Stealing From the Rich to Give to the Future

I came across this article about what is purported to be Britain’s oldest living tree. The tree is about 4 000 years old. I was going to read the article and then probably forget it. But I noted that it was a yew tree.

Yew trees are noted as being one of the best woods to make a bow from. From the title I gave, you are probably one step ahead of me and have already figured that this tree would have been around in the time of Robin Hood.

Now Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood’s stomping grounds) and Somerset (where this tree is to be found) are quite far away from each other by British standards. But I’ve heard rumours that the real, historical Robin Hood might have been well traveled enough to have traveled deep into continental Europe. So it is more than possible that Robin Hood or any of his merry men could have crafted a bow from this very tree. Indeed the act may have helped contribute to the tree’s huge age.

I live in southern Ontario and the oldest trees here are hardscrabble ones along the rocky Niagara Escarpment (yes the escarpment is what makes the famous falls). They, too, have lived for thousands of years. Indeed, the harsher living conditions are believed to have contributed to their longevity.

So would it be any surprise to a gardener, that pruning a plant or tree might add to its longevity. Removing one branch for a bow from this old yew tree might have been exactly like gardening and allowed the tree to live until our time. So making a bow from this tree could be like giving to the future.

How would Robin Hood or the merry men have stolen from the rich then?

Well back in Robin’s time many of the forests were protected by being royal forests. Commoners weren’t allowed to hunt in royal forests. Indeed they weren’t allowed to fell trees or carry weapons. So it is likely that making a bow out of part of a tree would be called stealing by the aristocrats.

So Robin Hood and his merry men might have stolen from the rich, via this Somerset tree, and helped it live to our time.

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Now is the Most Favourable Time for a Certain Type of Tourism

You might not have guessed that today’s tourism is greatly favourable. After all a year or two ago may have had better tourism numbers. I’m not talking year over year favourability but the difference between a few decades ago and now. It all started with the pick-your-own-numbers lotteries.

I especially think of a certain Ontario lottery ad that has aired recently. This ad shows groups and crowds of people while a giant arrow points out the millionaires in each grouping. This presents the idea that lottery winners are amongst us and rubbing shoulders with us.

Now the pick-your-own-numbers lotteries have onerous odds to overcome. Might I just say that the odds of winning the jackpot are so slim that no one ever, at any time should win any of these lotteries. But wait, you say, obviously someone does win these lotteries, they show the winners on television and in the newspaper from time to time.

Yes, yes the winners do exist. But their secret isn’t blind luck. The lottery business is being controlled secretly by big time travel.

In the future, time travel will be big business. And its most successful period to send people back to will be the pick-your-own-numbers lottery era. That means us.

Consider today’s citizens wanting to travel back in time, say to ancient Egypt or Greece. Most of the Egyptians were involved in the back breaking work of building the pyramids. Some holiday. Ancient Greece could place you in Sparta. That city had a majority of the people being slaves. Odds are you, too, would be a slave. Being able to also pick that you would be one of the ruling elite totally changes the picture.

So why would our time be popular? I bet some people from the far future dream about our time. But that is only if they had the status of the top 1%. Winning the lottery provides this for them.

It is unlikely that the far future, possibly 50 000 years or more removed from us, contains any of our paper or metal coin currency. As a result, the first thing that a traveler from this era would do would be to panhandle. They’d only have to raise a few bucks to go to phase two, which would be to buy a winning lottery ticket. Winning numbers would have been saved from our time, all to examine luck to make sure that everything checked out. If for instance the number 9 was popping up more regularly in winning jackpots it would be important to trace it back to a fault in the randomization and failing that, maybe 9 just is more slightly popular for no known reason.

Anyway the future would have saved all our lottery results. They would shift the winners from format to format through the intervening years till finally time travel was developed. And then the numbers could be used.

So it is my belief that time travelers are living like kings on our lottery money. That ad with the arrows that pick people out of groups? I now see that as someone pointing out all the time travelers amongst us. They’re everywhere. Now if I could just get one of them to open up about the future, I would have my path set for me as an insightful writer of the future in the field of science fiction.

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Alberta Tory Strong

albertatorystrongInitially I thought that this cartoon was funny. So I drew it up and inked it. Then reading it again I thought that it wasn’t really funny it was just a retelling of events. And that was my problem throughout the whole sad story of Bill C-51. I would have loved to have waged a campaign of a political cartoon a day against. it. The only problem was I saw nothing funny in the least about it. So I made exactly zero cartoons.

Still I publish this cartoon and list it under humour for the one thing I truly think is funny. I drew Stephen Harper crying about such a minor thing as the NDP winning the Alberta election. Maybe he quickly grimaces too, But we saw that instant of tears.

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Beautiful yet Horrific Lyrics

The song Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder has such a nice sentiment in its lyrics that I’m a bit hesitant in pointing out its flaws. The main lyrical hook of the song goes like this:

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony,
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

That sentiment is race relations gold. So how could anybody be such a grinch that they could object to these fine lyrics?

Well I am that grinch. While having nothing but respect for the race relations perspective, the problem with this song is the ebony and ivory international trade aspect. If inspired by the song to make all piano keyboards out of only ebony and ivory we would have a big problem.

Ebony is a wood that comes from tropical trees. This wood has been protected in different trade agreements. Indeed, Gibson, a manufacturer of guitars recently got in trouble for illegally importing ebony for use in its guitars. If we don’t protect these trees, the world might be short a species that our thirst for fine wood in musical instruments caused.

For those of you that do not know, ivory comes from the tusks of elephants. For many years the trade in ivory has been controlled. No longer are the white keys of pianos made with this material. If suddenly all pianos and keyboards were to be made out of ivory, we would undoubtedly drive the elephant into extinction.

If for no other reason we must keep the elephant alive to be the surrogate for mammoth clones. Only when we get enough mammoths are we allowed to even think of the extinction of elephants.

Have we examined all the biological processes of the ebony trees in the tropics? I doubt it. Until we have examined all possible chemicals these plants create, we shouldn’t be allowed to let it become extinct.

Using this perspective, the lyrics to Ebony and Ivory could easily be:

Ebony and ivory, driving two species to extinction,
Just so my piano keyboard has a more poetic black and white.

But I can’t help but think of an easy fix for this song. Just substitute black plastic and white plastic for ebony and ivory That way the lyrics would simply be this:

Black plastic and white plastic live together in perfect harmony,
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

The plastic lyrics leave no guilt from possibly causing an extinction. Maybe they are less artful. I’m willing to risk that for the peace of mind they give.

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The Great One and the Next Ones

Ever since Wayne Gretzky lived up to his junior hockey hype, scouts and NHL pundits have been trying to predict each successive “Next One”. That phrase wasn’t coined when Mario Lemieux came on the scene, but if it was it would have been likely to have been pinned on him, too.

With Gretzky being the “Great One”, who were these next ones? Well in order, I heard much hype over the aforementioned Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Sydney Crosby and (still in junior hockey) Connor McDavid.

Only Eric Lindros and Connor McDavid didn’t lead their NHL team to the Stanley Cup. Obviously Connor McDavid hasn’t had the chance yet and Eric Lindros appears to be the only failure amongst the “Next Ones”.

I’m not quite sure what went wrong with Lindros in his early years. Maybe it was grandstanding parents. Maybe the Philadelphia Flyers simply had to get rid of too many quality players for him. He didn’t win a Stanley Cup in his early days and the successive concussions he suffered mid and late career prevented him from getting any Stanley Cups. Of all the next ones, Lindros was the lone dud.

May I now posit that Lindros was a dud simply because he didn’t go to Pittsburgh or Edmonton.

The Great One played for Edmonton in his young prime and won 4 out of 5 cups in a row. Mario Lemieux played for Pittsburgh and collected two Stanley cups in a row. Sydney Crosby has won the Stanley Cup Once with Pittsburgh and him and his team are still competitive to this day.

Now someone I know has said that the Edmonton Oilers are currently where good players go to die. If they opt for Connor McDavid this time around, I don’t think their unlucky streak needs to continue. Perhaps he can reach his full potential there and maybe those other highly sought draft picks will help round out the team.

As history has shown, Edmonton, like Pittsburgh is likely to make the most of its Next Ones. And getting a Next One is so statistically unlikely that I have to wonder how Edmonton and Pittsburgh have both rated two of them.

Perhaps they made a pact with the devil. Perhaps they are like those lottery winners who “stupidly” keep playing only to win again. Maybe these two teams have the dirt on all the other teams in the NHL so they wind up with what they want. Perhaps the 1st draft pick lottery just isn’t that fair.

Whatever it is, Pittburgh and Edmonton have beaten the odds and gotten two Great Ones apiece. So maybe they will beat the odds and win more Stanley Cups this decade with those great ones.

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Those Mysterious Flashes on Ceres

Deep in the asteroid belt sits the globular asteroid Ceres. Nasa’s Dawn probe has been investigating this asteroid from only thousands of kilometers away. The most intriguing part of the observing has been two flashes from different parts of the giant asteroid. No scientist has yet adequately explained these flashes, so allow me my own chance at explaining it.

If I am correct, more mysterious flashes will come from the two locations. From both places, expect the next flash to be of short duration as well. Then the third flash will also be of short duration. This will be followed by three distinct long flashes. Which will be followed by three more distinct short flashes.

The astute of you have already guessed that the flashes will be signalling SOS in Morse code. And I expect it will all be due to the same cause that I have read about again and again in many different books. The cause will of course be the kidnapped Hardy Boys.

Once the government of the US realizes this, pressure will be put on the government and NASA to rescue the poor boys. And, indeed NASA is planning a manned trip to an asteroid as a precursor to a Mars mission. So the boys will be rescued – eventually.

How could two bright sleuths such as themselves have made it to Ceres? While the boys are smart they aren’t rocket geniuses. So I doubt they could have gotten there by their own wits. No, they must have been kidnapped by someone that was smart enough to build and finance a better space mission than NASA.

In this era of private enterprise making it into space, an evil genius could have stole enough money and good enough plans to get to Ceres. And when the Hardy Boys found out about the illegal source of the evil genius’s finances they were banished to that asteroid.

But the boys were wise and remembered the Dawn probe would be there, all they had to do was contact it. And by using large mirrors to reflect the sun at the probe, the Hardy Boys have figured a way out.

Who knows how the pair got separated, but if Frank thought of the mirror, Joe could also think of the mirror idea. And both would probably have excitedly talked with the other about the Dawn probe before being separated. Finally both would be likely to have known about future NASA missions.

But this is the end of their youthful sleuthing. By the time NASA rescues them they will be the Hardy men.

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Female Song Names

Only this week did I hear that Barry Manilow married his manager. His manager is a male which leads me to suspect that he’s been gay all his life. Barry Manilow has kept his private life close to his chest. But I wonder if he has always been public, the trick being that he just talks in code.

Maybe a gay witch hunt in the seventies prompted him to write the song Mandy. On the surface this is a song about a love for a woman named Mandy. But now, knowing that he is gay, I wonder if smart people were supposed to notice that “Man” is directly in Mandy’s name so of course he has always been gay to the people who noticed.

And now that I have been alerted to this talking in code thing, I wonder about Boston and their hit single Amanda from the eighties. Sounded out, Amanda could mean “A man -duh!” which seems even more obvious than Manilow’s Mandy.

Tom Scholz, the writer of Amanda, is married to a woman at this date. Brad Delp the singer of this song unfortunately committed suicide a few years ago. But he too was linked to women by marriage and had a fiancee at the time of his death. It seems unlikely that Boston will ever admit Amanda means A man -duh!

Perhaps my suspicions are true. Amanda is a song about a guy who is about to say “I love you” to Amanda. The sudden vowing of “I love you” might be because of earlier trepidation to reveal to “A man -duh!” his love. And it took Boston 7 years to finally release this album. Perhaps the band had trepidation in revealing to “smart” people that one or more of them were gay. It is more than possible that this new suspicion of mine will never be confirmed.

But while we’re on the topic of female song names, it has always bothered me that the most used female name in the title of a hit song is Sherry. There is both the song “Sherry” by The Four Seasons from the sixties and “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry in the eighties. Sherry just isn’t that common of a name. I’m always surprised that by hit songs it is the most popular name.

But now that we’re looking at girl names in songs as code, I can’t help but point out that sherry is an alcoholic beverage. Perhaps Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons and Steve Perry are alcoholics.

While there is dirt about the supposed life of Bob Gaudio in the musical Jersey Boys, this take doesn’t suggest he ever was an alcoholic. Indeed it does suggest that one of the wives was. Perhaps Gaudio could control his love of sherry.

Spelling Sherrie differently than the alcoholic beverage could be many things. It could be Steve Perry throwing us off the scent. It could be to differentiate the song from the Four Seasons. It could be updating the name for a new decade. But there is little mention about Steve Perry being an alcoholic. Still, I suspect he loves sherry just as much as Bob Gaudio. And that, to me, is why there are two hit tributes to the “girl” called Sherry.

Which brings me to my final question. Are any hit songs about women, really about those women? Or do songwriters all choose to talk in code?

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Suspicious White Powder Found in Mailing From Prime Minister

Ann N. Maus, just an ordinary citizen from Regina, was shocked yesterday to find a mysterious white substance inside the envelope that had been mailed to her from the prime minister. As an ordinary citizen she unsuspectingly got the powder on her skin.

Her and all the mail sorters and carriers associated with it still await final testing to find out what the substance is. So far anthrax and other known killing agents have been ruled out. Some suspect from the texture that it is nothing more than simple icing sugar but more testing needs to be done.

When asked for comment the prime minister quipped, “It was mailed April 1st so April…”

The hushed crowd of reporters seemed to weigh on the prime minister’s mind right that instant.

Changing course the prime minister called, “Alright, whose turn is it to take the fall for this one?”

This follows a mailing of a similar suspicious white powder that came from the president of the CBC. The victim in that act hasn’t been seen since all the tests came back negative for killing agents from that package, too. The victim’s last public act was to snort the cleared contents then smile and say “Oh yeah, the president of the CBC!” Laughing and chortling he ran away almost as if on a bender.

The official statement from the RCMP investigative branch states, “We now suspect it was cocaine. It’s just that the victim’s nose was like a vacuum cleaner and we don’t have even traces of powder to test further.”

Unlike the incident involving the prime minister, the letter from the president of the CBC actually arrived on April 1st. The contents of the writing inside both letters are not being divulged. RCMP expect to trip up or clear the prime minister and president of the CBC with those words. My money is that they will somehow clear both perpetrators.

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The Patron Saint of Alberta

It will come as no surprise to Canadians that St. Albert is the patron saint of the province of Alberta. And today, March 28, is his official yet unofficial day of celebration.

Some of you may know the story, about how he and his many assistants both historical and living now drove the rats out of Alberta. Some poopoo this accomplishment, saying that the harsh winters are the primary drivers of this novelty. True. But with continued immigration and the gall of the gods to have made Alberta totally landlocked, it becomes necessary to help police this circumstance. So today, rats continue to be driven out of Alberta by the government.

Some say St. Albert anticipated this circumstance and passed on what he knew about government to the citizens of Alberta. It is said that he found all manner of politicians to be negative creatures. And some Albertan political parties have ‘con’ right in their name, like the Conservatives and Progressive Conservatives. St. Albert believed that having these parties in power created a powerful double negative, which is of course a positive, and thus Albertans overwhelmingly support their Conservative and Progressive Conservative governments.

Albertans have a special drink to honour their saint on this, his day. That drink is flammable water, which comes about in some processes of extracting petrochemicals from the earth. So whether that flammable water is laced with kerosene or gasoline or natural gas, Albertans like to light a glass and then down a pint in memory of St. Albert.

Celebrants of St. Albert’s day also like to wear at least one article of clothing that is the colour black. This of course honours the province of Alberta which is known for its oil and its burnt or over barbecued beef.

Some Albertans will deny all of this which I have told you. These Albertans are known to have kissed the Baloney Stone also known as the Sham Rock. These Albertans in particular are quite intent on spreading their lies. But those of us in the know will have none of it. St. Albert will have his day and that is today.

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Very Undercover

I think half the reason for the hippy movement’s success in the late ’60s and early ’70s was the fact that the police had a hard time infiltrating amongst long haired males. Eventually the police caught on and brought women on the force and the male undercover cops grew their hair long. But for awhile police had to rely on just informants for that movement.

Since being an undercover cop is a very dangerous job, I think these cops should do things one would never expect a cop to do. Not the old hat kill a man to fit in. That would be against the law. No I have other suggestions.

All undercover cops should drive a Rolls Royce. No one is expecting the police department to foot the bill for this one. Which is precisely why undercover cops should check this off on a list of must haves.

Undercover cops should all have a mansion in which they can throw wild parties and get potential informants liquored up. Who has their guard up when they are talking to the big white phone in the washroom? That’s where the best intel will come from – in between dry or wet heaves. It must happen in a mansion so there will be other washrooms for more informants and even more washrooms so people don’t have to tinkle on the lawn. This is police work but there is no reason to make it uncivilized.

And lastly the wiliest undercover cop will want a gold chain. Not the usual chain that hangs around a neck. We need a 3 foot chain the thickness and size of ones found in a pickup truck or a farm tractor. Something big enough to haul machinery but made of gold so it is uber cool and very expensive. Something heavy enough that it gives the strongest man a hunchback from just wearing it.

Now I know you’re saying to yourself, that’s all well and good but who the heck is going to pay for all this? Well that comes with the territory of being a cop.

Instead of [allegedly!] pulling over black people on the highway for spurious reasons, the cops can now pull over each and every Rolls Royce they see. The rich may suspect they have been profiled but the police will deny this while impounding the car. Once in control of the vehicle, the impounding might add a few thousand kilometres to the odometer.

Mansion owners usually travel frequently. Check the list of the best 100 restaurants in the world and it is there that I bet you will find the mansion owners. The rich like their memories as much as the poor so there will be cameras at times. While arresting these people on terrorism charges (Obviously! I said they had a camera!) the enterprising police officer can find out if they managed to jail all the inhabitants at the mansion address and send any minors to relatives who live in another mansion. The undercover beneficiaries will just have to clean up the mansion once the court finally demands the release of the mansion owners.

Then again if you are shocked by my suggestion of treating the rich in a very cavalier way, perhaps we should try a different tack. Over 3 000 Toronto cops make over $100 000 a year. So perhaps we can just get them to use their own car, house, and chain.

So there you have it. In the future, undercover officers will be the hunchbacks in the mansion with a Rolls Royce.

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