For sale: one vote (redux)

Note: Clara pointed out that it was difficult to find the reblogged content, so this is another shot at telling the same story.

I wrote this for the Whitehorse municipal election in 2012, but, with 23 candidates for council and 3 for mayor this time around, maybe it could bear repeating. I actually, unlike last time around,

Note that the election this year is October 15th… four days before the federal election.


So here are some hints for those who want to get voted in. Note that this probably applies for all elections. A political campaign is a job interview of sorts and the electorate’s only way to choose the right person for the job is the platform put forward by the candidate. So, when expressing your platform:

1. If you intend to deal with an issue, explain how you intend to fix it in detail. Everyone loves kittens, rainbows and unicorns, but general campaign promises without details are usually best moved to the field with a backhoe to make next year’s crop grow that much better. If you cannot provide details, it means you know nothing about the subject other than what to call it.  Honestly, we have enough elected representatives who know nothing. We don’t need more.

2. Prove you have an understanding of jurisdictional responsibility. Each level of government has its responsibilities. If you’re running for one, don’t make promises about things that come under another level of government. This only indicates that you have no clue about the position you aspire to, and probably indicates your level of qualification for it.

3. If you promise something, be prepared to vote that way when the time comes. There is no excuse for supporting something you said you would not support or vice versa. The common story is “after studying the issue,…” or words to that effect. If it was a promise made in your campaign, it meant that you already studied the issue, or should have. Changing your mind in this manner means you either knew nothing about your stand on the issue, or you simply meant to lie your way into office. Unfortunately, we have too many of those cases, too.

4. Have some idea of how financing works. While governments and businesses run through two completely different models and experience in one has no relevance to the other, the general rules of finance are still the same. You can only spend what comes in. Whether through transfers, taxation or borrowing, this income is the maximum you have to provide vital services. And, unlike a business, you simply can’t close the plant and move to somewhere offering lower operating costs. Explain (in detail, again), how you intend to meet your promises and still afford to provide those services.

5. Be honest. Admit it when you don’t know something. Take responsibility for those times when your ideas don’t work. Sometimes you’re going to have to make unpopular decisions (some of the decisions the current council have been decried for are some I heartily approved of). People aren’t going to be happy with everything you do, but will be far more willing to accept it, grudgingly, if you can show you honestly and sincerely feel this is the best choice. The only way to do this is have a long history of being honest and sincere and it doesn’t take much to indicate that these are characteristics you don’t have.

So, there’s my pitch. These aren’t that much in the way of demands for buying my vote. I know it seems a lot, but you’ll probably find that the same price will purchase far more votes than mine…

Sources and the internet

One of my peeves with the internet is that it allows everyone to be a publisher. This means that the option to put information in front of a large audience, without the potential of having someone responsible for the reputation of that publisher ensuring the veracity of content.  Newspapers and magazines have editors, broadcast news organizations have producers, and their key role is to ensure the reputation, and as a sidebar, legally protect the organization from potential issues based upon the content they produce.

This is not the case with the internet. The content available across the internet is rife with misleading or deliberately false information.

I have seen increasingly frequent social media posts, particularly during this election, relating to political party policy done without any attempt to verify the information or its source.  Fact checking of the information indicates many of these are reposts of information falsified by either the source or the poster. And people don’t seem to want to put the effort into checking out the story, particularly where the posting supports the policy or the message your party wants to present.

The main thing to ask yourself when you see a politically-related social media posting is this. Does the story come from an accredited media source? If not, it probably isn’t true. Here’s this story that’s obviously major news, yet doesn’t appear in a major news media site. No reporter is going to turn down a major story, so this is a really good indication that the source is false.

If nothing else, you can save yourself some embarrassment by checking where you get your information for the social media posts you share. There is a broad range of postings from white supremacist groups going around the internet recently, and some of the people who have shared these would probably be surprised to discover the agenda of many of the sources for their shared posts.

For example, I recently messaged someone I know who is affiliated with a political party to suggest pulling a social media post. The source was a link from a website. The source in question is a white supremacist site, whose web master has posted such wonderful diatribes as a recent one on how Adolph Hitler was “misunderstood.” Incidentally, this posting has not been deleted after several days, even after the poster acknowledged receiving my message about his source.

Granted, if you need a neo-Nazi propaganda site to support the message of your political party, you may want to take a long time to reconsider what you actually support. But, that is a different topic all together…

Campground firewood

Two years ago, I mentioned one of my two pet peeves with Yukon government campgrounds involves firewood. The issue has been raised again, although in another light.

CBC has reported the huge other problem with campgrounds providing free firewood to campers, namely, people stealing firewood.

Over the years, I’ve seen a few suspicious-looking situations, although not totally evident. After all, people stockpiling far more wood at their campsite than they could ever use is not the indication of theft. It could just as easily be one of the many selfish jerks that empty the wood box when they arrive for their long weekend stay, depriving anyone else of wood for the next day or two until the wood boxes are restocked. Some people will empty more than one wood box.

The method of doing this is to often load up their truck, ATV, etc., and drive to their campsite. It used to be that moving firewood on a campsite by vehicle was a violation of Yukon Campground Regulations. I didn’t agree with this since there are lots of people who camp who aren’t physically capable of carrying an  of firewood to far. However, the rules were changed but there is a limit. No more than 15 pieces of firewood can be carried in a vehicle at one time (section 10, para 3 for the legal types.)

The main problem is that there is pretty minimal supervision available at most campgrounds most of the time. The campground officers do show up at some sites with some frequency, particularly those known for partying. Most have the people who restock the wood and clean the outhouses show up daily. But, most do not have around the clock supervision.

Now, this is quite an expensive proposition given there are many campgrounds and the position of campground monitor, with the ability to enforce the regulations, is rather daunting. And, to be honest, having someone on site is no guarantee people won’t be able to sneak firewood away from the campsite.

So, the onus comes down on us, the park users. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your eyes open for something suspicious, and nothing wrong with surreptitiously taking an innocent photo of a license plate and passing that information to the campground officers when they do their rounds.

Environment Yukon has complained about the cost of providing firewood for a long time. And, as one tourist mentioned in the news story, we are one of the few places that provide it. Hopefully, we won’t lose this wonderful perk we have. It would be sad to see it end because of a few idiots who are too lazy to cut their own firewood…

Cats and meditation

I’ve been a bit remiss in posting, since I’ve been on the road visiting family and came back to go back to teaching classes. And, now that things have slowed down a bit, I can do a bit of writing.

I get a chance to consider some of the meditation apps I’ve tried to deal with the fact that I haven’t slept properly for more than six months. I’m going to look at this in consideration of comparing meditation to cat ownership.

First of all, you aren’t going to get a chance to really relax. Putting on the headphones and stretching out with the meditation app usually means that one cat will climb on your feet and go to sleep, while the other will perform the same task on your chest. Once the surprise ends, mind you, this is really relaxing. But, you probably will want to restart the app from the beginning, particularly when Darcy jumps on your chest. She often lands on your stomach and she does weigh almost 13 pounds.

Second recommendation: wear socks. That relaxation thing plays second fiddle to your reaction to having two cats simultaneously decide to lick your bare toes. I don’t know why both decide to do exactly the same thing at the same time, but it’s happened more than once.

One app I tried told me, “I must learn what complete calm looks like.” I listened to these words looking down at Furball lying on the top of my legs, upside down, with all four legs in the air, and Darcy sprawled like a corkscrew… a cat in liquid state…  laying across my feet. (As I sit in my recliner writing this, I currently have two cats demonstrating complete calm on my lap.) I think I know what calm looks like without someone else telling me.

Lastly, the newest one I tried tells me at the beginning that, “Meditation is safe. You are in complete control.” I have three cats. I don’t think I have control over a damn thing….

Fox Lake trip

Camping resumes.

June 10

The second camping trip of the year commences! Again, we headed to Fox Lake for a bit of “out of town” and a bit of fishing if the weather was to work out. It would be a bit of a broken trip, since I had to come back into town on Friday. To do this, my daughter drove out with Clara’s truck so I could come back in.

Our first day was a lazy one. I drove out in the motorhome with the cats. We tried a new experiment with bringing them in separate carriers. This was not a successful as I would have liked, since the soul rending meowing from Furball made it hard to concentrate on the road. However, we did make it to the lake without incident.

campsite image

Our site for the weekend.

We spent most of the day setting up, since we brought far more stuff with us this time. Eventually, we settled down to sleep, with the cats settling for the upper bunk, at first. Darcy did show up several times for a head bump and to make sure my beard was appropriately groomed. Clara’s cheeks apparently needed washing on several occasions through the night. She did finally head back up to the upper bunk and fell asleep with on her sooky blanket with her stuffy. She may be Daddy’s Little Panther, but she’s Daddy’s little baby, too.

June 11

Day 2 was a lazy day. I didn’t bring the boat out since the forecast was quite windy for Wednesday and Thursday, and I thought I would wait to bring the boat Friday. It was gusty most of the day and so far, I haven’t had the awning up except for a few hours today.

We used the occasion to have a lazy day. Several naps were the high point of Thursday, since the joy pf camping is saying, “Screw it, I’m going to read or lay down for a while.” Even the cats jumped into the schedule with full abandon.

I have noticed we seem to be using more water than budgeted. This may take some consideration. We had a late supper, and eventually settled down to sleep. Yes, this did involve some more beard grooming, but this has become a nightly ritual.

June 12

We woke early, so I could go back into town, get my knee X-rayed, get the boat, and do a bit of shopping. It is obvious we are using way more water than I had hoped with the original plan of staying until Sunday. The grey and black tanks are also 2/3 full. We need to work on water management better. I did bring back another large water jug in case we run out. Filling the grey and black tanks is a small issue compared to having no water at all. Yes, it sounds a bit odd parked next to a lake but giardia is not my idea of a fun time.

Furball was pretty desolate on the way home, so I decided we should try putting them in a bigger, single carrier. We did that when I took them to the vet but they hissed and howled at each other and I figured Darcy was going to murder poor Furball in his carrier. The handle on the carrier broke, so we took it back and bought two single carriers. We put them in the bigger one and Darcy was hissing in less than five minutes. I think there’s no way I’m going to win on this so we’ll try using the bigger carrier for a while. They did drive to Whitehorse from Port Alberni in the same sized carrier so this shouldn’t be an issue.

We got back around supper time and it was quite windy, blowing hard from the north with thick white caps. I held off launching the boat until after supper when the weather turned rather calm. I had the boat tied to the dock and it was shortly after that the wind came up again, and again from the north. I took and potential plans of a late night fishing trip on dead calm water, like it was the previous night when we went to bed. I went back to the dock and checked my lines three times before going to bed. I did cheat and make sure I tied it bow into wind at the dock.

I will certainly say one thing. I’ve seen several different cloud formations this weekend. The clearing sky to the north at midnight this evening was a bit odd looking, for sure.

cloud image


June 13

The wind was as bad or worse today. I checked my lines earlier in the morning and retied them. I managed to wear away some of the dock, the boat was bouncing so much. There seemed to be no indication it would die down anytime soon and I spent a fair amount of time thinking of hauling it out and taking it home, rather than waiting until the next day.

The wind at Fox Lake.

I did make one minor goof. We brought all of the cats’ leads home and in forgot to bring them back to the campsite with us. All there was left was a short leash in the truck. This meant you could only take one for a walk at a time, meaning there was much unhappiness from the one left behind. This ended as part of the windy weather, since neither one was out for long before crying to go back into the camper.

We did discover that friends whose cottage is next to the campsite were there for a bit and we dropped in after supper, and after I had pulled the boat. This was not an easy task, although the wind wasn’t the problem. Someone in their infinite wisdom parked their boat trailer in front of mine. I had to wiggle it out by hand and the language that may have accompanied the task was not for all audiences.

By the time the boat was fully put away and I put a fire in, the lake had calmed down considerably. I wasn’t totally surprised since it had to stop blowing eventually. But, it was after 10 PM and I wasn’t turning around and relaunching the boat, only to have to take it out again tomorrow morning anyway.

Suffice to say, the lake turned a little nicer, although not nice enough to justify throwing the boat back in…

Nice sunset looking north.

Nice sunset looking north.

sunset image

Midnight, looking south towards town.

June 14

We got up early today. We opted to skip breakfast (actually I skipped breakfast, since Clara got up earlier than I did), and got the two vehicles packed up to head back. We still need to figure out the organization of the camper a bit. This was done under the watchful eye of Furball who figured something was up. Darcy was too wound up to care until I put her in the camper for the drive home. Since Clara took the truck, I put the carrier in the passenger seat so they could see me while we were driving. This started with Darcy grooming Furball, followed by Darcy hissing and spitting at him 30 seconds later. I told them to settle down and, oddly enough it did. They were both asleep in two minutes and stayed that way most of the way home.

All in all, a nice weekend despite the lack of fishing. I’m sure I can find a chance to fix that situation in the near future…

The experiment continues

In a fit of persistence or insanity, the cats and I are spending the night in the camper again. I have rum. It may be necessary.

I have not only rum, by the way. After Darcy’s failure to appreciate the joys of camping the other night, I have two weapons. I have the kitty tent, given to me by a friend, and I brought the cat carrier. Both are quite friendly, safe places the cats enjoy.

Furball picture

Furball and the carrier

Oh, I forgot. I have something else. I have catnip, and now, so do the carrier and the tent. This may work…


As you may know, we conduct experiments because we don’t know how things will turn out. Research is not done on things where we know the answers, but because we don’t know the answers.

Last night’s experiment had mixed results. Furball seemed to take reasonably well to the camper, although he took a long time to settle down and didn’t stay settled the whole night. Darcy did not settle down at all, except for a short period between 5:30 and 6 AM when she and Furball curled up together on my feet.

She tried to find any way out, and was skittish at any noise at all. This becomes a bit of a problem since the robins chirp loudly all hours by this time of year and there was a bit of a wind last night. At 7 this morning, I gave up and brought them in. Since none of us really slept, we all trundled upstairs to bed. By the way, Clara was so worried over how the cats would adapt that, even though she was in the house, she didn’t sleep a wink last night.

I guess the next step is to try again some night this week. When we travel, they’ll be in the big carrier anyway, so I’ll bring that out as well. The carrier, or as we call it, kitty jail, is actually something they’re both rather fond of and they may find it a bit of a comfortable place to hide out from the evil robins that dwell outside the camper. I’m not sure how it will turn out, but, this is how science works, after all…


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