Two Canadians Peer Across the Border

WHATNOT WEDNESDAY

Blogger Biff has begun a series on his blog which he’s calling “Whatnot Wednesday,” and invites others to follow suit. The idea rather appealed to me, so I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and write a post about the US political scene. Seems to me that’s a Whatnot if ever there was a Whatnot.

Regarding the title of this post, I’m not referring to the two Canadians who live in this house. We may read a lot but, give-or-take, we have a rather limited understanding of the subject. I may slip in a few opinions of my own, but mainly I’m going to tell you about two books written by prominent Canadians who do have a good grasp of the global, American, and Canadian political scenes, and have shared their understanding.

“Who cares what a Canadian thinks about Donald Trump,” you may ask? I’ll be so bold as to suggest that we may at times have a clearer view from up here. There’s so much smoke and fireworks generated in the US political scene, I wonder how often Americans in general can see the total picture? Also, it does anyone good at times to look at the situation through some neutral person’s eyes.

THE AGE OF DISRUPTION

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper writes in the introduction to his book that he was sitting in his living room on Nov 8, 2016 watching the US presidential vote. He didn’t expect Donald Trump to be chosen that evening, though he did think there was a slim possibility. He says:

“Trump had not impressed me He seemed to me less conservative, less convincing, and less politically capable than virtually all of the other candidates. He had a presence and a forcefulness, but not much else…
But Trump won the Republican nomination, and now he was winning the presidential election. So I asked myself: What happened?”

After he got over the shock, Mr Harper took an in-depth look at the political scene and the overall economic picture. Then he wrote a book for the benefit of his fellow Canadians, giving his opinion on how this situation came about.

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Politics in the Age of Disruption, published in 2018 by Penguin Random House Canada, doesn’t examine President Trump or his candidacy as much as it analyzes the shift to the right that’s been taking place in society. Being an economist, he includes a look at market policies, trade, globalization, and immigration, issues that seriously trouble voters, factors that have produced this right swing.

“America Has Lot of Jobs”

My thought on one of these points:
I read a blog post by an idealistic young lady who denounced President Trump’s restrictions on immigration. Quoting the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, she suggested the States should rather open the doors and welcome all immigrants. I left a comment asking her where these immigrants are going to find work, considering how many manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. Her response was something to the effect of, “Of course there will be jobs for them. There are lots of jobs in America.”

Oh, to be so naive! The welcome on the Statue of Liberty is a wonderful ideal, but was written at a different time in US history. Now, before Uncle Sam opens the gates and lets everyone into the US who wants in, someone has to factor in the US economy as it stands today. There need to be jobs for those coming in, or the home folks may start to resent having to support the newcomers. Or they resent losing their jobs to immigrants who’ll work for less. Then you have anti-immigrant feelings boiling over. Read history; it’s happened before.

Folks who’ve made their money, who can afford upscale communities, holiday resorts, and luxury cruises, haven’t got the same take on jobs and immigration as the miner’s wife in Kentucky, the factory worker in Detroit, or the single mother providing for her family in Texas. I’ve heard that, with his plan to make American great again and provide jobs for Americans, Donald Trump’s tighter immigration policy appealed to not-so-politically-correct and non-globe-trotting Americans. And they are the majority.

A PRESIDENT LIKE NO OTHER

Former Canadian financier and newspaper tycoon Conrad Black has met Donald Trump and learned to know him, even done a bit of business with him. For his sin of owning too much in the US, Black also did a punitive year-long stint in a Florida prison, where he spend a lot of time teaching inmates how to read and write. There he got a good picture of life for those on the bottom rung.

Black is now retired, though he does some editorial writing. A celebrated historian, he’s written a hefty volume titled RISE TO GREATNESS, The History of Canada, also biographies of two other US presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard M Nixon. And now he’s written the book DONALD J. TRUMP: A President Like No Other, published in the US in 2018 by Regnery Publishing.

Mr Black believes in honest journalism, not the sensationalism that characterized the last presidential race. In a number of editorials during that event, he denounced his fellow journalists in the US for distortion and dishonesty and explained for bemused Canadians why leftists — including so many in the media — hate Donald Trump.

In his book he looks at Trump’s strengths and weaknesses. He considers why Trump, a successful businessman, chose this point in time to step up to the plate and run for office, as well as the way he’s conducted his campaign. Black also analyzes Trump’s America-first policies versus the more global approach of leftists like Obama and Clinton.

From the jacket:
Trump diagnosed what America’s ruling elite, in its arrogance, had ignored for more than twenty years — that it had mismanaged America’s affairs for the benefit of the few, the well-connected, and privileged identity groups, and not for the American people as a whole.

All in all, he’s done a thorough and honest analysis of Donald Trump and his methods. And Black continues to keep us informed, to balance out the none-too-accurate headlines we see so much of. Just recently he published an editorial in the National Post where he lists impressive gains President Trump has made in returning power and profit to America. He predicts that, in spite of all the media opposition, Donald Trump will win by a landslide.

We’ll see if his prediction comes true, but for sure it will be an exciting, even explosive, race. Depending on who the Democrats nominate to run against him, the next presidential election will generate a lot more smoke and fireworks.

Not to worry, though. According to Mr Black, Americans love political fireworks.

Yesterday

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is YESTERDAY. I can hardly miss this one, as I have lots to say about yesterday.

We were off to the city shortly after 9am yesterday; I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and we had a writers’ group get-together in the afternoon. Once a month some of us Christian writers in this area get together to catch up and keep in touch. It’s always an encouraging sharing session. One of our group, Darlene Polachic, has written several Christian romances. Here’s Amazon link for the first book in her Ever Green series, of which there are five so far.

Yesterday I finally finished a jigsaw puzzle I started Sunday. It was a toughie, a 1000- piece artwork picture, the artist’s depiction of some southern (Tuscan?) village with background vineyards and trees, which means the whole puzzle is mostly shades of green-grey-aqua. I was convinced quite a few pieces were missing until the very end, when it turned out only one was. Smack in the middle of the sky! Do you throw out jigsaw puzzles with one piece missing?

Yesterday while I was waiting for my husband I downloaded and started to read a cozy mystery, one of the Aunt Bessie series by Diana Xarissa. I finished it this afternoon, between excursions outdoors to clean up the flower beds and pots. We’ve had some serious frost that’s left my annuals looking pretty limp. Time to get the pots cleaned up and put away.

Overall the series feels mild and homey. Aunt Bessie lives in her little cottage by the sea, on the Isle of Man, and gets together often with her friends for meals and discussions about whodunit. She seems to have a knack for being on the scene when a crime’s discovered and it helps that her good friends are Inspector John Rockwell, Bessie’s friend Doona, who works at the Police Dept., and Hugh Waterson, a local bobby who loves his food. Lately they’re often joined by Hugh’s new girlfriend, Grace. (They marry later in the series.)

This story starts out well but the middle slows considerably as they go in a lengthy circle of who committed the crime and get nowhere. Plus it’s Christmas and they get lost in a rather long discussion and sampling of seasonal goodies. I feel a mystery should move fairly fast and this one definitely could speed up some. If readers are really interested in the various kinds of cookies made in the US and how they differ from the English biscuits, they may not mind this detour from the investigation, but 3/4 of the way through I was ready to skip ahead and find out who the guilty party was.

Still, for a cozy mystery series this one is quite good. I really don’t like the ones where an aggressive amateur sleuth gets in people’s faces, demanding answers. I read and enjoy the Markham Sisters Bed & Breakfast series, by the same author. It also moves sedately for the most part and the mysteries are minor ones, like what their guests might be up to, or who might be spreading counterfeit bills in the little village of Doveby Dale.

This series reminds me of the Miss Read books I used to read long ago, “Life in a small English village” type of stories. And one thing I can say about both these series is that the writing is improving and the characters are developing more, and more sensibly, as the series progresses. Nice to see the writer learning and improving her craft.

I wonder how many of you recalled that old Beatles tune, “Yesterday,” when you saw today’s word prompt? If you’re under forty you maybe never gave it a thought, but that was a big hit when I was a young teen. Dates me, right? 😉

And I think that’s enough said about yesterday.

Sept Sights & Sounds

The sights and sounds I’ve seen so far this month:

Lots of clouds this past week, and periodic sprinkles, if not full-out rain. The ripe grain crops are still in the fields; since we have sunshine today the farmers will likely be tuning up their combines.

I was quite amazed to see a hummingbird visit our feeder a couple of times the day before yesterday. The nights haven’t been very cool, so I guess she felt she could linger at the sweet-shop a little longer. I haven’t seen any yesterday or today, though, so maybe she’s left us.

I heard the first cricket chirping yesterday afternoon. A nice note for fall, but still…

And in the Dept of Wretched Rushing, we’ve seen:
— Halloween costumes displayed in Cosco several weeks ago. Ridiculous, IMO!

— Yesterday we were in Walmart and I saw they’ve started putting their Christmas decorations out for sale already. Mo-o-o-an!

The smell of too much, too long?

Mess.Mrs Brown
MrsBrown – Piixabay

I’ve had that “drowning in stuff” feeling again lately, so I pulled out my favorite how-to books: Clutter’s Last Stand, by Don Aslett.* If you haven’t seen this book, you should. Not only is the prose well done and inspiring, but the text is matched with the hilarious illustrations of Judith Holmes Clark. This book is worth looking through just for these! Even people who can’t read English will get the picture — pun intended.

*Writer’s Digest Books, *Copyright 1984 by Don A Aslett, author of Is There Life After Housework?

On the first page is Mr Aslett’s promise: “You’ll immediately lose 100 lbs without dieting.”Now that has serious appeal.

Yesterday I opened a cupboard door and pulled out my quilting magazines to lend to a neighbour, and took out Mom’s old recipe binder as well. Confession: I haven’t used one recipe from this book since we brought it along when we moved her in with us back in 1999. But it was MOM’S! How could I possibly toss it? Alas, its pages are very musty and I had a sore throat after looking through it.

Day One of my 100-pound weight loss plan:
This morning I pulled all the old knitting, crochet, craft, and folk-art magazines and books, and Writer’s Digest mags, out of that cupboard and now have a pile to shred, a pile to go to Value Village, and a stack of Grandma’s recipes for my daughter to look over. (She’ll probably toss them, too. You can find so many online these days, with quantities geared to our smaller families.)

At least five pounds lighter now, I can take a little break and blog. My folk-art painting books and a few chosen craft books I’ve set outside to air before storing them again — just in case I ever give up blogging and want to do some knitting, painting, or crochet project. (We’ll visit this issue again in a few years. 🙂 )

I’ll never get to the scene below, but there is a happy medium somewhere.

Clean.StockSnap
StockSnap – Pixabay

And that’s where I’m at on this lovely fall day: a slightly stuffy nose, a bit of a sore throat, a pile of paper by the shredder, golden leaves wafting down on our lawn, and Angus asleep in my computer chair — a year-round sight.

I hope you’re all having a great day.

Book: Patrolling the Heart of the West

True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper

by Steve Raabe

Patrolling the Heart of the West: True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper by [Raabe, Steve]

Every now and again I finish a book and think, “Everyone should read this!” That was my reaction yesterday when I finished the final chapter in Trooper Steve Raabe’s accounts of incidents in his life patrolling the highways in Nevada.

Five Stars from me! I found the writer’s on-the-job tales informative as well as interesting and well told. I think every American — and motorists everywhere — should read this book to get a clearer picture of what the job entails for the man behind the badge, the officer who pulls them over to warn them about that missing tail light, hand them a citation for speeding, or order them to buckle up.

I learned something myself in regard to an experience I once had in the States, when I came up to, and finally passed a patrol car going about 10mph below speed limit. Officer Raabe explains why this is a practice among patrolmen, how it’s helpful for spotting problems, like expired license plates and shifty-looking drivers. 🙂

Raabe shares his memories with compassion and a delightful humor. I appreciate that he hasn’t sensationalized or gone into gruesome details of accidents. He tells a few stories about speeders who paid the price, and of needless deaths because the driver and/or passenger wasn’t/weren’t buckled in. Yet he doesn’t come across in a preachy tone.

In addition to the on-the-road threat of armed-and-dangerous criminals, department favoritism or hostilities can sometimes make a cop’s job miserable. In one chapter we read how, sadly, even in the police force, administrative high-handed interference and imprudence can derail a promising career.

I think this book would be useful in driver training classes, a great asset for fostering understanding and compassion between police and beginning drivers. While the writing is overall quite clean, there are a few places where the author repeats the exact words spoken to him.

Summer Morning

Hello again, everyone. A lovely, sunny morning greets us today, with a fine veil of white cloud in the southern sky and a light wind.  Now that the fire ban has been lifted, I could start a small fire in our outdoor fire-pit — if I cold find anything out there dry enough to burn. One of life’s ironies: when we’re allowed to burn our debris, the branches are too wet to burn.

I woke up this morning feeling like a large branch had fallen on my left big toe. I was starting to feel some pain in it yesterday evening and thought maybe a small vein had burst, but this morning I realize it’s a passing kick from “old Arthur”: gout in my big toe. So I’m hobbling around and will probably stay indoors today and maybe read, write, darn socks, and set up blog posts. I sure hope this doesn’t interfere with my rest-of-the-week activities, though.

I woke up early, got up at 6 am and came out to the kitchen to tend to our cat’s food needs. I opened the door to let Pookie out and scared away a bird from our railing — likely a wren. The daring little mites come close to the house. Later, passing by the hall window I scared an oriole at our hummer feeder. She soon came back to enjoy the fresh juice I put out yesterday evening. Passing by half an hour later I scared away a hummingbird, so I guess it is being used in the morning even if I don’t see much activity there during the day.

It was quite cool this morning so Pookie was ready to come in before long. So why is it that a cat will come dashing to the door as if they can’t wait to be inside, but stop three feet away and consider his options? Is he really ready to come in? He must look around the yard first to see if there might be anything more interesting going on outside. Only after the matter has been well pondered will he decide that, yes, he does after all want to come in. Dogs aren’t like that.

Lately I’ve been reading a interesting series of mild mysteries, the Tess & Tilly series by Kathi Daley. Tess, the main character, is a letter-carrier and helps part-time with dog training and adoptions. Tilly is her very well trained dog who helps with all these projects. Yesterday I finished the third book in this series, The Mother’s Day Mishap, which can be found on Amazon HERE if you’re interested in having a look.

Story-line: A couple of weeks before Mother’s Day Tess delivers a card to her best friend’s address, but they find it was actually meant for the previous owner, Edna. A long-lost son wants to meet and reconcile with his aged mother — who has passed away. If she can find it in her heart to forgive him, she should meet him at their special place. Tess and her friends set out to find this place and this prodigal, to tell him the bad news and also inform him that his mother’s belongings are waiting at a storage unit to be collected. Of course the card has no return address, just a Chicago postmark.

Well, I should hobble along now and see what I can accomplish today besides drinking coffee with my feet up. 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying this day.

A Week in Review

Good morning Everyone,

All my life I’ve thought of Sunday as the last day of the week but the calendar persistently corrects me. How about you? Are you mentally beginning the new week this morning or will you start it tomorrow?

Here where I live, this week is starting out with some of rain and frost. Yesterday we had enough rain to settle the dust and water the lawn; by afternoon the scenery looked a lot greener. A bit more rain fell in the evening — only a shower, we might say, but after a couple of weeks of nothing, we’re glad for whatever comes.

I was up at 5 am this morning and the garage roof was white. I checked the dish of water I’d set outside on the deck for our cats and there was a thin layer of ice on top, so I’m very glad I took in the one bedding plant my daughter gave me a few days ago. It’s a gerbera, rather tender, and would have been limp today if it had stayed out.

Doing a quick recap of LAST week, starting with Monday’s trip to Moose Jaw:

We first dropped in on my husband’s cousin and his wife and had a nice visit with them. They’re into bird-watching as well and have feeders up, so we had that in common to visit about. Also the Family tree info, since they’ve done the DNA test, too. No surprises, as they already have the Goodnough history back to England circa 1620 and records on the Letkeman side go back many generations as well. Bob and his Goodnough cousins share the same genetics, as their fathers were brothers and their mothers sisters.

Seeing my sisters was the main reason for this trip. We took my sister Donna out for dinner and caught up with each other’s lives. It’s been a year since I’ve last talked with her — shame on me!

Two weeks ago I called my sister Rose, who also lives in Moose Jaw, and she told me about her bout with lung cancer last winter. She had chemo and radiation in January; also, her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and has started chemotherapy. Rose’s husband wasn’t feeling well enough to come, but we met her for afternoon coffee at a Tim Horton’s and did some catching up.

We’d left early in the morning, done our visiting by 5pm, and managed to get home again before dark. I’m so thankful for these long prairie evenings!

Tuesday I made both meals at the Villa, which took up most of my day. Wednesday we went into the city. Among other things I bought a couple of bird houses and hung one up for the tree swallows when we got home. Didn’t take them long to find it and by the next day one pair had claimed it for their own.

We had a pair of barn swallows return to our garage and start to set up house, but something happened to the one. Now I see the other sitting forlornly on the yard light post during the day. He has come to the aid of the tree swallows when they’re being menaced by English sparrows.

Thursday morning found me digging my flowerbed in the front, trying to reclaim it from the ever-encroaching quack grass. The dirt was like powder, a bit of moisture about 6″/15 cm down. I managed to “discover” two of the three peonies, dig out the quackgrass and water them, so they will get the full benefit of yesterday’s rain. In the afternoon I painted a wren house and hung it in the Russian olive out back; the next morning a pair of wrens were busy furnishing it.

Apart from that I’ve done a bit of general housework, some blogging, reread a book, The Face of the Earth, by Deborah Raney. I found it just as great the second time around, well written and the tension maintained throughout. I’ll do a book review in my next post.

Friday evening I was helping a friend to get her life story down on paper for posterity. Yesterday afternoon I wrote and polished the story I posted yesterday, The Abduction. In the evening I had a long visit over the phone with a cousin in Saskatoon, someone I also haven’t connected with for awhile. How does the time slip away?

And now it’s 7:30am and I must get ready for church and whatever else this new day holds. I hope you’re all having an enjoyable day of refreshment and will be ready to face the first day of a new work-week tomorrow. 🙂