From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan by Andy Couturier

From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan" by Andy Couturier

Pages 264-265

“Sooo..” I begin to ask him, a bit apprehensive, not wanting to be insulting, “Gufu-san, why write all this stuff down?”

Unperturbed, he replies simply, “To make a record. If you don’t record things, you start to lose your sense of the place. It’s also interesting when you talk to other people, or when I want to look up something later. But it’s mostly just to make a record, even if I don’t use the information.”

“Yes, but how do you decide which things to write down?”

“Whatever is possible to write down, I write. How much the bus cost. How much the movie was, or how much the hotel was.”

“But why?” I ask.

“I didn’t have any purpose in doing it.”

No purpose? Perhaps I’ve been too attached to all my own actions being done for a reason. Utilitarianism is so deep in my culture I don’t even notice it. Listening to Gufu it occurs to me that it may not be so good to be always reaching ahead in time. Sitting here with my friend in a farmhouse in the mountains of Japan, I find my way of seeing the world start to deepen and change. All these little, unlooked-at details create the fabric of memory. By writing them down, we are refusing to let the experiences of our lives get subsumed in the tsunami of time, the onrush of the next, and the next, and the next. I think of so many travelers (myself included) zipping from one location to the next, taking photos of scenery or a building. Have I been missing the beautiful in the obvious?

Gufu is showing me--not that he’s trying to show me anything--that the whole world can come alive with these tiny details, ephemera, you might call them. But not just a generalized “world,” but a specific world, an India of a particular time, and, as it happens, an India that is disappearing every day.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Glenn Miller shared CTV Regina's photo. 3 hrs · This from the Premier who blew an almost decade long boom, squandered the rainy day fund, added 3 new MLAs, oversaw a land deal that saw nuns ripped-off while SK Party supporters made millions, and who takes a $37,000 personal top-up from his party. Wall and his buddies made out just fine. It will be those who least benefitted from the boom who will now going to be forced to pay the consequences of the SK Party's scandal, mismanagement, and waste. More and more, Wall is showing just how arrogant and out of touch he is with the average Saskatchewan person.

Glenn Miller
 shared CTV Regina's photo.
3 hrs
This from the Premier who blew an almost decade long boom, squandered the rainy day fund, added 3 new MLAs, oversaw a land deal that saw nuns ripped-off while SK Party supporters made millions, and who takes a $37,000 personal top-up from his party.
Wall and his buddies made out just fine. It will be those who least benefitted from the boom who will now going to be forced to pay the consequences of the SK Party's scandal, mismanagement, and waste.
More and more, Wall is showing just how arrogant and out of touch he is with the average Saskatchewan person.
CTV Regina
Public sector workers in Saskatchewan will be asked to help tackle the province's $1 billion deficit in the coming year, potentially through wage rollbacks or layoffs.

Julie Ali
 It does seem like Mr. Brad Wall is not a good manager of public funds specifically in the case of the CCS project that was not mentioned in the list of problems you have noted. Audit request re Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Scheme

In the twenty months since we produced our detailed financial analysis of the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Scheme (BD3CCS) the Federal Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) produced their own report. It confirmed our conclusion: Carbon Capture at Boundary Dam doubles the price of electricity. In so doing, the PBO report again raised the question of why SaskPower proceeded with a project when it knew, or should have known, that it would needlessly add $1-billion of costs to the bills of electricity consumers province-wide.

Despite all this evidence and perhaps because the sole beneficiary of the project is an Alberta-based oil company which was the largest donor to the SaskParty in 2013 and 2014, SaskPower has refused to provide any form of financial accounting to justify the project. This is particularly troubling since Premier Wall recently appealed for $2-billion of federal funds to invest in more Carbon Capture projects (as well as nuclear). We are also concerned that, while public funds continue to be used to subsidise coal, wind energy will be disadvantaged in forthcoming tenders for new generation capacity. 

Consequently today we wrote to the Provincial Auditor to request a full audit of BD3CCS. 

Press release
Our letter to the Auditor
Alternatively the full text (with references where applicable) follows;
Ms. Judy Ferguson
Provincial Auditor of Saskatchewan
1500 Chateau Tower, 1920 Broad Street
Regina, SK. S4P 3V2 3 November 2016

Dear Ms. Ferguson,

Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage Facility

We contact your office in its capacity as provider of independent assurance and advice on the management, governance and effective use of public resources. Our concern relates to the $1.5-billion Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Sequestration facility (BD3CCS), which was commissioned in October 2014 and financed entirely using public funds. 

Given the sizeable quantity of those funds, the questionable economic merits of the project and the availability of significantly cheaper alternatives; one might reasonably have expected SaskPower to have released financial information in justification of the project. That information was, however, not forthcoming when the project was commissioned and was still not available six months later. Consequently, in March 2015, we released our own analysis . 

Although BD3CCS was billed as an environmental initiative, that analysis indicates its primary purpose is to supply publicly-subsidised CO2, at well below cost, to the oil industry for use in Enhanced Oil Recovery. We believe it will result in at least $1-billion of losses for SaskPower: those losses can only be recovered through increased electricity rates. Indeed, since January 2013, SaskPower has announced six separate electricity rate rises amounting to a compounded increase of 28.2% . 

While BD3CCS leaves SaskPower (i.e. all electricity consumers of Saskatchewan) with major losses, it appears to generate $1-billion of profits for Cenovus Energy: an Alberta-based oil company which also happens to have been the largest corporate donor to the SaskParty in 2013 and 2014 and the second largest in 2012. 

In April of this year the Parliamentary Budget Office concluded that BD3CCS doubles the cost of electricity and, in so doing, they largely confirmed our conclusions. Nonetheless; SaskPower and the SaskParty have, to date, been dismissive of our analysis but unwilling to justify BD3CCS with their own. 

Yesterday, however, the following was in the National Post;
“SaskPower won’t recover its $1.5 billion investment. Over the next 30 years it will run up additional operating losses totaling $651 million, according to a report by Saskatchewan Community Wind.
SaskPower doesn’t dispute the numbers but says there’s a cost for pioneers”
— The National Post. 'Take into account captured carbon’s use and Saskatchewan coal plant just as dirty as others, critic says'. By - Evan Balgord. 2 November 2016
It is concerning that SaskPower, notwithstanding its own admission of the questionable economics of CCS and the presence of significantly cheaper alternatives, is still considering two additional Boundary Dam CCS units at a cost of at least $2-billion. Also rather puzzling, given the weak economics of CCS, is Premier Wall’s request, two weeks ago in his ‘Climate White Paper’, for $2-billion+ of federal funds for additional research into CCS and nuclear. 

Noticeably absent in all of this is a transparent financial accounting of BD3CCS: something which SaskPower has thus far been unwilling to provide. Surely this is owed to the population of Saskatchewan given the $1.5-billion of public funds involved. We believe there are six key questions which would benefit from your attention;

1) Did SaskPower’s investment represent efficient operation of the corporation’s business for the public good ?
2) Were risks and rewards allocated in a manner consistent with SaskPower’s fiduciary duty to safeguard public funds?
3) Did Crown Investments Corporation exercise its supervisory powers in the interests of all Saskatchewan residents ? 
4) Given its knowledge of the influence of BD3CCS costs in SaskPower’s October 2013 multi-year rate application; was the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel justified in its conclusion that the application was fair and reasonable for the people of Saskatchewan? 
5) Would SaskPower’s planned investment in two additional CCS units at Boundary Dam be an efficient use of public funds given the known cost of alternatives?
6) Does the Province of Saskatchewan own the intellectual property associated with Carbon Capture technology and, if not, how will international sales of CCS technology benefit Saskatchewan ratepayers?

While your office may have reservations about questioning this Government’s energy policy; it may be of note that the Ontario Auditor appears to have no such qualms. It has, in the last five years, conducted at least three major reviews on the subject: a 2011 audit of the Green Energy Act as well as two in 2013 of the Oakville and Mississauga Gas Plant cancellation costs. The Auditor, in undertaking the 2011 review, noted: "The objective of our audit was to assess whether the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority had adequate systems and procedures in place to ensure that renewable energy resources are obtained in a cost-effective manner and within the context of applicable legislation and government policy." 

We look forward to your answer to these questions and to your view on whether low-carbon energy resources were, and are, being obtained by SaskPower in a cost-effective manner within the context of applicable legislation and government policy.


James Glennie. MBA, CFA
President, SaskWind

Martin Kerr 1 hr · I'd like to take this moment to wish each and every one of you a very happy and blessed new year. As I am sure most of you are aware based on passing comments when I meet some of you at my shows, 2016 has been an amazing year for me on a professional level.

Julie Ali Gorgeous sound on the two songs I have listened to so far--"The Book of Love" from "Awake" and "The Update". I imagine 2017 will be very successful for you.
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Martin Kerr - The Update (official music video)

I'd like to take this moment to wish each and every one of you a very happy and blessed new year. As I am sure most of you are aware based on passing comments when I meet some of you at my shows, 2016 has been an amazing year for me on a professional level.
I'd been playing music full-time for the previous 9 years but in 2016 I really feel like I was able to connect with more people than ever. I released a number of videos this year and a brand new EP which I am sure most of you have by now. The music video for the title track 'The Update' received attention from the Mayor Don Iveson as well as Crash and Mars from 102.3 Now! Radio. To celebrate the release of my EP, I held my first independent solo theatre show at Festival Place and sold it out, thanks to you, my amazing friends and fans.
As we move into 2017 and ever closer to my biggest ever concert at the Winspear, I couldn't be happier with the way tickets have sold until now. We have far surpassed our target of 500 for the end of the year and are ahead of schedule to achieve a 1700-seat sellout. This would be another dream off the bucket list. The staff at the Winspear tell me they've never seen an independent musician sell out their own show there...
The first 3 months of this year will be very busy for me in a different way as I complete my first full length studio album in over 4 years. This is something I would not be doing without the success of “The Update” and had we not sold out Festival Place.. so this one is for you! I have really gained momentum, excitement, energy and a passion for making music again in 2016 and can't wait to see what adventures we can share together in 2017. With thanks for your open ears and hearts,


surely I am worshipping

I have written ten thousand lines
and more
so that I might make real
what the soul is
and when I stand before the words
and bow down before the muse
surely I am worshipping
what is more real
than the body?

I have gone to the last posts
of the street of lost visions
and watched the forest burst into tears
the silver bullets of the olive trees
were fired  and the hard fruit of the oak
lay spent by these guns     these are all the troubles
I have carried    so as to make a poem
that might be rocked in the cradle of time
all the visions are smoke now 

darkness lays down the tarmac
of the street from      which the mist rises up
like flocks of pigeons unrolled
the empty field speaks in tongues
  and the marsh cuts its wrist of landscape 
bound in ice    so that the reeds might bleed out
their dark forms    ghosts live in the hampers
of dust that are placed in the graveyards
and severed souls walk the land in the picnic of summer
we are all delivered like flesh for the devouring
to the hidden cities of the  magnanimous minute villagers 

who claim our lives
the solitude of the writing is a way
to enter into that harvest
and be tamed    I haven't found the route yet
to the stories   nor have I learned departure calmly
but all about us the spirits traffic in their past lives
and the clover of the spring will emphasise
the way out of winter    all the maple tree will remember
will be the stalk of wood stabbed deep    and the red blood flowing in the street
meanwhile the lilies will preen in their ivory and green silks

a hard frost will crack life into two 
and the delivery of the babies will begin in that factory
the marsh will host the red winged blackbird chorus
a leaping will begin in the ice clamp of the water
and the tadpoles will darken the forest of dead willows
the silver tanks of the geese will move among the pale hardships
of the roses    where you might be is in these things
I wish for poetry but what I get   are the recovered memories of the soul

Martin Kerr - The Update (official music video)

what is the soul when it is not alive?

every day's a story
that I think about
and leave behind
like a child at the seashore
I won't say that the past repeats
but it sure    feels as if the work is never over

all the days have been reviewed
and I put the pages in the boxes
I wish for singing now
as if to say the stories
in truncated format
and leave the horror behind   these are the ways out of hell

of course you could simply walk away
and not remember
you could put the lock on the door
where you keep the stories
but surely one day     you will look at the place
where you have hidden your soul   and wish for discovery?

how are you to leave it behind?
what is the soul when it is not alive?
how will you stay bright when there is only darkness?
the way out of difficulty
is to speak   and sing     the soul
so when you encounter the opened room

in an artist
and the flow of work
in singing or poetry
what you recognise there
is courage of the sort
we mostly don't have   the soul that is being created

like a hammered piece of art
or the broken shards of pottery
or the fertile laying of the paints in the coruscating
shield of figures   what art is     might be the naming of
what the soul wants to claim    as its own

Martin Kerr - The Update (official music video)

I see the soul in flame

the small whisper
in the darkness
is to tell you

how to live your life
and if you silence that small voice
you won't ever become the soul

for the soul
is a made thing
a construct of decisions

and feelings
I trust in the work
that results in the paper line

I wish for the line
to string together
and make a name

but of the name 
what will last?
only the visible soul

and this is what I recognise
when I hear a song
I don't see the character

or the backbone
that holds the singer upright
nor the pretty caricature

of the myths
that are made to spread reputation
I see the soul in flame

the singer
can make
a contemplative space for you

where you can be encased
the song is the bubble
where you stand alone 

without shame
to say these words that are naked
the soul is the fire you light

in whatever way
you claim 
the singer is merely the burning soul

what remains
is the residues of his fire
of contact between the flame and you

this is all mysterious
but recognisable
requiring merely presence and feeling

I wish for music like this
of course it won't be the same
but of the same calibre of daring 

of the wicked vanished
and the heart seized in decisive taking
to leave only the burning soul

I won't wish for riches
or the palace of status and power
instead I will think of the divine

and in the singing
I will see the soul
that soul that is on fire   and I will dance in that funereal pyre

Martin Kerr - The Update (official music video)

the words are the cairns I leave behind

forgot the way home
until I lost my place
in the puzzle where I kept my life

stole and hid my selves
in blankets that I put in a closet
so that I might decipher chaos

these matters of silence
and forgiveness     must be learned
in a room by yourself   like children tied to a fence

it's not that I don't know your name
or that the cities of the past don't fall
in the present    we all erode and vanish

and the river of darkness
folds its tail behind the rocks
and dries up   the grasses strike gold

a vanishing happens before our eyes
of all we have  and we all go blind
these are the stories that I claim

in the fertile absence
where the soul is built out
of ashes and a fire gone out

I've not made my way back
to the home that I realise is gone
nor have I a route to follow

I'm travelling alone
the words are the cairns I leave behind
the map of my soul is being made in these poems

Martin Kerr - The Update (official music video)