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Monday 15 Jul 2024

Pull for the Planet
Bob Stark

There was trouble of this kind here in the George W. Bush years, when scientists were asked to toe the party line on climate policy and endangered species. But nothing came close to what is being done in Canada.

New York "Times," 22 September 2013

Hey don’t knock masturbation! It’s sex with someone I love.

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), in “Annie Hall” (1977)

Well, besides the shock and awe over the fact that the movie “Annie Hall” is over 25 years old, perhaps, my fellow endangered specimens, you are wondering what the heck “masturbation” has to do with “climate policy”, other than religiously dedicating yourself to the maxim ‘think globally, act locally.”

When the oceans are rising outside your door and you live in Saskatchewan. When the temperatures are so hot outside that even sitting in the freezer of your refrigerator won’t help cool ya down. Well, I guess it depends somewhat on how ya want to die or how ya want to go down in the final hours of human existence.

Why not “pull the goalie” or ‘sprinkle the lawn,” that is, rip off one or two more good ones before the final curtain falls and left for the vultures to strip the smoldering meat off your bones.

The fundamentalists talk of ‘the rapture,” amid Armageddon, when true believers will vaporize, suddenly. A as my dear old papa used to say a time "when the Lord will smite thee from this earth like loon shit off a rock";  spiritually transporting you to your heavenly home, where you’ll spend eternity waiting for the Canucks to win a Stanley Cup.

Even if ya don’t believe in some gawd-given home out there in the universe, why not take one last shot at earthly Nirvana. "Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think.”


Well, this week the UN Panel, on Climate Change, releases its fifth report on the state of our dear precious earth and its future. It isn’t going to be pretty: the report or our future. Of course, skewered by the usual carbon-bound naysayers and Canadian scientists, in particular, the report, called various names by dangerous reactionaries who don’t understand economics, is in for a skewering.

Once again, the powers-that-bean up on Parliament Hill will downplay Canada’s contribution to worldly carbon emissions. They will cite studies about the non-risk of increases if someone builds pipelines to transport tar sands oil.

No one, scientist or other citizen will get any serious coverage about how such transporting of the dirty crude to other countries will increase annual emissions, in those countries. Even the Pembina Institute, though cautioning about the inevitable increase in carbon emissions in Canada due simply to building pipelines and resulting increase in production of the oil to fill them, doesn’t seem to talk about the effect on the global scale when the fuel is actually used.

One Pembina Institute reports says that the increase of oil production in Alberta to meet the increased demand the pipelines will provide is akin to adding 4 million cars on our roads/highways. Okay, sounds ominous but China and Indian are probably handing out new driver licences now at that rate. What is less clear is the additional impact of fueling and using those cars to get from point A to point B.

Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver believes that the development of the tar sands and the transporting of the oil via pipeline to the US or the BC coast is the national interest. He calls it “nation building,” akin to, I guess, Sir John A. Macdonald et al building the railways. For you younger readers, John A was our first prime minister, not the fellow in the clown suit who serves hamburgers and fries under a golden arch. Although due to his love of the bottle, he probably had the big red nose.

Oil is our future.

Joe and his fellow politico cronies are in BC to persuade our first nation leaders of that slick future under the guise of jobs, jobs, jobs, as well as the downplay any worries over oil spills, whether they occur on land and/or more dangerously on water.

Prime Minstrel Harpoon came out earlier in the month. He gave a rousing speech in Kelowna to the party faithful about lower taxes, more prisons as well as all the great things his government has done since achieving power. There was no talk of pipelines, climate change or senate scandals. He spoke for 20 minutes, said thank you and, as Elvis, left the building, entertaining no questions from either the public or the media in attendance. Oh Brother, Big Brother! Where For Art Thou!?

Only in Canada would scientists and their supporters have public gatherings to protest our government’s muzzling of their opinions and thus their ability to stimulate creative discussions over sensitive, extremely important information and any resulting public policy, seemingly thrown up somewhere on the government’s various website locations.

When the Internet was under development, its promise was captured in the phrased, ‘the information highway.” Now, we know that seeking good information on the worldwide web is like finding a needle in a haystack. It becomes even more problematic when the government, your government, act like information highwaymen pointing their muskets at researchers and shouting ‘stand and Deliver!"

Can we discount masturbation, as either a legitimate protest or survival mechanism? The ancient activity doesn’t increase carbon emissions unless you fart, which might contribute a bit more methane to the atmosphere. Otherwise, you’re good to go.

It also meets the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm. Discount any reference about getting acne, or no longer being able to write a new novel. Alas, the truly revolutionary out there might well ask - what would be the penalty for giving the old Jolly Jumper a shake in public?

Well, here we are at the other tie-in that set me off.

I was reading news on The Guardian’s web site about the afore-mentioned upcoming UN Panel’s report when I noticed another article about a the acquittal of a fellow in Sweden for masturbating in public.

In tandem with that news, The “Guardian” article went on to outline what penalties are in force in our countries around the world for pulling your pud in public areas. For those that already have some difficulty with the West’s fascination and support for Saudi Arabia, who perhaps as much as Iran fosters and supports various ‘terrorist” groups in the Middle East, and then when the shit hits their fez hopes the US will jump in and save the day, slowly.

Well, I digress. Here’s what the “Guardian: reports: in March 2004, a general court sentenced a teacher to three years in prison and 300 lashes for declaring that masturbation, as well as homosexuality, smoking and music,  permissible under Islam.

My favourite notice however was from Brazil. In 2011, a Brazilian woman took her employers to court after physicians gave evidence about her need to masturbate up to forty-seven times a day. The court ruled that she was legally entitled to a fifteen-minute break every two hours.

My advice is to keep building that Ark but do so with regular little visits with the psalm puppet. "Now I lay me down to sleep." Perhaps, the burning bush, "give us this day or daily bread.”

You might also want to think about oil spills.

Ergo: Don’t stop the wankers; stop the tankers!

Pull for the planet.

Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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