Friday, December 23, 2011

Better served by bird brains?

Our friends at the Blog Borg Collective noticed The Province displaying either low-class ignorant journalism or sophisticated and subtle humour. Apparently the newspaper was uncertain if the current session of the Legislature began with a "thrown speech" or a "throne speech."

Blogger North Van's Grumps also tweaks governments for policy failures related to marijuana prohibition. This followed Canada's anti-science Prime Minister saying his government will never agree to decriminalization of marijuana, no matter what experts or common citizens seek.

Moralists feel compelled to regulate the behaviour of others and grow moist with thoughts of censorship and prohibition. Unfortunately for them, most people choose their own lifestyles, mostly oblivious to guidance from bluenoses. Yankees baseball star Yogi Berra understood this when he said,
"If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em."
Schooled in fundamentalist screeds, Harper's knowledge of Canadian history is inadequate. CBC offers A timeline of prohibition and liquor legislation in Canada:

"Prohibition is widespread in Canada. Details vary between provinces, but most drinking establishments are closed and the sale of alcohol is forbidden with some private exceptions. Aboriginal wines are also exempt. Alcohol can still be sold through the government for industrial, scientific, mechanical, artistic and medical uses. Distillers can sell their products outside their own province with proper documentation.

"The sale of alcohol flourishes nationwide under several different guises. Illegal drinking establishments, known as speakeasies, spring up everywhere. In some provinces, people who claim to be ill can buy alcohol with a doctor's prescription. The prescription system is widely abused, a point noticed most during the Christmas holiday season with long lineups at neighbourhood drugstores.

"In 1920, British Columbia votes to make alcohol available through the government. Manitoba and Saskatchewan follow a year later. The remaining provinces vote against prohibition by 1930, with the exception of P.E.I., which stays dry until 1948...
If Conservative politicians cannot learn from history, they may be functioning on an order of intelligence lower than those with bird brains."

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  1. I can't quote the conversation verbatim, but there is a scene in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where after the Wells Fargo(?) posse had been chasing Butch and SunDance for quite a long time, and Redford(Butch?) turns to Newman and says something like..."If they gave me ten percent of what they're spending to try and catch me, I'd quit robbin' them!"

    I do wonder what the RCMP expenditures are on chasing and/or catching growers compared to the financial punishment the ones that are caught get from our courts.

    I'm thinking that the only ones really paying the price are the taxpayers. Add that expense to the benfits of legalization.

  2. Comparing the intelligence of Conservative politicians to that of crows is an insult to birds everywhere.

    I was a forestry crewman for Macmillan Bloedel back when the big integrated forest companies employed their own forestry departments. We used to work an area gang style, whether tree planting or juvenile spacing, so everybody would take lunch together on the "crummy," or crew bus. One midday, parked on a landing in the middle of dreary, rain-soaked clear-cut, with the engine running, heater blasting into the crowd of steaming Stanfields opening thermoses of hot coffee, we spotted a huge raven hunkered down on a nearby landing pile, black and ragged like a pile of asphalt shingles. Its massive upper beak looked toucan-like silhouetted in the mist, meaning it was very old.

    Birds, especially smart ones like ravens, learn to hang around crummies in hopes of a handout. And it was usually forthcoming because in big, union camps like ours, food was cheap ($2.50 a day room&board) and plentiful, if a little monotonous, and packing an extra big lunch during the winter in case you got stuck out in the bush overnight made for habitual wastage. On this particular day someone hurled a "spare" sandwich out a window, processed lunchmeat and cheese with lettuce and mayo on brown. Then, wiping off fogged-up panes, we waited to see what the big raven would do.

    Well, the sandwich, which was thrown frisbee-style, had broken up in flight, each part landing several feet from the other. That raven didn't flap or hop, just stepped of the log pile and walked like king of the hobos in his tattered black waistcoat over to the square of lunchmeat, picked it up, walked over to one of the pieces of bread and put it on top. Everyone went "Wow."

    Then he walked over to the square of cheese, picked it up, returned to the bread and lunchmeat and put that on top, too. At this point the crummy windows were sliding open and we were cheering him on. When he walked over and picked up the lettuce, bets were placed as to what he'd do with that as he stood there, unperturbed, eventually spitting it out. Finally, and most unlikely of all, he retrieved the other piece of bread, returned, put it on the sandwich he'd rebuilt (minus the lettuce), picked the whole thing up and flew away into the fog. The finale was the raven's truly humungous size which only became apparent when he spread his wings and defeated the impossibility of flight with a sandwich.

    This really happened.

  3. I can actually hear the woosh woosh sound as his wings beat the air to gain altitude. Beautifully crafted story Scotty!

  4. Getting off topic I know, but Ravens never cease to amaze me with their resourcefulness or intelligence, if you prefer.

    A note of caution though when you are alone in the woods.

    Due to their obvious aerial advantage, keen eyesight and probably a well developed olfactory apparatus, they are well equiped for finding food sources. Their bill however is not sharp enough to kill prey or even penetrate the hide of a fallen deer carcass or other such creature.

    They make up for this seeming debility by recruiting wolves, cougars etc. with their intriguing vocals, and lead the wolf or cougar to the prey whether alive or dead. (For dead animals they seem able to attract an eagle or two to do the tearing up for them). They and the rest of their clan can now participate in the feast with no objection from their selected benefactor.

    I recall reading of an incident years ago where a woman, on the Island I believe, was working in her back yard and a Raven was swooping down on her severally and chortling loudly. She looked up on the side of the hill and spotted a cougar. She called for her husband, who came running and chased the cougar off by throwing rocks at it. The story went around the area that a Raven had saved this woman's life by warning her of the nearby cougar. I think the church people considered it a miracle. Of course, quite the opposite was likely the case, as the cougar and the Raven were doing what cougars and Ravens have been doing for millenia.

    So if you are alone in the woods and seem to be the object of a noisy Raven's attention, look around for his hunting companion.

  5. History aside, Cons just like to preach to everyone else. They're smarter than you don't you know.

  6. We live on the edge of the forest by the Seymour River and years ago the family pet, a Springer Spaniel, attacked a blackbird in the front yard. She didn't harm the bird but did alarm the entire local blackbird population (Northwestern crow, I presume) . A swarm of angry birds quickly filled every nearby tree and directed verbal displeasure at our house for hours. It was a clear warning to us saying keep that dog under control. A bit Hitchcockian.

    I also recall an experience lunching, or more accurately not-lunching, on the crummy during a summer spent in a logging camp at the head of Powell Lake. We stored our day's food in the parked crummy until the meal break but one day discovered that a grizzly bear had been the first diner to arrive.

    He left nothing edible and even tore apart every bench seat (it was like a small school bus) looking for more. Not only did we return to the bunkhouse hungry that afternoon, we had to sit on the floor of the newly trashed vehicle.

    We'd have preferred the company of a raven for lunch.

    Last year, I wrote another true bear story, this one from the wilds of North Vancouver.

    Uninvited caller

    Bear story - part two



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