On my last day in Canada I’m thinking about how this country compares to the United States. My daughter summed it up well: “It’s a ‘chill’ country.” Especially in the winter.

The look and feel of Vancounver and Toronto is nicer and newer than in US cities. I’ve never been to Montreal so I cannot say. The public transportation system in the entire Vancouver area is quite good. The health insurance system works well, and local people like it. British Columbia (in May) has California weather, without California problems.

Canadian society is tolerant and pluralistic, but there are some new economic strains as noted in a previous post on globalized gentrification.

Apart from the Indian restaurants and other ethnic places, the local food is unappealing – and that says a lot, coming from an American like me. It’s like being in the Midwest in the 1970s: Land of bacon bits, non-dairy creamer, and blandness.

Our hotel had a free breakfast consisting of instant scrambled eggs (from powder, like for camping); overcooked potatoes for hashbrowns; soggy toast; and really nasty sausages that only my son would eat (against his mother’s advice). I am no foodie, not by any stretch, but even I was appalled.

And Tim Horton’s coffee? It’s over-rated.


Above: Poutine, with French fries, cheese curds, and a brown gravy whose main function is to keep the fries warm.

Originally this was Quebecois dish now claimed by all of Canada, as a source of national pride, causing some Quebec people to accuse the rest of “cultural appropriation.” Here is an excerpt from Huffingtonpost Canada:

Invented in Quebec in the 1950’s, poutine’s prominence across Canada and around the world has really only risen in the past 10 years or so. But Fabien-Ouellet argues that the dish’s explosion in popularity comes with appropriation of Québécois food culture.

“I noticed more and more how poutine was presented as a Canadian dish, instead of a Québécois dish,” he told HuffPost Canada.

“This is a problem, because Quebec has a distinct culture, a distinct society and nation.”

Fabien-Ouellet points to national polls that claim poutine as one of the “Greatest Canadian Invention” and chefs around the world who highlight the dish as “the official dish of Canada.”

If Poutine is “culture” then Canada should stick to hockey. Nobody does that better.

In 12 hours I get back on a China Eastern flight to return to Chengdu, so I will not post for 48 hours or so.



Strange Coincidence


I checked CNN’s homepage today, and it had a photo display of Beirut past and present, showing some of the golden era beach clubs of the 1960s, and how they look today, as above. As we know there was an intervening period in the 1970s and early 1980s when Beirut was a more dangerous place. At least in 2012 when I was in Beirut it was happy daze again. The sun was hot and the women were hotter.

In any case, I thought it was odd that of the dozen or so beach clubs, at least, CNN featured just the ones I visited, including the one above. I’m not saying CNN copycatted my photo blog from back then. I’m not necessarily saying that the usual deep state controllers enjoy temporal, geographic, and telepathic stalking. No, nothing like that… I’m saying this is just a coincidence…

The stranger coincidence is the photo below. I did not stay in a normal hotel in the normal zone. (Not that I did anything normal in Beirut, unless taking a motorcycle ride with Hezbollah for funsies is normal). The view of the photo below is looking out from an out-of-the-way hotel, in a neighborhood where a CNN reporter probably would not stay (unless CNN has rock bottom funds).


Above, for me, the coincidence of the week.

Generation Gadget


Hanging out with teenage kids makes me realize how addicted this new generation is to gadgetry.

Of course we have normal fun getting ice cream and all that, but gadgetry has impinged upon what should be a normal life.

At a local mall, my son Alex spent a few hours on a quest for the perfect ear phones, which had to be wireless. And so when we returned to the hotel there was lots of fussing to make that work. Why do people need wireless headphones? The cellphone is never more than an arm’s reach away. It’s like a wireless mouse? Why?

My daughter Cassandra’s charger was not working, so we found a new one at the dollar store for four dollars. But after one day working, it no longer works. Now the family dinner table conversation revolves around whether the problem is the charger or the actual cellphone.

Now that her phone is dead, she is in a panic. And at a complete loss for what to do. No paperback books handy, no comic books, no board games. I brought a paperback on the trip, but no one has bothered to glance at the cover, the way I did when I wondered what my parents were reading.

The hotel has a pool, but I’m the only family member to have swum in it. Everyone else is fussing around with their fucking phones.

Hopefully, they will lead normal and happy lives despite the curse of gadgetry.



State of Dis-Union?


The English speaking and French speaking Canadians might as well live on separate planets.

They have separate everything practically, including their own television news and variety shows, radio stations, etc… Socially, they remain rather separate, even in Quebec. They do not cross-mingle or cross-date as much as people might imagine. It seems that they tolerate each other at work.

Amazingly, quite a few tourists from Quebec show up in Vancouver without speaking a lick of English. Not that I demand everyone “speak Merican,” but one would think that with Canada being majority English speaking, that everyone here would speak it. For their own benefit. Not so. Grown-up people from all over Quebec, with less English than a rice farmer in Yunan Province.

Standing at the hotel desk a desperate clerk asked the small crowd in the lobby if anyone could translate for some guests. I jumped at the chance to practice my Pidgin French. I love the language. It’s like getting a brain massage.

I suppose that having a huge portion of French-speakers (however coarse their dialect might be, a common charge of the French from “la France’), Canada would be able to open economic and commercial doors into Francophone Africa and so on, but I suspect that this is not happening. True, Quebec gets a lot of immigration from the former French colonies, but I mean goods and people going the other direction: selling maple syrup to Algeria, that sort of thing.

Theoretically, bilingualism is a strength, but Canada does not seem to have made much use of it, and English-speaking Canadians have little interest in it, from what I can see. Forced to take it in school. Shoved in front of their faces, on virtually every road sign and store display.

So the two peoples in Canada, English speaking and French speaking, just plod onwards, ignoring each other. C’est la vie.

Global Gentrification


It seems that Vancouver, BC, has changed a lot since I was last here in 1993. A lot. Towards the end of that decade, the hot money from Hong Kong came in to buy up property. Then many Chinese discovered that this was a great place to live, and the word got out – back in China, where there is no shortage of people. Canada’s link to the Commonwealth means that there are also lost of people here from India and Pakistan.

On the one hand, having such open borders is great for the restaurant scene and the cultural vibe; on the other hand, it’s the global super rich that have come into Vanvcouver and pushed up property values so high that local people cannot afford to buy homes anywhere in the Vancouver area. The average single family home in Vancouver is now – on average – worth more than USD 1 million dollars.

What is happening is that local residents, the new generation, are being pushed out of the city. The rich, of course, are connected to these global networks in finance and medicine, or at least secure in the areas of immigrant services and education, and they remain. But many young people are going to cities in northern British Columbia to look for a middle class life. Vancouver is a no-go zone for residency (unless you have a million dollars, or are willing to pay Manhattan rental prices).

Usually people use the word “gentrification” for the local urban scene, with wealthy suburbanites buying up city properties, but this is now “Global Gentrification,” with well-heeled elites snapping up homes all over Vancouver. I thought I might have coined the term, but I just Googled it, and someone has beaten me to it.

There is a book:

Global Gentrifications



Their book summary:

“Under contemporary capitalism the extraction of value from the built environment has escalated, a phenomenon working in tandem with other urban processes to lay the foundations for the exploitative processes of gentrification worldwide. Global Gentrifications critically assesses and tests the meaning and significance of gentrification in places outside the usual suspects of the Global North.”

Actually, the book is about gentrification of the Global South by the Global North. What I am describing is the opposite! Rich Chinese and Pakistanis transforming the urban landscapes of the Global North, with places like Vancouver and Toronto high on that list. Probably Sydney and Auckland as well. New York, to some extent, where there is also a lot of British, Dutch and Russian cash.

Are borderless market forces the only game in town? I think what is happening in Vancouver is partly good but also very bad. It is great for countries to welcome dynamic immigrants, but not at the cost of taking a local middle class and pushing them into a lumpenproletariat.

And not all immigrants are well-off. The people crewing at Tim Horton’s and other fast-food chains, and doing the menial work in hotels, are all immigrants, mostly from Vietnam, the Philippines, and even China.

All of these distinctions and categorizations will be meaningless here in a few years. No one will be from anywhere. It will only be about the coin. People have the cash, or they do not. End of story.

The Trip

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Airport poster in China.

A couple more airport posters celebrate the Modern Age:

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The trip from Chengdu to Nanjing to Vancouver on China Eastern was smooth and I remain convinced Chinese airlines outperform American ones in terms of on-time departures and customer service. Before the Chinese entered into the international market in a big way, the Japanese and Singaporeans had set very high standards.

Still, it is odd that one of the meal choices only included “pork” or “beef.” I take it China Eastern makes no runs to New Delhi.

It was borderline annoying/humorous that the media system suddenly switched, for all passengers, into a video of how to do Tai-Chi while sitting in your seat, to stimulate blood circulation.

The 15 minute video was led by a kind of Kung-fu master in his garb, seated in an airplane seat, with a uniformed flight officer seatd to his right, also performing the stretching excercises, and a hot stewardess seated to his left.

For me, the video interrupted the a Chicago Fire episode with burning building, and a woman on top about to throw her baby down to the firefighters. She was about to throw… and then comes the Tai-Chi.

I’m not super complaining about anything, considering that a century ago this trip would have cost me a month or more, with seasickness.

The Odyssey movie about Jacques Cousteau is spectacular.

Below, I could not help but notice some spinning ball propaganda on the flight.

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The route above reminds me of a Houston to Shanghai flight that only very rarely flew over the water. Well, after all, the shorest distance between two points is a straight line.

Update & Plans


My next post will be in 2 – 3 days, because in 12 hours I begin a long-haul flight from Chengdu to Nanking to Vancouver, British Columbia. To hang out with my teenage children for a week, and the ex-wife, who are flying up to meet me from Phoenix.

I will be posting on a daily basis again from Canada, but I will go 2 – 3 days without posting until I settle into the hotel over there.

A weekly youtube video series is still in the cards, with the first upload now scheduled for the first weekend in June.

And now for something completely different: The topic for the first video will be the Flat Earth v. Ball Earth debate as it plays out in China, with a look at some Chinese commercials and public posters showing plenty of spinning ball propaganda. Now that I’m looking for it I see it everywhere here.

I’ll have an English-speaking Chinese guest (probably Daisy) put in into a local perspective – into the Chinese thinking way. I might as well contribute something to youtube that is unique to my geographic situation.

Happy trails,


Odd Set of Friends


Just as Trump was courting, and being courted by, the Saudi Kingdom, there was a democratic election in Iran. Some Iranian women celebrated the results by driving cars with banners in Tehran…

While I am not a fan of having any religious dimension in a constitution, it is clear that Iran is much farther along the process of modernization and democratization than is Saudi Arabia, which does not even allow women the right to drive a car. But guess who the ally is?

Trump is next slated to visit Israel, whose apartheid system regularly tests international law and human decency. Meantime, neighboring Lebanon is much more democratic, with secular citizenship and an open society. But guess who the ally is?

Then Trump is going to the Vatican. I guess the Pope is a decent guy, but really? Roman paganism lives on.

Why is it the US priority to lend legitimacy, or dignity, to these three franchises of the Abrahamic religion?

Our taxdollars at work…


The Fascist Impulse


It is not easy to categorize any recent US administration or its ideology. The Trump administration, for example, blends national populism with Wall Street elitism. And gets away with it. It also blends nativist isolationism with jingoistic imperialism. And few people call this out.

In recent weeks, Immigration and Customs officers have stalked both schools and churches. This agency is also keen on using invasive technology to hack cell phones and strip them of data, for obsessive-compulsive analysis.

I have long argued that it is unethical and bad form to prey upon those at or near the bottom of the social pyramid. The “illegals” people fret over were actually encouraged to come in the 1990s (when most came after the peso crisis) by government, business, and the public.

Indeed, federal and state governments spent decades colluding to grant illegals drivers licenses, bank accounts, mortgages, etc.. (successfully I might add), only to now do an about face, and hunt their children in elementary schools.

Rather than trying to solve the structural problem of integrating undocumented people, this administration is getting all jacked up, all ‘roided up, over the prospect of cracking down on illegals. That is the fascist impulse: the use of force (and getting off on it) to round-up, detain, or deport certain demographic sectors, preferably the weaker ones.

In Washington, the Zionist lobby will not lift a finger to prevent ICE agents abuse of power. When the crackdown picks up in earnest in about one year, this ethnic mafia will simply spectate, having learned nothing from 1930s Germany. Absolutely nothing.

This jackboot agenda conforms to that of most modern Christians, who are certain Jesus would have condemned the undocumented. These are the same Bible thumpers who brought their Blood-and-Soil enthusiasm to the wars in the Middle East. Now, these Christians obsess about illegals on Facebook. Jesus.

The fascist impulse is rearing its ugly head.

The Syria Hoax


A few weeks ago, a post here described the US airstrike on Syria as a complete hoax, and pointed to Russian and Syrian complicity in perpetuating this fake news. The photographic evidence suggested a low-budget, staged event.

Yet again, we have the same suspects at work. Supposedly the US struck a Syrian convoy that was violating a de-confliction zone, when, in fact, such zones are complete departures from the UN Charter.

Imagine a consortium of powers declaring Oklahoma to be a no-go zone for the US military. There is absolutely nothing legal about this. Well, it is all for the Barnum and Bailey Circus whose final act will be “The Fall of Damascus!”

Notice the usual nefarious puppet masters obsessing with their numbers yet again in reporting on this event.

“Muzahem al Saloum, from the Maghawir al Thwra group, told Reuters that the jets struck after some rebel forces clashed with Syrian and Iranian militias after they had advanced to about 17 miles (27 km) from the base.”

Above we see 1 and 7 and 2 and 7 (777). The number 777 is one of those master numbers, and the title of an Aleister Crowley Book.

I am still exploring this stuff. But personally, I wonder if 777 is a double-edge number, symbolizing (for Buddhists for example) both the transmutation of consciousness and the ascension of the soul, which could be positive if realized naturally through truth. But 777 also symbolizes a negative Masonic or Kabalistic inversion of this idea, thus becoming a go-to number for New World Order and Beast agendas, which are entirely dependent on mind control and deception. Maybe 777 was hijacked, I do not know.

In any case, as of 10 am in China on Friday (and this event happened yesterday), there is absolutely no mention of this on Syria’s main news page. One would think that such an infringement of sovereignty would be met by loud protestation. Nothing.

By not even attempting to refute this lie, perpetuated across the spectrum of western media, Syria is complicit in the hoax.

Yes, Virginia, the US, UK, Russia and Syria are all just pawns in a rigged game.