I’ve long been a fan of the sharing economy. It has always seemed to me to be a mite wasteful that every house on our block has an aluminum extension ladder tucked under the deck or languishing along the side of the house, only to be dragged out a couple of times a year. Read More
“Preppers” (guys consumed with making preparations for disaster, whether zombie apocalypse, plague, nuclear disaster or mundane breakdown of law and order) are a modern phenomenon, so I’m wracking my brain for an historical example of, say, a prepper in a tricorne hat. The closest I could come until now was Paul Revere. He certainly wore the hat with aplomb, and was quick to spot an imminent danger, but alas, history doesn’t record whether he also had stockpiles of food and ammunition, as a true modern day prepper would.
But who knew that right here at home, in the very precincts of the Legislature, there were lurking a pair of modern day Paul Reveres, sporting frock coats and tricorne hats, and working diligently to save us all from disasters, both real and imagined.
They are, of course Gary Lenz and Craig James, the Clerk and Sergeant at Arms of the the BC legislature. I poked some fun at their rather outlandish purchase on our behalf of a log splitter and trailer in a recent blog piece, but that was before we had heard their explanation. Craig and Gary, we now learn, are preppers! Not only that, but prepping is part of their mandate. They are paid (rather handsomely, in fact) in part to keep the legislature safe in the event of disaster.
In times of crisis, we are told, people tend to congregate at the legislature (I didn’t know this, and must confess it isn’t part of my own household’s emergency bug-out plan, but I guess its a thing for some people) Ergo, the need for a cache of emergency supplies. In fairness, most large public buildings, and even a lot of private office towers do keep some rudimentary emergency supplies on hand-bottled water, blankets, first aid supplies, that sort of thing, but the plan for the legislature is a mite more elaborate. Our civil servant preppers have laid plans not just to provide some short term comfort for those who work in the building, but for large hordes of the local citizenry, should they descend upon the People’s House.
To that end, we might need bonfires to keep everyone warm, and for that, we need firewood, and for that, we need a log splitter- it only makes sense! We are told that the log splitter was only temporarily being stored at Craig’s home, pending completion of a purpose built concrete pad to house it, along with a large cache of emergency supplies, on the legislature grounds. Seems plausible, I guess. When the big one hits, we can all assemble on the legislature lawn and toast marsh mellows!
Personally though, I’m heading over to my brother’s house instead. He already has the wood burning fireplace, and if we can get my concept for the sharing of the wood splitter up and running, he will have a generous supply of fuel. More importantly though, he has a disaster preparedness room in his basement – it is filled only with dozens and dozens of bottles of single malt scotch- enough, indeed, to rival the private stash in the office of the Speaker of the Legislature.
His disaster plan? – in the event of the break down of law and order, use the booze as currency to barter for what you need, and, if the big one doesn’t come, we drink the scotch! Who needs a funny hat to be a proper prepper?
For many years I owned and operated a storefront legal clinic in a major regional shopping center, which afforded me a close-up view of the fascinating world of retail.
The Christmas season was always interesting. My first Yuletide in the centre saw me shaking my head as merchants squabbled over the brightness of the Christmas decorations in various corridors of the mall. We all paid our proportionate share of those decorations, of course, but the conventional wisdom was that shoppers were attracted to bright shiny things, so more of them would drift into the more brightly lit areas of the center. Angry merchants demanded that Santa and his elves be relocated to their particular aisle, and a thousand curses on any maintenance personnel who allowed the lights to burn out on any particular display.
My perennial holiday favorite however has always been the Christmas Eve parade through the mall, that I’ve dubbed the walk of the mall zombies. Until I was immersed in the life of the mall I was thought that the stories of guys doing their last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve was apocryphal-an urban myth- no one could possibly leave shopping for their loved ones to the last few hours available-could they?
I’m here to offer testimony that it is indeed true! Overall, the mall is usually deathly quiet on Christmas Eve, a few shoppers strolling through and picking up last-minute items, or checking out the early Boxing Day sales for something for themselves-that is, until dusk. As darkness descends and the parking lot lights wink on, an hour so before closing time, however, the procession begins.
Men, obviously straight from work, still wearing their work attire, be it business suit or mechanics overalls, wandering urgently but aimlessly through the mall, brows furrowed, eyes darting furtively from storefront to storefront.
Toys”R”us would barely rate a glance- obviously the wives had long since organized presents for the tykes. No, most of the traffic seemed headed for La Senza, with its sexy négligées, or Purdy’s, where the chocolates are already gift- wrapped, with a few more adventurous souls straying into the kitchen gadget store.
Every now and then a guy would foolishly wander instead into a consumer electronics shop, hell bent on destruction, and we would cringe. No wife, ever, wants a high tech gadget under the tree Christmas morning – might as well wrap up a power tool while you are at it!
Its a spectacle as predictable as the swallows return to Capistrano, or the great migration of wildebeest across the Serengetti, but nowhere near as impressive – just very, very sad
It happens to us all in business. A client is lost. Sometimes there’s a good reason for it, complacency has set in, service levels have declined, the competition has sharpened their pencil on price, or in my profession, a court case has been lost. Often though, there is no rational reason, or the loss is occasioned by forces beyond your control. Regardless of the reasons why, when a client leaves , especially a big one, it has a major, sometimes even fatal impact on your business. How you handle the loss says a lot about your character.
These musings were prompted by an advertisement that caught my eye in Friday’s Vancouver Sun. It was placed by Bob Stamnes and the team at Elevate Communications to mark the loss of their major long-time client Toyota. It was a classy piece, and set an example for us all. Well done!
Please give it a read – its worth it.
So, there is an injured hawk on your sun deck- who ya gonna call? Read More
Today we salute the intrepid Emile Ratelband, joining him to commiserate as he cries in his beer over his unsuccessful court case.
His was not your run of the mill court battle, but was, as we legal types say, a “case of first impression”. No one had ever before petitioned a court to amend a birth certificate to shave 20 years off their age, but that didn’t stop Emile, a spry 69 year old Dutchman, from asking the court to re-set his age at 49.
His argument was simple, but ultimately unpersuasive: one is able to change other information contained in one’s birth record, such as name, or now even gender, so why shouldn’t one’s date of birth be equally malleable?
The court, while giving a tip of the hat to those old adages ” You are only as old as you feel” and “age is just a number ” told Emile that while he was free to imagine himself as any age he wished, they weren’t going to mess with government records.
As a Boomer myself, long in denial about all things related to age, I can certainly understand where Emile was coming from, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he brought the suit. I can think of absolutely no advantage to having a re-jigged birth certificate, as it would deny me the joy of a half price fare on BC Ferries some days, and the Gov’t cheque that pays my monthly wine bill every month would suddenly stop.
Emile, the first rule in any law suit is “what do I get out of this if I win?” So I find myself in agreement with the court – feel as young as you want, but don’t try to disguise your real age – and bear in mind the sage comments of And Rooney:
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
― Andy Rooney
There is an area of the BC coast roughly centred around Johnstone Straits that has been described as the “Serengeti of the Coast” for its abundant wildlife values.
To visit during monsoon season is a special treat, as the real coast, now devoid of summer people, Read More