Monday, August 21, 2006

Tradition and Reason

Upon reflection, part of the reason that I and many in my mixed culture seek reasons why is a lack of tradition : I have no idea what my ancestors did or believed. The chain is broken. What spiritual beliefs? What did those stars represent? What do those birds sing of? What happens after starlings flee? These questions came with no answers, not even a framework for me. What is true for me? leads me to explore, prove and adopt. Although no pure tradition exists except in isolation, since influence relentlessly pursues even the most xenophobic culture, the difference is that those with a strong tradition have a root to grow out of. Multi-racial, -cultural, -ethnic make-ups, by nature and contrast, have internal conflicts. Also certain cultural roots are often either preferred or suppressed. My parents are first generation Canadians, yet I do not speak Gaelic, Dutch or Chinese. Where do I come from? During different periods of my life I have even stressed my relation to certain cultural groups by diminishing or not recognizing the other cultures present in my make-up. I am? I used to envy those with an easy answer, but now I view myself as an alloy : I have some strengths that derive only from the fact that I am a mixture. I realize that I can neither escape my roots nor can I only be my "base-metal". Since few answers have been given to me, I'll continue to explore what causes what.

Was Mark Mothersbaugh really the front-man for Divo? Wow! And he can write "Let Me Tell You About My Boat".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I just made a donation to World Vision to supply rural children in Uganda that walk to the city each evening to avoid capture and subsequent forced enlistment in the rebel army with blankets, etc... Unfortunately, I had to turn down supporting Unicef because of my commitment to World Vision and Feed the Children. The need is so great! I have really enjoyed dialoguing with Unicef volunteers downtown and on the phone. They are doing a really good job. Unicef, due to their wide volunteer base gives 90 percent of what you donate to children in need. World Vision the last time I checked gave 86 percent and Feed the Children gave a similar percentage (who wants to pad already full pockets). All are good : choose one and help those that are hungry and scared.


Botched in Translation in the August 7, 2006 issue of Macleans humorously recounts tales related to tattoos with incorrect Chinese and Japanese characters ( I don't think anyone would knowingly put "crazy diarrhea" on their calf). Imagine if my language training was limited to this : "wow! that inscription reads, "Romans conquered diarrhea".


Wow! The whole month of July has passed by without me blogging. Renovations have taken up most of my time outside my regular work/parenting schedule but I have squeezed in some moments of enjoyment. One moment came tonight when I put away the mower and witnessed a spectacular sunset. Jean Vanier's Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John remains a consistent source of pleasure. In many ways the book embodies more than pleasure and often I feel the words reaching my soul. In addition to trans-soul communication Vanier provides many thought-provoking statements, e.g.

We human beings are a mixture of the presence of God and the absence of God,
of light and darkness, truth and chaos, goodness and evil, openness and closedness.
No human being in himself or herself is holy or pure.
We become holy only through the holiness of God.

I wonder if Hans, to whom I gave the book, has ventured into its rich pages.

Last week I went out to a Euro-pub for dinner and got to sample some fabulous beers from their menu : My brother said, "They have a Cognac beer." right away I ordered it. I also tried the Wee Heavy and a Chocolate Stout. Fortunately, my local liquor store carries these and the Cognac remains my favourite, its flavours are as complex as a fine red, though I am looking forward to the stout.

Also, for my birthday I finally picked up Hancock's Gershwin's World and Pat Metheny's Speaking of Now Live. Gershwin's World is much better than Possibilities (the last Hancock album I bought) in which Hancock voluntarily took a backseat to other artists. Joni Mitchell is amazing and rivals her accompaniment to Neil Young on The Last Waltz. Wayne Shorter always rocks and Hancock's talent, appropriately, stands out. Metheny, Anthony Sanchez and Richard Bona stand out on the DVD. Ironically (because Sanchez was present), the DVD was filmed among a conservative and relatively sparse Japanese crowd (possibly favoured for their expression of appreciation being limited to enthusiastic applause after each song as opposed to shouts during the performance).

Alpha Yaya Diallo played downtown for Canada Day. The concert was a highlight of July and the fireworks that followed rounded out an awesome night. Dancing with my family in front of the Parliament buildings and viewing the fireworks on my dad's boat stand out. Hopefully I will find the CD tomorrow.


Reverb plug-in