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Marcel Gagne
Writer and Free Thinker at Large
Writer and Free Thinker at Large

Marcel Gagne's posts

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What people don't know is that Stonehenge was originally called, "Satryach Konjnili" in the ancient Druidic tongue. Roughly translated, it means "big pool" which is what Stonehenge was. A long time ago, all those stones were the same size and there were a lot more of them (the early British lords hauled them away as lawn decorations). In fact, Stonehenge was a large, sealed ring filled with water. Yes, a pool. Druids used to swim naked from the first warm day of the season until it got too damned cold, much as we do today when you have an outdoor pool and also have winter (Canadian, eh!). They would enjoy loud music, sex, and booze, again much like today. 

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There was a time when somebody might have observed that a stay at home mom didn't work. As a stay at home dad, I have first hand experience regarding with this concept. You do a lot, but you don't get paid for it. It's the job that's not really a job. That's not what this is about.

I mention moms, and dads, because that's one place where work isn't valued, at least not financially. Most people will, sometimes grudgingly, accept that the work does, however, have a value you need to measure differently.

You're still contributing. You're still working.

To tell the real story I'm dancing around, let me just add that working doesn't necessarily equate with contributing to society.

Thursday morning, after dropping my son off at summer camp, I saw an old woman walking down one of the neighbouring streets. I was about three minutes drive from my house at the time and driving slowly through the residential streets.

The old woman was pushing a beat up metal cart. It was one of those square wire boxes with a couple of wheels and a handle so you could tilt it and carry your contents more easily than carrying them in your arms. She had lined the inside of the cart with a plastic garbage bag. She walked a bit hunched over, with short shuffling steps, and she had an old brown covering of some sort draped over her shoulders. Her clothes were dull rags.

Homeless, I thought. I honestly don't know if she was.

Thursday is garbage day in my neighbourhood. When I first spotted her, a short distance ahead of me, she was rummaging through someone's garbage. She had found something of value (there's that word again) and was depositing it in her bag-lined cart which was already getting full. I could see things peeking out of the top. She gave the garbage pile a final examination, then wandered on to the next house, and the next garbage pile. I looked at her as I drove slowly past. She did not look at me.

I live in Waterloo, one of the best cities you could want to live in. People do pretty well in Waterloo, so when you see somebody like this, you tend to notice. I thought about her a lot, that morning, but in an odd way. What I thought was that this was a hard-working woman. She got up early, and made her way down the streets, collecting things she saw as valuable to either resell or use, as it made sense. This was her job. Though some might observe otherwise, she certainly wasn't lazy. Heck, she was up walking the streets, making her living, earlier than I wanted to be exerting myself to that degree.

You can't say she doesn't have a job . . . that she isn't trying to make a living. You might ask what she contributes, but as I suggested earlier, it isn't difficult to argue that having a job doesn't immediately qualify as contributing to society.

What's the value in her work? What does she contribute?

A final thought. When I told my wife, Sally, this story. She asked me how old this old woman was. I said, "I don't know. Late fifties. Maybe sixties."

I'm fifty-seven.

Her position in life, it seemed, had aged her considerably in my eyes, even though, on reflection, she probably wasn't that much older than me.


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Now, there's an idea!

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Just finished listening to the "King of Tears" episode from Malcolm Gladwell's "Revisionist History". If you aren't crying by the end, I can't help you.

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Way back a million years ago, there was a small Canadian computer company called "Commodore Business Machines" that changed the way people viewed, saw, and used computers. In 1981, they released a computer for the masses, the Commodore VIC20 and everything changed (as another computer company likes to say). Then, in 1982, things changed forever with the introduction of the Commodore 64, the most revolutionary piece of technology the proverbial average person had ever seen. It was . . . the future. Using your Linux system, come back with me to that future of the early 1980s.

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Once upon a time, before Apple made a splash and Windows was a thing, a Canadian company brought computers into the home in a big way with the VIC20. Commodore Business Machines hired none other than William Shatner to make it all happen. 

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This is seriously cool; a 10-hour time-lapse of an Amish barn raising. 

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What is it they say about "the better part of valor"? I just happened to be looking at my tablet when I turned on War and Order. I had just been scouted, but no one was attacking me. They were, however, attacking two of my alliance members, so I decided to help out. Watch how I deal with two enemies heading for my friends. It's a blast.

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Every once in a while, some joker calls, claiming to be from Microsoft (or Windows). They explain that they've detected malware of some sort on your computer and now they are here to help you fix it. I've known more than one person who fell for this helpful scam, and even if I didn't, I have no love for these people.

One day, upon receiving such a call, I decided to let them 'help me' fix my Windows. I started recording the call and this is the result.

Pay close attention to how they react when they find out they have been trolled. It's kind of satisfying. 

The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians —and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse. The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe—that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent. - - H. L. Mencken 
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