Giving Thanks

<Oct. 30/18>


What a stunner of a day!! 🙂🙂🙂

Oct. 30 Lake Ont beach scene.JPG

Canadian Thanksgiving is behind us, the U.S. one lies ahead.

This morning on my walk, on this stunner of a day, I mused on how thankful I am to my father for two simply huge gifts he bequeathed to his (4) children.

The first was utterly inadvertent.

The man was soooo obsessed with money, his life became a classic “dog with pork chop” story:

A dog is standing at the side of a river with a pork chop in his mouth. He looks into the water & sees there a dog with a pork chop in its mouth.

(Of course, it is only the dog’s own reflection he is seeing, but he mistakes it for another dog.)

He badly wants that other dog’s pork chop, so he drops his own in order to grab the other dog’s. In doing so, of course, he loses his own.

At the start, he had a pork chop. Soon, he has nothing at all.

My father lusted for money so much, so long, so relentlessly, it’s clear the concept of “enough” was simply not part of his psyche. Not part of his wheelhouse, as they say.

The lesson this taught me & my siblings was, “Don’t go down that path!” It taught us to not be obsessed by greed & the more-more-more disease.

What a gift! 🙂🙂🙂


The 2nd biggie:

From television’s earliest days (early to mid-1950s?), Dad declared war on advertising. He hated TV ads with an unbelievably fierce passion.

He hated them so much, he built what he called a “blab-off” (using directions or a kit from the Mechanics Illustrated magazine, apparently), & insisted vehemently on its use. We didn’t watch TV much (there were rules about that, & that’s another story – & another thing I am grateful to my father for, come to think of it!), & when we did? If Dad was around? No. Ads. (Remember, this was decades before VCRs & DVDs & mute buttons & remotes, or any of that.)

Dad’s deep disdain for advertising, clearly lodged very deeply in me – another life-long gift for which I remain ever-grateful.

So hey,

Thanks, George!


p.s. I am also grateful to my father for teaching me to appreciate classical music. I simply adore the music of Chopin. This compilation is helping keep me semi-sane lately. [this p.s. added in July 2019]

p.p.s. & yes, there was plenty of pretty over-the-top dysfunctional stuff that went on in my childhood. All that had its impacts, too, of course. But these big gifts? Like I said, huge…

p.p.p.s. deliberately cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” can sure make a difference to your life! Lots of postings & quotes about gratitude here.


This posting provides links for a # of topics I've written about more than once over the years. Handy for me to have these items in one easy-to-find location...

Please note: some of the links in old postings still work (I've done a little bit of work on that), but most do not. Apologies for the inconvenience! (It IS hugely inconvenient, believe me, I know!)

On May 14/19 I observe this: Sometimes I’ve included the dates of the old postings. Sometimes I haven’t. Sometimes the old stuff is up top, sometimes it’s ordered the opposite way. What can I say? I am messy. Walt Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”






  • Courage, Apathy & Evil <March 28/10>

  • Innocence & Evil (Apathy too) <Jan. 12/11>

  • Why I am an eco-terrorist (not) <Nov. 21/13>

  • A comment in a posting of mine from 2011: "Our species faces an awfully daunting number & variety of seriously mind-boggling, stubborn challenges. I was once asked what I considered the biggest environmental problem in Durham Region (the municipality east of Toronto, Ontario), where I was then living. I could have said air pollution (very high rates of asthma in Durham Region). I could have said climate change (not too many people were talking about climate change at that time, though). I could have said nuclear issues (2 huge nuke plants in Durham Region, right beside Lake Ontario, & Lake Ontario a dumping ground for tritium, although I was not tuned in on that at the time…). Or pesticides, an issue on which I did considerable work back then.

    What I actually replied was, Apathy."


Belonging, Boxes & Circles


Canoe Trips

I did quite a # of postings about canoe trips on my original blog site, over the years. I pulled a lot of them together & put them in a collection in this posting, last year.

Camping is the answer.jpg

Cheery Posts

** I’m adding this new section in early July 2019. These short postings have cheered me up, & with the world increasingly just plain off-the-rails-batshit insane 🙁, a quick cheer-up is a good thing! 🙂


Note: You can see postings about Chernobyl’s subsequent anniversaries here: 2017, 2018, 2019.


The posting Christmas 2016 has links to some of my Christmas postings over the years.

Climate Crisis

is discussed mostly in the NTE (Near-Term Extinction) section, below. There is a very small collection of climate change quotations, here.

Control Freaks

Meditation on Control.JPG


A whack of postings & great quotations here 



Great recent item by DJ here: ‘   Climate Crisis Forces Us to Ask: To What Do We Devote Ourselves?’    &lt;May 6/19&gt;
I captured this image, from Facebook, likely. I like it because it illustrates so well that grief is not “neat.” It’s messy. It does NOT run in a nice, straight line or conform to anyone’s very precise little theories.

I captured this image, from Facebook, likely. I like it because it illustrates so well that grief is not “neat.” It’s messy. It does NOT run in a nice, straight line or conform to anyone’s very precise little theories.


*  This is from near the end of Dahr Jamail’s March 2018 lecture ‘   Update on the State of the Planet: How Then Shall We Live?   ’

* This is from near the end of Dahr Jamail’s March 2018 lecture ‘Update on the State of the Planet: How Then Shall We Live?

Humour ('cos we all need a laugh now & again, hmmmm???)


** I have not kept up on the lead issue. Most of my work on this issue was in 2011; but since 2010 I've spent most of my learning/activism energy/efforts focused on nuclear issues. p.s. on Nov. 27/18. I recommend that you see Michael Moore’s latest film, Fahrenheit 11/9 if you’d like to get a good take on the lead scandal in Flint, Michigan. Holy crap, what a tale.

“The inordinately stupid & irresponsible handling of lead by our society is undoubtedly one of the worst of societal crimes, with the greatest injury & hence injustice concentrating in the ghetto, on the poor.” – Dr. John W. Gofman, MD, PhD, in "Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power

“Lead moves us down the stupid scale & doesn’t let us come back.” – Stephen Collette, environmental building consultant & certified building biologist



 ** One of the most helpful, now, I find: “I don’t have to figure that out right now.”


** motherhood-related quotations here


Near-term Extinction, or NTE

** Note: once you’ve become convinced our species is toast, as they say, pretty much everything you write is tinged with that awareness. So ... many postings not listed above are also coloured by this (for me) inescapable truth. Also, I keep stumbling upon old NTE-related postings I'd neglected to add in here, & adding them. The list groweth endlessly!?

** Several useful items about dealing with the current human situation:


There was simply a ton of nuke material on my old, original blog site … & really nicely organized, too... but it all became utterly scattered & disorganized in the switch-over to this spot. Sigh. My (amazing!!) collection of nuke-related quotes is here. An even finer collection of nuke-related quotes can be found at this location (there is quite a bit of other good stuff on that site as well).






Men Don’t Apologize



Men who pooh-pooh, patronize & pontificate


#Metoo(2) #PatriarchySucks

** Here's what Jane Fonda said, a couple months back, about patriarchy: “The patriarchy is a wounded beast. And nothing is more dangerous than a wounded beast."



World run by psychopaths.jpg



Quotation Central is a whole separate section on the blog. Tons of great quotations, in many-many categories. Always more collections I want to compile; never quite enough hours in the day!


Recently harvested quotation about religion: “Jesus preached the most pared-down, dirt-simple kind of truth, and then a bunch of theoretical thinkers messed with it and turned his words into a religion with rules and punishments and things to memorize and get dressed up for. Same with other saints and prophets from every religion – their words are basic, but we humans go through all sorts of convoluted maneuvers to metabolize their wisdom.” – Elizabeth Lesser in Marrow – Love, Loss, and What Matters Most (an utterly memorable, helpful, WONDERFUL book).

Soup Recipes (&, well, pesto 🙂)


Vaccine posts are listed nice & neatly, over on the right-hand side of the blog's main page. There are more than 30 of them, now. One of my favourites is the Miscellany posting. It's here Vaccines: Miscellany, A - ZBut I'm fond of them all. So much work has gone into them!? ** I’ve added a page of vaccine quotes. The Flu Shots posting has tons of good info, as has the Measles Resources posting. ** Another new favourite? 30 Things you may not know about vaccines. Oh, & Vaccination: Dissenting Doctors Have Their Say.


Posts & quotes related to walking are found here.


A few old favourites...

** Remember: sadly, internal links have gone dead in these old postings... Some have been repaired, but most have not. This list has been arranged alphabetically, not chronologically. Some of these items are OLD!!

RELAX - nothing is under control.jpg
Awesome photo from Sandy Thurlow. .jpg

What does it MEAN??

<drafted Aug. 17/17.>

My father, a Canadian bomber pilot during World War II, took part in the fire-bombing of the German city of Dresden, in February 1945.

I have a copy of his flight log. He seems to have found the Dresden bombing mission a very successful one. I’m so flabbergasted by his comment beside the entry for that mission that I won't repeat it here, publicly. (Needless to say, I’m utterly unable to even begin to get inside the mind of my father at that time. He was 28 then, with many-many bombing missions already under his belt. Unknown territory (for me), to put it very mildly indeed.)


I’ve just finished re-reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five, a “novel” published in 1968. Vonnegut titled it Slaughter-House Five or The Children’s Crusade – A Duty-Dance with Death, and it’s an unusual book, full of details from his own experiences along with some fantastical, “science-fiction”-y aspects as well.

Vonnegut, the man himself, was in Dresden on that fateful February 1945 night when the horrific fire-bombing took place. He & his fellow 100 or so American prisoners of war survived the inferno. They were housed in “Schlacthof-fünf” – a meat locker, basically – and survived the massacre, while 130,000 residents (one sees varying figures of the number of people killed) of the (truly stunningly beautiful and utterly non-military) city of Dresden – nicknamed the “Florence on the Elbe” – were incinerated, and the city burned to smithereens.

As it happens, I visited the city of Dresden as a tourist, in 2005. (This was my 2nd trip to Germany, the first having taken place in 1971, mostly to Berlin – i.e., when the Berlin Wall was still solidly intact and Dresden very much “behind” it, embedded in East Germany. Quite a trip it was for young, naïve me, going into East Germany in ‘71 … seeing the Wall, & Checkpoint Charlie, & soldiers, & German shepherds being trained, and all of that. Severely unsmiling uniformed guards checking one’s passport, every time one passed through the Wall in car, train or S-bahn. All a lifetime ago, now, hmmmm? I cannot merely not get a handle on who my father was back when he was dropping bombs on Germany, I can’t even recall who I was back in 1971, that was so many lifetimes ago now!)

When I visited Dresden in 2005, I didn’t know that my father had taken part in the bombing of the city (the flight log had not yet fallen into my hands).

“So it goes,” as Kurt Vonnegut might say.

((Parenthetically, I’ve been a huge KV fan ever since the early 1970s, my university years. Welcome to the Monkey House – a collection of his short stories published in 1970 – was my introduction to his work. By a stroke of great fortune, when my marriage busted up & our joint property had to be divided, I got possession of the Vonnegut books. I remain very grateful for that!))


I have a relative who was born in East Germany, prior to that east-west carving up that took place after World War II, and who left in a rush, shall we say... (& one who lives in Bavaria now). A friend whose father was part of the Nazi war machine. Another friend whose family were part of the Holocaust – some of whom survived, obviously, while so many others did not. And yet another friend who survived the bombing of the city of Dresden; she was then a toddler, in the city with her mother and grandmother, having left Estonia on the run from the Russians.

I’ve asked myself, “What does this all mean?”

I remember too going on a boat ride in Florida in 2008. This was to scatter the ashes of a friend’s partner, who had recently died of cancer. The fellow who took us out on the boat was Dieter, & he was from Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf was another city my father had bombed. At that point, in 2008, it was the only city I was aware of that my father had bombed. (He never spoke of the war, or at least not to us kids, or at least, not to me, the youngest of the four of us. Just a mention one time that he had bombed Düsseldorf.)

Dieter from Düsseldorf.

What does it all mean?

Well, it’s pretty obvious that one lesson you can take from these various threads is that in one quick generation, you can go from bombing the crap out of things (and people) to rather more peaceful modes of living/running the planet.

I’ve often said to people that I sure hope they won’t judge me on the basis of who my father was. Besides having bombed a shitload of German cities – & their inhabitants – during World War II – he was just not a really great guy, shall we just succinctly say. Even before the war. But never mind…

A lot can change, hmmm? The veneer of civilization, I like to say, is very very thin. This cuts both ways, of course. We may soon see some pretty graphic evidence of this, if we are not already convinced.

For sure, we humans are meaning-making machines. This was pointed out to me in some personal growth experience I took part in once (not sure now which one, though I suspect it was the Landmark Forum).

We certainly do seem very inclined to draw meaning from things – and luckily, some of us sometimes turn these meanings in a positive direction. (Viktor Frankl, a survivor of Nazi death camps, knew and wrote much about the phenomenon & importance of meaning.)

So. I’m not really sure if my having connections with people from these wildly varying threads of the World War II ball of yarn means … well, much of anything, really.

It’s hard to say we human beings (or human doings, as some like to call us), and our raucous goings-on here on Planet Earth “mean” a durn thing!

As Kurt Vonnegut had a character in Slaughter-House Five say,

“Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

Vonnegut on amber of the moment.jpg


p.s. KV says plenty of other wise, insightful & even hilarious things in his novels and collections of essays. You could do worse than picking up A Man Without a Country, a collection of his essays published in 2005 – it’s brimming with brilliance (& simply hordes of quotable quotes). Wampeters Foma and Granfallons is another simply awesome collection of his essays. The man really understood American history, politics & culture (or lack of same), and remember, he was predicting its disastrous consequences decades & decades & decades ago.

His last speech can be found here.

p.p.s. 3 key things KV often emphasized (beyond the disastrous, homicidal culture & politics of the United States of America):

We humans need & crave connection. Our loss of extended family has been a disaster for us both as individuals & as a society.

We need to make sure we say often “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” In other words, we need to be actively grateful for the good in our lives.

The importance of the arts. He said ““The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.”

& at greater length:

“If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” (from Chapter 3 of A Man without a Country)

p.p.p.s. so much more I could say about so many of the threads in this musing, hmmm? Tip of the iceberg here, really, hmmmm? But then, we’re all holding so much more, below the surface. #Icebergs Are We!

Vonnegut quotes (a mere few… He said a thousand memorable things, at least…)

“Let us face it: an Earthling’s sense of humor and fascination with sex makes it impossible for him or her to concentrate seriously on anything, even his or her survival, for more than an hour at a time.” – Kurt Vonnegut in a speech in 1972

“Anarchists are people who believe with all their hearts that governments are enemies of their own people.” – character in Kurt Vonnegut novel Jailbird

“I asked Mark a while back what life was all about since I didn’t have a clue. He said, “Dad, we’re here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” Whatever it is. Whatever it is! Not bad. That one could be a keeper. And how should we behave during this apocalypse? We should be unusually kind to one another certainly, but we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot. And get a dog if you don’t already have one. I myself just got a dog. It’s a new cross-breed. It’s half French poodle and half Chinese shitzu. It’s a “shit poo.” And I thank you for your attention. And I am out of here.” (from his last speech, here)

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut (quoted in A Man Without a Country)

“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” – a line KV learned to appreciate, & repeat, thanks to his Uncle Alex (from Chapter 12 of A Man Without a Country)

“But I replied that what made being alive almost worthwhile for me, besides music, was all the saints I met, who could be anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.” (from Chapter 9 of A Man Without a Country)

“We are killing this planet as a life-support system with the poisons from all the thermodynamic whoopee we’re making with atomic energy and fossil fuels, and everybody knows it, and practically nobody cares.” (from Chapter 11 of A Man Without a Country)

“We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.” – KV in A Man Without a Country

“…the most abused, addictive, and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.

We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.”

“…our close cousins the gorillas and orangs and chimps and gibbon apes have gotten along just fine all this time while eating raw vegetable matter, whereas we not only prepare hot meals but have now all but destroyed this once salubrious planet as a life-support system in fewer than two hundred years, mainly by making thermodynamic whoopee with fossil fuels.” <A Man Without a Country, pages 42-43>


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