first came into common usage in the early 1950s.]

weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young lady clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. YOUR generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles

[They stopped using recycled milk bottles (primarily delivered by filthy two-stroke diesels – cough cough) because in many regions the milk would freeze, popping off the caps and thus spoiling the milk.  Also, there were several injuries associate with people drinking from milk bottles which were cracked, some people ingesting broken bits of glass in the process, thus prompting the usage of plastic bottles which were “unbreakable” (but loaded with BPAs, no doubt) and since plastic was also more flexible, it stood the rigors of freezing slightly better than glass.  By 1950, milk cartons (originally invented in 1915) were being produced by one company (Van Wormer’s) at the rate of 20,000,000 (yes, TWENTY MILLION) per day.]

to the store.

[The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled all of which required the usage of power, generated by burning coal or dammed-up waterways generating hydroelectricity, so it could use the same bottles over and over.]

So they really were recycled.

[No, idiot, they were RE-USED.  Difference.]

We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs

[uphill both ways I’ll bet],

because we didn’t have an escalator

[Escalators go back to the nineteenth century, many of which were steam-powered thanks to the widespread use of coal burning to generate power.] 

in every store and office building.

We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine

[Many personal-use vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s well exceeded the 300-horsepower mark.  Race cars developed during that time, on which many personal-use vehicles of that same era were based, exceeded 500-horsepower.]

every time we had to go two blocks.

She was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.

[The commonly-used disposable diaper was invented by Marion Donovan in 1950.  No doubt thanks to the plastic bags which were invented in the early part of the twentieth century.] 

We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts

[The first electric clothes dryer featured a glass window and was invented in 1940.  Much of the electricity used to power such a machine was created by burning coal, etc.  COUGH. COUGH.]

— wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

[And they looked like idiots as a result.  I was one of them. so I have first-hand knowledge of this.]

That young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, In the 20s and 30s,

[John Logie Baird of Scotland was a pioneer in television broadcast.  Television became immensely popular in households across North America in particular – owing the prosperity of the country following World War II – and featured much larger screens than is a cloth napkin.  Many of them had the added bonus of emitting radioactive waves, and were immensely heavy and cumbersome.  And you oldies LOOOOOVE tuning in every night at 5, 6, 10 and 11 pm for the day’s events, don’t you?]

or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

[More like Texas, actually.  Bigger is better, right?]

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines

[The first electric stand mixer by Sunbeam was produced in 1952, outdoing Kitchenaid’s prior mixer in performance and price.]

to do everything for us.

[Oh, but I thought your generation liked to have everything done for you.  Isn’t that where valet services came from?] 

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap

[In 1937, Dow Chemical produced the first commercial application of polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam.  1957 brought the world bubble wrap.]

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.

[Gasoline-powered lawn mowers were first manufactured in 1919.  Kerosene and other fossil-fuel powered mowers go back into the 19th Century.]

We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

[Electric-powered treadmills, also 1952.]

Yes she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain

[Up till the late 19th Century, water fountains were powered SOLELY by gravity.  The advent of electricity changed all that and the electric-powered public drinking fountains which came to be after that invention did away with most of the gravity-fed fountains.  Many of the electric-powered water fountains also employed decorative lights (no doubt to bring attention to the fact that there was a fountain with lights), which also used electricity, thus increasing the power consumption of a fountain which was running beautifully prior to these inventions strictly on gravity.]

when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle

[Plastic bottles saw their first widespread use as early as 1947.]

every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled our writing pens

[Disposable writing pens, as those invented by Bic, came out between 1949 and 1950.]

with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades

[Disposable razor blades and razors were being produced and widely consumed as early as 1903.  The widespread use of plastic increased the manufacture and consumption of disposable razors commencing in the 1950s.  As an aside, electric shavers were first patented in 1928.  Where’d you get the electricity to power the razor, Genius?  Same place as that beloved standing kitchen mixer – you guessed it, dirty, filthy, burning COAL. in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. I guess Tetanus was something “back then” that you could just shrug off, eh? Razor burn from using the same razor for 20 years couldn’t have been all that ‘sexy’ but it sure explains the beards, moustachioes and mutton chops from that bygone era.]

Yes, we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar

[The first cable car, or streetcar if you prefer, was patented in 1871.  Powered by electricity.  Electricity which was generated through burning coal, or damming rivers for hydroelectricity.]

or a bus

[GM Truck & Coach division were the first to produce the widely used model of transit buses we see to this very day.  There was no “clean diesel” or emission controls in 1943, either.  Just.  Sayin.]

and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet

[First standard plug electrical socket was patented in 1904.  Most today are made from plastic.  Huh.]

in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized

[The first freely programmable computer was invented in 1937.  IBM started producing theirs in 1953.  Suck on that, Steve Jobs.  (Too soon?)]

gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites

[October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space.  For the invention of television, see above to see how this supposedly pioneer event of the satellite was bastardized by consumerism.]

2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

[Joe’s Tomato Pies, also known as the first pizza joint EVER in the USA, first opened its doors in 1910.  Betcha he coulda used some “electrical outlets”, “a dozen appliances” and some “computerized gadgets.”]

Isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

[Yes.  Yes. It. Is.]

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies? | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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