On Eating Dirt

I am not in a grocery store very often and don’t compare prices anyway but even I have noticed the rise in food prices. For me that just means that I will buy less of something else (or better yet, eat at my parents) but in some areas these rising costs are really starting to bite. In Mexico back in December 70,000 protested the rise in corn prices. Apparently in Haiti the very poor are resorting to eating a ‘mud cake’ that is mixture of edible clay, shortening and salt.

At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy. – MSNBC

I guess I wonder how much of that article is written for effect. I don’t doubt though, that people there are eating these mud pies for food and that is very sad…

And then there are those who pay to eat another kind of dirt. Coming to a cell phone near you…

Pornography has made inroads on cell phones in Europe, where it was a $775 million industry in 2007 that will grow to $1.5 billion by 2012, with the global market reaching $3.5 billion in 2010, according to Britain-based Juniper Research.

In comparison, North America generated just $26 million last year as carriers shied away from porn sales. Canada’s second-largest phone company, Telus Corp, for example, withdrew a mobile porn service last year after complaints from hundreds of customers and criticism from the Catholic Church.

Gartner telecoms analyst Michael King said he expects mobile porn to be more prevalent around 2009, when there will be more phones that can show high-quality graphics.

Porn is “one of the bigger pieces of Web revenue. You would assume the natural extension would be on mobile,” King said. – MSNBC

It is interesting that Telus was forced to withdraw their mobile porn service. Now I can add that to my list of reasons I don’t like Telus.

Famous Speeches

Correction to Obama posting – Clinton didn’t really cry… but here is her speech next to a few others. I know that Hillary is not addressing the nation at a time of war so maybe its not a very fair comparison… but it makes you wonder how she would do if she had to tell the nation that half of the US Pacific fleet was at the bottom of Pearl Harbor or that 300,000 Allied troops had been evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk.

Franklin Roosevelt – Day of Infamy

Churchill – We will fight

Hillary Clinton – Its not easy

Hillary Clinton is no Margaret Thatcher.

Reservation

I had an interesting conversation with a native man I picked up today on my way out of Fort Qu’appelle. I was surprised to see him on the side of the road as the temperature gage on my car said that it was -17 C (it felt a lot colder than that) and he was in a wheelchair. He said that his car had been impounded because a signal light didn’t work although I think there might have been more to the story than that. He went on to tell me a little about his life. He hadn’t always lived on the reservation but he was back now that he had lost his legs. Although I didn’t ask him, he said that he had lost his legs one night while he was living in Regina. He could see the light of the locomotive coming at him as he stumbled down a set of railway tracks but he was so drunk that he couldn’t cover the four feet that would have put him out of harms way. He finished his story with a sad commentary, “But what can you do you know, life is like that… Its slowed me down a bit.”

It was just a short drive to his home which was situated on a slight bluff looking over the bald prairies of Saskatchewan – just a little ways out of Qu’appelle Valley. The house was standard gov’n issue typical of the reservations that I have seen. I wheeled his chair up a plywood ramp and past an old door that swung freely in the opening. As we pushed our way inside, the glass window pane in the door fell to the ground. The rest of the house wasn’t in much better shape. There were about 10 people inside, with all 3 generations represented. Although the house was dimly lit and I only had few seconds to look around, it was clear enough that its owners had lost all sense self respect and had given their lives over to drink and sloth (aided no doubt by the foolish policies of our gov’n).

There was a church near Joe’s home so I asked him about it. He chuckled a little and said that nobody went there… and something to the effect that it was just for show. The next day was a Sunday so I decided to go back with the idea that at least a small service must be held there each week. But Joe was right, the church had sat empty for some time. It still seemed to be in decent shape but there was no easy way to get to it.



On my flight over, I came across an article in the National Post about some of the serious problems facing reservations and some urban centers today. The crime rate among native populations is skyrocketing and is a cause for serious concern. Gangs are becoming better organized and far more lethal. In some areas such as Winnepeg and Regina, native populations will make up over half the population in 25 years (growth rates stay the same). Politicians, NGO’s and the like are all wringing their hands and saying that we need to do something before we are hit with ‘a demographic Tsunami’…

Here are a few statistics from the article.

150 number of aboriginal doctors among the 60,000 physicians practicing nationwide

500,000 income, in dollars, in a lifetime, lost by an aboriginal male who drops out of school

21 percentage of aboriginals reporting some form of physical or sexual violence from a spouse between 1999 and 2004

6 percentage of non aboriginals reporting spousal violence in the same time period

8.8 average homicide rate for aboriginal people per 100,000 population

1.3 average homicide rate for nonaboriginals per 100,000 population

10 number of times more likely it is an aboriginal will be charged with homicide, relative to non aboriginals

28,900 number of crimes per 100,000 people on reserves in 2004

8,500 number of crimes per 100,000 people on reserves in 200?

13,500 median income, in dollars, for a Canadian aboriginal in 2000

22,400 median income, in dollars, for non aboriginals that same year

52 percentage of aboriginals who have graduated high school

-taken from National Post

I wonder what would have happened if missionaries and frontier men such as John McDougall could have had their way? And where is the church now in all of this?

Obama

So I haven’t been following the US primaries very closely but this article on JPost was a real eye opener to me. I wasn’t aware of some of Obama’s policies and connections. Check it out here

I can’t personally think of a candidate in the US that I would get excited about –

Huckabee – didn’t know about the report released by the CIA on the status of Iran’s nuclear ambiton’s. Something you would expect a presidential candidate to know.

Clinton – claimed in a autobiography that her mother named her after Sir Edmund Hillary even though Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t make his ascent of Everest until 10 year after she was born. Married to a brilliant and well established liar who was a very great discredit to the American presidency. Publicly cried when she lost a primary.

Romney – The Book of Mormon!???

Obama – has connections to a black racist group (his church, Trinity United Church of Christ, believes that blacks are the true chosen people), anti semitic and openly supportive of Odinga in Kenya who is seeking to overthrow the current president and is backed by Islamic extremist’s.

Anyway, I guess it’s always easy to find fault but during these elections it is maybe a little easier than usual.

Jon and Ariel

Jon Kontz and Ariel Hays are engaged! Congrats to both of them!

Dad was wondering if Ariel was ‘the blond haired one’? I told him that was another girl. Haha, just kidding Ariel!

So here is their engagement photo to set the record strait- in th Alps somewhere.

Like children

We could not hope to be listened to if we had merely our own thoughts; there are so many others in the world wiser and more learned than we. But in a time of peril in a beleaguered city the humblest of day-laborers is more worth listening to than the greatest of orators, if he has news. So it is with the Christian preacher in this deadly peril of the soul. The wages of sin is death – that is the law. But at the decisive point Christ has taken the wages upon Himself – that is the gospel… the good news. J Gresham Machen – ‘God Transcendant’

It doesn’t matter whether we are a savage in the jungles or a modern on the streets of NY, we have all only paddled a few feet in the ocean of knowledge. One is a little further along, another a little less but what does it matter? We know very little.

Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

It’s not that we should strive to be ignorant or naive like little children but that we are. The kingdom of God belongs to those who are willing to recognize it… But that’s not easy to accept!

New Years at Buster and Gina’s

I spent New Years at Buster and Gina’s place. It is about 2 1/2 hours east of here near Big Stone, Alberta.

New Years Party. It was around -20 out.

New Years day – Early morning (at least it felt like it). Buster feeding cattle.

Busters grandfather keeps bronco’s for rodeos (some of them have been used in the Calgary Stampede)
Chasing bronco’s in a Bronco. You have to enlarge this to see Busters expression.

Buster and Gina with their child.. . (child not really visible in this picture)

This was the Klassens first homestead! Pat Klassen took me up in his Piper Cub just before dark. It was interesting to hear him tell stories about the early settlers that moved out here in the 20’s. Most of the land is native prairie grass but you can see patches where farmers tried to make a go of it. All that is visible now are the faint lines left by their plows (as though someone had run a big comb over the ground) and an odd threshing machine sitting out in the middle of the bald prairie.


And here is the Klassen homestead today. Their ranch extends for miles in at least 3 directions… and maybe four (but no more than that)