Cranky old man, Covid-19, and the garden.


Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit cranky. In the past though I was generally able to dampen my initial crankiness at what I perceived to be other people’s ridiculous behaviour, in the classroom, around town, in national and international politics, or on Facebook. I was able to step back, take a deep breath, and allow a sober second assessment of consequences and effects to take shape in my mind, making for a more measured response to the momentary ‘crisis’ whatever it might be. Oh, there were times when I reacted swiftly and even lashed out at people. I usually regretted those later. Ranting at the TV news was pretty common sport in the past when we still watched TV, a practice that I passed on to at least one of our daughters. I still rant like in the old days, but it’s more likely to be at a Facebook post or a news release posted online. However, ranting in private is different from personally and immediately striking out at someone for their perceived shortcomings.

Now it seems that my ability to generate a sober second thought is attenuating and my patience is wearing thinner. My private rants are turning into public displays of my impatience and I am now much less likely to bite my tongue when I think that people are being ridiculous or unreasonable. Of course that violates the first rules of teaching which, in my mind are patience and empathy. I feel really bad about that. My quick trigger reactions may be a consequence of my age and the fact that I have incurable cancer. It may be entirely idiosyncratic, but it could be that something else is afoot here.

Covid-19: the great disruptor

It could be that I’m not alone in my descent into more readily expressed displeasure at whatever affront, real or imagined, presents itself. Covid Times have created the conditions of uncertainty and disruption of habit that are hard for humans to take.

We, humans are creatures of habit and we don’t necessarily adapt readily or willingly to changes in our environment that require us to change the ways we live. We tend to react in our own ways to threats to our precious habits. Some of us hunker down even more deeply into already established patterns of social isolation. Others of us, like me, are more ready to express our pissedoffedness at the world. Now, more than ever seems to be a time of reaction rather than reflection.

It seems that people are now more than ever prone to stand on questionably acquired ‘knowledge’ rather than commit themselves to a course of study and learning that may lead to a more nuanced appreciation of economics, politics, current events, and other people’s actions both local and distant. And, since Trump, the ignorant minority is emboldened to speak out more often and vigorously. For us ‘experts’ who have spent a lifetime in study and reflection counteracting the tripe that comes out of YouTube and Facebook daily from people who have acquired whatever ‘knowledge’ they have from a marginal and peripheral relationship with analysis and evidence seems to be a lost cause. So, Covid-19 seems to have released some pent-up frustration at the world and our place in it and some people seem to be less reluctant than ever to stay silent in the face of it.

Covid-19 has definitely changed the goal posts in any number of ways, but life pre-Covid-19 wasn’t all that rosy either.

Pre-Covid-19, there were already serious cracks forming in the security and (often illusionary or delusional) stability of our lives. Personal debt dogged many of us to the point of financial ruin (and still does). Relationships were strained and addictions to alcohol and other drugs were on the rise as people self-medicated in attempts to deal with the emptiness that scoured their every wakeful moment and pitter-pattered through their dreams. Many of us were already leading precarious lives with no promises of a future with less stress and greater comfort and peace. General social distress was already reaching a breaking point when Covid-19 broke onto the international scene.

One thing I found particularly distressing was, and still is, the general ignorance of our global economic structures and their relationship to our nations, their sovereignty, and our individual choices. Very few people have any kind of a grasp on the intricacies of global supply chains and the interconnections of a myriad of corporations, factories and logistics experts on the conduct of business. The globally most powerful corporations have been masters at hiding the truth about mass production, distribution and sales. People think that ‘China’ is flooding our markets with cheap product and that our poor domestic corporations are suffering from this unholy competition. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Global corporations, many of them with very unfamiliar names, control global trade and often subject local businesses to rules and practices that benefit global finance capital rather than citizens. Look closely at the things you buy and more often than not these days you will not be able to locate where a product is manufactured. A label might tell you that a product was produced for such and such a retailer by such and such a manufacturer (with an address in Canada) by a factory in China, either owned by a ‘Canadian’ corporation or contracted by them, but it won’t tell you where a product was made. There is now a big silence about the true picture of global commodity production. But because no changes have been radical and the information to consumers has been accomplished slowly and inexorably completely under the radar with government complicity, it’s very hard for people to figure out what’s going on. Our lives are being orchestrated by forces hidden from us until something like Covid-19 comes along to expose some of the weak underbelly of globalization.

It seems many people now are worried about governments ‘taking away their freedoms’. Well, I have news for those of you who believe this: you have been slaves to the marketplace and an insidious capitalist morality for ages, but you don’t even recognize the bars that imprison you. You believe that a job is the one way to heaven. That no one should be given “free money” by government because that saps initiative. That individual action rather than community is the only thing that counts. You’ve bought into the tired, sick, libertarian agenda that feeds the globalist corporate agenda and leaves us poorer and fighting amongst each other. You believe that government is in charge and that its actions are the sole source of all the problems that you face in life. So delusional. So misguided. So sad.

There is no question that we need to be vigilant when it comes to government. With people like Jason Kenny, Doug Ford, mini-Donald Trumps at the helm of government, you can be assured that the global corporate agenda will be a high priority and the care and feeding of the citizenry will always take second place. Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party are just a softer version of corporate lackeyism. Make no mistake though, Trudeau and his party are solidly behind the corporate agenda. It feeds them and they feed it with subsidies, grants, tax breaks, and with help cleaning up their messes when they decide to go strategically bankrupt or simply abandon ship. But enough of that.

Myeloma be gone…for now!

To change the subject, my cancer seems to be on the run for now. It will come back. Now I just have to deal with the side effects of all the drugs I’m taking, some of which I take to counteract the effects of others I’m taking. Virtually all of them have dizziness as a side effect. It’s a wonder I can even stand or walk ten feet on a good day. But I do walk, a bit wobbly I must admit, but still, I get out there and do things. It’s very gratifying. It’s wonderful. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get out into the garden or into my shop or studio and do things, but I can. I know I’ve already told you this before, but I’m so happy about it, I just want to revel in it.

The garden

I also just want to revel in the garden. I’m working on a video right now of the gardens, but it’s a bit frustrating because things are growing so fast that I keep being tempted to re-video things that I’ve already recorded to give you a better sense of the beauty of the place, Carolyn’s own fabulous art project. Look at these amazing poppies. A couple of days ago there was only one or two blooms. Now look at them and there’s more to come, lots more! [since I wrote this more have opened!]

Poppies along the driveway.

Have a nice day, all of you! Keep your chin up! Don’t get too pissed off! Enjoy whatever you can (unless its murder or domestic abuse).

10 thoughts on “Cranky old man, Covid-19, and the garden.

  1. Speaking of COVID, if any of you would like an in depth explanation of why these pandemics are occurring read HOW TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC by Dr. Michael Gregor. Big business farming with no regard for animals or human suffering and death. A must read.
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  2. The great disruptor indeed! Roger you have scored a slam dunk with this one! Interesting that an ignorant person’s opinion is as valid as an expert’s facts these days! Jeez, wha hoppen? Corporatism and its subtle but unending slavery has pulled the wool over our eyes and too many of us welcome it. Simple black and white thinking is so far from the complex and nuanced world we actually live in. This is what tRump and politicians like Kenny, Ford and Scheer have tapped into. Trudeau is at least aware but is (perhaps OK with being) hamstrung by our great Canadian Oligarchy. I like your comment about the mutual feeding of each other. Right on! Freaking scary!

    On Wed., May 27, 2020, 4:21 p.m. Roger Albert – Always a Sociologist: Now Living With Myeloma, wrote:

    > Roger JG Albert posted: ” Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit cranky. In > the past though I was generally able to dampen my initial crankiness at > what I perceived to be other people’s ridiculous behaviour, in the > classroom, around town, in national and international politics, or” >

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jack. It always lifts my spirits when I read your comments. I barely scratched the surface of the reality of geopolitics and global corporate power. To complicate matters, the web of global corporate relations, including supply chains, changes so fast as to defy any kind of static analysis. A study like Global Reach by Barnett and Mueller published in 1974 is still fine in principle but since they wrote that book container shipping was still undeveloped and the internet was barely on the radar. In the mid-eighties I was running programs on UBC’s large mainframe computers using punch cards. The IBM 360 and 370 are not as powerful and my MacBook Pro yet they took up a very large room. It’s really amazing how fast things evolve. It’s hard to keep up. Have a great evening, Jack! Enjoy!

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  3. Your first section is spot on. It is frustrating how unaware most people are. And I know I only know a bit. But I have read some about our supply chains. And the fact something is made in China doesn’t reveal that the buttons came from somewhere else, the cotton was grown in one place, processed and dyed in another, woven in yet another. And all this stuff crisscrosses the oceans blue in container ships run on bunker fuel. At home advertisements artfully create a sense of need within us. Sigh.
    I think you’ve mentioned before that some time this summer your treatments stop? I bet you are looking forward to your newfound health without the side effects. Ahh.
    I am loving photos of Carolyn’s garden.

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    1. Yes, it’s very complicated. Think of the average Ford vehicle with over four thousand parts and you can imagine the complexity of the situation and the need for the highest level of coordination of production spread all over the world, shipping of products from all over the world to interim assembly plants (for the motors, transmissions, etc.), then on to final assembly plants that don’t have extensive warehousing but rely instead on just-in-time (Japanese) distribution of parts. To say that a Ford is made in the USA or in Canada is a joke. That’s true of course for all makes of vehicles. Some factories making body parts, for instance, make parts for all manufacturers. Batteries were mostly made in Mexico, the last time I looked. And, closer to home, President’s Choice products are just brand names with different labels. Yeah, it’s complicated. Thanks for your comment, Kathy. I really love it when people comment on my posts. I’m seeing a reduced number of hits on my posts lately…who knows why. I’ll just carry on and post whatever I want whenever I want. I’m sure not trying to make money doing this!

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