Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summing up

I didn't find work in St. Anthony and September 1st was the day I planned on leaving for Gros Morne. So, here are some parting shots with which I display my sentimental bent. In Mexico, I was a broken man sitting, sweating, on the concrete steps of a baseball stadium somewhere north of Gurerro Negro, maybe in Rosarito, watching ball players who were 7 years past their prime struggle around the bases and overthrow the cutoff man. A grandfather, probably 50 years old walked off with his daughter and the moment she reached for his hand, unseen and without turning his head he reached for hers and together they trusted one another without words and I wept into my 10 peso beer and thought, 'Ah, Oggy, you may climb the highest peaks in the world but there is one happiness you will never know.' I did not take a picture of that moment but if you wait long enough your enemies with pass you in the river and lost memories will return on the wings of sinister storm clouds and here in St. Anthony I saw a boy and his grandfather walk toward the wharf and I grabbed that moment for my treasure chest of dreams...and as a reminder and reflective admission that I have not fooled myself of the source of true contentment.

The other picture is of Oggy trying to sew little dots of velcro onto a bug screen to keep the bugs from flying into the escape hatch. This failed for a variety of reasons but it also led me to another attempt that failed and now the third attempt will work if I want to sew 8 ft of velcro strips onto the screen by hand. That may take place on a rainy day.

The next is a picture of the van far off in the distance near the municipal wharf. The locals tolerate my presence there and I try to pay it back with litter picking and by fixing the toilet and plumbing around the grounds. But at least no asshole with his BMW has driven up and yelled, "WHEN ARE YOU LEAVING?" like happened many times in Los Angeles. I said, "As soon as I see the sign that SAYS THIS IS YOUR PRIVATE FUCKING PARKING SPACE!"

And they would mutter their bourguois responses, "Hippy pissing in the hedges, lazy, dirty, call the cops...etc..." and I would simmer my resentments in a miserable shirtless existence as I struggle with a rusted nut on the exhaust.

No, it's different here.

The last picture is of me on the Grenfell trail overlook where the doctor and his wife and a few key players in the hospital saga have been IMPLANTED INTO STONE because when you do what Grenfell did then you get to do whatever you want with your ashes.

Internet usage will be sparse for the next few days or weeks. I have a lead on a vacuum modulator in Cornerbrook, maybe the last in all of North America, so that is a future destination.

St. Anthony Street Clean-up a Success!

Dennison and I did our part to repay the hospitality of St. Anthony (We freely partake of their water and internet) by walking from the Marina to Fisherman's Point picking up litter. This is not "pollution", which is more like oil spills, but Tim Horton's (Dennison says, "Bloody Tim Whoreton's") coffee cups and straws and cigarette butts. We are a frivilous animal with coarse pursuits and it shows in our respect of the land and the resources. The sailors told of meeting floating metal cargo containers that fall off cargo ships. The ships can expect to lose 5% of their containers and maybe they will be retrieved or maybe a sailboat will run into one or maybe it will sink into the abyss. For what? So, Americans or Italians can trade shoes and belts and other gadgets. This is grotesque to me, a grotesque and irresponsible waste of resources and energy. The Chinese slave who sits at her table for 12 hours sewing Mickey Mouse Pillowcases will see her life's work drowned in the Caspian Sea. IT'S A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT@!

We gathered 5 bags of trash, some home insulation, a tennis ball, and the thanks of a local tour boat captain. Then Dennison served some pressure cooked beans in tomato sauce and I contributed moldy flaxseed bread.

In sampling the news in the aftermath of the storm I see nothing has changed in my absence; America is still obsessed with celebrity porn, internet comments still scrape the bottom of the barrel of civility, and the pot cooking the frogs is slowly reaching a boil while the frogs spit in each other's eyes with curses and venom. It's every man for himself and the funny thing is that it's been this way for a long time. I want no part of it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sinister Mystery Cloud

I was babbling to Dennison about hurricanes I've seen in Texas and Florida when a flash came back to me like a strange pain in the prostate that you can't explain...
And the flash was a vision, maybe a worm hole eclipse, of my brother and I in Maine or NH playing a game...I thought it was called Hurricane...but then I remembered, no, that particular game involved a hurricane or "sinister mystery cloud" but it was called "Bermuda Triangle". You rolled dice to move in that drunken circle and once in a while you would spin the board of something and depending on the outcome you would move the storm. And the storm was on a grid and if your boat was near the storm then magnets would suck the boat in and that was it for you and the crew. But you have more than one ship so you try again...

This was a memory that I guess I have kept safe in my box of nostalgia that women with their evil designs and men with their grotesque ethics CAN NOT OPEN. But since the reaper has knocked on my door more than once this trip I think I can safely share it. We're playing the game and my brother or father move the hurricane slowly across the grid and it nears my ship and my excitement, not anxiety or fear, but genuine excitement is greater than a class 4 Tropical storm named Oggy. Maybe I'm wearing Red Sox pajamas and maybe my mother is present nearby. I don't know. But my excitement at the ominous and inexorable movements of this storm fix me to the is life or death, the whim of the storm...the fate of Neptune, the delicate touch of God that may forever suck me into the abyss.

This game haunts me now in the reaches of my van. The rain came last night and I, naked, fought with it and the many leaks I can't fix. My eye is nearly clear enough to drive again though I would instantly take a job here in St. Anthony if offered. Maybe a population of 3000, honest folks, don't lock doors, work hard and raise families with neighbors working together. When your work only benefits your neighbor then there is never the class warfare that has carpenters on hourly wages for strangers who desire sun decks. That's an abomination that is foreign to the people of St. Anthony. The idea you would bid on a job to work for a stranger who made their money in E-commerce is grotesque to them like the idea of private property is to the Esquimaux. I'd open a music shop with free lessons with any purchase of instrument. The streets would be filled with penny whistle melodies and concertina tunes.

For now, I await the destiny of the mystery cloud to pass and possibly suck my metallic 1969 econoline van with all its leaks and flaws and flakes of flesh dug into the worn Indian rug. Will it pass close enough or allow me to pass with a roll of a 5 or 3?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rare species

Thrombolites don't get many PETA activists getting arrested in their defense but they are the earliest form of primitve life and they are endangered. I'm sitting on the back of a thrombolite here. They are actually collections of dense bacteria disguised as rock like I'm disguised as Oggy, the biologist from the future.

And here is the dwarf hawksbeard which I thought was a rare plant only found on Burnt Cape, Newfoundland ecological preserve but also seems to live in california, portland and other places so maybe I've been misled. It is noteworthy because it blooms once in its life and then dies. The plant lives in no soil, only a thick bed of gravel limestone. I would recommend it to avid botanists but not casual flower lovers because everything looks like is still growing. This Dwarf Hawksbeard is as big as it gets.

Burnt Cape ecological preserve looks like this:

There is a huge sea cave under there and a phenomena called Cannon Holes that look like big holes in the side of the cliffs. I wandered down there to ponder the universe. Sometimes, when the ocean is calm, there is a huge seawater pond that is safe to swim in. The day I was there it was not safe or warm or calm.

Quotes to Inspire

I don't want you to think that hurricane is going to make me go easy on anyone. The Gulf coast, Mexico, Honduras, all have had their dose of global climate collapse and only a total destruction of D.C. by hurricane force dust storms will raise the eyebrows of the whores and puppets who stink up their $1000 alpaca wool suits while selling out the American man to Chinese pharaohs. So, here are some quotes to get your minds working on what to do when the shit crumbles...

"Cry wolf, you men of little conscience! Ignore the fact that while there have been deer there have always been wolves and that until your coming, wolves, men, and deer lived in mutual adjustment with each other for more centuries than we can count. Cry wolf! No one will give you the lie. The wolves cannot answer. The last survivors of the Peoples of the Deer cannot reply." - Farley Mowat People of the Deer

"Yes there is truth my dear boy, but the doctrine that you desire, the absolute perfect, comprehensive and instructive doctrine, does not exist. You should not yearn for this my friend, but only for self-perfection. The Godhead is in yourself, not in theories and in books. Truth must be lived, not taught." - Hermann Hesse - Glass Bead Game

Last night Dennison held council on his "Tahiti" sailboat and he pulled out a book he was reading and how he described it is worth repeating, though this isn't verbatim...(imagine an accent like John Cleese or a less cheeky Hugh Grant...)

"This book, Men of the cliffs and caves, is about hermits who lived during the Han Dynasty in China between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., and while that may sound fabulously obscure it is actually a fascinating read. Their philosophy, the hermits, was that during a time when there is a good leader then you are obligated to serve society but during a time of a bad leader you were obligated to become a hermit and remove yourself to live in solitude in a cliff dwelling or cave where you would ponder the universe, write, pray what have you. Now, some of the hermits were absolute scoundrels who only became hermits to gain reputation that would aid them as political demons but others were genuine."

At this point is say, "I identify with the much of what you say, Dennison, please continue."

Dennison stands and refills my porcelain tea cup from something that looks Chinese but is probably a Thai porcelain kettle. On a sailboat! The loose leaf tea is good, from Thailand, with a licorice aftertaste, oily and enhanced when I breath in sharply which I do often since my adventure on the motor-less boat has left me uncertain of my movements...

"Thank you, Oggy, I will. So, it's like this, if Colin Powell the U.S. secretary of state for the last Bush dynasty, excuse me, term, had gone to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 and instead of arguing for an invasion of Iraq based on flawed and mostly manufactured evidence against that country, he had stood up and said. (Dennison stands up and pretends he is a humbled Colin Powell) 'Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the security council. I'd like to announce my resignation as secretary of state as it has become clear to me that this administration is a sham and corrupt beyond salvation. I will henceforth be moving to an undisclosed cave in the Ozark mountains where I will live alone on nuts and ginseng as I ponder the universe. I thank you for your attention. Good bye.'

We three, David, Julien, and I laugh at the unlikelihood of this happening. Dennison laughs casually and continues.

"If he had done that then the world would now be a much different place. (I begin to say something and Dennison raises a finger to silence me.) Instead, Instead, he was a whore...and a puppet and the hand that moved his hands and the fingers that wagged his lips were too powerful for him to overcome. So he obeyed them and fed the world a monumental lie. The only 'intelligence failure' was on the part of the American People to not recognize a screw job that left the country in financial ruins while global development corporations like Halliburton made off like bandits. And this book traces the cause and effect of hermits living 2200 years ago to the current state of the world."

And the nonchalance with which Dennison spoke was culture defined.

Now go do something worth quoting...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Belt Buckle Design?

I want to make a whole series of belt buckles with my van in different poses. The mexico one is nice but if I make the ice berg bigger in the back ground and add a whale on the left then I'll have a nice one to commemorate this trip. Hooking a rug with my van in it will also be a winter project.

Caution: sea sickness may be infectious

I'm not proud but I want to point out that while I was a merchant marine I was sick for two days at the beginning in high high seas swabbing decks and cleaning heads in the bowels of a big boat that reeked of diesel fuel but then was never sick again. I was not born into the sea but given time I will adjust. Going from mama's tit to Newfoundland coastal waves was something I wasn't prepared to do and so this went from bad to worse to totally dazed and too weak to walk. I fell onto the shore following our tack-fest. My knees were like jello. But I won't rule out the possibility of sailing to Ellesmere Island. It's a hard place to reach no matter what and sailing might be the most venturesome according to Wilfred Grenfell.
I think the camera is on its last legs with the audio skipping. ah well.


This is an international group picture of web-savvy folks with David (CAN) on the left, Oggy (USA), Julien (FRA) and Dennison (ENG). I said that Los Angeles evicts spirits like ours. We won't play by the rules. No. Not us. The pharaohs will have to whip some other back to build their pyramids. We'll try our hands in the unforgiving desert.

David and Julien were the crew who managed the 36' sailboat named Evensong while I puked over the side. David was tied up to the ST. Anthony Wharf awaiting transmission parts/work. He's a writer who travels the world living a life like the adventure stories he writes. And he speaks with a refined English accent and his eyes could not be more brown and his hair is perfectly gray and his manner is bonvivant and illuminating. He's a captivating storyteller, as you would expect of a writer, and all his anecdotes end like, " the New Yorker ended up paying me more for the story than I lost in poker to the Prince of Monaco !"
He's the person you can't believe exists in real life.

Today is a day I'm fortunate the internet is the domain of the written word because yesterday I burned my vocal cords with acidic juice vomited up on a sailing voyage from Quirpon to St. Anthony. The tale, as always, begins with my quest to find the arctic wolf.

The time line is like this:

5pm Meet David and Julien at the library where we are all on the internet. I overhear David say, "The northwest passage..." and my heart leaps at the possibility that I am going to find my arctic wolf passage.

5:30pm Give D&J a ride to the wharf where their remanufactured injector pump awaits.

5:31pm Receive first refusal to go to Ellesmere Island, but am invited to crew on the EVENSONG around Newfoundland. Negotiations begin ("Can we make a quick stop on Ellesmere Island?" "No.")

6 PM Drive to store to shop for dinner per the invitation of D&J. Ponder asking the cute cashier at the Viking Village Mart to come to dinner with me but decide I am only imagining the flirt in her eyes. Instead, I call my insurance company in NH to pay for my next 6 months of insurance on the van. This call costs $5 a minute and I'm on hold for the price of a nice hot meal or two. Finally, I get through and the bumbling agent costs me more in phone charges than the whole insurance costs!

7PM Drive from St. Anthony to Quirpon harbour where EVENSONG is docked with a broken injector pump and useless motor.

8PM eat dinner ("If it's hot, we'll eat it," says David and I wonder why women can not be this flexible as I recall the dinners I've had scorned and fed to dogs or tossed into the sand and mocked like the women were the queens of the midnight ball and male suitors were lined up to feed them gourmet meals. Well, this was one pasta meal they missed out on.) and entertain each other with stories of our travels,

"This one time I was docked in Greece when I met this..."

"After I walked down the Ganges and published the book I...

"So my heart was broken in La Paz, Mexico and then I..."

"I hitchhiked across Canada and David forced me to crew his boat so we..."

10PM desert wine was finished, pasta meal was done. Good night.

8Am David invites me to sail down to St. Anthony. I thought he was going to repair the motor in Quirpon but he doesn't play by the rules and has sailed this far (around from north of the Gros Morne area on the northern peninsula) so he'll keep going with no motor.
Any sailor will tell you that the difference between sailing with a motor and sailing with no motor is quite distinct. I am ignorant of this so agree to steer. David kindly uses "Left and Right" instead of "Port and Starboard"
9Am We leave Quirpon undersail.
9:30 Oggy feels pretty good. Maybe he will sail around Newfoundland. He may need to sail to Ellesmere island so this would be a good...
9:31 Oggy gets sick for first time.
10-2PM Oggy hangs over the railings to the point that David holds his belt so he won't fall over. Why Oggy cares about not vomiting on the deck is a mystery. But he is genteel like that.
2:30pm They make good time (7 knots/hr)among the minke whales and icebergs until the wind changes and they make 1 knot/hr and basically bob in the water like a milk jug.
3-4PM many tacks back and forth to make the St. Anthony Harbour. Oggy's throat is so raw from puking and dry heaving into the Labrador Sea that he can't speak. He can drink and vomit that is all as he watches through watery eyes as we enter the harbour weaving back and forth.
4-5PM Oggy is better as the waves diminish and his help is needed as we must make 3 or 4 tacks back and forth in front of the wharf packed with fishing boats. No motor we gather an audience and finally Julien heroically leaps across the deck with a line and manages to secure us to some kind of huge iron trough hanging off a fishing boat before we crash into an anchor. Safe we relax.
6PM Oggy leaves to hitchhike back to Quirpon. The sun is falling. He buys an aluminum rail for heating duct that he will use to custom fabricate a screen window for his emergency exit hatch.
7PM Oggy gets worried. He gave hitchhiking up for this very reason that NO ONE STOPS ANYMORE. He walks through dust and dogs chasing his ankles alone, vagrant spirit.
8:30 PM Oggy is picked up in the middle of nowhere by the owner of the Napa store where he went to buy his vacuum modulator and was told none were available in Canada. The kind man drops Oggy at his van and after hearing Oggy's tale he says "So YOU were the ones tacking back and forth into the harbour. I'd never seen anyone tack into St. Anthony's Harbour in my entire life."
Oggy knows why. Oggy rests and then sleeps though mosquitoes feast on his face.

Next morning I return to St. Anthony and find David and Julien have not started the repair job but are entertaining Dennison Berwick, a writer and the stories begin anew.

Will Oggy go to Ellesmere in his own boat as many have recommended? This remains to be seen.

P.S. The dog's name is Lady and for a second I thought I'd found an Arctic Wolf. David is her owner and when I told him my tale he said he'd read about me in the Northern Pen, the local paper that picked up the story from the Aurora. Small world. He was a good sport when I went into Oggy mode with my bell bottom pants and said I was from the future.

"Sure there are Arctic wolves in 50 years. But there won't be any people" he said.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Iceberg Hunting

I grew tired of warm milk and melting butter. This was not a problem in Labrador where the winter has never released the land completely but in Newfoundland I've found some warm (but overcast) weather. So I gathered some iceberg ice to put in my bag. At first I was going to put it in my cooler but then I remembered that I had left that cooler attached to my 1974 Vespa Ciao. So I triple-bagged the ice and had cold milk. It's more trouble than it is worth as the heat melts the ice in one day.

Wilfred Grenfell: A Victor on The Field of Honor

I had to make a pilgrimage to the Grenfell Properties here in St. Anthony because the work of Wilfred Grenfell back in 1898 to build a hospital on Battle Harbour and to serve the coast on a hospital ship and then to expand his clinics to other communities and to build a headquarters in St. Anthony all contributed to the clinic at Mary's Harbour which provided the care that has restored my eye to almost new. The main infection is gone but some blurryness continues to slow my journey. These ailments probably led to sight problems for fishermen until Grenfell came along.

"Life is a field of honor," he said.

Grenfell is the man seated on the right. I think the lesson here is that although he was limited by location and resources he still provided the best care that was possible at that time. He was also a social activist as he broke the savage Truck system of economy and taught self-sufficience and economy and fairness. I bought a piece of pecan pumpkin pie at the Grenfell Memorial Co-Op grocery that was delicious even if it was expired and on sale for half price.
T.B. and Beri Beri and Scurvy and a variety of diseases were his main enemies and these he bravely fought against in addition to the common ailments of infected eyes and broken limbs. He basically did what he was able to do and when he needed help he enlisted volunteers and raised funds. He didn't expect anything from his charges that he didn't expect from himself. By the look of it, his mere presence inspired greatness in others.

I want to tribute Moody, Watch and Spy because these were part of the dog team that led the way across the pack ice from St. Anthony when he went on an emergency call.

Lady Grenfell (Anne) is holding the black dog on the left. I don't know what the fourth dog's name is but Moody, Watch and Spy should go down in the dog hall of fame because not only did they venture out on many trips with the doctor, but they went out with him on an ill-advised trip and the pack ice broke apart mid way across the bay and they drifted into the bay and would surely have all died but Wilfred decided to sacrifice old Moody and Watch and Spy, killing them, and making a coat of their skins and a wall of their bones until he was spotted by a fisherman on the other coast and rescued along with the surviving dogs. Grenfell made up a huge bronze plaque to the memory of these three dogs so he didn't kill them lightly. Dog team dogs were treated well and their memory is preserved in the Grenfell House here in St. Anthony.

This lesson is hard to define because The Doctor was noble in his effort and risked his own life and the lives of his dogs for a sick patient. But it's the cause and the honor that Grenfell understood. He said, "When faced with two options, choose the most venturesome." So, he went onto the pack ice. The adventure later served to make him internationally famous and aided his fundraising efforts.

He also said,

"It is men who take ventures who make the world. It is courage the world needs...launch out into deep waters. Half measures, trimming the shore in shallow waters, never pays anything."

Here's a picture to demonstrate that bit of wisdom.

Canada owes much to Sir W.T. Grenfell and I owe him my right eye.

UnderSTAND it's NewfoundLAND

The correct pronounciantion of this province is NewfoundLAND. I'd been pronouncing it with the accent on the the NEW...because coming from New England it would sound very strange to say new engLAND. But that's the way it's said here. And only here did I realize that Labrador is pronounced laBRADOR...which means "Laborer" or "Lavrador" in Portugese.

The above is a Groundhog I met on the Schooner Trail in L'Anse Au Loup. This was the fellow who inspired me to speak up in his defense. His nobility should not be challenged. There was a folk festival at the cove of the wolf which involved a country themed dance (o.k. covers of CCR songs and one horrible cover of Comfortably Numb) and drinking of beer. It was here that my full assessment of my finances left me envying the grounhog for his simple living. The rationing has begun and I have learned what those extra holes are for toward the middle of my belt.

This is Point Amour Lighthouse where I tried to recreate the perfectly sepia toned quality of the 1904 era. The Holloways were a family of photographers who took all the iconic pics of Battle Harbour during this whole era. They were fine photographers and had an exhibit at the lighthouse.

This harp seal gave me some good footage that is on the video camera. It was a lonely looking seal out there on the ice. It only appeared after the berg it was on split in two and it had to find a smaller bit to float on. I think it chose poorly because it struggled non-stop to stay on that piece of ice when many other options were nearby. It also acted like its left flipper was injured. It's a hard world for harp seals.

Here is my film production crew hard at work waiting for a berg to split in half. It's even more difficult than spotting whales because the event will happen in five seconds only every few hours. Unpredictable and violent, the berg will break at some critical spot and then the density division will change and the berg will flip sideways causing other parts to break with a deafening roar. And you have two seconds to get the camera rolling to catch it. It's as hard to see one with your own eyes let alone have your camera rolling as it happens unless you sit there with five batteries and roll the camera all day long. Then you will be guaranteed to capture the moment of collapse and floundering.

Example: This perfect enclosed swimming pool iceberg was waiting near St. Anthony's fisherman's point and I watched it for hours as I hiked up and down a hill and around a point and had lunch and said, "IT's something else, ain't it?" to other gape-mouthed tourists from Texas and Vancouver who urged their teenage kids from the RV and into the wild. Then, after hours of watching this berg, I was picking my way around the beach and happened to go out of sight for maybe 8 seconds and within three seconds I heard two huge explosions. So I started to run and by the 7th second I had my camera out and was taking video as the berg was floundering. It pained me that I had missed the crucial event by seconds after being almost close enough to touch it. So I spent the rest of the day and the rest of the next day waiting for a repeat only to be taunted and teased like a rich old man at a Mexican stripjoint. I could not and did not capture anything close to this. Note how different the before and after pictures are. One was an enclosed swimming pool and the after is a shapeless hump. These two icebergs are the same one. There is a lesson here about patience and resignation but I won't go into that.

This polar bear in the St. Anthony municipal building (Where Oggy has gone for internet usage and to wash his hands of seaweed) stands head and shoulders above Oggy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

L'Anse Au Clair

Nearing the end of the trail through Labrador. I am nearly out of funds and envision playing guitar on the streets of St. Anthony and Cape Breton for gas money. Peanuts and Mr. Noodle are combining for a dinner. Guitar scales all through the night as my eyeball slowly improves. There is no pain anymore when I look at the light clouds but I can not focus through the haze of bacteria. The flies have been villainous, hellish and hateful. Several attacks on my face have raised red welts and bleeding sores. I stumble into restaurants and the hostess recoils in horror at my disfigured allotment.
Rain is falling here for real. No travel today. L'Anse Au Cotard means is built on a field of clover, and is uninhabited as the stone houses crumbled before the elements. Barnacles and groundhogs dominate the landscape and my feeling is that Steve Jobs ought not disturb or molest any groundhog habitat in his path of destruction seeking rare earth metals. NOT ONE GROUNDHOG SHOULD BE BOTHERED or MISTREATED. That's where I draw the line. And the wolffish is also endangered but seeing one of those involves going onto the ocean. Why is our digital interconnectivity more important than the wolffish? Answer me that? Why should a groundhog be molested without justification?
Please ponder this for the afternoon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bad brakes

I didn't make it out of the parkinglot without dealing with my first two problems. One is my shoes which have lost all relevance in the world of shoes. My screws put in last fall having fallen out and the water pouring in freely.
The second was locked emergency brake after a month of leaving it engaged in the rain. foolish. This took some time to free and the problem probably isn't over yet. Will I ever get out of Mary's Harbour? The skipper said I should buy a house and wait for spring. What's stopping me? A need for master's degree in advanced jazz guitar from Madrid university? Or mexico city? Or Guatemala where my fabled utopian farm community awaits where cucumbers grow like wolf flowers in the desert?
Or is the problem that the government doesn't trust me in Canada or USA and I resent the decade long war for oil THAT DOES NOT AID OUR PROSPERITY BUT ENABLES OUR David fucking Mamet can drive in circles in Santa Monica feeling proud about his pathetic stageplays. For that we slaughter Iraqi peasants. Repulsive.
My feeling is that Steve Jobs is like Joseph Goebbels and anyone who disagrees is like those who thought Hitler was a benign leader in 1936. It's so obvious to me that the ecological holocaust is being sold to America like fruit loops enriched with 12 vitamins and minerals.
But I'm just a hippy fixing his van in the rain and bugs in a parking lot in Labrador. What do I know?

The sun also rises

The Labrador Straits folk festival begins today in L'anse Au Loup. I don't think it is a coincidence that the name means "cove of the wolf"
So that is where I'm going. If anyone knows about the arctic wolf then it will be the residents of L'anse Au Loup.
When I get time I will post my illustrated mishap with a rip saw. I didn't lose any fingers but it taught me some tough lessons about machinery.
Reminds me of the story about a guy who worked 40 years heavy equipment and then was called back after retirement and changed a water hose that was under pressure and took a fitting in the head and died. Fragile is thy head and body.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blindness and Rain

I've used all my wood keeping the van warm these past nights so must prowl the edges of the Harbour looking for drifting planks off houses and boats from shipwrecks long ago. OR start using the wharf as firewood. It's like 45 F here. This is preferable to the 103 F that Boston is suffering through right now.
I'm reluctant to drive again after a few weeks without the van moving. Who knows what will go wrong with it. But there is no option.

Last night I visited Harbourview Manor, the local elderly home since I saw a flier looking for
entertainment. I brought my guitar and played all the songs I've been playing over in the restaurant on the island. Bound Down For Newfoundland, Now I'm 64, Petty Harbour Bait Skiff. And others. A man seated near me kept saying, "How much does a guitar like that cost?" Right in the middle of my song.
"$300" I'd say and mess up the melody.
"How much does a guitar like that cost?" he repeated...
And he asked that about 20 times.
"Sounds real good." he would say randomly. "And how much does..."
I was patient. Maybe he didn't remember my answer or if he had asked. Short term memory had vanished. Pretty soon I had forgotten if he had asked.
"$300." I said again.
"He'll just keep asking..." said the nurse.
I nodded.
"I'm from New Hampshire. Anyone know where that is?"
"Sounds real good..."
It was like doing a standup routine in a mortuary.
"OK. Here's a song called 'Rubber Boots." I announced and began to play an Irish waltz.
"How much a guitar like that cost?"

Then I butchered the toy keyboard trying to play Joe Cocker and Barry Manilow.
"Last Night, we said goodbye, now it seems years...," I sang out of tune until a resident turned up his radio so I could only hear accordion tunes down the hall. That was my cue to leave but the nurse served me tea biscuits and a piece of banana bread with two fellas from Cartwright.
"What's this?" said one, poking his fork at a green thing on his plate.
"That's a Kiwi," I said. "They're good. From New Zealand, I think. Mmmmmm." I bit my Kiwi.
He poked it again and tasted it. His taste buds were dull. He was indifferent.
"How much that guitar cost?" yelled the man from his easy chair.

A white haired woman pushed on a door that had a sign "STOP" on it. I remembered passing the Edgewood center in Portsmouth on my way to PHS and a similar woman (now dead) was scratching at the door and pointing at it like, "Let me out. I'll pay you with candy corn."

One day, if you're careful, you'll end up here at Harbourview Manor, picking weeds from the memory garden and listening to strangers play tunes you vaguely remember.
"Sounds real good."
"Thank you. My pleasure."
"How much does a guitar like that cost?"

I finished my bread and tea. The television turned back on and a glossy show came on with tight editing and makeup. A man with slippers on shuffled by using a walker. His eyebrows fell over his eyes.

I bussed my table and a pretty Labrador nurse was in the kitchen cleaning the stainless steel. Was she wearing a wedding ring? My eye was too blinded by bacteria to tell.
I said hello and packed up my stuff and walked into the rain falling on the Memory Garden.
"How much does that...?" called the man through the door as it closed.

If I could live on Kiwi and tea biscuits I think I could make a good career out of playing the old age home circuit. Eventually, I'll have my own room overlooking the memory garden.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Battle Harbour Experience

Here's the fruit of my month on Battle Harbour. I don't know if they will use it on their website or not but I'll promote them myself either way. The hand-held effect is what screams amateur to me, but that's the stage I'm at right now. The editing shows my hand of manipulation of sentimentality and also a bit of restraint in the fade department. I only used the old age film effect once or twice although a 19th century historic site sort of calls for it.
I won't be satisfied until I get an email saying that a family arrived because, "...they had seen a video of the island and had to go."

When I think of my gigantic beard and Oggy Bleacher bad breath I'm surprised anyone was willing to give me an exit interview. Most said, "Thanks," as they were passing my camera and waving whiskers.

The important thing is that I have a complete promotional video filmed and edited by myself on a historic island 10 miles in the middle of the Labrador Sea. My fingers picked the Cliffs of Baccalieu and Petty Harbour Bait Skiff tunesIf anyone asks me if I can make them a video I can respond yes before they even give me the details. If you want a closer look then you'll have to plan a trip to the Labrador Coast. Battle Harbour is only one of a dozen rare historic destinations but it's the only one you can sleep at.
The negligent Newfoundland fishing practices may have decimated the cod population but bumbling filmmakers like myself will never stop preserving the current nostalgic atmosphere. Go today, you will love it. Bring mosquito jacket!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leaving The Island

Lloyd made his own guitars and they played surprisingly like my seagull. I tried to teach him some lead patterns and with some work he'll be the next norman blake. he tried to teach me a seaman's knot for tying boats up to a piling and with some work I'll get that right one day.

My eye looked much worse than this before the medicine started to work. red and runny. the nurse said it was very infected.
They look like candy but they are slightly ripe Bakeapple berries. OR cloudberries. only in Labrador and Newfoundland.
From left, Daphne, Elsie, Laura and Janette with gifts I couldn't refuse like a dozen rolls and a hat and a post card.

I made good friends here. It's 19th century ethics here and community that depends on one another for companionship and not profit. The global economy could evaporate and they would not bite a single fingernail in worry.

"Money's not the only thing," said Tony, a happy man and tradesman and father. Steve Jobs will not be able to thank Tony for any contributions to his golden pyramid.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Ok, I feel better that I do not have a detached retina but the conjunctivitis/red eye makes me a pariah in the hospitality biz. I will be delayed in all transit until I can use both eyes. The road to Blanc Sablon is hard enough with two eyes but when driving like One eyed jack the pirate it is nearly impossible to navigate my 1969 Ford Trappers Cabin.
If anyone wants to defend the united states because they "love freedom" or other such bullshit they should get an eye infection and then see how much of their money is wasted in trying to get treatment in the States. Canada has a health card...and you pay a bit above the cost of the medicine. This leads to no frivolous MRI tests on a leaky prostate or broken flux capacitor that will be billed to your vulture blue cross. See, private enterprise, like democracy, only works if everyone is educated and everyone is sober and everyone is honest. Unless you can guarantee those three things then you will have a corrupt enterprise that LOOKS LIKE THE UNITED STATES HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. So, the theory of private health care is generally defended by rich looters/pharaohs or ignorant slaves/drones but really it's a train wreck in practice sort of like communism, which requires everyone to be benevolent anti-Semites...hahahaha.
If the government has a say in health care it should look like Canada, which is to tax cigarettes to $11 a pack ($13 American) and booze ($15 6 pack) and everyone gets a health card which you bring to the clinic and they see you in a few hours and fix your problem and no one gets rich but MRI tests are not included if your back hurts after your kid jumps on you. Your cost will be $7.90 and when you try to pay $20 "and call it even" they will stare at you like you are a barbarian. You tip waitresses here but do not tip nurses or hospitals. Look up Rupert Grenfell sometime and you will see what a real person acts like. Americans got shafted with corruption like Dick Nixon and send Seargent Shriver into the dungeon of political banishment. We got what we deserved which was rich industrialists looting the land and poisoning the wolf while the working man is served vocabulary to piss in his neighbor's face with and the political puppet will dance on strings for the benefit of everyone while television and corporations COMPLETELY DOMINATE THE CULTURAL BATTLEFIELD. Congratulations for your petty civil war, America while the carpetbagger named Steve Jobs cleans up with faulty rare earth metals stolen from Chief Seattle's great land that was renamed Walmart by our political heroes John Adams and Sam Walton.
At the dump today we found a broken generator. Looked brand new.
"One season, and this shitty Chinese generator broke."
"No," said Kirby, "He die after one day."
There are your rare earth metals and the piss in the face of Chief Seattle and the bones of the Great Auk all rolled into one fuck you.

20/20 Vision

Kirby hit the throttle and launched the speedboat over a small wave. The sea had risen during the night along with the blindness in my right eye. So I jumped on the speedboat that was taking a broken washer and refrigerator and the fuel drums to the mainland.
"He there come up on the left side of us, b'y" said Kirby in reference to a whale, "and done us a great bit of harm..."
The rest I could not understand as the pain in my eye was paralyzing and I was gripping the frame of the boat to keep my balance when the flat bottomed boat slammed into the foamy valleys.
"I reckon someone put a bullet in him," said Kirby another time in reference to a polar bear.
"And they cut his paws off?" I said because I'd seen grisly pictures of someone with a hatchet chopping at the remains of the polar bear.
"No, his hed."
"His head?"
"Yes, b'y. Took he head."

This is a frontier region where you throw garbage into the ocean or burn it and polar bears get shot and beheaded. I am blinded and my hair is too long. The wind lashes my face and the salt spray enters my swollen eye and makes my head throb. There is no sunlight but the gray glimmer coming from the clouds is enough to make it feel like a pitchfork is penetrating my face. We hit another wave and my knees buckled like one of those $9 folding card tables they sell at Big Lots.
I lost my hat on Great Caribou Island and in my blindness almost lost my mind. The arctic fox and kits were nowhere to be seen. Some of those kits will not survive the winter and they don't know it.
My time is up at Battle Harbour but the blindness is going to delay my escape. It is always this way when things are going well but I'm not deterred and my contentment is unaffected by my blindness. We take our sight for granted but when it is gone then we are like blind babies crawling and bawling. My time here has rejuvenated my spirit with the simple process of addressing only concerns that I have power over. The economy and weather and hemorrhoidal tissue that I left behind in California are beyond my control. Even my blindness is beyond my control. There are only miles to go before I sleep.

Do I resent the mechanized slavery that advances on my brother the wolf? Yes, I do and in my small way I will derail a few treads from that tank but the army will probably win. This is my small war like a Sioux Indian standing alone against the Calvary. It's pointless but what is the alternative? Allow the Steve Jobs' of the world to enslave the wolf? Watch the propaganda machine brainwash my brothers? The Pharaohs of the world always invent the excuses to enslave the people and even invent the vocabulary that allows the service workers to clean toilets for rich assholes. This is a joke to me, that a craftsman would stoop to build a staircase for Kenneth Lay. HAHAHAHA. Or clean windows for the loathsome Lou Pai. Oh, the magician did pull a rabbit out of your ass if you think his money is the equivalent of your skill. No, someone else will be teaching guitar to the looters of the world. Not this nigger minstrel. I have my own songs to sing for my own people in the smoke rooms and steerage sheds of the steamers of the world. I know what it took to learn the guitar. So, tell me where you got your money. Then I might pick a note depending on your ethics.


Aside from goofing off with a newfoundland rangers pistol harness I love working here because the chores I'm doing aren't different from 1890 chores. I still chop wood and pump water and paint and clean. But I know these building were restored with pain and love but still I have two pieces of chopped wood in my hand and so I heave them across the salt store and they bounce off the 200 year old floor that people come from Vancouver and Japan to see and touch. But there is no way I'm going to place those logs down so as not to scratch the floor. And I'll tell you that the floor loves it. It wants to be used. The church wants people in it. No building wants to be a museum and the people who come here breath life back into the wood planks and ship beam rafters.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Upside Down Iceberg

right side up or left side down?
This guy was crew on the Alca i.
Gordon Slade presenting his church service to raise the soul of guests and residents alike.

I said, "The bergy bit, he turn upside down."
And Nelson said, "How you know it weren't upside down to begin with?"

Really he said "Howdoyouknowitweren'tupsidedowntobeginwith?" because Coastal fishermen speak in one word sentences. But I'm learning to understand.

Anyway, this is typical folk wisdom hitting you in the face. See, one evening there was a huge iceberg in the harbour with spires and all shiny. Next morning it was a hump. I said it had turned upside down." But what is upside down to an iceberg? then the next day it turned upside down again. My point is that this is a metaphor for our ethnocentric way of thinking. What is upside down? In some cases it is merely our dogmatic perspective and not reality. The iceberg has no right side.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I'm used to a smaller stove but this was my quarters for a few weeks. Lately I moved to the Inn where a small servant's room allows me to edit my video without leaving computers stuff where guests can see it. Battle Harbour is unique because guests can rent a room in one of the historic properties. These are restored 19th century merchant buildings so your $125 is well spent. No one is getting rich here as to restore one building takes 4 heritage carpenters and $5 million dollars.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vacation from my Vacation


I'll never complain about the gig I found here in Labrador. Sea shanties at night, hospitality at the table, "Can I clear your plates?" and chopping wood and sorting bottles and cans in the day.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.