Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Out of the Rubble
David Simmonds

Let's give Dalton McGuinty and his bench-mates some credit.

Let's assume they're not really trying to ram wind energy farms down our throats, destroy the County tourist economy, and throw their sitting MPP on the scrapheap of voter rage.

So what's the endgame? I have a theory.

I suspect that it's all a plan to scare people into making the soundest energy sourcing choice of all: use less, waste less.

It won't take long for the bright lights on the anti-wind case to go for a deeper pushback than 'looks ugly, scares tourists and kills ducks.'

So perhaps they'll ask: 'just how much net energy do these infernal things really add to the grid after the cost to manufacture, install, operate and maintain them'?

They'll come up with some quantifiable number or other; say, 353 yabbadabbajoules per county resident per year, more or less depending on whether you're on septic or sewer.

And then we can say: 'all right, so if the County reduced its energy consumption by the same amount, you wouldn't need to build these things at all'; and the provs would have to say 'that's right, and you've got two choices: do it yourselves, or have us do it for you'.

Consider what might happen if they do it for us.

We are told that Google cameras are now so powerful that a man can be shown on the internet - all over the world - naked in his own house. What's to stop Provincial Energy Command from Twittering a nearby OPP cruiser.

'We have a situation in Wellington on the Lake: a 67 year old male is believed to be holding the fridge door open too long while he decides whether he wants a beer or a pop.

Proceed to scene immediately and have Tasers ready.'

'Also we have a report of a 40 year woman on Main Street taking 20 minutes in the shower.

Shut her down cold.

And don't forget to tell that so called Independent Voice newspaper that it's just a big waste of energy: they don't even carry the Future Shop flyer.'

No, Big Brother does not seem like a great alternative.

Doing it ourselves might be the preferable alternative.

We could build up to the aggregate number by using some old fashioned individual and community initiative.

Households could let their lawns turn to meadows, and grass-cutters with idle time could plant rock gardens.

We could start some sort of organization like 'energy consumers anonymous'.

('My name is Art and I drove from Waupoos to Picton just to buy chocolate cream donuts: I couldn't stop myself, because all that was on the sports channel was darts').

Or go to some police auctions and buy a fleet of bicycles.

Or start come car pooling or a county transit service.

Or water ski from canoes instead of power boats.

There's got to be a way of measuring these things.

And if that doesn't work, we could probably make up the difference and generate some more energy in small scale, unobtrusive ways.

Like connecting sofa bound hockey fans to the grid, and capturing the surges of energy every time Jim Balsillie launches a bid to bring an NHL team to Canada.

Or create heat by reading editorials in the County Weekly News.

Who knows, maybe this presents the County with an opportunity to become a showplace for a heady combination of energy abstinence and epicurean indulgence.

Think of the marketing opportunities.

'Come and turn useless Wilmawatts into rhubarb and ginger ice cream cones'.

'The County: what we save on heat, we drink and eat'.

All said and done, we'd be irresistible to the modern wind age family.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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