The good, the bad and the really really bad.

A very mixed-kinda-weekend just passed me by, seemingly quicker than I could blink.  We got more snow, the colder than usual temps are still upon us, I picked up a couple of new books to read, mainly stayed inside and caught up on some stuff I’d let go for too long…

But I also woke up Saturday morning to find that the lovely Ursula at An Upturned Soul has nominated me for a blog award.  Her posts run an interesting and diverse gamut, writing about things such as narcissism and personal relationships/interactions that are always both informative and illustrative of her talent for communicating the intricacies of such complex subjects in well-reasoned and -researched, yet still approachable and understandable, articles.  A recent post, Personality Disordered, was especially resonant for me, given the fact that I am also inclined to run off on tangents.  More than a little.

This morning, wonder of wonders, I discovered that Kim over at Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed has also been so kind as to nominate me for an award.  She, too, writes about narcissism and surviving its abuses, and her insights regarding identification and recovery are enlightening and valuable resources for surviving the toxicity that such relationships create.

I greatly appreciate the respect for my own writing that spurred the nominations, and I value the reciprocal relationships we have developed through our mutual followings.  I encourage my readers to visit with them and explore the many valuable things they both have to contribute to our WordPress World.

I love this World.  As I’ve mentioned before, the most wonderful and surprising thing I have discovered since starting this blog a little less than a year ago is the community that is there to support, entertain and challenge me as I gain footing and change some things up in the development of my online presence.  Rather than restrict the pass-on nominations as suggested by both awards, please have a look through my blog roll- and click on the avatars of those friends who thoughtfully leave comments- and discover for yourselves the variety and engaging intelligence that I’ve been privileged to find in this neck o’ the woods.

Unfortunately, all this loveliness has been disrupted by the increasingly business-as-usual abuses of those who hold power and influence in the wider, outside world.

I referred to this the other day.  Harper’s conservatives are doing their best to ensure that this country becomes a democracy in name only.  Since a democracy can only be as strong as its weakest link, we MUST work to strengthen those links that are inclined to let this sort of thing fester and continue without notice or comment or attempt at rectification.

This is the primary reason behind my goal for 2014- to search out a new type of classroom that is based on the dialectic and exchange of information based in facts and experience, rather than rhetorical reliance upon emotion and belief.

Since my appearance (still reeling a wee bit from the experience- radio geek that I am) on The Current a couple of weeks ago, education and our educational system has been back on my personal radar bigtime.  I’ve joined/re-joined a number of discussion forums dealing specifically with post-secondary education and teaching and this popped up in one of them on Saturday.  I had comparable experiences, upon occasion, but I am extremely distressed that they seem to be growing in frequency, and extent of damage to the learning experience.  I’m not sure that I will ever comprehend the close-mindedness that drives people to enroll in a course in an institution of higher education solely in order to maintain the supremacy of their own unexamined beliefs.  Stories like this are among the things that make me miss the university classroom less and less.

My pal Booksy over at Lost and Found Books brought this back to my attention this morning.  Again with the gradual dissolution of democracy under our very freakin noses by this government and its agenda.

And in local news: this idiocy is about to air beginning today.

I have to admit to feeling a bit nostalgic today.  As such, this tune popped into my head while thinking through all this stuff and the Voices Carry movement that I’m encouraging of late.  And Mark King’s bass playing is always something to witness…

The spirit of the people
The spirit of the people
The spirit of the people
The rhythm has begun …

Old men with their protocol
Lead us off to war
Sometimes we don’t even know
What we’re fighting for
Marching to the beat of their drum

Leaders we no longer trust
Told too many lies
The promises they made to us
Were never realised
Hear me now the chant has begun

Nowhere left to turn
No-one left to turn to
Voices raised in anger
They don’t have the answer
Our whole world’s in danger

Oil slicks on the ebbing tide
Progress out of hand
Blind men choke on swallowed pride
Heads down in the sand
Don’t wanna see the damage they’ve done

Trees destroyed by acid rain
Falling from the skies
When our children place the blame
Who will tell them why
Hear me now the chant has begun

Why is love so rare
All this talk of warfare
Voices raised in anger
They don’t have an answer
Pass the word along
We can wait no longer
Too much blind destruction
Follow love’s instructions
Now the chant has begun


Make your choice there’s no escape
Add your voice, the chant has begun

This song was written and recorded in 1984.  1984.

30 years.  And we still haven’t grown the chant into the roar it needs to become.

29 comments on “The good, the bad and the really really bad.

  1. Thank you for the very kind words, much appreciated!

    Do I hear the sound of history repeating itself so often we’ve all stopped listening. Or is it something else. Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same. The new order looks a lot like the old order rehashed with bling added.

    I do like to explore personal relationships and interactions, because what I observe on the personal level ripples out into the relationship which we have with society and further than that. Trends in particular show the psyche of the world at large. Self-preservation still trumps everything else, which is why we are cautious when it comes to acting, especially acting in a united way together to create changes… which may not change anything at all or for the better.

    Better the devil you know… still holds a lot of sway. Our comfort zones have to get a lot less comfortable and smaller before we’re willing to get out of the comfy chair. And then what?

    The revolution really needs to begin within each individual, within their day to day life, how we each personally live and express our life on a regular basis, that creates greater impact on the way of the world and is more lasting. Humans are creatures of habit. Our habits create the world we live in.

    And that all comes from observing myself under a microscope… and allowing myself to see what’s actually there, which is often not pretty at all, rather than what I want to see.

    Thank you for being bold and brave enough to share and inspire!

    • colemining says:

      Ursula- Thank YOU again!
      I honestly think it’s less about history repeating (although there is a little of that) than it is complacency and/or exhaustion with the evidence of corruption and lack of ethics we see everywhere.
      I very much agree that the push has to start with us, as individuals, but knowing that there are others out there who share our desire for change is something that can aid our own personal transformations and contributions to the betterment of our communities/cities/countries/world.
      Start small and grow louder. This is my current mantra.
      Thank you for your insights and perspectives. They lend much to my own observations and understanding of things.

  2. Wow!! You did great on The Current. I’m sorry you left academia–what a loss to the education system. I didn’t realize the financial challenges faced by academics. But now I do. I think I’ll take all my PhD friends out for lunch!!

    • colemining says:

      Aw thanks, Booksy! It was such an incredible experience (Anna Maria and the producers and everyone were fantastic!). I think that the academic paradigm needs a big shift, so that’s one of the places I will be focusing my energy. I’m sure your PhD friends would appreciate lunch with you, greatly.
      How go your own academic adventures?

      • Being on CBC is like being a rock star in my world! But Ian Lee’s comments are concerning — when did academia become about choosing a subject in order to get a job? In the end, we will all suffer for that. As for my course, I love the subject matter, but to be honest, I’m finding it challenging studing on-line…I miss many aspects of the regular classroom (I feel a blog post coming on!).

      • colemining says:

        Gotta admit I felt a bit like a rock star, Booksy. Just sitting in that studio… Awesome.

        Yes, the business guy missed the point of the discussion ENTIRELY, in my opinion. Anna Maria attempted to drag him back on point a few times, but, like too very many people these days, he refuses to comprehend the value of the Humanities- in general- but specifically in the workforce. Makes me crazy, but most of the feedback I received about the progamme said the same thing- he contributed nothing of real value to the conversation other than to reinforce what we already know. Governments/the business community are about nothing more than economic bottom lines- to the extreme detriment of things of great import.

        I’m glad you’re loving the subject- and I hear you about the limitations of the ‘online only’ format. Will look forward to hearing more about your experiences!

  3. LindaGHill says:

    Congratulations on your nominations! You know, every time I read one of your articles I want to know more about you… You’re a mystery to me. I mean, what could be more mysterious than a Canadian human who doesn’t like Tim’s?

    But seriously, your views are intriguing. I haven’t the energy to follow politics very closely because, although I realize they do affect me, I have so much going on in my daily life and so many battles to face that have to do with the medical issues of my kids, that I’m overwhelmed enough. I prefer to think of my disinterest in politics as delegating the job of worrying about it to those with a better basic understanding of it. We each have our fortes and I’m glad that there are people like you in this country who are willing to concentrate your efforts on the behalf of myself, my children, and all of the people who are sadly not cognizant of the fact that there’s even an issue to be concerned about.

    Learning, on the other hand, is something I have a passion for. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it. Again, it’s comforting to know you are out there advocating for the bettering of it.

    Thank you.

    Long live Tim Horton’s!

    • colemining says:

      Aw, thanks Linda. I certainly don’t attempt to be enigmatic… and the dislike of Tim’s coffee is hardly unique (trust me, I KNOW I’m not alone in this).

      Politics are exhausting- and the politicians go out of their way to make them even more so. The more convoluted they are, the less inclined we are to really look at what it is that they’re doing. I have no interest in politics, really. I think that the entire system is based upon a flawed design of rhetoric and persuasion rather than discussion and actual, demonstrable, facts, but I’ve realized- relatively recently- that sitting and complaining without making an attempt to affect change amounts to complicity. And I’m not comfortable with that. At all. I am trying to make time to address some of these things- in a couple of different forums- which requires delving deeper into the quagmire that is our political system.

      Change is hard- but allowing things to continue on this path will be disastrous.

      And now to grab a (not Tim Horton’s) coffee…

  4. Didn’t George Orwell have a thing for 1984 too?

  5. bethbyrnes says:

    Well congrats on all of this as others have already said. I am struck by how much discussion has arisen on narcissism. It seems everyone has had a narcissist complicate their lives at some point. Interesting. I still envy you your weather. We are having 80F days in February. Not my idea of winter. Keep up the thought-provoking posts.

    • colemining says:

      I would trade in a heartbeat! Enough already!
      Yes, I’ve noticed a lot of sources for information on narcissism lately. Given our societal tendencies toward the selfie and such, it’s not terribly surprising.
      Thanks for reading, Beth.

  6. To go back even further than 1984 (1976), this post causes me to recollect the voice of Peter Finch yelling, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we’re just plain exhausted with the corruption and lack of ethics in all of our institutions. I think many of us, after attempting to fight decade after decade, and realizing that even those in whom we placed our trust were hypocrites as well, simply lost the will to enter battle again.

    To end on a brighter note, congrats on the nominations. I’ve already said that your interview was brilliant, and your know I love your blog and what you offer here. Prayers on the job front – Academia doesn’t know what it’s missing!

    • colemining says:

      Susan- DEFINITELY (not to yell at you)- ‘mad as hell and not taking it’? Just about covers it. I get the fatigue- especially from those who have been fighting the good fight for so very long. It’s my turn- and the turn of my generation and those that follow to pick up the cry and keep pushing for change. Doing my best.

      Thank you for saying that. I’ve made peace with the reality that academia is a lost dream- and that’s okay. I will find a new forum and new ways to institute a different way of examining our world. It’s lovely to know that there are like-minded folk out there willing to support my ideas and attempts at making a difference.


  7. Right, first, where’s the link to this radio broadcast? I missed that. I’ll go searching your page in a minute. Do hope it’s there. I’d love to hear you in full swing. 🙂
    As for Mr. Ford. It’s like watching a car crash. People can’t keep their eyes off it but it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be involved in it. if he’s getting lots of hits I’d imagine it would be for ‘entertainment’ value. Voyeuristic tendencies. I’d hate to think it was because he had a following worth anything. Good god, it doesn’t bear thinking about it.
    The world of education is changing too and definitely not always for the better. I’m about to become involved in a wee project that might cause a few rain clouds. Nothing major. Just more than a bit pissed about something that was brought to my attention re education. Someone asked for a bit of help and I might be going to tread on a few toes. But hey, live dangerously eh?
    Like you, Cole, I do feel the need to be more proactive. I feel I have trusted too long in too many who have let us down. I’m a trusting fool btw. Always have been. And too keen to stay in the closet.
    But the changes are afoot. We’ve said this before.
    I refused to join a political party years ago when invited believing that the ripple effect in my life had more weight and influence than empty words.
    I later did join partly because the person standing for local election was someone I admired. He did a pretty good job too but is now retired.
    Local is where it begins. But not necessarily in the political forums as we know it.
    More room for thought here.
    And Level 42! A blast from the past right enough. Although I didn’t know that song. Great lyrics.
    Keep up the sterling work, Cole.
    I have a feeling we’ll be hearing much more from you and about you in this new year of ours.x

    • colemining says:

      Aren’t you just the loveliest? The link is in the post, but this’ll take you there:
      You’ll have to reach behind the pseudonym and figure out which one is me… Interested to hear your thoughts.

      I think we need to be living a bit dangerously right now- or else we will continue down this path of being dangers to ourselves and the planet. Interested in hearing about your project- you know I’m invested in anything having to do with the betterment of education.

      There are no party affiliations (at least none that are overt) at the municipal level, hereabouts. I have considered doing some volunteering at the provincial level- since I think our current Premier is a woman of integrity and someone who will institute positive change- if people permit her to do so.

      At the moment I’m leaning toward a slightly lateral approach- in policy and analysis- while I keep on shouting ’round about these parts. There are a few irons in the fire at the moment- sorting out what they might become and where they might lead.

      I’ve been listening to Level 42 all day. Missed those guys. Seen them live more times than I can count- and I still get mesmerized watching him play the bass.

      Thank you for the words of support, as always!

  8. OK, I can’t find any link to the broadcast. Please tell me it’s recorded somewhere. Like a podcast or whatever those things are. Let me know. 🙂 x

    • colemining says:

      The link in the other response should work- a friend in the UK was able to listen to the programme through the CBC website, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to have a listen too. The episode is also downloadable for free (this side of the Pond, anyway) through the iTunes store- CBC- The Current, from January 24.

  9. I got in. Eventually. For some reason it wouldn’t play. But I downloaded the podcast and bingo!
    And you were great. It’s bloody awful that you can’t get to work in your chosen field. Seems to me it is down to money again.
    If they don’t have to give you tenure they don’t have to pay you the holidays or other benefits.
    But it is concerning then that there is no continuity for students if the staff are constantly changing. And as pointed out that in terms of contributing to the curriculum that’s a no go if you’re contracted. Rushing about like a headless chicken from place to place with a workload that leaves little time for prep. So many things wrong with it.
    Mine is a bit similar but different. I currently do what is called Area Cover but I’m on permanent contract. I go from school to school for relatively long term positions as cover for long term absences. I actually like it because I was once so long in one place that, had I been serving time for murder, I would have been out on parole in less time. And it began to feel like that. It kinda got to me.
    The problem we have at the moment – in schools rather than at university level- is that loads of newly qualified teachers are not being given permanent contracts. So they are covering all sorts.
    They tried it on with me recently but I refused to go to outlying places and ones outwith my contract. They make the rules up as they go along it seems.

    I agree with the previous comment that it is awful to think that our educational preferences should be chosen in terms of what jobs may be available at the end. It helps to be aware and maybe other possible routes taken into account. But it shouldn’t dictate what subject areas you choose to study.

    Anyway, I’m heading to bed shortly because I’m back tomorrow after a long weekend break. I wish you well in the ongoing battle that is life, politics and love. Anne-Marie. x

    • colemining says:

      Glad you were able to access it. It IS down to money- and down to universities being run according to business- rather than pedagogical- models. There were bits of my interview- and the one that followed- that specifically addressed some of the issues you raise. Without faculty continuity students are left without instructors who actually know them- and their work- when they require letters of recommendation for graduate schools/employment/overseas exchange opportunities. I stopped teaching almost four years ago and I’m STILL getting requests from former students looking for letters- despite the fact that I emphasize that my recommendation holds little weight since I have no current university affiliation.

      The prof at UBC has instituted a programme in her department (English Lit.) that allows for PhD candidates to work co-op type positions- in addition to their teaching and research requirements- in jobs other than those in the university, so that they graduate with ‘practical’ experience outside of academia. I think that’s FANTASTIC- but it’s certainly the only one I’ve heard about over here. It certainly demonstrates that there are significant ‘practical’ skills gained through achieving a Humanities PhD- and with hands on experience while still in school, new graduates can demonstrate this far more easily to hiring managers/HR people who remain seemingly clueless as to what their educational accomplishments actually mean.

      We have a similar situation in our schools here. And it doesn’t only affect newly-qualified teachers. I know of a few people who have had to take split contracts- at two different schools- to make up their full time requirements. We treat our teachers like crap- despite what the ill-informed nay-sayers may assert.

      Thanks for your input, Anne-Marie- and for having a listen to my 8 minutes of ‘fame’- especially since you had to work so hard to find it! Sleep well!

  10. Awards well-deserved. You put time and thought into your posts. Always a pleasure to read. If you haven’t caught it, I know you’ll get to my latest post when you do, but wanted to say I would be happy to promote your blog in the new series.

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