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2017 arrived on a sleigh of smoking turds pulled by the four horseman of biblical fame, and still, we made it to 2018. Don’t ask me how. Last year was a blur. The world reeled, staggering from one shallow foxhole to the next with the various status quo in flames all around.

It reminded me of my favorite scene from that stink bomb of a psycho-drama The Birds.

Crows have just attacked the school, and the adults are huddled in a bar (kinda fitting) discussing a complete and terrifying turn of the table by Mother Nature (well played by the way) as though there was something rational to be found, if they just used their indoor voices, with town drunk – the only rational voice in the room – punctuating the discussion with occasional “It’s the end of the world”.

Is it though? Really? The end of the world.

Probably more reasonable to take our cultural reference cue from REM. It’s the end of the world … as we know it.

Because that happens throughout history, and if we are really ready to be honest, it’s happened more than once in living memory.

Someone on Twitter today had a list of all things that didn’t exist in 2003. On that list was pretty much the entirety of the internet as we use it today. Certainly most of our communication devices. The way we interact socially has been completely altered by social media.

Generation Zed knows nothing about an existence before hand held devices. They’ve literally been born and grown along with them. Our world is basically a teenager entering the end stages of puberty. And that, explains a lot.

So it makes sense that a political and economic world that our great-grandparents would still recognize and feel comfortable with simply can’t adapt. Things are giving way. It’s not like there are other options.

And okay, I will grant that the nuclear code rattling by America and North Korea could maybe sort of bring about an Armageddonish crisis, but I am going to throw caution to the wind and bet on us still being here in a year. What I will not claim is that the world will have settled down much. The current version of Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it won’t transform itself in a couple of years anymore than the last Rome did. Change takes time even when it feels like the exact opposite.

Happy New Year then. Congratulate yourself if you aren’t a Nazi or one of their enablers, yet, and remind yourself that whatever is coming, you are not the only one going through it. Look around your neighborhood, workplace, gym, school, community and find those like-minded, who are out there, and connect a bit more than you currently are. There is safety in numbers, but also laughs, joys and fiendish plots to thwart those bags of dicks who thrive in the chaos of change.

Bring it 2018. If the world could survive 2017, it’s ready for you.


I’ve been watching soap operas on and off for nearly the length of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of me hiding behind the sofa – instead of napping – while Mom folded laundry and watched As The World Turns.

Since leaving the US, I haven’t watched soaps much, and most of those I have caught up with now and again are long gone anyway. Occasionally though I catch a glimpse on YouTube, and sometimes, it’s intriguing enough for me to watch for a little while. I like seeing the grown up versions of characters who were infants or toddlers on shows I was watching while I was in high school or university. It’s like catching up with old neighbors, classmates, or the people you worked those crappy service work jobs with when you were in school.

Recently, a show I was addicted to when I was in high school had a character come back from the dead. I love that about soap operas. No one is ever dead until the writers are ready for them to be dead, and even then – it’s still negotiable.

The character in question was little more than a plot device decades ago. The accidental offspring of an affair that evolved into a messy divorce slash murder mystery. The exact details are fuzzy, but the child was eventually packed off to boarding school not to return until he was a more useful teenager.

The actor who played this love child – turned annoying teen, who eventually morphed into a mobster –  left the show a few years back but has returned of late. The character he played had been recast but that’s never a problem in soap land.

Sometimes writers create an elaborate imposter story line to cover the plot holes, but my favorite plot device when these issues arise is the long-lost twin.

I only bring this up because of the twist. The twins in question are in love with/and/or married to and have a child each by the same woman.

That’s strangely more real life these days than when I was a teenage soap opera viewer.

And why would this interest me? Well, back in my widowed message board days, the subject of “what would you do if your dead spouse showed up alive and well on your doorstep” often came up. They don’t call it magical thinking for no reason.

As I’ve caught this and that YouTube episode, I have noted the fans responding to the dilemma faced by the widow/wife, who finds herself with a not-so-dead husband and married to a man she’s just discovered is his long-lost twin. And nearly every single comment was “well, why doesn’t she just admit that she loves not-dead husband and go back to him? They are soul-mates, dammit!”

I’ll save my disdain for soul-mates for another day, but my reaction has been to chuckle and hold fingers back from the keyboard.

I know exactly why the writers leave her with her now husband.

Time travel isn’t a thing.

We live in a forward trajectory. All of us. Though I know everyone can think of at least one person they know who seems frozen in the past that’s simply not how life works.

Once a moment is lived, it’s past. It’s a memory. Memories can capture and hold us like Narcissus’s reflection held him, but they can’t be lived again or even recreated.

My first husband has been physically dead for almost a dozen years. A side effect of his illness caused him to develop dementia early on, and so my reality is that I lost him three years before he died.

It’s been so long ago that I can’t clearly remember his voice, laugh, or conversations that we had before he got sick. All that’s left are some plans that never left the drawing board and a tiny tot who is nearly out of high school now, and who he never had a chance to parent at all anyway.

If he were to show up on my doorstep would I even let him in is the better question. But trade ten years of marriage? A life that I love so much every other time of my life comes in a distant third to it. Swap the present for a past?

No.

No one would. And if they would, they might want to ask themselves, why aren’t they actively searching for a better life already? Because that’s the only time people look backward longingly, when they aren’t happy right now.

I do understand the appeal of stories like these. Humans are such “what if” creatures. As Yoda said, never our minds on where we are or what we are doing. Grounding ourselves more in what’s going on around us is really how happiness and contentment are found. I think Buddha said something to that effect too or maybe it was Jesus. My Catholic school and yoga training really do overlap sometimes.

But I do love me some back from the dead to find his long-lost twin was brainwashed and living his life. Corny 1980’s soap drama never goes out of style. Just like people’s wrong-headed notions about love it seems. Not completely.


Looming year’s end inspires journalists and politicians alike to sit down and spin a bit.

Rick Bell of the Edmonton Sun and Jason Kenney, the newly minted MLA from Calgary-Lougheed and leader of the fledgling United Conservative Party had one of those new year chats lately and, per tradition, it wasn’t terribly enlightening.

The main topic wasn’t even as surprising as it was just sad.

Of course, I am talking about bozos.

Yes, in Canada, politicians and pundits spend a good deal of time pondering the existence and continuing national nightmare of the bozo candidate, who more often than they should, become elected officials.

It’s a serious enough issue that I factor it in when contemplating who I want to see wind up as Premier or Prime Minister because, in my opinion, a leader’s ability or not to manage their benches directly correlates to how often I will have to judge them harshly and/or worry about the safety of my children’s future.

Faux pas nightmares walking among us is just a fact, but that others unite to give them platforms and power to cast an inky Mordorish shadow on far too many communities is a puzzlement. We should be marching and GoFunding to prevent these horrors from occurring, but as Jason Kenney admits to Bell, the onus of prevention truly falls most heavily on political parties and their leaders.

Bozos should simply never become candidates, according to Jason Kenney. It’s his new mission as UCP leader to make sure the Lake of Fire is doused.

It’s a good New Year’s resolution too because bozo’ng is almost a sport for the current crop of farther to the right than not conservatives in the Alberta legislature.

A few examples of extreme bozo’ng this year include MLAs who’ve compared social democracy to holocausts, held up murderous dictators as examples of good government and accused members of the majority holding NDP government of … eating dogs. And that’s just what they stood up and blurted out for the Hansard.

The Bozo gold medalist of 2017, an MLA who’s Libertarian views would comfortably cozy up like a fat purring cat in any southern state in America, has this year’s hat trick. He rented out his taxpayer subsidized apartment on Air BnB, was recently convicted of a hit and run in a parking lot, and topped both those incidents when game wardens caught him hunting on private property just days before being convicted of said hit and run. For all Jason’s talk about “vigorous vetting”, this guy is still in the running.

Vigorous vetting, as far as can be discerned, consists mainly of “are you fiscally conservative enough for us to overlook your numerous personal failings”? Most of the time, the answer appears to be yes.

Kenney’s current House Leader in the legislature is a good example of the lengths to which the party must go to “overlook”.

Jason Nixon, who represents Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, was discovered to have fired a female employee after she reported being sexually harassed on a job site. This only came to light during a debate on a bill that would strengthen protections for women in the workplace. Something Nixon feels is best left to businesses to decide for themselves, which in retrospect isn’t much of a surprise because as a businessman, he decided to fire a single mother of three – days before Christmas – rather than set straight the man who sexually harassed her.

As most men do these days, Nixon gave a tepid apology along the lines of “I was young. It was a different time. Of course I wouldn’t do that now because people get upset about it now, and that’s inconvenient for me. Blah. Blah. Blah.” And then he quickly entered the man poorly explaining witness protection program also known as blocking all his critics on Twitter.

Mr. Kenney’s response was to stand by his man.

So much for vetting.

Finally, it being an end of the year confab and all, it included the obligatory holiday cheer stuff. Jason’s consisted of throwing a fuel soaked yule log into the outrage flames of a conservative holiday tradition.

“The problem is people on the left think saying Merry Christmas is hateful. Those voices of crazed political correctness will not govern what is allowed.”

Ah, the war on Christmas. What would Christmas be without a war?

So, god bless us, everyone because I don’t think I need to point out that Jason’s holiday message to Albertans , as much as anything, qualifies as a Bozo moment.