Notwithstanding, Rod did renew his web pages.

This was R&R's first indication that Mary was quite contrary and on the move.  Rod estimated that this would be their thirteenth change of residence since marriage back in 1998. In January the ground was initially free of snow.

To commiserate, Rod and Ruth's youngest daughter, Cathryn dropped anchor at 70 King Street early in the New Year. Some activities are chronicled above.

Allison sent her best wishes and a Knot Pub gift certificate.

Cathy avoids a mug shot.

Ruth and Rod were stressed out.

January 8, 2013. They took a tour of Upper South Cove where R&R were destined to lived for more than two years.

The weather was extremely variable but R&R had to dig out following three hard storms.

Early in that year Rod noticed some of his earlier paintings advertised in an auction sale on Prince Edward Island.

Rod took this photo in Lunenburg in late winter. It reflected his mood. The housing market was slow at this time, so R&R were surprised when the place was sold to close at the end of April.  Mary moved out well before then leaving them with the final clean up. Mary finally became established in a new condo complex near the hospital.

Fist little home on Upper South Cove was pointed out to them by Janet Cowan. It seemed paradise.  The interior was totally modernized and compact but with enough space for
their possessions.

Rod's elementary school pal, David S, Mann was one of the first visitors.  Ruth's friends from Lunenburg had a look later in this year.

That was the year they declared some independence although they had not ceased providing appointment transportation for her mum and some day trip travel. Here Ruth is seen at the Shelburne-wide yard sale.

Once gain they visited Liverpool for their annual reenactment of the American invasion of that town by privateers.  This became a painting.

The encampment at Fort Point provided two other images, This was cropped.

Rod has always painted spiders but never snakes.

Rod painted this.

R&R went alone to Prince Edward Island that year. He intended to use some of these Colvellian shots for larger paintings but this did not happen. Everything produced was inconsequential in his opinion and small in format. They were simply too busy unpacking and reestablishing themselves.

Rod did paint John A and Ruth but back lit.

Back at home, Rod is seen in his John A T Shirt, although he was never a true blue Tory.

Mary had reimbursed Rod, in an not entirely generous way, for his efforts at King Street, so R&R had decided they needed Rest & Recreation. That same month, they returned to Shelburne for the Pirate Festival.

A disappointment secondary to the Paint On Site at Crescent Beach floparoo.

Ruth and Mary were still sparring, but on reasonable enough terms for her to drive her to the Halifax airport for her last overseas flight to visit Edmund and her grandson in Frankfurt. This was a stop-over in Wolfville. Definitely not a painting.

It was following that trip that Rod suspected he was facing eyesight problems.

However he was still web weaving and painted this and several other small scenes.

Both Rod and Ruth pull faces in avoiding unpalatable truths.

He is not sure that he painted this.

This went on web.

Speaking with Ontario, October 3. In late November it became obvious that sight of the right eye was compromised.There had been a retinal tear internally in this eye, corrected by laser surgery, but now Rod suspected that serious damage had been done to the right eye. He had been diagnosed as having glaucoma in both eyes and  the lens in that eye had been replaced with plastic while he lived in St. Stephen.

The weather was mild and R&R took a final loop around the Acadian Shore and gathered subject matter.

December.  Rod completed several small painting featuring the landscape seen from the front window.

As well as that seen from a west side window. This new location had the advantage of displaying wide open spaces in a dramatic fashion.

One he might have done something with, but did not.

By some weird quirk of fate this dandelion seed head stayed intact until Christmas.  Rod made an unsuccessful stab at representing it.

Rod used Photoshop to create this web image.  If R&R had had telescopes to peer into the future...

Would you believe?

The back door ramp. Rod took several photos but produced no paintings.

First authentic snow of the season.

Mispellings reveal that Rod's attitude was not buoyant.

You can probably guess at the images he worked into paintings? Again nothing in the sizes he preferred, partly because of continuing eyesight problems.

January 27. These pictures tell Rod that he and Ruth travelled to Halifax to see the eye doctor and stayed overnight, probably because the weather forecast threatened storm. Obviously it was chilly out of doors, but that storm did not materialize as promised.

Another surprise, uncommonly high temperatures and Ruth discovers an ancient relic.

Lots of subject matter close at hand, and winter seemed to be at an end.

But then the so-called "Tyrannosaurus Rex Storm" came to the entire north east coast of America.

First South did not lose power but it was out of contact with the rest of the world for about three days.

After that continuous bad weather, "as weird as a two-dollar bill," prompted Rod to spend a few minutes with Photoshop, an increasing hobby. With glasses he could manage that easier than painting

When it was not cold or snowing it rained!

Rod might have checked in with the Ophthalmologist at this time but there was a misunderstanding over an appointment date and then, probably reacting to the weather, the physician went on vacation.

Rod had taken to wearing sunglasses since his eyes were bothered by intense sunlight.

"You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people you used to be." - Doctor Who. 

"Glaucoma: A silent thief that often has no symptoms until significant damage has occurred. Glaucoma is caused by elevated pressure within the eye, and can lead to serious vision loss if not detected and treated at an early stage."

If there ever had been a window of time for remediation it was lost. Pressure in both eyes increased to very dangerous levels in spite of medicinal treatment. Rod was referred to Dr. Paul Rafuse, a surgeon.

Visual acuity in the right eye was found markedly decreased, but surgery to create a channel which would relieve pressure was set for July.  It was explained that this would be a test for judging whether the operation should go forward on the eye that remained viable.

Earlier on, Ruth had arranged the stay of a couple of English relatives and they arrived in late July. The operation was set for the first week in August, so everyone travelled to Halifax for an overnight stay. R&R took quarters close to the hospital and left 14 year old "Frankie" and her dad to tour as they pleased. The operation was successful but was a tiring one-hour ordeal for Rod an an even more angst ridden long wait for Ruth. Rod found himself blinded by bright light even wearing sunglasses.  They had booked vacation rooms for four in Annapolis Royal for the next weekend, and decided to carry on as planned.

The appearance of relatives and friends was a good diversion.

Under different circumstances, R&R would have been more helpful hosts, but that operation meant reporting back to Halifax every third day for the first two weeks and once a week after that. When it was seen that the pressure relief measure had worked surgery was scheduled on the second eye. The routine was very wearing for Ruth, who had to do all the driving and act as Rod's guide dog.

Edmund and Mary had complained that they had seen too little of these relations, so when Hugh and Anne King arrived on their annual visit to see his sister Mary, Ruth shunted Frankie and Graham off for a short visit at Edmund's place. The new guest were somewhat quieter. On the arrival date, Ruth, Rod, Anne and Hugh ate out at the Mug & Anchor in Mahone Bay.  Those were in the days when you could order a baked potato instead of fries.

After a few days with Edmund, the guests returned and R&R did what they could to ferry them about and show off some of the near countryside.  Ruth and Rowan got along well and on balance their presence was a help rather than a hindrance.

A family gathering at Hotel Atlantic in late August was a bad idea coming as t did just before Rod's second eye operation. By this time, Frankie and her dad had rented a car for their last two weeks in Nova Scotia and ferried most of the Lunenburg crowd, including Edmund, to Halifax for an evening get together with Hugh and Anne's son an daughter, who together ran a first-rate restaurant in that town.

R&R drove Mary home and things might have remained at status quo, except for the fact that they again had to park their guests with Edmund. From them, it was later learned that M&E thought R&R needed psychiatric help. Turns out that was not the only bit of gossip being disseminated, and soon after all those nasty birds flew back to roost with Ruth and Rod. Ruth was experiencing back problems and Rod was not in the best shape, so this was truly the beginning of the end of another family relationship, a not uncommon happening.

The second operation was successful but with one heavily dominant eye, Rod's brain was having a hard time adjusting to a new visual reality.  Allison and Cathy came to help celebrate his birthday, and the first couple of days were great fun.  And then, everyone came down with influenza.

That second winter was not as compliant as the first.  Not a Facebook addict, Rod did spend a lot of time close to a computer screen since he could not, at first read books, magazines and newspapers.  Images were easier to view and manipulate and he could not paint, so in deep mid-winter... By December, his eyes had stabilized sufficiently for him to dig snow but R&R were still travelling frequently to Halifax and their rainy day fund was exhausted. However, Granpa K was correct in saying, "It can always get worse, and often does!" Initially there was rough winter weather, which went on forever. Things did not get better in the family circle, but this is not a social history, so we will not recount the final denouement.

The highlight of that year was the somewhat surprising defeat of the conservative Canadian federal government.

That pronouncement was made by the property manager of our rental at about this time. Of course, R&R had never owned a new house and had rented plenty of old ones and not seen anything like this,  They were especially concerned when they found several varieties growing in the basement.  Health Canada says there is no level of tolerance for this condition.

R&R's complaints might have stopped there but a neighbour had been coming in every second week to help clean because of Ruth's back problem. She noticed that the place had a bad smell. They seem to have acclimatized to the presence of invisible sewer gas. Attempts were was made to correct the condition once the manager got by a serious case of denial. Everything failed, and the basement flooded when it rained.

It took a plumber three tries to come up with a reason for the failure of the system. There was a concrete cesspool but no septic field and pumping out that container brought no relief.  This meant that sewage periodically backed into the basement and sewer gas entered the home and was circulated by the heat exchange system. This was a reportable  defect and replacement was demanded by law. In November the offshore owner and her "manager" were insisting that the house was livable and that there would be a quick fix.

Ruth phoned the Environment Department, and was told that a permit to reconstruct the system had been applied for, but said that the issue of this document would involve several months of interplay between the owner, a contractor and government. An on line search and some phone calls made it clear that a tenant actually had little recourse in this instance and was not protected under The Residential Tenancies Act. Cathryn and Mark visited in November and noticed the odour which became overpowering when one showered or washed laundry. They did notice that they were at liberty to break the lease, but they actually gave formal notice by registered mail. Temporary housing and food coupled with storing all possessions cost them a bit more than $3,000 which they did not have.

A deposit was needed for the next rental, arrangements had to be made for an internet hookup, a phone connection, heating and power. On the first day of December they moved into an unseen shoulder season rental in Mahone Bay.  "Out of the frying pan..." as they say. Haste certainly can make waste. This place which came furnished (after a outmoded fashion) also came with mould and high humidity. Ruth continued to work as a transcriptionist but both R&R were frequently ill.

Residential Tenancies did agree that the place was not up to required standards but said that the complainants had not proven an injury to their health. To break that lease, they had to make a second appeal against another absentee landlord and a settlement equal to about a month's rental was agreed upon.

This happened because the landlord had failed to comply with an order to repair or replace a non-functional air exhaust system in the bathroom within a two-month period.  Considering the fact that that the earlier finding had not entirely exonerated the landlord, it is probable that formal arbitration would have had about the same result.  This was a huge waste of time and resources on both sides of the quarrel. It was only pursued because R&R had a faint hope that this lad would be more careful and thoughtful in dealing with tourists as well as off-season renters. If Dal Legal Aid is correct, that is unlikely.

Since May 1, 2016. Second floor apartment, a tale still in progress but the owner-to-be did live and work here and seems a reasonable man. Having survived numerous financial setbacks incurred by too many moves in too short a time, R&R are much happier here, although this residence undoubtedly has an end date. They live in hope that affordable housing for seniors will come available before the next season of need arises. To date, 2016 has been a time of restraint. The previous year saw the worst outflow of nervous energy and cash.  This long essay has not given close attention to R&R's life aside from recounting a very incomplete history of his working days as a painter.  What follows is a summary of social happenings in 2015.

"Theatres Of Empire" and "Theatres" of Accommodation" exist as incomplete essays, which will probably remain on a flash drive and unpublished.  The "Nutshell News" seems worth reviving since the scroll down format is now commonplace. Individual images could be linked to stories. so this could be an unnamed index or table of contents for a specific period of time. Rod says he will retire older tourism stories and introduce some content which only exists as unedited but dated photographs. Obviously Photoshop can be used to resize images, montage them, and give them printed info, as above.

But that massive software can be used to create an almost believable virtual reality.  This image would probably violate copyright in a commercial situation.

This would not since Mac Odd took the photo and made the cartoon character. Rod has never received money in exchange for any of the images in this part of his visual world.  He has been remunerated for a lot of really tough-sledding handwork, and says he would consider commissions.

eDavid is a painting robot developed at the Universität Konstanz (University of Konstanz) beginning in 2009. It calculates brush strokes from an input image and paints the image on a canvas. The robot’s arm can interchange between different brushes and pens, and is equipped with a distance sensor to measure exactly how far the arm is from the canvas. The process mimics the human painting effort, lightening and darkening a painting to its satisfaction rather painting alla prima.

The 2017 second annual robotic art competition with $100,000 in cash prizes is now open for team registration. This promises to be a larger art show than that in which this machine was a winner in 2016. It is now better funded. Any group of roboticists can enter, but no handwork is allowed. Prizes are awarded partly of the basis of WWW popular vote. Until they develop a bit further there may be a place for humans in their playing field, but possibly not long terms.  Rod has already been displaced in several fields involving handwork, so he is not whistling in the dark without cause.

Rod has never given attention to this aspect of his digital world. In closing, he intends to attempt to finish those paintings abandoned in years past, using up surplus canvases and frames, without any real prospect of remuneration. Certainly, there are no truly democratic fine art shows out there offering thousands of dollars for winning entries.  His advice to intending artists, "Follow the cash trails unless you can tolerate a lot of rejection and starvation.  Commissions considered. Having passed his best before date Rod has no intention of returning to a 12-hour working day and will assemble a gallery of images representing his digital art. Spock told me this would be a rational move, but what does he know about human motives and needs?

The  election of Donald Trump diverted Rod from his intention of returning to painting. From November into the new year 2017 R&R were obsessed with attempting to understand how wee Donny Trump had suddenly risen to power in the United States. As it happens, they had not been paying close attention to the warnings of various political cartoonists. "Doonesbury" artist, Gary Trudeau had predicted the possibility of the current "Divine Comedy" three decades ago.

In 1987, Donald Trump began floating full page ads as a trial political balloon. At that time he told an interviewer, "...if I did run for President, I'd win." The left-leaning Pulitzer prize-winning satirist took aim at his six full-page ads, and followed over the following years with continued his role in "the ridicule industry" producing story lines which paralleled reality and proved completely predictive.

Edward St. John Gorey was an American writer and artist noted for his illustrated books. His characteristic pen-and-ink drawings often depict vaguely unsettling narrative scenes in Victorian and Edwardian settings. He claimed to be apolitical. By coincidence this book introduces "The Donald" and over-indulged child.

Rod thought of re purposing cartoons from the previous century as a critique of the new Trumpedup Government. It was easy to find quotes! Trump seems to have reformed himself to avoid being cut off at the pass by his dad, Fred Trump.

This old fellow is such an easy target. Never say never? A lot of hid vodka was designated as a Russian export product, but that didn't happen, a whole other story. On journalist guessed that he abandoned alcohol because it does impede sexual objectives, and because he really the idea of following his example of his dad "who cared very little about running with the in-crowd "but plainly likes the company of a foxy lady."

That's not to say that Fred and Donny were entirely on the same page.He apparently found his mother more up-scale and compliant. Rod thought of re purposing a lot of the clever art by people like Bill Watterson.
Trump's admirer's see him in this light, but the choice of symbols in this case, is off the mark. He has not quite finished the job of reducing his critics to rubble.

That Milton Caniff drawing is from my time as a pre-teen. Megyn Kelly reminded Trump, "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.'" Trump replied,
"Only Rosie O’Donnell," but she kept after him in a Fox News interview. After that altercation, he represented himself to CNN as unfairly treated, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”Correspondent R.M. Stein guesses that,
"With his incessant bullying of the purportedly weaker sex, Trump signals a deep-seated fear of women, especially those who hold any sort of power."

Rod collected a massive number of cartoons on various themes, which could easily be strung together to create a sad but funny story of a life misspent. They repose in folders entitled: anti science, armaggedon, business practices, canada, doublespeak, wealth & hellfare, inauguration, intelligence, international relations, media, move star, opponents, political agenda, populism, predictions, racism, religious beliefs & elitism, the brand, theatre, trolls, trumped up and over weaning wealth. They're destined for a flash drive having served as jumping off images for researching the history of this odd alien creature.

 "He doesn’t really have a lot of friends. Pretty much all he does is work and play golf." - Billy Procida

"I’ve never even met anyone who claimed to be his good friend." - Rev. Al Sharpton

"He can’t let go and just be nice because he fears that people will take advantage of him." - Abe Wallach

“I have no friends, as far as I’m concerned,” - Trump to a crowd in New Hampshire.

This given, he really does need to watch his back, but does not seem capable of doing that!

The Russians, who minted these commemoratives, have always been "great" writers of alternate facts, which some might call fiction.  Donald's alternative fact is that he is surrounded by "Friends."

Abe Wallach, his long-time co-worker and head of acquisitions, told the Times that Trump would sometimes call and say, ‘Abe, what are you doing? Marla and I are flying down to Atlantic City. You and David want to come?’” Wallach said. “I always thought: ‘Why me? I work with him all week. Isn’t there someone else?’”

On the other hand, this is the real thing slightly re-engineered by Deviant Artist Monshony and available on line as free wallpaper.  See the change? “Deep down, he’s a very nice guy,” Wallach has said but "the most insecure man I’ve ever met. He has this constant need to fill a void inside. He used to do it with deals and sex. Now he does it with publicity." It is probably true that he is close to his children but it is depressing to think that they are his closest friends.

Screen shot of the office of the ruler of "Metropolis,"John Frederson (left)  This tale recounts the interactions between this character and his adult son Fredr, who is at first indolent, but takes on a socialist veneer. In the end, he mediates a fascist truce between the working class and his bad-assed dad. Don't think Donald was ever a true socialist, but is decidedly elitist. Fritz Lang was a German Jew forced to flee Nazi Germany, but his wife who co-authored the movie, remained and joined the Nazi party. This was one of Adolph Hitler's favourite flicks. Note Trump's doublespeak?

Of course we know who's behind this particular mask. But then there is that old saw that "Wealth is like seawater; the more we drink, the thirstier we become."

At a guess, money all of Wee Donny's troubles. But it does underwrite narcissism. Having had some initial exposure to modest wealth and its debilitating effects, Rod never devoted devoted due attention to acquiring things. He decided the Epicurus was correct: "It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.... A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs." In the current case that is apropos within Trump's circle.

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires. Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship. It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. - Epicurus

An affluent American Democrat said that!

An American Republican affluenza sufferer mouth this song.

We know that this great fat cat fancies himself a theatrical star.

Ronald Searle penned, painted and captioned this cartoon when Donald was still a bud.  He lived a inconspicuous, seemingly happy life in his last years, although pushed about by economic forces in early child and adulthood. The bottom quote explains how he regarded his profession and he was an obsessive practitioner.

If churches were not, in themselves, businesses this cautionary cartoon might carry more weight.

This hoary old cartoon from the dirty thirties was revived at year's end. Einstein is perhaps more fondly remembered than Trump will be in spite of his help in endangering the world in his own way. Again, it must be remembered that he did not die in penury.

"How pleasant it is to have money, heigh ho..." and how enabling if not ennobling. The pitfalls? Psychological studies suggest that: 1. Money lowers empathy, 2. Wealth can cloud moral judgment, 3. Wealth can lead to substance addictions, 4. Money can itself be addicting, 5.  The children of wealthy parents are often troubled, 6. Wealthy people are disliked by those with less cash and stereotyped as "evil," 7. Sadly money cannot buy true love or happiness.

There has been no direct correlation between income and happiness. After a certain level of income that can take care of basic needs and relieve strain (possibly $50 - $75,000) wealth makes hardly any difference to overall well-being and happiness and if anything, only harms well-being: Extremely affluent people actually suffer higher rates of depression. Some data suggests money itself doesn't lead to dissatisfaction, instead it's the ceaseless striving for wealth and material possessions that may lead to unhappiness. Materialistic values have even been linked with lower relationship satisfaction - "The Psychology of Wealth."

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - , Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt

We can only hope he and his kind will soon be gone with the wind. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistical, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it. - G.K. Chesterton.

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