Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Have you ever shopped at Wal-mart? The prices are to die for! And thankfully the store practices localism, since they can be found pretty well close to neighbourhoods everywhere. There are two  about a fifteen minute drive either east or south from here. Actually there are three, including the one fifteen minutes north. That saves burning of fuel too. In fact, it's really reductive of carbon footprints because you can do pretty much all your shopping in one go - for accessories, clothes and groceries. They have everything - everything. Some Wal-marts even have a McDonald's in them! They should make a deal with Trader Joe's and incorporate Trader Joe's into Wal-mart somehow. That way fans of Trader Joe's would not need to make two stops, just one. It would also go towards healing their schizophrenia! And it would make for a more global, communal kind of peace: the latte-sucking Libertarian asking where can he find the tzatziki for his fresh-made pita bread will rub shoulders with the wife-beater-wearing fatty asking where can he find the kerosene to deal with the bed bugs under his mattress. Some people make a big fuss about Wal-mart. They say to patronize your small outlets instead, make your wallet cast a vote for the dirty hippies. But Wal-mart is so huge - and you're so puny! It won't make any difference. Think about the money you save by shopping at Wal-mart. That money can then be spent on the movie theater, with popcorn and nachos and coca-cola.


I have become very obsessed with fig trees, with growing them, the kinds that will grow here, in the ground. You go around Vancouver and Burnaby you see the fig trees in so many yards, some quite big. There is one that local legend has it is the biggest in-ground fig tree in Canada. No winter protection. I've seen a picture of it. I can believe it is the biggest in Canada. It's huge. There really is a quiet cottage industry of fig growers here in southwest British Columbia, started of course by Italian immigrants.

I've got Negronne, Desert King, Celeste Improved and Uncle Corky's. I still need to get Lattarula, and heck, I'm just going to keep acquiring any and every variety available. Because I'm obsessed. Figs are so damn good.

So is Chilean Guava.


How exactly is the Invisible Hand not crypto-communism?


A person passed by and said, "That must be a labour of love."

And I forget what I said in response, except that afterwards in the useless recrimination of afterthought, I said to myself, "But you should have answered: a labour of love is the only true labour. Everything else is toil." And I would have sounded so enlightened too.

Then another passed, and said, "That must be tedious." To which I said, "It can be". Except that it was not an honest answer. For as far as the activity goes, I love it while I am resigned to it.

There are many things that do not require patience, so much as they require resignation.


Enbrethiliel said...


I'll see your Wal-mart and raise you SM. The owner of all the SM malls once said that his vision was that no Filipino would ever be more than twenty minutes from an SM. All the malls have Catholic chapels in them, with multiple Masses scheduled on Sundays, so you can spend your entire day of rest lining his pockets! Another branch of his corporation is for building condominiums--lots and lots of condominiums--so that you can spend your days and your nights giving him money. Genius, aye?

Over here, one very popular classic model for making money is to build something that is too big for you and then to rent all the extra space out so that it can make money for you while you kick back a little. Of course, you'll still be working as the landlord; but if you keep adding more and more buildings to your collection, you'll be working like the guy on top of a pyramid scheme. No, seriously.

Or should that be: "Yeah, seriously"?

I had these thoughts just yesterday, when I couldn't find a decent restaurant to buy some lunch because nearly every place was a franchise run by poorly paid wage-slaves indifferent to both sanitary conditions and community, while the franchise owners were nowhere to be seen. Now, I'm not against franchising on principle: I'm not very entrepreneurial myself, so I don't blame others for wanting to hitch their carts to someone else's brilliant idea. But there's something exploitative about wanting to make money with a franchise without actually doing any of the work yourself or caring about the people whom you hire to do the work. In fact, I think I've seen its nose and chin somewhere. Call me crazy, but I think it's first cousin to that villain we know as usury!

And I don't know why Catholic men put up with it, either.

Paul Stilwell said...

Lord, spare us from rich peoples' visions!

It's astonishing to see how little free-market capitalists recognize our present situation as something that can - at the very least - be compared to the feudal ages, with tenants and serfs: people who don't lift a finger accruing (lets never say "making") more and more money, while the labours of those who work are preemptively fixed to an ironclad time-delay standard. Which really, is the definition of a mortgage. A death sentence.

It's a kissing cousin to usury, or I'm a fill-in-the-blank! It's rent-a-business. Which comes from rent-a-money. People seem to have this notion that usury is defined by "loan". The truth is that usury is defined more essentially as "making money from money". Take the function of "making money from money" and combine it with the function of issuing a country's money into existence, and you have an inborn disease-making mechanism.

How can people say that usury is not a major issue today when we have the "magic" of compounding interest running 24/7, and at that, running on the foundation of the issuance of the money that is brought into existence?

How can you make money from the money that did not exist before? That is, how can you make money from the money which did not exist until you decided you wanted to make money from it? Your decision to make money from the money that does not yet exist is what makes that money appear. Mankind has not seen usury as bad as we have right. Freaking. Now.

Indeed, I don't know why Catholic men not only put up with it, but write books in support of it - cough, cough, Acton Institute, cough, cough!