Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The latest Vinyl Cafe podcast (a fantastic show, also available on streaming and conventional radio, that will engender a deep appreciation for Canada in you and make you laugh so hard you ...) featured a band called Great Lake Swimmers. They have a very interesting sound, combining 70's folk standards with the subtleties of "alternative" music. Plus, as a bonus, they maintain the non-violent protest lyrics of the 70's.
Monday, December 03, 2007
See Biblical Environmentalism? for more on this subject.
While I was speeded to UBC aboard the new network of express buses I read that TransLink intends to implement a wireless system which will post information on arrival times, change traffic lights so buses can maintain their schedule and, perhaps, offer wi-fi on board the bus (something even B.C. ferries can't even pull off). My bliss on public transit was rudely interrupted when I had to wait for 25 minutes for the bus to arrive on the Swartz Bay side. Then the bus weaved its way through Sidney and many hours later I made it home. Victoria transit, in my experience and to my chagrin, runs has buses arriving early at stops (sometimes up to 5 minutes early) and has poor connections, although I have seen some progress on the latter in recent years.
What is most disturbing, even haunting, is that no one has been held responsible for these actions and the Bush administration continues to justify these means. Worse, even when it yields to public pressure and officially bans these acts the administration continues to employ them via different means. The latest version is for independent countries such as Kenya to rendition subjects themselves, in one case 11 children were among those taken and held, so countries like the U.S. can interrogate them. Now the U.S. does not do the rendition themselves, but still, allegedly, tortures these victims itself. Allegedly? Whether U.S. citizens administer the torture is irrelevant, they still support the practise while they ban it.
Duplicitous, vague and obscure are appropriate adjectives for this administration; somehow, there is no paper trail, the practises of torture from Bagram transferred (with Captain Wood) to Abu Ghraib then practises specifically reserved for Guantanamo were administered in Bagram. Since my discovery of the Project for the New American Century in 2001 (see my entry Duped from May 2006) I have wondered when people will wake up. At least there has been progress, e.g., these documentaries and Dennis Kucinich's motion to have Cheney impeached. Nevertheless, it will probably take 20 years for the common individual to truly comprehend the extent of this administration's nastiness. What troubles me is whether all administrations, including those of my country Canada, have been so underhanded, the dirty deals so dirty. Is the Bush administration especially bad or has 9/11 just let them do it all publicly with the peoples' rubber stamp, given that extreme times require extreme measures. Keep your head up.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
each issue contains a number of well written articles that frequently cause me to pause at their beauty and ingenuity. The latter applies to Okay, So If the Seventies, Then What? Check out a few entries:
The Joy of Sex
Day Without Art
The Joy of Cooking
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here is a cool map that sums up much of the issue:
If you want to support Palestine in a non-political way (my preference, since my views are mixed) Zaytoun Olive Oil and Canaan Fair Trade sell organic/fair trade olive oil from Palestine.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Socialism: You have 2 cows; you give one to your neighbour.
Communism: You have 2 cows. The state takes both and gives you some milk.
Fascism: You have 2 cows. The state takes both and sells you some milk.
Nazism: You have 2 cows. The state takes both and shoots you.
Bureaucracy: You have 2 cows. The state takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.
American Corporation: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.
Chinese Corporation: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and execute the newsman who reported the real situation.
Iraqi Corporation: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have one. No one believes you, so they bomb you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a democracy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This video shows the way that Humvees rule the streets of Baghdad. Unfortunately, only a tantalizing bit of dialogue is included, "There's a guy just picking his nose, not a fucking care in the world."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Today I just discovered Joseph Arthur via his song A River Blue on the Serve2 (Fighting Hunger and Poverty) album. Given that he is such a great artist I feel somewhat ashamed that I have not heard of him previously. I downloaded a few free tunes and listened to his new album Nuclear Daydream. I also downloaded a recent concert featuring most of the songs as well as a number of others. The concerts cost $9.99 (less in Canadian $, ha!) and are available in MP3, AAC, and FLAC. In addition, nearly all the proceeds go directly to the artists. The sound quality of each concert varies widely so preview them before downloading.
After watching M.I.A's creepy Best Story Every on The Hour, I checked out some of her music. The track Paper Planes combines the haunting but jolting sounds of a gun firing, the gun being cocked and a cash register ringing. The clever mixing of these sounds provides an social commentary on its own which underpins the song's verses. Brilliant but disturbing.
I would have liked to provide a link for this review but the 24HRS.CA website is centred on the latest issue and one can only find random access to their back issues through Google. Their Canoe.ca search sucks and did not return the above article neither did the link www.canoe.ca/canoe/blog provided on the print version for his blog work. The site definitely needs some work.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
In Vancouver the Danish Way of Living exhibition at 142 Water Street has a number of profound designs: the Yoga chair (with side table and stool) designed by Erik Magnussen is fashioned from a single piece of tubular steel and Arne Jacobsen's egg chair is a whimsical version of the original. The exhibition also features lamps, household accessories, carpets and jewellery.
Of course, satire remains a favourite prong of attack and the offerings range from the strangely satisfying Falling George Bush Screensaver to the brilliantly conceived Lil' Bush (click the link and look under Lineup; the site also has a number of shows including a favourite of mine, Corner Gas). This show is only available on-line so they don't have to pull the punches; the premise is that Bush created this show to distract the populace from his policies. A favourite scene from the latest episode is when Cheney dies and goes to hell only to out devil the Devil. Satan returns him to earth so that he can rule his domain and return it to a less sinister level of evil. Remember the Transformers have nothing on Bush, only he can transform a surplus into a debt and a lost election into a win.
Monday, October 29, 2007
When will I no longer devour the generous ears?
How many times can I, a mere morsel, echo throughout empty halls?
Was I such a good story to last so long? Not a bit!
I am a doubt more persistent than waves before the wind.
I also wreak havoc wherever I'm driven, a cowboy no bull can buck.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
After having traversed the wide expanse bordered by fundamentalism and liberalism at various times I wonder at my faith journey, all the turns I have taken. I too wish to break down the wall one stone at a time, a wall certain conventions have encouraged me to build in the name of righteousness. Nevertheless, I can hardly breathe. How can something that is so natural be so stifled? Some of the thoughts that I journaled years ago reflect this:
The Trinity can be compared to elements in the universe: space (omnipresent Father), matter (Son), and time (unseen Spirit). The three dimensionality of space also reflects this. A single dimension rendering reveals a scant part of the picture, the second shows everything, but in a flat manner and the third combines to provide an experience.
I now venture to extract the pure essence of being and live true to myself and my god with as few constructs as possible (some framework for interpretation is always necessary). There are, however, no easy answers, no hastily spoken quips to consider the depth of faith.
I am an early adopter of technology, ideas and values and, given the fact that I had counted down the arrival of iTunes Plus to free myself of the antiquated DRM, I bounded to download In Rainbows. I favour the artist and not the label, so I paid them the equivalent of $8.00 to support this move to direct access. Although I would have rather previewed the album and then decided on the amount, I arrived at this amount by considering the amount they would profit from in a regular release and doubling it. No album artwork was included with the download, so I did a search and found a number of good entries at this site. I attached my favourites to each song. I have played the album a number of times but it is Reckoner that I put on constant repeat and can't get enough of.
In this shop I also encountered the Fishermen. Given the sincerity of the founder's message I feel bad finding them so funny. I can see his point, but NFL Jesus comes off like Toyota's "what would Jesus drive". These are definitely of higher quality than the ridiculous Testamints, but they only serve to push forward capitalism's agenda that it is the best mechanism for serving everything (since it defeated Communism) including democracy and religion. The "access" that Capitalism brings is often a cheapened one. Today the remark came up in jest that religious services will soon be offered in a pay as you go format: 1 visit by the priest $40, one by a deacon or elder $25; much like getting your fortune told. Well I'll sign off with, D€r€k given all this talk. Just remember that a free market is not the same thing as freedom; yeah prosperity fosters choices, but equality -- come on!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Obviously much of life is toil. There's little escape from that: even the most privileged make their own toil. One essential part of transcendence must be communing with others, on one level or another. The discordant joy of those in the impoverished regions of the globe has always struck me. How can they smile. More importantly, why do if feel a deep connection with these people? How do they access my heart so readily? How do they change lives? How can they so readily look you in the eye without demanding anything or revealing shame? How do they disarm one so well protected?
One answer is not by having a larger house, iPod or car because they don't. I love gadgets, convenience and comfort so I will never really give them up. It is not the items themselves, rather the false expectations these items bring. Sure they bring happiness, pride and wonder. What they are, however, is a symptom (and vehicle) of a culture of isolation and disconnection. As I stand waiting for the bus or riding my bike on many a morning the smell of pollution sickens me. Yet, as I am passed by so many cars I wonder if the drivers know. I cannot believe how sick I feel after cycling on a rural road when a car that has just been started goes by me. Now I know there are naysayers on global warming and the responsibility of humans, but get out of the car and breathe. That red glow on the horizon really is pollution!
What are we plugged into? Community? Anything that centres us? Now life is often presented as a battle from which me must unplug ourselves to once more enter the fray. Live 1 week (a three week vacation yields one week without toning down or ramping up) out of 52? Yet, many I have met swim with the current. The nourishers, what is it about them? Those with a community, those who fit in their own skin, you know them. Moreover, what about children and the child-like natures of those who suffer most. What really nourishes the soul?
Other humans: I am sure that every individual (even those I hate) has shown at least one act of kindness, which nourishes others.
Self: navel gazing aside, a deep realization of the wonder you are. Check out these guys: one suffering and one a comic.
Nature: as a model, but more of where we belong.
The mysterious wonder that governs (or created) serendipity: enough said.