It has been so long since I posted, I don't even know where to start. I keep thinking 'i should blog about that', but then I don't get around to it and I forget lol. Oops! Too much going on - my brain goes into overload and then shuts down.

Some remarks that do come to mind though center around the markets - I wonder if the family members who laughed at my partner for saying gold would hit $2000 in the next few years are eating crow yet. My bf was quite offended during a normal conversation about politics, markets, etc when he was nearly laughed out of the room by two family members when he said that. This was about 2.5 years ago. Now gold is hovering between $1700 and $1800. Are they watching? Or are they secretly reiterating to others what my bf said and claiming it as their own prediction? Gee I wonder. My bf based his comment on listening to various people interested in this sort of thing, their predictions about the american dollar losing ground and gold rising steadily in response (to that and other events), but he was laughed at in front of a whole group of other family members at a holiday gathering. They said he was full of sh*t and then cut out of the rest of the conversation and even told that he was crazy. It was quite a rude night.... but now... hmmmmmmm CAW CAW.

Postal Strike - I read something maybe 2-3 years ago about Canada Post workers complaining about having to deliver so much 'junk mail' and how they thought it was bad for the environment because they know most of it just gets thrown out. Well, then it comes to pass that more and more people are sending emails instead of hand-written letters, more businesses are offering billing online instead of mailing them out, coupon places are offering online printing of select coupons so they do not have to waste money putting out mailers, not to mention all of the above hold environmental concerns for many - paper waste, extra garbage, etc... so then what happens? The possibility of cutting Canada Post delivery to 3 days a week comes up. Why? Because there is much less mail volume now and it's costing too much money to pay workers and their benefit and pension plans when not near as much money is coming in from people mailing items. Shouldn't those same complaining workers be HAPPY about this? After all, they were mightily concerned about the environment just a couple of years ago. They should be thrilled that so many people and companies are avoiding sending out unnecessary paper items in favor of saving the environment, right? Oh wait - noooo apparently they just meant that they want other people to lose their jobs in the name of the Planet - not them. Not the postal workers! No way! They do not want their pensions and work days reduced in order to save cost in response to lower mail volume. They want people to send less mail but the workers themselves to get more money and remain gainfully employed no matter what. "It's not for them, it's for YOU" ©Andrew Wilkow.

US Debt Crisis. Wow. It's a staggering amount of money. People have started throwing around the word 'trillion' as though it doesn't mean much more than 'billion'. Think Austin Powers movies here " I want one billion dollars!"...... "billion? Ha! That doesnt even exist yet in the 60s!". Well 50 movie years later we are now saying Trillion and letting it roll off our tongues like it's some normal number. When I was a kid in school, trillion was only something we learned a tiny bit about when learning what a million was, then a billion, and then it was like some space science lesson to learn about trillions and quadrillions. It was a fantasy number 20 years ago. Now it's 'just another number'. SCARY.   But I have heard some people around the world, friends in Canada, Europe, Australia, etc laughing about it. Saying the US is getting what they deserve. Are these people on crack? For Canadians especially, the Americans are our bread and butter. A huge amount of what we make and process here goes to the US. We have a teeny tiny little population, the US has ten times that amount, and we sell our goods to them. If they are unable to buy it for much longer, what the hell are we going to do? Who are the car parts manufacturers in Ontario going to sell to? Alberta? Ummm no. Cos our truck fleets are greatest in the oil and gas industry and who do we sell to? Oh - the US. So if our rigs go down to skeleton crews or close, why would we be buying new fleets of trucks every couple of years from Ontario? Who are we going to truck our food items to? Our beef, grains, our water even? I am very worried about our American friends and neighbours, and ourselves. And I think everyone else should be as well.

No Smoking Laws. In September, my city is going to implement a bylaw that disallows smoking inside a vehicle where children under the age of 16 are present. I believe the fine will be $100. the original bylaw was supposed to be anyone under 18, and a $200 fine but it would not pass at that level so it was reduced slightly. My city will become the largest municipality in the province to do this, and the hopes are that it will be Alberta wide in due time. What is my problem with this? Well - it is further encroaching on private property for one. Your own car that you paid for, and you are being further dictated to about what you can and cannot do in it. How long before someone says that you cannot smoke in your home if you have children under age 16 or 18 living there? If people shake their heads and say that will not happen - think back 20 years and see if anyone back then thought that eventually they would be told not to smoke in their cars with their children. I bet you would see just as many head-shakes. So that is my first issue with it. But next, I wondered about how it will be enforced. My truck has tinted windows and you can vaguely see a car seat outline, but cannot tell if a child is actually sitting in the seat unless you get right up to the window and peer inside. We do not smoke in the truck when the kids are there - we didnt need anyone else to tell us that, it's just a choice we made. But what if my partner is driving to work one morning and a police officer sees the carseat, sees a smoke in my bf's hand, and puts on his lights and pulls him over. Why should that happen? He could be driving perfectly safely, not making any traffic violations, and still get pulled over because the officer sees a ciggy (oh no!) and then spies the outline of a carseat through the darkened windows (gasp! shock! horror!). Why should by bf be pulled over at the side of the road and approached by an officer with a gun at his hip just because he was holding a cigarette? I saw a car drive by me when I was walking, and a man was smoking while driving, and even standing right beside the car, I could not tell if there were kids in there or not because the windows were dark. Should that guy get pulled over too? Seriously - it's getting ridiculous and be assured they are not done yet. There will be more rules and bylaws and fines places on people in their own private vehicles (or homes). there WILL be. At what point do we draw the line? As someone in my city pointed out in a debate - if the issue is second-hand smoke, what difference will it really make if the child is in a home all day where the parent smokes like a chimney, and in the 2 min drive to the store and back, mommy and daddy don't light up, but do immediately upon returning home again. So - that is where this will come in eventually. No smoking in homes that have children. How will they enforce this? I have NO idea. But I am still not sure about the smoking in car thing either... they don't seem to catch the speeders or the people who practically run my kids and I down in crosswalks weekly, so how they will catch all those naughty smokers is beyond me. It's just another form of control, mind control, and a way to make a few bucks for those they 'catch'. Spare me.

Check Stops. The smoking thing brought another issue to my mind again. Check Stops. For years I didnt mind them - I just thought they would get a few more drunk drivers off the streets and that is good right? But now I think about the millions of law abiding citizens who are pulled over every year in North America, delayed on their journeys, questioned about where they are going and where they just came from, lights shined in their eyes and around the interior of the vehicles, all in the name of 'safety'. I read recently on a long weekend in my city that they stopped 1200 cars and found no one over the limit. They were happy to see that people were not drunk driving through that check stop... 1200+ people stopped for NO reason. 1200+ people questioned and 'detained' against their will for NO reason. Yes it is detained against their will cos just try driving straight through a check stop without stopping one of these days and see what happens :) Or try turning your car around when you see it - and watch an officer jump in his car and chase you down to see why you turned. Maybe you turned cos you fricken wanted to get to your friend's house for coffee and are tired of this sh*t - but you tell them that and they think you are being unruly and beligerant. Gee thanks officer. As for me, I've never drank and drove ever ever ever in my life. Not even after one single drink, let alone more than that. But I could theoretically be stopped every weekend for 50 years just to make sure I didnt decide to tank up and drive one night. Is that necessary? Is that fair and just? To be PRESUMED ahead of time to be a potential drunk driver, even if you never have in your life and never plan to? I've had flashlights half blind me on several occasions as a passenger, let alone as a driver. Why do we put up with this stuff, seriously? My friend's husband is a cop and he admitted several times that they very rarely catch drunk drivers at a check stop. Most of their calls come in from the public, reporting an erratic driver, or from police themselves seeing an erratic driver. IE - someone who IS violating traffic rules or weaving back and forth across the road, or accelerating and deccelerating for no apparent reason, or any number of other cues that the person might be intoxicated. Not people out for a Sat night drive and getting stuck in a Check Stop. The great majority of collars are found by other means.

there are Apps out there that list where check stops are, and some govt and police agencies want these Apps removed. Well since the majority of people going through them are NOT drunk drivers, why not let those people avoid a potentially long delay and take a different route to their friend's house for coffee? If I have been out for a long day with my kids and am just trying to get home and put them to bed, why shouldn't I have the chance to know that I shouldnt take 13th street because I will be held up for 20-30 mins while they stop everyone? And a lot of drunk drivers are so drunk, they dont even see the problem with driving, so are they going to check their App and say 'oops, I am really drunk, so I better avoid 13th street on the way home'? I mean, really. The majority of people these Check Stops check are law abiding honest citizens who really should not be pulled over by gun toting police officers. At least, that is my opinion.

And before you think I am heartless and don't care about drunk driving incidents - Two of my high school friends were killed by drunk drivers, as well as a friend's younger brother. It was a horrible few years. Funerals here there and everywhere. Awful painful horrible stuff..... But today I watched a news piece about a woman driving while wearing flipflops and it appears that her flipflop fell off and got stuck around the gas pedal. She accelerated and crashed into three elderly people and KILLED them all. How shocking and horrific must that have been? I have heard many stories over the years about shoes getting caught up under gas pedals and bad things happening - so perhaps we should think about making it against the law to drive while wearing shoes. And while we are at it, maybe get rid of floor mats too because they have caused problems as well if they ride up under the gas pedal. Those new laws would save lives every year too. Would you like to go through a checkstop where they looked at your feet and your eyes? Two for one check stops!