As the World Changes

Today ends our string of guests posts for Paul Curran’s weekly Cuppa column. Usual host Willow of willowdot21 is back in the blogging saddle over on the other side of the pond, and she’ll be ready for our Canadian friend to roll there next Sunday. It’s been my pleasure, and, I think, every reader’s as well this past month-plus. Take it away, Paul.

If We Were Having Coffee

Arabs Having a Coffee Break

Paul Curran

Your Barista – Paul

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. For this week Willow will not be able to access her internet dependably so we’ll be meeting here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the back yard. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, comfy place for us outside on the newly mown lawn of the Little Bitty, so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is cool at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit with a few clouds. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been?

Up first I would like to extend my prayers and condolences to the families of all who lost their lives or were injured in the mass shooting in Oregon this week. Blogger Elyse over at Fityfourandahalf, did a post on this and included was the above YouTube presentation of President Obama putting it best in his address to the country.

The New Neighbor

Moving onto other topics, well, I had to laugh at my friend Steve yesterday when he dropped by for a chat and a soda. There is a young couple that just moved in across the street. They must be graduate students as I see them heading to the university each morning. They own a black Vietnamese pot bellied pig – a big lad of about 150 pounds – that they take for a walk daily. The pig appears to be a beloved pet as it sports a knitted red, white and blue pig-sweater (Hmmm, maybe he is an American pig?) This is very rare here as pigs are not legal in the city of Ottawa – I suspect the owners are not aware of this as the walk their pig daily in the park down the street. Anyway, Steve had been to Loblaw’s – a chain grocery store about four blocks away – and was carrying his groceries back. He told me that he stopped to pet the pig and talk to its owners, when he suddenly realized that he had one grocery bag full of pork chops that had been on special. Steve said he felt very guilty making nice with the pig while carrying the remains of its relatives home for supper. Ha!


Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? There are lots, so help yourself and remember they are calorie-free here. So we Canadians just passed an interesting benchmark. For the first time in history there are more citizens over 65 (5.75 million) than there are under 15 (5.70 million). This continues a trend that has been developing for a few generations now and has some serious implications for our economy. It will definitely impact our social programs – like free health care – as the users will eventually outnumber the tax payers. Over 65 now comprise 16.1% of our population. Interestingly enough Japan has the highest percentage at 26%, followed by the UK at 20%, then many European countries, with the US and Australia at 15%. Many Middle Eastern and African countries have percentages of elderly between 1 and 5%, with the United Arab Emirates at 1%. These numbers make it painfully clear which countries have the larger young population and which will most influence the world economy in the future. It is a reality for which we should prepare – if by no other means than encouraging immigration and diversity.

Migrants Trying to Enter the Chunnel

I see that migrants are becoming a problem at the French end of the Chunnel once again; Service had to be shut down late last week when 200 migrants broke into the facility and parked themselves on the tracks. This is only one piece of the larger issue of migrants being wrestled by Europe. Millions of impoverished, scared refugees are fleeing war-torn countries into Europe. If nothing else, it is becoming clear that we really are all in this together and as such the problems of others become our problems. We are our brothers’ keepers.

Political Suicide

Here’s a piece of puzzling American political news: Their government has unilaterally discontinued their export/import guarantee organization (US Export-Import Bank, known as Ex-Im) – a much used favorite amongst American exporters. For large public infrastructure export purchases –like dams or power plants or rail systems or aircraft lease companies – no lenders will offer financing because they cannot recoup their investment in case of default. Plus the fact that the lenders are often in the supplier’s country and not the purchaser’s country – a legal barrier to any sort of recompense in case of non-payment. To address this, most exporting countries have government programs that guarantee loans. Because of trade and such, governments can almost always get their money back or at least apply pressure in case of default – options not available to lenders. The direct result of this American political move is to force large manufacturers to move to other countries – for instance to Canada – where the guarantee can be offered. This is a Republican move driven by their belief in free enterprise that is not to be supported by government, which will cost many American jobs and benefit Canada immensely. Already GE, which has $11 billion in deals awaiting financing, has shut down an industrial engine plant in Wisconsin and moved it to Canada. They have also built a state of the art jet engine testing facility in Winnipeg. This is political suicide for the Republicans as their policies strip jobs from Americans and send those jobs to competing nations going into an election year. These policies are being supported by the American super-rich like the Koch brothers – who are financing the Republican Party. One more nail in the coffin of the middle class being exterminated by the rich.

That’s about all we have room for this week folks, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you for tea and drinks back at Willow’s starting next week.


35 thoughts on “As the World Changes

  1. Thank you very much for the opportunity to guest blog Mark. It has been an honor to join you and your readers here for the last 6 weeks. Your professional editing is greatly appreciated. I hope this final post is enjoyed by your readers, and I look forward to the next time we can join forces. Thank you.


    • Thank you, Paul, for both entertaining and educating us right here the last six weeks. It takes a special touch to cover both those E’s so well, my friend. You are always welcome at my place, Mr. Paul Curran. Join forces, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a global post today–from presidents to pigs and everything in between. I’m so struck by the way you pull the world’s news together to point out that these are all our problems.

    I know Mark will miss your Sunday visits–and Ellie B will certainly miss all those extra treats we all know you’ve been slipping her way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m bad with the treats. 😀 I think Ellie B. is putting on weight. Thanks so much Barb for the great comment – I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. It is wonderful to see you here having a cuppa. I’m going top miss Mark’s readers too – but they can always drop by Willow’s at for a visit if they have time (I know that’s a problem for many). I have another post publishing tomorrow around 1 pm Eastern (about 6 pm your time) over at Behind the White Coat at Feel free to drop by if you have the time.

      Thanks again Barb for the visit and comment. Please come by again.


      • I second Paul’s message regarding visits to Willow not just next Sunday to see him, but any darn day to read her poetry and check out her photos and get her view of life from England.

        And if you haven’t checked out the woman I call Doc, Victo Dolore, at her blog, you’re missing out, too.

        Thanks for the alert, Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So….the post about pigs really was disturbing. Those super rich pigs don’t quite comprehend they need the middle class to hold their lofty ass(ets) up now don’t they?

    But the potbelly fella was adorable.

    And the fear that people leaving their homes must carry with them is surely not something many of can truly comprehend, there must be better solutions to help them.

    THanks for the cuppa today Paul, I’m enjoying my Irish Breakfast tea, it always reminds me of our trips to the beautiful isle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post Coleen. Yeah, those rich guys regularly cut their noses off to spite their faces. Idiots. They clearly haven’t had to learn the lesson that we are all in this together. I have no issue with money but some of the wealthy have an air of entitlement that turns my stomach. The migrant issues are horrendous – they leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs trying to save their lives and their family’s lives. This is so hard for all involved.

      Please have your fill of Irish Breakfast Tea and help yourself to the sweets. I saw our local pot belly pig out for a stroll with his owner on Friday. With his sweater on he looked very stylish and was drawing a lot of attention in a local park when I rode by. The local children (there is an elementary school on the next block) love him and all gather around when they see him. I know he is illegal here and I am sure the owners don’t know that or they wouldn’t take him out in the middle of the afternoon. The reason the city has outlawed them is that they are very cute when little but can grow up to be 300 pounds and require a lot of food and exercise. People were abandoning them and they were piling up in the SPCA. With no homes, they were being euthanized – a sad situation for any animal. Hence the law.

      Thanks so much for dropping bu for a visit and a comment – and a cuppa Colleen.


      • Your welcome Paul.

        I just read today about more jobs being cut in USA. I’m not sure how the bigger wigs think they can keep their fortunes and their privileges of living in USA if USA isn’t producing anything?

        And that poor pig. I hope no one turns them in. It sounds like he is well cared for, and loved.

        When you say you ‘rode by’ does that mean bicycle?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a nice way to start my Sunday blog reading (my actual Sunday DID start before 10, I’ll have you know). Thanks for the shout out.

    I love those pigs. One day about 30 years ago, a friend of our neighbor next door brought one over to meet her kids. And he met my German shepherd, Goliath at the same time — nose to nose through a chain link fence. Of course, nobody had a camera …

    I hadn’t read about the Ex-Im Bank. What maroons these republicans are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Elyse! So glad you could join us for Sunday tea. I would have loved to see the pig meet a German shepherd. This pig is very kind and caring but I know that pigs can be very aggressive. In fact the big ones are a serious danger to humans if the human is injured or weak. I doubt the pig would back down from a confrontation.

      The Ex-Im Bank situation is nuts. The democrats are working to regain funding but they do not control congress. Our version of this – the EDC (Economic Development Corporation)- holds about $60 billion in loan guarantees , every penny of which represents an export that created Canadian jobs. And they do OK -there are a few defaults but they have a long reach and countries know that defaults can cause sanctions and/or trade restrictions – and no one wants that. They are profitable. In this day of world trade, Guarantees are a necessary part of any export business. Canada generates between 1/3 and 1/2 of our economic activity with exports – and about 1/3 of our goods are imports.

      Anyway, good luck with your political situation – we have an election in a few weeks.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Elyse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The dog and the pig were fascinated by each other, actually. They couldn’t stop sniffing each other. It really is one of those memories that will never fade — My kingdom for a camera!

        Good luck with your election. I lovet the fact that yours come and go. Ours will go on and on and on …

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Paul , Mark, Karen and Ellie B just dashing in to say what a brilliant post as ever! Sad contents , another US school shooting, I believe the gun laws in the US should be radically changed! The horrendous plight of the immigrants. The situation in Europe getting worse and Germany have not helped!
    The pig is fun a friend of mine used to have a pig as a pet I will have to tell you the tale one day! .. Sorry I have to dash in and out but I have been so busy since our return this is the first proper sit down I have had in 48 hours! Not even managed to do my coffee spot yet!! Anyway must not moan, looking forward to your return next weekend!! xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another very insightful post, Paul, it’s been nice having you here. I had to laugh about the pork/pet pig issue. I shop at a local farmer’s market that includes a cattle auction. If I know I’m going to buy beef that day, I avoid my usual parking spot near the cattle entrance. Just can’t look in their eyes, or hear their sounds and go ahead with my purchase. Seems wrong.

    I’m from a family of immigrants…I have many mixed feelings on the topic. And what is happening to our nation, its economy, and the road blocked Congress…tragic and infuriating. You offer a great perspective. Thanks. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Van! Thanks so much for dropping by.I am pleased that you enjoyed the post. Yes, I sometimes have a hard time understanding American politics -it makes no sense to me to give away jobs. You guys are great readers, I have really had a good time here. It has been an honor guest posting at Mark’s – thank you for the warm welcome and for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Paul, Sat and Sun are catch up days for my reading blogs. Very happy to read about funny things like walking a huge pot bellied pig and someone who bought pork. Ha ha ha!
    I was saddened deeply about the shootings. I was not sure anything can be done to prevent this, but admire President Obama talking about this controversial issue. I feel that Sandy Hook could have been prevented by diligence of an educated parent and gun locked up. I am not sure if anything will come about from more legislation but wish something could stop killing innocent young people. I would happily take a cuppa and a sweet or two, Paul and thanks for offering.
    Mark, thanks for allowing Paul to camp out with Karen, Ellie B. and you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Robin! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and a comment. I am honored. Yes, the mass murder thing really should be addressed. I said nothing about it because I’ve commented many times and in return I usually get abuse from gun lovers and such. The way I figure it, Americans will continue to suffer this unique deadly problem that only they have , as long as the majority do not have the will to change it. I am sure that you and many others would gladly make changes in gun laws , but you’re not in the majority yet. I wish you luck, what can I say – the answer is not hard.

      Thanks again for dropping by – you are a faithful reader Robin.


    • Thank you so very much for reading Beth. It has been such a pleasure posting here at Mark’s. I am pleased that you enjoyed the post. I am honored. Please drop by again.


  8. Pigs not legal in the city? How odd. I wouldn’t want my neighbors to have pigs, of course, but that is a strange rule. So now Canada has more coots than non-coots? I imagine a world of casinos and bingo halls, early bird breakfasts and discount cinemas, overflowing at the 11am showing. In the US, I see approx 10-20 prescription med commercials per day, and nearly every ad in every magazine is Humira or some such nonsense. And yet our coots are clearly not living as long as your coots. Strength in numbers, eh? I remember reading that older people feel invisible. If they are the majority, their voices should be heard. Unless they don’t have money. Then no voices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There area lot of animals that are allowed Kerbey – you can have chickens, goats, etc for purposes of city farms to feed your family.But the pigs are too often abandoned so they were disallowed.

      I know what you mean about ads for prescription drugs – many of those suckers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Late to this post, but enjoyed it very much. The age statistics were quite interesting . . .
    And I hadn’t heard about the Ex-Im, as I have been news-aversive lately . . . it’s been way too depressing! This country is in so much trouble right now & the sad part is, many don’t realize just how screwed-up things are! Again, great post, Paul!! Thanks Mark!!


      • Yeah, kind of glad I was not on here for awhile – knowing Paul was MIA would’ve worried me horribly! I wish we could all pitch in about $10 a piece & help Paul get an updated computer. I see them under $350 all the time & it might not have all the bells & whistles BUT would be capable of getting him on the Internet & WP!!! I know he is missed ☺️


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