‘Who Told Tomorrow Tuesday’s Dead?’

I think that’s one of my favourite lyrics ever.

No, not the words in the nursery poem, the words in the title.

I know. It’s Wednesday, but I was thinking about that song, and the guy who wrote it, a lot today .

I’ve talked about him before – in the context of another song. A song that helped to set the story of my life, thus far. Truly. It helped to put me on my own particular Road to Find Out in ways both conscious and un-.

And given the crap that’s been going on around here the past while, and the results of yesterday’s election in the States, I really feel like I need an interlude of Cat.

Seriously, neighbours? What’s going on down there?

Not being an American, you’d think that the results shouldn’t be bugging me so much. To be honest, I didn’t pay the midterm election all that much mind. We have had a fair bit going on north of the border, and, honestly, I’m sort of out of sorts about the whole reactionary-engagement-with-politics-thing that seems to be epidemic (and more problematic, on this side of the Atlantic anyway, than a particular virus I could name) lately.

But I just. Don’t. Get. It.

So. Let’s intermezzo, shall we? (yes, I used intermezzo as a verb).

Yusuf Islam is out and about on his Peace Train… Late Again tour (forever the most dexterous of wordsmiths. How GREAT a name is that for Cat/Yusuf tour?). I wanted ever-so-much to go and see him when he comes to town- he’s playing Massey Hall, which is certainly one of my very fave venues for live-and-intimate shows in my hometown.

But… tickets went on sale just as I was boarding a train headed for his hometown, so I wasn’t really in a place or position to be online and looking to buy. The show sold out in a matter of minutes.

This is partly because, other than brief television or special appearances, he hasn’t toured North America since 1976. Yes, I said 1976. So I’d imagine that there are a whole lot of people like me desperate to see him and say hello. Since I was six the last time he hopped the pond to play shows, it kind of goes without saying that I’ve never had the pleasure of his company.

And I’ll be missing him again. He has, rightfully and rather impressively, made sure that scalpers and those crummy and criminal ticket resale companies won’t be able to (easily) get their hands on tickets and fleece his fans, so there aren’t even any tickets floating around on Craig’s List or the like.

I admit that I’ve been creeping his fb page and checking out the set lists as he plays to his first North American audiences in almost four decades, and living a little vicariously through those who will have the privilege of hanging with him for an evening.

The Road to Find Out and Tuesday’s Dead aren’t (so far) in the rotation.

It’s understandable- he has such an incredible and extensive body of work that includes bigger hits and better-known songs from the eleven albums that he recorded as Cat, back in the day, and he is also playing selections from his 2006 and 2008 albums, An Other Cup and Roadsinger, and his brand new offering, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone.

But. Those songs.

One of the many beautiful things about music is its accessibility. I can go back and listen to the songs any time I want- or, for that matter, sing them to myself when tuning in (and tuning out) with the Shuffle Daemon isn’t appropriate.

The lyrics have been written on my heart- and they are in my head when I need to call them up for a listen.

Two of his albums, Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971) are among my all-time favourite records. Of his, certainly, but by anyone, really. I grew up with them- and still know the lyrics to all the songs.

I have a bit of an uncanny (for lack of a better word) knack for remembering lyrics (and the accompanying tunes, of course- but the words are paramount, for me). Some of my old friends still bug me about this ability for recall- but I don’t see anything all that peculiar about it, myself.

It’s part and parcel of my way of engaging with the world- concentrating on those things I find important, or beautiful, or educational, or fun. Or any combination of any and all of those things. It is the primary way that I attempt to be mindful of my context and present in my life. There are distractions aplenty, but focusing on something and really appreciating it? It leads me toward gratitude and appreciation of the relevance and reliability of my fellow human beings, usually when I most need to be reminded of these things.

Great words deserve remembrance. Whether they are shaped like stories or speeches or songs (or poem- which are songs without music), they carry power and retain import that speaks to both their specific contexts and, in the case of the best of them, to their timelessness. The ones that hold the most wisdom transcend temporal settings and retain the ability to impart vital imagery.

If I make a mark in time, I can’t say the mark is mine.
I’m only the underline of the word.
Yes, I’m like him, just like you, I can’t tell you what to do.
Like everybody else I’m searching thru what I’ve heard.

Whoa, Where do you go? When you don’t want no one to know?
Who told tomorrow Tuesday’s dead

Oh preacher won’t you paint my dream, won’t you show me where you’ve been
Show me what I haven’t seen to ease my mind.
Cause I will learn to understand, if I have a helping hand.
I wouldn’t make another demand all my life.

What’s my sex, what’s my name, all in all it’s all the same.
Everybody plays a different game, that is all.
Now, man may live, man may die searching for the question why.
But if he tries to rule the sky he must fall.

Now every second on the nose, the humdrum of the city grows.
Reaching out beyond the throes of our time.
We must try to shake it down. Do our best to break the ground.
Try to turn the world around one more time.

Tuesday’s Dead is something of a thematic follow-up to, or continuation of, the examination of his quest for meaning and understanding of the world he sang about in On the Road to Find Out. Crazy love for both these tunes.

A number of interpretations point to Xian imagery contained in the song (as is the case with Road, as well), but, like my readings of pretty much everything else, I see the themes as being without specificity of creed, denomination or over-arching system of belief. They are human lyrics- that acknowledge the wisdom of the past, the movement toward the future and our ability to work toward change.

There are those who have suggested that the whole thing about ‘Tuesday being dead’ has to do with that old fortune-telling nursery rhyme up there ^^^^^

If Tuesday=Grace, a possible exegesis of the line thus follows that the biblical concept of Grace is that thing that isn’t dead.

I get that interpretation. I don’t agree with it, but I get it. We all make connections that resonate and make sense and create meaning for us. If Xian exegetes want to appropriate the song, it’s all good. My interpretation is far more humanistic (go figure).

The rhyme, recorded as early as 1838, but with traditional versions going back far longer, had a dual- to describe the personalities and help to set the destiny of children born on each particular day of the week. Its later iterations have changed up the characteristics, moving them about in accordance with specificity of interpretation and association.

One version switches up Wednesday and Friday’s characteristics- based in the Xian superstitions regarding bad luck and Fridays (originating with a story about a crucifixion). Being a Wednesday myself, and not especially woe-full, I tend to prefer that one…

Yusuf has said that he’s not entirely sure exactly where he was going (coming from?) having some unknown individual telling ‘tomorrow’ about the death of Tuesday. It’s one of those random lyrics that just fit. Which makes it all the better, as far as I’m concerned.

We don’t always know what we’re talking about. And that’s okay. It’s part of the whole human-thing. We hash it out as best we can- and, in so doing, often come up with the wildly wonderful in the process.

So.

One more time.

Let’s keep trying to turn the world around. In spite of those who attempt to rule- the sky, the earth, the people- based in fear and misinformation and polarizing politics.

I’m not saying anything new here. But allow me to underline his underline, and the underlines of all those who came before him. And continue to echo the mark of his voice- 43 years- and counting- after the fact.

Safe, and peaceful, travels, Cat/Yusuf. Better late than never. Please come back and visit again soon.

Bonus (not-at-all-woeful) Wednesday feel-good tune? THIS one, by my beloved Monkees (written by David Gates- of Bread). It mixes up the days even further- and I’m not sure I like the ‘you’ll live your life apart, now’ as Wednesday’s foretold fortune found here- but hey. It’s all in the interpretation…

… here again

Incredulous.  

One of my favourite words, and certainly something I appreciate in others.  Mainly because its opposite- credulous– just isn’t something I get.

At all.

I’ve talked about it before.  Most recently in recounting my reread of Dr. Sagan‘s The Demon Haunted World.

And one of my all time go-to books of profound influence is all about credulity.

In Umberto Eco’s incredible Foucault’s Pendulum, its narrator, Casaubon, after years of education and experience, opted to become credulous for a time.  As we meet the various nefarious characters- those involved in the conspiracy theories and elaborate tales of the survival of the Templars, the Rosicrucians and immortal characters like the Comte de Saint-Germain, we grow, along with Casaubon, in the realization that credulity is among the most dangerous of human vices.

Casaubon was named after the classical scholar Isaac Casaubon- the ‘most learned man of his time’ (1159-1614), who challenged the ‘common wisdom’ of the day with his research into texts and historical writings- but also referenced his son, Méric Casaubon, the author of (among other things) On Credulity and Incredulity in Things natural, civil and divine (1668).  In that work, as a man of his times, he argued (again, among other things) that witches must exist- since everyone believed in them.

Eco’s Casaubon is a melding of the father and the son- learned, yet willfully credulous.  Why not?  Everyone else seems to be.  He remains one of my favourite literary characters.

I first read this book when I was at something of a crossroads (those crossroads again…).  I had taken a year off from my undergrad while I attempted to figure out just what direction I wanted to be taking with my studies.  I had decided that journalism wasn’t for me, Medieval Studies was too limited in time-frame, English wasn’t interdisciplinary enough… What to do?

I remember sitting in a favourite tiny hole-in-the-wall in Ottawa (the Ozon Cafe on Charlotte at Rideau- LOVED that place- the chef would eventually become one of my dearest friends) and reading about the damage credulity can wreak if allowed to run unchecked, and thinking to myself that I’d reallyreally love to DO something about making sure that we become less credulous and more discriminating- in what we believe and why we believe it.

The ‘Diabolicals’- so named by the three literary co-conspirators Belbo, Diotallevi and Casaubon, with patronizing disdain- created flimsy connections between historical events to support their theories about the occult secrets of the world.  In creating their own conspiracy theory and contriving to have it fall into the hands of the Diabolicals, the creators let credulity overtake their lives and, ultimately, ended up either dead or deluded as a result of their imaginary/constructed Plan.

I can honestly and legitimately say that Umberto Eco- and Foucault’s Pendulum, specifically- was one of the driving forces that landed me in Religious Studies (there were others- Dad was reading all kinds of interesting things about de-institutionalizing religions that gave me some food for thought, and I’ve always been intrigued by our collective stories).  But the terrifying prospect, illustrated in Foucault’s Pendulum, of credulity run amok was too much for me to face.  I had to start learning about how and why people would choose to willingly and blindly follow the prescriptions/proscriptions of cultures that disappeared millennia ago.

Generally speaking, I am predisposed to trust people and the fact that sofreakinmany remain willing to be trapped and stunted by credulity is still- even after so very many years of studying and, at times, participating in experiential communities- inexplicable to me.  Generally speaking.

Of course, credulity isn’t something that it restricted to religion(s) and religious/spiritual belief(s).  The gullible/unwilling to do the research can be found in other spheres.  Ones just as influential and potentially dangerous.

Government conspiracy theorists are high up there on my list of people I really don’t want to engage in ‘conversation’ at the mo’.  I’m not suggesting that we should ever sit by, complacently, and let our leaders run roughshod over our democracy.  Never that.  We have responsibilities as citizens of democratic nations.

The primary duty is to actually get out there and participate in the process- by voting- after examining the issues and the response and proposed solutions in order to choose our best possible leaders.  So you voted and still don’t like the way things are going?  Get more involved- volunteer, start a grass-roots movement, write a blog post…

But believing that our elected governing bodies are ALL working- ceaselessly and with contemptuous greed- to deceive the voting public about everything?  C’mon now.

Communicating and articulating informed perceptions of our realities is the only way out of the quagmire of superstition and credulity in which we seem to be trapped.  Buying the line of chatter offered by a talking head that is likely on the payroll of an institution with a self-serving mandate ain’t gonna cut it, folks.

As humans we see connections between things- that’s one of the many ways in which we attempt to make sense of the inexplicable.  I do that.  A lot.  The back catalogue (such as it is) hereabouts demonstrates that little fact quite clearly.  We create meaning from the bits and pieces of things that surround us.

I get it.  I do.  But I don’t structure my life according to these perceived connections.

Just because a bunch of people (or Fox News) tell me that the POTUS wasn’t born in Hawaii doesn’t mean it’s true.   A few radical racist anti-semites tell us that the Holocaust never happened?  Not according to the historical and human experiential records we have available to us.

Millions of people are willing to accept that a book of stories and social strictures is the divinely dictated word of a deity?  I’m not one of them.  I did that homework, and drew different conclusions- based in evidential research that says something else.

Last weekend (last weekend?  Really?  It’s Friday again already?  Where is the summer going?) I took a road trip to our Nation’s Capital to help celebrate the wedding of one of my dearest friends in the world.  On the long drive, I let the Shuffle Daemon have its head and set the playlist.

This one came up as we drove:

I seem to be living my life in placeholders these days.  There just aren’t enough hours…

Matt Johnson.  I don’t throw the word genius around lightly, but this guy… Brilliance.  Embodied.  He will be revisited at some point.

For now…

Recorded between 1988 and 1989, Mind Bomb is an album heavy on the politics and religion- and the politics of religion.  That ^^^ little ditty is profound and prophetic in so very many ways- and the introduction (Are you ready Jesus?  Buddha?  Mohammad?), with its allusion to The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz (a song about another sort of chaos) is just sososo clever.

 ‘The world is on its elbows and knees, it’s forgotten the message and worships the creeds…’

Yep.  Why?  Because ‘they’ tell us to do so.

Did you catch the news this week?  Have you seen what is blowing up, again, in the ‘Holy Land’?  And the political maneuvering that is happening as a result?

It’s past time to stop listening to ‘them’ in our credulous intellectual laziness.

 Informed rationality.  That’s what it has to be about.

Heavy thoughts for a beautiful Friday evening in my City on the Lake.    Going to shake off the week, and I’m thinking that, perhaps, I’ll let Matt’s reference lead me into my weekend- which will involve the usual chores and catch-up and some reading (and maybe even some writing) that I’ve been meaning to get at…

But for now…

‘My dreams are getting so strange, I’d like to tell you everything I see…’

Happy Friday!

Required Reading

Every once in awhile I find myself missing university teaching.  I miss the students- wide-eyed and eager to learn, and the colleagues with whom I shared common interests and background.  I miss the discussions we had, and the ideas that they would bring to the table that would enhance and develop my own perceptions of our world.

But one of the things I miss most is the opportunity I had- every four months or so- to create a syllabus outlining the assignments and readings for the course.  In doing so, I got to share some of my favourite stories and concepts with my audience- and they actually HAD to read them (at least if they hoped to pass the course, they did).

I miss it partly because I genuinely LOVE sharing the wonderful contributions that have been made in understanding our humanity with my fellow humans, but also because sometimes I reallyreally wish that I could MAKE some people do things I want them to do.  For their own good, of course.  For their good and for the good of us all.

There are some vital things out there to which we all NEED to be exposed.

I’ve spoken before about how much I love the reboot of Cosmos.  Dr. Tyson has done an incredible job of revivifying the message that Dr. Sagan left with us when he passed away almost 20 years ago.  Inspired by the show (there IS good stuff on t.v, now and again), I decided that it was past time for me to revisit Dr. Sagan a little more fully.

With a cottage weekend on the horizon (T-minus 2 days!), I picked up some books to accompany me as I sit on the dock, cocktail in hand, and fully and formally welcome back our Canadian cottage season.

And, because sometimes I’m not-so-good with the waiting, I have to admit that I cracked the books a little prematurely.

One of them is The Demon-Haunted World- Science as a Candle in the Dark, Dr. Sagan’s penultimate work of wonder and genius.  His next-to-last published offering to the world of his eloquent view of the Cosmos and our humanity- and a warning that we haven’t managed to heed.

I read the book for the first time as a student, many years ago, but not as part of my course-dictated required readings.  As a student of the Scientific Study of Religion, I was interested in the interplay between what we have learned, through generations of scientific observation and experimentation in the natural world (both the provable and theoretical outcomes), and the stories of the supernatural that we have created and to which we continue to cling, in spite of lack of evidence and with an extremity of the beggaring of common sense.

The disconnect disturbed me then, as it does now (to an ever-growing degree).  I can no more understand today, even after more than a decade of researching how and why we construct religious beliefs and the institutions that support and further those beliefs, why people choose to remain willfully ignorant and in the thrall of superstition and fairy tales.

I understand that there is collected wisdom to be found in the stories- wisdom that stands the test of time, since it is human in origin.

Re-reading the book, I was struck- seemingly on each and every page- by how prescient Dr. Sagan truly was.  And not in any pseudo-scientific ‘psychic’ way.

On pages 25-26 he wrote (in 1995):

“The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations of pseudo-science and superstition, but especially a celebration of a kind of ignorance… The plain lesson is that study- not just of science, but of anything- are avoidable, even desirable.”

Jebus.

That particular quote- and the one that accompanies his picture up there ^^^^- are shaking me to my very core.

The guy, through his observation of the world that he loved, knew.  He knew, back then, that we are on a slippery slope to our own destruction- one that is being expedited by our stubborn unwillingness to think for ourselves and set aside the beliefs and willful ignorance that keep us yoked to the agendas of those in power- whether the powers are religious or secular.

We believe the fairy tales because doing so is easier than thinking for ourselves.  We have an entire world of wisdom and knowledge and evidential experience to tap into- with new discoveries being made daily- and yet we persist in holding onto Bronze-Age ideas regarding the structure of the world/universe in which we live.

Re-reading his words left me intellectually and emotionally exhausted with the inspiration they still provide.  But it also left me mad as Hell (there’s that word again).

As his synopsis of his life-long love affair with science and the natural world unfolds, he speaks about the need to continually educate ourselves and question and test our conclusions- the way scientists do as they seek to explain and understand our universe.  The continuous testing of hypotheses to shape an approach to the truth is required methodology in the sciences.

In religion?  Not so much (pages 34-35).

“Which leaders of the major faiths acknowledge that their beliefs might be incomplete or erroneous and establish institutes to uncover possible doctrinal deficiencies?  Beyond the test of everyday living, who is systematically testing the circumstances in which traditional religious teachings may not longer apply?  (It is certainly conceivable that doctrines and ethics that might have worked fairly well in patriarchal or patristic or medieval times might be thoroughly invalid in the very different world we inhabit today)… Scripture is said to be divinely inspired- a phrase with many meanings.  But what is it’s simply made up by fallible humans?  Miracles are attested, but what they’re instead some mix of charlantanry, unfamiliar states of consciousness, misapprehensions of natural phenomena, and mental illness?  No contemporary religion and no New Age belief seem to me to take sufficient account of the grandeur, magnificence, subtlety and intricacy of the Universe revealed by science.  The fact that so little of the findings of modern science is prefigured in Scripture to my mind casts further doubt on its divine inspiration.

But of course I might be wrong.”

That last line is so Sagan.  Always the scientist.  Always the awareness that his hypothesis might not prove accurate and therefore have to be consigned to the dust-heap of failed attempts at understanding.

The last chapter of the book resonates these days in ways that would be spooky- if he wasn’t who he was, and if I was inclined to believe in things that are ‘spooky’.  In ‘Real Patriots Ask Questions’ he outlines why it is our responsibility, as participants in democracy, to keep ourselves informed about the world in general and the actions of our elected leaders in particular.

Since our federal government, just today, made public their intention to proceed with a staggeringly ill-conceived decision that flies in the face of majority (and scientific) opinion and is demonstrative of their typical arrogance and self-preserving agenda, that chapter hit home pretty freakin hard.

Again with the wisdom (page 434):

“If we can’t think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authority, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in power.  But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.  In every country we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights.  With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit.  In the demon-haunted world we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

I powered through the book.  The impact of his observations and the articulation of our current issues in a work written almost 20 years ago left me feeling like I needed to finish it quickly.  Impending danger and dark foreboding, folks.  He started warning us about it decades ago.  And not only did we not listen, we are rushing headlong- willingly blind- into the idiocy that will bring about our destruction.

This weekend, on the dock, I will savour it again- more slowly this time- to appreciate the fullness of his thoughts and the beauty and power of his words.  It will be my required (re-)reading- in amongst the literary creativity of a couple of my favourite authors of fiction.

The finale of Cosmos, a couple of weeks ago, started with Dr. Tyson ‘in’ the Library of Alexandria.  My dream palace.  Seriously.  Of all the great human constructs that have been needlessly destroyed, THAT one hurts me most of all.

It was, as Neil noted, the storehouse of the wisdom of the Classical period.  The math, the science, the philosophy, the theology.  Our stories and our discoveries about the world we live in and the universe around us.

At that time such wisdom was available only to the elite, and so, when the mob came to destroy the Library and its wonders, there weren’t many to stand against the hoard.

Intelligence and critical thinking and rationality and engagement with the realities of our world are characteristics and attributes that are actively being discouraged in our popular media and by our leaders- those in the business world, in the arena of religious belief, and those we elect to political power.  We celebrate the pedestrian, the ‘common’, the ‘creators’ of amusing 140-character soundbites.  Credulity is not only acceptable, it’s laudable.

In 1996, Carl Sagan offered another example of his great and awesome voice crying out against the wilderness of ignorance and complete lack of healthy and needful skepticism.  He shouted, but not enough of us seemed to hear.

If we don’t start hitting the books and completing our assigned readings, we students of the world are going to fail this class.  Bigtime.  And that failure will lead us, inexorably, “back into superstition and darkness.”

And when that happens, who among us will stand against the mob?

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon, and if there is no room upon the hill

And if your head explodes with dark forebodings, too, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

Brain damage, indeed.

PS- For a few days, come Friday morning, I will be shutting down the connectivity to all things technological in favour of my lakeside dock and the company of good friends.  Have a fantastic weekend, WPPeeps.  And if you’re looking for something to read… Just a suggestion.  A strong and pleading suggestion, but just a suggestion nonetheless. 

Circular Motion

A few millennia ago, back when I was a first year undergrad at university, one of my housemates (he remains one of my very best peeps) and I shared a tradition on Saturday nights.  Before we headed out for whatever fun and trouble that might find us, we started things off- just the two of us, generally- with a little time spent with a beer or two and some of our favourite music.

We called it Celtic Hour.

Okay- it wasn’t actually a tradition originating in Antiquity.  But I have been feeling the weight of the years a little of late, so thinking back on old times involves more taxing of the brain than once was the case.  First year uni seems like a longlonglong time ago.

The ‘all grown up’ tasks at hand seem to be multiplying exponentially and that To-Do list is stubbornly refusing to get any shorter.  New stuff keeps adding itself to the bottom before the top-most items have come close to being completed.  I’m sure that there’s some sort of reasonable explanation for this, but I have really started to feel like it’s a function of the perversity of the universe right about now.

Add to that the fact that the temperatures refuse to rise and the sun is playing shy… there’s been a real dearth of energy in my general vicinity.

It’s hard, even with best intentions, to stay motivated when loose ends that need tying apparently multiply by the hour.

Anyhoo…

Celtic Hour.

Fletcher and I would pop on some tunes by those Scottish and Irish troubadours we so love, and have a wee sing-along.  Although the songs varied week-to-week, the one that kicked it off always remained the same.

As the first notes of the traditional folk song- She Moved Through the Fair– led into Jim’s beloved voice, we would take our seats and raise our glasses to the week past and the one ahead.  The lyric’s of Belfast Child evoke a terrible period in Ireland’s long history, while still offering up hope for return and rebuilding (and the flip-side of the single was Mandela Day– another great song that has seen a resurgence in the past while.  Talk about an incredible double bill.  How freakin great are Simple Minds?!).

Sure the arrest (and subsequent release) of Gerry Adams last week brings up its own share of unpleasant reminders and debates that continue to rage in certain circles (I’m not touching any of that, so don’t even go there please), but the real reason I was casting my mind back to the song- and its Celtic Hour memories- is because there’s this one line

‘Life goes on…’

It won’t stop popping into my head.

Seriously.

Jim seems to be permanently in situ dans my tête (how’s that for a random mixing of languages?  And please forgive the unintended allusion to a Céline tune.  Snuck in there, it did.).

Generally, at least as it’s heard in my skull, the repetition offers both reassurance and admonition.  Although the critical reproof has been on the ascendent as the myriad tasks aren’t completed as quickly as I’d like.  I’ve been very focused on them- but said focus has also had something of an overall debilitating effect as well.

I’m not sure I’ve been coping all that well, to be honest.  I’ve been putting up a pretty good front, but despite some overwhelmingly positive things happening in my life I’m still reeling and trying to find my footing in the Dad-less world.

Meaning has been a little bit harder to find, and exhaustion- mental and physical- is almost ever-present.

Then… on Sunday while sorting through things at Dad’s, amongst some other extremely cool things we had never seen before (like a circa 1895 stereoscope with lots of neato pictures- who knows where THAT came from), I found some of Dad’s business envelopes- from wayway back when he worked downtown, before the company headquarters moved outside of the city’s core.

I remember visiting Dad at work as a small child- on days off from school and such- and I knew that his building was in the same general vicinity in which I am spending my 9-5 hours these days.

But the address on the envelopes?  The VERY building.  Where I work now.

Yep.

Same building.

Do you have any idea how many office towers there are in this town?  I don’t.  Not exactly.  But there are a lot.

I’ve written before about synchronicity and connections.  I believe in these things as manifestations of the reality that we all go together– as human beings who share a planet and biological origin.

But that kind of blew me away.

I have to admit, odd moments of grief aside, that I’ve been riding something of a pretty substantial high at my new employment gig.  I honestly love going there in the morning.  As I’ve been getting to know the people I work with, I grow ever more impressed with their commitment and professionalism and sense of community- and fun.  This is a group of people- and a company- that is affecting positive change every single day.  I’m loving it.  Did I mention that?

It’s a place that Dad, with his incredible and developed sense of social justice and drive for equality and equity of opportunity, would have felt at home.  Turns out he would have been right comfortable in the building itself.  Seeing as he spent a whole lot of time there 30+ years ago.

Since Sunday, I’ve been feeling him close to me more than ever.  I have one of the envelopes on my work desk, now- as a kind of tangible manifestation of that feeling.

It’s like something has circled round again.  Two of us in the same place- if removed by a couple of decades.

There’s this other song…

(Speaking of Scottish music/musicians)…

You know I love Donovan.

Not only is the song about happiness- and how it runs in a circular motion– it is a round.  A form of music featuring at least two voices singing the same melody but beginning at different times- and fitting together in harmony.

Brilliant.

Since the sun actually deigned to make an appearance today, I took a long stroll home, through the park, after work, thinking about the counterpoints- those independent yet harmonious lines- that make up our lives.

There were people out and about- riding bikes and skateboards, walking dogs and children- enjoying the sunshine.  I saw a woman stretched on the grass on her stomach feeding a pigeon Sun Chips from her hand.  A young man sat on a picnic table playing his guitar.

I thought about my new place of employment and the opportunities it affords- which now include a connection to Dad- and the fact that one of my other housemates from first year uni works in the building across the street.  We’ve had a couple of quick lunchtime encounters to try to catch up on more years than I care to count, and there will be a better opportunity on a patio sometime soon.

When I got home and checked email there was a message from that wonderful Being who spoke so beautifully at Dad’s memorial.

I woke up this morning and was very much aware of your presence. So…. this is me following up. I trust that you are OK and that all is well with your new job. I also trust and hope that you are finding your way thru this grief process.”

I’ve been feeling Dad’s presence all week.  It seems that someone was also feeling mine.  Someone who has recently circled back into my life.

Life goes on.

In a circular motion.

And it can be pretty damn beautiful.

P.S- There’s one more song that kept running through my head as I finished this post:

The great Harry Chapin.  It’s a song from my camp days, and it’s the tune that is ending my evening.

“It seems like I’ve been here before, I can’t remember when
But I got this funny feelin’ that I’ll be back once again
There’s no straight lines make up my life and all my roads have bends
There’s no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead-ends…”

Sleep well, WordPressWorld.

Happy Earth Day, Mr. Prime Minister.

It has been my intent, of late, to be a kinder, gentler person.  I’m sort of feeling like I don’t have a choice.  All the edges around me seem a little jagged and jarring.  I’m more than a little hair-trigger and hyper-sensitive right now.

None of this is terribly surprising.  I still feel, pretty much every morning, as though I’m going to check my email (as one does) and find something in the inbox from Dad.  There won’t be, of course.  But the way in which I react to the world has a lot to do with the way in which he reacted to the world.

I have to wonder what he would be thinking about this latest move.

Dad spent much of his adult life involved in the oil industry- in one capacity or other.  This background brought dimensions and perspectives to our discussions of fossil fuels, sustainability and environmental concerns that I might not otherwise have entertained.

We rely on them ol’ bones- but this isn’t even really about whether or not we need to be doing more to foster the development of alternate sources of energy.  Take it as a given that we do.  Have to.  That the reality is that fossil fuels are limited in supply and increasingly hard to access- whether for reasons of scarcity or political lines on a map.

Dad isn’t here to temper my response.  And, to be honest, I’m not really convinced that he would have done.

Harper’s government went and did this.

And, as a result, he’s done it again.  Made me so freakin mad that all my good intentions about not commenting on the particular idiocies of particular political leaders has flown right out the window.

In an uncannily timed piece of true, poetic beauty that can only have come from the leader of Harper’s Canada, today, Earth Day, the government announced that they will be removing humpback whales from the protection of endangered species legislation.

“The government sent out 312 consultation letters and got 22 responses back.

Only five were in favour of the new designation — a total made up of two unidentified B.C. government ministries, one tourism organization, one environmental non-government organization, and one “unknown source.”

Of the other 17, six environmental groups, three academics, two tourism industry organizations, one First Nations organization and a single “unknown source” were opposed. Another four — two academics, one First Nations, and another “unknown” — were undecided. In several instances, the undecided said insufficient information was available.’

Why?

‘The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.’

It seems that Harper and his bought-and-paid-for science folks missed the Star Trek Movie Marathon that was on cable this weekend.  Especially #4- The Voyage Home.  You know, the one where the crew have to journey back to 1984 to collect a couple of humpbacks in order to save humanity from its short-sighted drive for economic superiority and conspicuous consumption?

Jebus.  The irony.

He also seems to have missed this week’s installment of my new fave show, Cosmos, which happened to be largely about the ways in which corporations and/or governments deliberately mislead the public regarding scientifically demonstrable facts that impact the environment.

Here in the WordPress World, Donna Parker, over at yadadarcyyada.com, has some great insights about Earth Day- including this extremely distressing little nugget of info:

‘There are places in the world, including Alberta (Home of the OilSands), etc. where some people, including members of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Coalition, celebrate the opposite of Earth Hour, Earth Day, Green Week. For example, during Earth Hour some Albertans actually run all their appliances, vehicles, etc. to burn as much energy and fuel as possible. Some do the same for Earth Day. Seriously. I know I live in the same country as them, but I really think we exist on different planes of dimension, at least, I hope so.’

Wha?

On top of that, Bill Moyers’ morning reads included links to stories about things like the majority of Americans not ‘buying’ the Big Bang, the fact that FOUR YEARS LATER the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is as much as disaster as when it happened, and the largely ignored fact that concern for the environment and economic prosperity are NOT, actually, mutually exclusive.

The day before yesterday I started a post- that I intended to finish and publish tonight- about Hell.  As a place.  As the place of residence of our Devilish Friend.  A place I don’t believe exists (since I don’t believe in the Devil Dude).

But.

All this (imagine me waving my arms in the air in crazy despair and desperation)... I don’t even know what to call it… willful delusion and determined deceit makes discussions of imaginary lands devoted to the eternal punishment of wrongdoers seem at once inadequate and renders it a place I kinda wish DID exist.  In certain, very specific cases.  For certain, very specific people.

Today, all I can say is WHAT.  THE.  HELL?

Seriously.  WHAT is going on?!

‘Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs:
“What’s going on?”

Unlike the Grunge-y and complacently defeatist angst of the Non Blonde response to the question, we are long past the point where we can ‘pray every single day for a revolution.’

Prayers ain’t gonna cut it, folks.

‘And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages
on the depths of the seven seas,
and through the salt they reel with drunk delight
and in the tropics tremble they with love
and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.
Then the great bull lies up against his bride
in the blue deep of the sea’

Weep not, whales.  There is a sea change in the air.  It’s moving slowly, but the voices are getting inexorably louder.  The desperation of those who seek to further- increasingly illicitly- the financial stability of the few to the exclusion of the many while exploiting both the environment and the inaction of those who remain ignorant (willfully or otherwise) of the danger in which they place us all, is reaching fever pitch as more and more nonsensical initiatives receive their due vilification in a growing number of public forums.

Let this be one of them.

and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf

The Devil’s Music

I have such a love/exasperated (can’t say ‘hate’- I ‘d never hate them) relationship with U2.  They have made some of my favourite music.  Seriously.  So many of their songs figure prominently in the continually developing soundtrack that is my life.  But man, some of the stuff that comes out of Bono’s mouth these days…

The other day Pete Yorn- a fabulous singer-songwriter who I follow on the Facebook (seriously, check him out.  Great stuff)- was asking people to name their fave U2 song.  It got me thinking.  There are a whole lot of great ones to choose from.  As I say, they are a formative/foundational band in the development of my youthful love of music.

This one is near the top:

‘Don’t believe the Devil, I don’t believe his book’

Sure, the song is (at least partly) about the unauthorized biography/biographer of John Lennon, but the imagery of the devil and ‘his’ book is just tootoo apt, in my humble opinion.  The creators/recorders/redactors of the mythology, theodicy, rules and rituals of diverse and often-disparate biblical literature assigned a whole load of culpability to one figure- and those minions who chose to follow him in rebellion.

‘But the truth is not the same without the lies he made up.’

We use the devil to illustrate the opposite of what is ‘right’ and proper.  Without him- and the many ‘wrongs’ he manages to consistently and continually tempt us to execute- we have a great deal of difficulty determining proper course.

It isn’t enough that we have long lists of things we are supposed to be doing- whether those things are mandated by religious command or communal laws and consensus- we are, apparently, so easily influenced that we require constant and ever-changing (these things are culturally relative, after all) examples of ways not to behave.

These bad things are fluid to a ridiculous degree.  Unlike the larger prohibitions that are written into our legal systems- the big stuff like murder, theft, property damage (although even these things can be ‘condoned’ in specific- generally politicized- circumstances)- elements of our morality are subject to change according to the times and the ideology that holds the most power at any given time.

These actions are most often associated with that Devil Dude.  If a particular group of people decides that, say, a type of music is the result of the persuasive intervention of an external entity messing with the ‘proper’ order of things, and if that group has money and power and the means to communicate this message of ‘evil’ to a community of followers… the Devil receives all credit for culpability of origin.  The behaviour comes to be associated with him- and as something that is directly in opposition to his ‘good’ counterpart.

And if that type of music can also be associated with a marginalized group of people, then those people are also lumped in with the horned one and his disruption of all things good and ‘godly’.  As mores and tastes change and evolve, the music might eventually come to be regarded as ‘mainstream’- and acceptable to those who hold true to ‘strong values’- yet the stigma of association with the Big Baddy remains.

Labeling something as ‘evil’ or ‘against god’ gives its negative association an unreasonably long shelf life.  Those things that his detractors claim belong to the Devil are incredibly tenacious in their resonance across time and generations.

U2’s God Part 2 is an appreciative echo of John Lennon’s God.  In it, John deconstructed a whole passel of beliefs and constructs that he saw no need to hold onto as he remade himself as ‘John’- no longer the Dreamweaver, or the Walrus, or 1/4 of the Beatles.  Just John.  With Yoko.  Believing in the two of them- but not in the idols (religious and secular) he listed after declaring that ‘god is a concept by which we measure our pain’.

‘I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I Ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in Tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in Yoga
I don’t believe in Kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles

The song marked his new beginning as he let go of the trappings of the past to move in a new direction- one that would eventually lead to Imagine– and its beautiful vision of a world without religion, heaven or hell.  A world focused on this life- that we spend here together on this big ol’ rock in that we call ‘Earth’ for the duration of our lifetimes.  The song remains timeless in its simple beauty- both for its music and its message.

That guy knew.

(Short aside here- again with the links and connections that I keep harping on… As I write I have Forrest Gump on in the background- 20th anniversary of that movie.  How did THAT happen?  Where has the time gone?- and it’s just at the scene where Forrest is on Dick Cavett’s show with John- ‘inspiring’ him to write Imagine.  Weird).

And then there’s this:

‘I believe we’re not alone
I believe in Beatles
I believe my little soul has grown
And I’m still so afraid…

What made my life so wonderful?
What made me feel so bad?
I used to wake up the ocean
I used to walk on clouds
If I put faith in medication
If I can smile a crooked smile
If I can talk on television
If I can walk an empty mile
Then I won’t feel afraid
No, I won’t feel afraid
I won’t be Be afraid
Anymore’

Bowie recorded that song for his 2002 album, Heathens.  Since much of it was written and produced after the attacks of September 11, 2001, most of the album illustrates the pervasive anxiety felt across the country and around the world in the immediacy of the aftermath of the terror.

He has said that the album in its entirety is one of deep questioning- hence its title and the subject matter of many of its songs.  He stated in interviews that it was reflective of our collective trauma but that he wasn’t seeking to resolve the trauma.

Great songwriters do that- as they play the Devil’s Music.  They reflect and comment upon our experiences and sometimes even posit new directions that might make a difference to our overarching existence as human beings.

Gods and devils are both concepts which we use to measure our pain.  As metaphorical markers they have value.  Our earliest attempts to understand our world use story and metaphor.  We learn- and teach- using universal concepts that resonate with us because of their apparent immutability and simplicity.

‘Good’ is better than ‘Evil’.

Pretty easy, right?

Too bad the simplicity is always complicated by greed and politics and power plays.  This inevitability is part and parcel of our human nature.

So.  If John Lennon, David Bowie and U2- and all those who came before and after them- are playing the Devil’s Music there’s even more reason to appreciate the Horned One, if you ask me.  He obviously wields some mighty influence leading to incredible songs that are also expressions of our human nature.

Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.  Unfortunately just what fits into which designation isn’t always all that easy to discern.

Musicians contribute their voices to the battle for the maintenance of the goodness and rightness of our humanity, often speaking out against governmental and other power-based inequities and wrong-doing.

I’ve said it before.  I’ll likely say it again.

Music.  And Science.  Both associated with the Devil.  Both often running counter to the accepted traditions/norms that fight change in favour of clinging to obsolete ways of viewing our world.

I think there are patterns forming hereabouts…

 

Contrary (to popular belief)

Yes. Another reblog. As I eagerly follow along with Cosmos- and reflect on the opposition to science and rational discovery and discourse that seems to be EVERYWHERE lately (politics, religion, anti-vaccers… to name but a bare few examples), it pains me to note that the equation of ‘evil’ and ‘science’ that we have inherited through the dispensation of our mythological traditions YET persists and is rearing its ugly head in extreme ways lately.

As I think on the origins of the personification(s) of evil that we have created- and the fact that too many among us still employ ‘the devil’ as a means of laying blame without assuming any communal/social culpability- I’m feeling a little ‘contrary’ today. It can be exhausting- standing in constant opposition to the views of the vocal power-players and/or just-plain-ignorant (who seem to be granted an INORDINATE amount of media exposure) and in defence of advancement rather than the obscene need to hold on to obsolete metaphorical constructs. But this necessity is something in which I believe. Strongly.

So, call me contrary. I’m okay with that. And I’m okay with reiterating and reinforcing my belief that we need to take a hard look at how we are being manipulated by our myths- and those who are using/misusing them.

colemining

Ever have one of those days?

It seems as though EVERYone I encountered today has been all about the argument.  (Interestingly this phenomenon of contrariness is confined to the real world.  The interworld has been a kinder, gentler place today- LOVING my interworld peeps extra-specially hard today).

If I say ‘up’ it is, in all actuality, ‘down’- or so I’ve been told.  Black?  Nope.  Gotta be white.  Happy becomes miserable.  The good is really the bad.

So let’s go with that last one shall we?  If I’m to be contrary, let’s go all out.

In my continuing defence of all things Devil-ish, let’s flip that dichotomy on its head and view that contrary-ist of all contrary creatures from a slightly different mythological perspective.

If you’ve seen television shows set in NYC or holiday photos on Instagram, chances are you’re familiar with this sculpture that graces Rockefeller Centre:

Paul Manship’s gilded…

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The Task(s) at Hand

Where to begin….

I’d like to think that little problem is the source of my current inability to articulate the myriad thoughts rushing ’round this brain o’ mine, but, really, the opposite is true.  I know where to begin.  It’s the continuing and, especially, the completing that have me pulling out my hair from the roots (figuratively speaking, of course) over the past while.

I am constantly drawing inspiration from so very many places around me.  People are blowing me away with how amazing they are, of late.  Truly.

While it remains, in some quarters, hard to look at people as a whole and find much that can be called positive to say about them (looking at you all you folks who persist in making ‘Mayor’ McCheese into a media phenomenon- to the extent that he remains convinced that this ‘celebrity’ means he will be re-elected, come October), I am glimpsing significant examples of people who have heard the voices we’ve been talking about ’round here for the past little bit and are translating that exposure into momentum towards better things.

All kinds of better things.

I reblogged Anne-Marie’s fantastic post this morning (and not only because she described me so glowingly in her own, lyrical fashion) as, once again, she clearly and cleverly articulated so many of the issues that are being played out all over the world.

I reblogged my post about the separatist PQ minority government and the craziness that they were proposing- a mandate that was all about exclusion and divisiveness- because that government was spectacularly defeated by rational voices/voters in la belle province who know that we need to be working together and creating discussion (NOT debate) in order to continue our slow crawl out of the mire of economic woes that are the legacy of government(s) that persist in looking out for their backers/pundits/lobbies- to the exclusion and detriment of the rest of us- in order to keep hold of their power.

Then there’s that thing where you’re thinking about a thing a lot and as a result that thing seems to be showing up everywhere.  I happened upon this article last week and linked it to a draft post that I tentatively titled The Humanity of the Humanities as a sort of follow-up to the post about The Humanity of Humanism that I wrote a couple of weeks back.

And then a friend of mine- while praising Cosmos, that wonder of a show hosted by that wonder of an educator, Neil deGrasse Tyson- asked in all seriousness ‘who will be the Tyson of the Humanities’?  Her point?  That all this discussion of the power and beauty of the sciences- and the brilliant fact that educational programming has been granted airtime in a prime time slot (following some very popular shows) on a major network (okay, it’s Fox, but still…)- is a thing of wonder to behold.

But…

The humanities are past due for a similar treatment- moderated by a comparable superstar who can appeal to both the academic and lay viewers out there in Televisionland.  Stephen Fry, as I mentioned in that post about humanism, is an excellent candidate- and he is contributing incredible examinations of facets of humanities educations.  James Burke, as I mentioned ages ago, set us an interesting template for programming that combined the scientific and humanistic wisdom of the ages- to some degree.

We need a SUPERSTAR.  One who can hold our diminished attention spans in the palm of his or her hand while recounting all the amazing things we have thought, created, and recreated over the millennia.  Must have lots of charisma, a sense of humour and the ability to see the bigger picture (i.e. not hold fast to any particular way of viewing the world).  Suggestions for candidates are welcome.

The fact that the question was asked- in a public forum- demonstrates that there is cause for optimism that the humanities just might be getting some props.  After far too much disrespect (mainly doled out by those who haven’t the faintest understanding of what a humanities/liberal arts education entails), some people seem to be acknowledging that too much targeted focus in one specific area/ability/interest isn’t necessarily a good thing.

For community.  For understanding.  For positive progressiveness.

Singular focus- particularly when it benefits an unsustainable economic bottom line- is counter-productive.  And counter-intuitive for most of us.

We need the humanities.

Somewhere, in passing (I couldn’t find the link, despite a fair bit of searching.  I’ve been catching up on my reading and looked at any number of essays/blogs/articles in the past few days and I honestly just can’t remember where I saw this bit of wisdom), I read a quote from a blog post by Elizabeth Bear, a writer of speculative fiction.  In discussing the fact that she often creates characters who have a disability of some kind, she stated that we need characters in whom we can see some element of ourselves.  Because ‘story is the way we parse the world’.

I love that.

Language and story.  Exploration of culture(s).  History and philosophy.  Religion and theology.  Ideas and their realized expression as art, as literature, as architecture, as poetry, as music.

I have a whole lot of of items to tick off my oh-so-very long To-Do List.  Thank you cards to finish and mail (can’t remember the last time I sent a letter in the actual mail), administrative stuff and the ongoing sorting through of ephemera and memories as we settle Dad’s affairs, keeping on top of the learning curve in this great new job of mine, checking in with friends and family in order to chill out and have some fun now and again…

It’s a busy time.  It’s an exciting time.

Spring is (FINALLY) in the air.  And with the clearing away of the last of Winter’s detritus the new season promises the continuation of positive movement that I’ve been seeing all over the place (WordPress universe, InterWorld in general and the virtual reality that is Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

ELO.  Electric Light Orchestra.  One of the other posts I started and then left in the drafts file for way too long was about The Traveling Wilburys- that SuperGroup of SuperGroups and the fantastic combination of seemingly disparate voices it contained.  That post may still see the light of day- they were too wonderful not to talk about.

For now though, one of them will suffice.  Jeff Lynne wrote Mr. Blue Sky while locked in self-imposed exile in order to produce a follow-up to the epic A New World Record.  After weeks of lousy, dark weather, the sun came out, bringing inspiration and the beginnings of Out of the Blue– one of the band’s most commercially successful albums.

Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped rainin’ ev’rybody’s in a play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day hey,hey

Runnin’ down the avenue
See how the sun shines brightly in the city
On the streets where once was pity
Mister blue sky is living here today hey, hey

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race
A celebration, mister blue sky’s up there waitin’
And today is the day we’ve waited for

Hey there mister blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev’rybody smiles at you

Some light (Electric and otherwise), some optimism and some hope for more blue skies ahead.  Not a bad start to the week.

PS- I wasn’t toying with you- the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ series will continue.  It’s a situation of thought-overload with that there topic.  Too much to say, too little time right now.  But he’ll be back- looking for a little sympathy…

Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça?!?!

Many MANY congratulations to the people of Quebec for using their voices and their votes to ensure that this nonsense that I wrote about a while back will not come to pass. Hope. It seems to be in the air today.

colemining

So yesterday I wrote a little rumination about what happens when bureaucracy- spurred by reactionary ‘necessity’ to quell a whole load of bad press- gets a little ridiculous in the ‘whole shebang’ application of rules and regs.

I was talking about music- which is important to me, personally, and which is also a representation of this country and the freedoms and culture that we are able to access.  Keeping the doors open for new local and international music is a good thing.  It keeps Canada looking shiny and welcoming and full of creative outlets on the map of the world.

Today I feel a little silly for speaking out about a surcharge for touring bands.

Why?  It goes back to that matter of proportion I mentioned.

Today’s idiocy is crazy big in comparison.

There’s been a lot of buzz around what that kooky PQ Premier Pauline Marois was going…

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Pots and Kettles

‘Kay- I’m more than a little swamped at the mo’- between the thank you cards and starting the new job and all. But I’ve been looking back over some of my earlier (earliest) posts (dating from before I realized that all posts should have a musical interlude or two) that had to do with this whole conceptualization/personification of evil as an external force.

This one was one of the things that had me hitting the books anew- searching for origins of this propensity we have to blame all the bad stuff on ‘something’ outside of ourselves. So, since time is at something of a premium for me right now, here’s a bit of a revisit of the subject of the tension between the idea of a ‘god of goodness’ and the way in which the character(s) is/are actually described in the stories.

People are as good- or as bad- as we grow them to be.  We need to be addressing that rather than looking for outside sources to blame.

colemining

“Evil, they said, was brought into the world by the rebel angels.  Oh really?  God sees and foresees all, and he didn’t know the rebel angels were going to rebel?  Why did he create them if he knew they were going to rebel?  That’s like somebody making car tires that he knows will blow out after two kilometers.  He’d be a prick.  But no, he went ahead and created them, and afterward he was happy as a clam, look how clever I am, I can even make angels… Then he waited for them to rebel (no doubt drooling in anticipation of their first false step) and then hurled them down into hell.  If that’s the case he’s a monster.”

Umberto Eco- The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (pg. 349)

No one writes like Umberto Eco.  His language- even as translated from Italian- is beautiful beyond belief.  He seems to see…

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