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A Story Of Frolicking Beavers For Canada Day, July First ~ 150 Years

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First of all, we know that Canada Day is really Dominion Day. But – that said – there is still no better symbol for Canada than the industrious beaver.  But even  hard-working beavers (perhaps, especially hard-working beavers) need their time at play. This is what I saw.

I was walking along the river and heard the strangest noise.

It was one of those noises which, when I found out what It was, sounded exactly as it should. A beaver was chewing at a branch on the bank of the river. First there were small rolling noises, as the branch went through its hands. Then the ‘gnaw gnaw gnaw’. And then the turning noise and the cycles were repeated.

This went on fifteen minutes or so, until the beaver and I both heard noises in the water.

We both saw another beaver approaching. The beaver-at-gnaw quickly went in her direction (though I can only guess which sex was which). They swam toward each other then rubbed faces. The approaching beaver made small bawling noises like a young calf. They rubbed bodies and seemed to sniff each other. They then swam in different directions.

This performance – the swimming away, the languid circling, the approaches – went on for twenty minutes. A couple of times the ‘gnawing’ beaver clambered over the over beaver’s back, but this lasted just a few seconds. The beaver that had first approached rubbed noses once again, then made the bawling sounds one more time.

I never appreciated how large beavers are until one of them came up on the bank. The water was clear enough to see their feet and tail move underwater (I wonder if the portion out of the water might have the 1/10 proportion of an iceberg). The sun was setting and they became difficult to see. However they decided to part anyway. One began to go down river toward the harbour and one headed to the other shore. For me an experience of a lifetime.

DE

(image)teachershelp.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/beaver1.jpg

When The Government Changes from “Kafka In The Castle”

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Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason.

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?” This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skillful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.) “What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?” And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin. I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands.

Look after each other.

DE

The Emperor Has Too Many Clothes

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Brigadier O’Donald decided that it would be a grand day to become Admiral of the Fleet – Lord High Admiral if he chose the hat with cockade and plume.

Nodding jauntily in the air, the plume put on an impressive display, as he either agreed, or disapproved, with a toss, or a shake, of his head. The dancing ostrich feathers would add a dashing air as he boarded his flagship and, with just the right mixture of stringent authority and well- tempered geniality, moved in imperious sweeps among the ranks of ratings on the aft deck.

He would, of course, be extra careful about the pitfalls awaiting a man with ornate dress sword and scabbard, among the steep steps and narrow companionways.

******

Wednesday was khaki day for Brigadier O’Donald.

It was the day set aside to remind him of the loyalty he must always retain from his men, for what was a leader without his troops? And as a treat – for really, the dull brown did not make for a very striking appearance – the would chose the tank commander’s uniform.

With its wide web belt and shiny black holster on the hip, flap unsnapped to reveal the butt of a wicked forty-five. And of course the black leather gloves, as befits a man at the controls of so much power, and the steel helmet polished to a mirror-shine.

The riding crop? Ah, the riding crop was debatable.

******

Today would have a parade. Massed men at attention with stiffly held rifles and fixed bayonets.

Brigadier O’Donald would have to chose carefully to represent his awesome power and responsibility. Cavalry boots are a must, raising half-way up the calf and resounding with silver spurs, steel-tipped toes and heels.

Then would come crisp black trousers, billowing majestically around the thighs, and kept up with a wide leather belt. He took care that each red stripe reaching the length of each leg was as straight as an arrow.

His blue tunic, he decided, would have only muted decorations and the minimum of gold braid entwined about his shoulders. He was – after all – a fighting general.

******

A civic reception is the time when Brigadier O’Donald will be on close display.
He believes he is at his most effective  when draped completely in white, save – of course – for his highly polished black dress shoes (and, in truth, he favoured white even here, but feared such footwear was a trifle effeminate). White is striking by itself, but well he knew it made the perfect background for his medals and decorations.

He has trouble deciding upon which colour sash to wear across his chest, but finally chooses the emerald green – the reception is in the public gardens. He dons his silver-visored cap, and graces his bosom with the blue Clustered Palm of Valour; the diamond centered Star of Courage; the gold Pyramid of the Oaken Grove; and seven rows of bars and campaign medals.
There are no visiting Heads of State, so he need not be too brilliant.

DE

(image)http://images.csmonitor.com/csmarchives/2011/02/COLQ1.jpg?alias=standard_600x400

 

Trump And Kafka Walk Into A Bar

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~ Frank. Welcome to your world.

~ Thanks, DT. I’ve been living it all my life.

~ I’ve taken some pages out of your books, Frank.

~ I did try to get them burned.

~ You didn’t try too hard.

~ Well – no.

~ You know – neither did I.

~ I know. They all ran to your tune.

~ They did.

~ You were the Pied Piper of Havoc.

~  Worked like a charm, Frank.

~ Yes, DT – yes, it did.

~ They thought I was a bug.

~ Yes.

~ But I turned them into bugs.

~That you did, DT. And turned them against each other.

~ Yes.

~ And stood back, and watched.

~ Pretty well.

~ To the victor goes the spoils.

~ I was astounded – believe me.

~ And they keep making the same mistakes.

~ I know, Frank.  I’d laugh if it wasn’t so funny.

~ The one-eyed man is King in the land of the Blind.

~ Yes, Frank – yes. But you know what?

~  What?

~ I’ve got great vision in both eyes.

DE

(image)http://www.lavoroculturale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/tumblr_l0bis3rtmb1qz6f9yo1_500.jpg

Joebama Walk Into A Bar

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~ What’s your poison, Joe?

~ I think it’s a rum night.

~ Any reason?

~ It’ll encourage me to give him a rum for his money.

~ Joe. You know you’ve got to stop.

~ Yeh, Boss. In January.

~ Messing with his head isn’t going to do any good.

~ It can’t do any harm.

~ True – we’re past that.

~ Gotta have a bit of fun.

~ Hillary could use a bit of fun.

~ I’m not a magician, Boss.

~ True.

~ Though I have a few riffs on The Glass Ceiling surviving Kristallnacht.

~ Joe!

~ Too soon?

~ Not even this time next year.

~ OK.

~ I’ll pretend it’s the rum talking, Joe.

~ OK. I’ll stick to dealing with the 45th.

~ My successor.

~ The old Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief.

~ Joe.

~ I’ve put a few “For a good time, call – ” notes in the washrooms.

~ Joe.

~ I left Melina’s phone number.

~ Joe!

~ Gotta have fun, Barack. There’s only so much rum.

~ True.

~ And I haven’t even started on Pence.

~ Joe!

DE

(image)http://www.stpancraslondon.com/media/1640/gilbert-scott-bar.jpg?anchor=center&mode=crop&quality=90&width=1120&format=jpg&slimmage=true&rnd=131129703970000000&height=549

~

The Government And The Social Contract ~ An Election Can’t Change It

Deepening Unemployment Hits Construction Industry Hard

Franz Kafka was a government employee who looked after the welfare of workers. Among other things, he invented the hard hat.

In my novel about him, he has an encounter with a worker who needs assistance. In his real life, this is how he would react.

Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle:

16 February 1917

There was a commotion at the office today. It was late morning, and from far below, coming up the stairwell, I could hear a voice bellowing: “Doktor Kafka. Doktor Kafka.”

It was a terrible voice, full of blood and darkness. I got from my desk and went to the door. There were other voices, trying to calm, saying: “He can’t be disturbed.” But the voice was louder, more horrible, close in the corridor.  “Doktor Kafka – for the love of God.”

My secretary wanted me to stay inside, hoped the man would just move along the corridor until the police were summoned. But – I was curious; the man had my name, and his voice was … terrified.

I opened the door and stood in front of it.  “I’m Kafka,” I said. The man lunged at me, and went to his knees.  “Doktor Kafka?” he said.  “Yes, I’m Kafka.” He reached out, grabbing for my hand.  “Jesus, Jesus, for the love of Jesus – they say that you’ll help me.”

He was a heavy man, and looked as if he had the strength to pull off doors, yet the tears burst from his eyes.  “I can get no work. I fell from a bridge, and my back is twisted and in pain.” He slumped against the wall, looking at my eyes.  “I have a family, Doktor Kafka. A baby not a year old.”  “You were working on this bridge?” I asked.  “Yes.” His voice slid down his throat. “I was helping repair the surface.”  “Then you deserve your insurance. Why can’t you get it?”

He straightened up, and tried to stand. “I have to fill in papers; the doctor can see no wounds; the foreman said I drank; because my brother is a thief, I am not to be trusted.” I held out my hand, and he slowly stood. “I’m telling you the truth, Doktor Kafka.”  “If that is so,” I said, “you’ll get the money due you.”  “I’m so tired,” he said.

I gave instructions to those standing around – no other work was to be done until this man’s case was decided.

I took him to my office, where he sat.

He sat – practically without a word – for five hours.

I summoned a prominent doctor to look at him. The doctor prodded, and the man screamed. Officials from his village were telephoned. I helped him with the details on the forms. His truth was in his pain. He left our stony building with money in his hand, and his worth restored.

The people who assisted me had smiles on their faces.

A man had needed their help.

DE

(image)http://mentalfloss.com/sites/default/legacy/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/86185783.jpg

Hillary And Obama Walk Into A Bar

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~ What’s your poison, Madam Secretary?

~ The same as yours, Mister President.

~ Well, we’ve taken care of him. Perhaps some champagne.

~ From California.

~ Of course.

~ And something a little stronger, a little later?

~ I’ll let you choose, Mr. President, at my first formal dinner at The White House.

~ Hardly your first, Hillary.

~ No. But this time “Hail To The Chief” will be for me.

~ True. But Bill and I might hum along.

~ Boys will be boys.

~ And girls will be president.

~ What is precedence, Mr. President. Do I invite the loser?

~ Not such a sore loser. I think it unwise.

~ You don’t think The Donald will behave himself?

~ That’s one thing you will need for the office, Hillary.

~ What?

~ That great sense of humor.

~ You can’t imagine him with his mouth shut?

~ Wrong!

~ OK – I see what you mean by a sense of humor.

~ It always helps to smile when you’re fixing the problems.

~ I’m going to have a lot to smile about.

~ You can handle it, Madam President.

~ Thank you, Mr.President.

~ Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

DE

(image)http://carlitoswaycocktails.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/cropped-Purple-bar.jpg

Hillary And Trump Walk Into A Bar ~ The Election Closes In

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[It is the countdown, folks – so count along.]

~ What’s your poison, Donald?

~ I know what your poison is, Hillary.

~ What’s that?

~ You drink the Kool-Aid.

~ You’re the one who mixes it, Donald. I don’t touch the stuff.

~ It makes you nasty.

~ I’m starting to think you have a fixation on nasty women.

~ I like women.

~ You like to do things to women, Donald. It’s a big difference.

~ They love it.

~ They’d love to let you know how much they love it – I’ll grant you that.

~ So, you get all the women beating up on me, you think it will make you win?

~ A lot more than that is going to make me win.

~ What’s that?

~ You, Donald. You being you. Really, all I have to do is stand there and be superior.

~ They love what I say – the people you help crush. They just love it. Believe me.

~ They love it, Donald.  They love hearing it. But they look at you and they see something they don’t want.

~ What?

~ They don’t want a president who will take them down with him. That’s self-preservation, Donald. Something you’re good at.

~ There’s nothing wrong with looking out after yourself.

~ There’s something wrong about only looking after yourself.

~ You’re kinda hawt when you’re a know-it-all. We could have been quite a team. Taken over the country.

~ Team?

~ You know – married.  I would have got you out of that pantsuit.

~ We would have to get something more than a marriage certificate.

~ What?

~ A murder/suicide pact.

DE

(image)http://www.madhyamam.com/en/sites/default/files/lafnqroz.jpg

Letter To Franz Kafka

19.09.2015

Dear F:

Though it will give you no pleasure (well, ‘little’ pleasure) you are correct in all your observations.

Governments become the tools of the bureaucracies that run them. It doesn’t matter what type of Government, from the monarchy under which you lived, to the right-wing horror of fascists that called themselves socialists, to the inept socialism pretending to be ‘for the people’. All three governments held sway over the city where you spent your life.  All three oppressed the people they ruled. All three looked after themselves first.

Writers are either writers or they aren’t. The urge to write encircles one like a snake around its prey. Feed it and it won’t quite squeeze you to death. You can not ignore it – even at your peril. It is with you every hour of every day, ever inquisitive and (sadly) always looking for something better.

Love is a see-saw of extremes. Every high guarantees a low. Every low reaches for a high. Every high reaches for a high. When these hills and valleys are eventually levelled, they are still desired.

Sex is highly over rated. The thing of it is, even rated fairly “’tis a consummation devoutly to be had”.  Yes – I know – you appreciate Shakespeare. On a par with Goethe, even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words.

People are just one damned thing after another. Of course, so many people have brought you blessings that you throw up you hands to ward off the snake. Sometimes loosening its grip.

There is no castle with walls thick enough to hide against the perils of being human.  Which is why you never tried.

Except the grave, of course.

Except the grave.

Yours,

DE

The Trial is over.

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