Posted by: Dave Neads | October 30, 2008

I Need A Holiday

I need a holiday.  I can always tell when my perspective starts to  get too jaded, too sharp to be useful.

For example, this morning listening to the news, I caught a piece about carving pumpkins.  Now, in the “old days”, we just got a paring knife, some common sense, a  lot of imagination and we started in on the project.

Not now.  Now we are advised to go to the store and buy a pumpkin carving kit.  You got it–a pumpkin carving kit.  No longer the purview of the family realm, we need to buy something from the supermarket, get instructions and be protected.

The next piece was even better.  If you have fireworks on the sacred All Hallow’s Day, then first you need a permit; not just to have the fireworks, but you must also  purchase them from an accredited supplier.  If the police or patrolling firemen see you with fireworks that are unauthorized or if you don’t have a permit, fines, and possibly jail time are  in the offing.

All of these measures are in place, be assured fellow citizen, for your safety and health.  After all, the system–Big Brother–is just taking care of you, so don’t fret.

But then, just a minute.  I go on the web and see that Exxon has “smashed” its previous record quarterly profits, earning over 30 billion in profits this quarter, making it the richest company in U.S. History

Then I think about the pollution from oil, things like the tar sands, which is the most polluting oil development on the planet.   I think about the millions and millions of people who are put at risk, who will suffer from pollution of the oil business, and I wonder: “Where is the public safety concern here?”.  Why are not the police, the firemen, the keepers of the public well being and safety not going after these people?  The people who can and do cause so much harm?

You better not send up fireworks with out a permit, but you can destroy whole ecosystems and spew record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere with impunity, all with the blessing of the fireworks control government.  Huh?

We all know the world is insane, but sometimes the full weight of it smothers my mind, makes it impossible to find the energy for action.

Thus the need for a holiday.  And the ultimate irony?  I’m flying to New Zealand.  Yep.  The  most polluting form of travel yet devised, here I am making full use of it. I’m going to drink fine wine while suspended 35,000 feet in the air moving at 565 miles per hour over the biggest ocean on the globe.  This is beyond science fiction, this is truly surreal.

I may or may not post from down under, we’ll see, but one thing for sure – I need a holiday, or as they say in the business, “I’m on leave…” (back in the office January 5)


  1. You’ve been working really hard Dave, so I hope that you have a wonderful holiday and return refreshed in mind and spirit.

    hugs to you both! Dona

  2. Oh, come now, Dave!
    You know full well that only those billion dollar companies are run by smart people while the general population of Earth must be protected from its own stupidity? They wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize our safety, but we’re much too ignorant to protect ourselves. Right?
    Yes, I’m joking!
    Have you ever heard that skit by Bill Cosby about how things used to be when we were kids and that we should all be dead acording to the present safety rules? He hits it right on the head.
    Have a great vacation – rest up well.

  3. When I was growing up in Montreal West, the local council forbid the stores in the town to sell fireworks. Just a 5-minute bike ride away, the shops in the town of Ville Saint-Pierre were pleased to sell us fireworks. (Do you remember what a large firecracker would do to an overturned flowerpot?)

    It is easy for our local government to make small and ineffectual tweaks to the system. I’d love to do a rant about the useless nature of our civic and municipal administrations due to being just a junior level of government, and under the thumb of our Provinces. (Do we even need our Provincial governments? These are more expensive and more dangerous than the Federal upper house. Time to get out the eraser.)

    So, what government is in a position to throttle an international corporate entity with the power of Exxon?

    We (humans) are now the stewards of this planet, whether we like it or not. We are in the driver’s seat. Changing the regulations about the use of municipal fireworks is like changing the fm station on the radio when the engine is clearly coughing and sputtering. The trouble is that the folks we hire (elect) to drive are willing to talk to the other passengers, but they don’t really know anything about the mechanics of this vehicle. Who does? And they are not willing to consider the precautionary principle when it might interrupt the flow of taxes from those corporate entities, or cause the employees to lose their jobs (and then decide the don’t like the driver). Besides, no one stays in that driver’s seat for very long so the consequences of poor driving will accrue to someone else. Oh sure, our politicians consult with experts. Those are usually economists. They are like passengers in the back seat saying, “It seems to be running a bit rough. I suggest you try driving in a lower gear. On the other hand…”

    I’ll be thinking of you in New Zealand during our Dark Season. Best wishes. While on vacation be sure to turn off your cell phone. 😉

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