Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cold Comfort

A wet blanket
clings with clammy fingers
cold and creeping
on naked skin,
kicking only causes
these wet claws to cleave closer
Call out, but the cold cover
collects your cries
in its callous clutch
Curl up, but the carpet's
condensation clamps uncomfortably
close, crawling slowly across the skin
Arctic cool scratches your insides
like collapsing crisp ice crumbling into
glacial cracks, cravenly piercing past skin
and flesh into your collapsing core.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Music Challenge (via Pete via Jake)

1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn't make sense.


How are you feeling today?

How do your friends see you?
Living In Love

Will you get married?
Wish You Were Here

What is your best friend's theme song?
Lion of Judah

What is the story of your life?
Oppression/ Get Up Stand Up

What was high school like?
Junior Gong the Dreadful

How can you get ahead in life?

What is the best thing about your friends?
One More Cup of Coffee

What is tonight going to be like?
Pressure Drop

What is in store for the remainder of this weekend?
All Shall Be Well

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Song of the Week: Redemption Song - Performed by Ziggy Marley and the Chieftains

I really enjoy this version of the classic Bob Marley tune performed by his oldest son and the Irish group, the Chieftains. I think that the Irish can relate to this song more than most Europeans.

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
sold I to the merchant ships,
minutes after they took I
from the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
by the hand of the Almighty
we forward in this generation,
Won't you help to sing
these songs of freedom?
'cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
none but ourselves can free our minds.
have no fear for atomic energy,
'cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
while we stand aside and look? ooh!
Some say its just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you help to sing
these songs of freedom?
'cause all I ever have:
redemption songs;
redemption songs;
redemption songs.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
none but ourselves can free our minds.
Wo! have no fear for atomic energy,
'cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
while we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say its just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you help to sing
these songs of freedom?
'cause all I ever had:
redemption songs -
All I ever had:
redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
songs of freedom.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Phil asked me yesterday how it felt to be part of another nation. I think this is a good question. I live in Québec and I love Québec, but I'm not Québecois. Does this nation encompass the geographical area known as Québec or does it only refer to those who are both geographically and culturally Québecois?

Well, at least I'm in a nation that is part of a united Canada. Of course, I don't think my entire nation agrees with me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Few of the Interesting Spammer Names I Have Received Mail from Recently:

Napoleon S. Pathologies
Otwell Delbert
Mindy Slaughter
Hamish Kong
Victoria Rant
Mammon G. Trailblazer
Bakeries F. Gary
Dutch V. Fluctuation
Xerographic V. Amortizing
Conciliator C. Timely
Aldermen G. Pledge
Glades S. Kayaking
Lesson R. Paraded
Cootie A. Tia
Hermosillo S. Tummy
Towheaded E. Homewards
Encyclopedias M. Seismologist

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Song of the Week: Pachelbel's Canon played on the electric guitar by funtwo.

Perhaps you have seen this already, but if you haven't I think you can agree that it's absolutely amazing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I walked into the living room where she was watching television. Standing before her, I thrust my chest out and grinned in clownish exaggeration.

She looked at me and quipped, "I've decided that I won't be having children with you."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Song of the Week: Untold Stories - Buju Banton

"Untold Stories", from Buju Banton's great album 'Til Shiloh, has been compared to Bob Marley's beautiful Redemption Song. Bizarrely enough, Sinead O'Connor recorded a cover of "Untold Stories." Her song lacks the raw powerful vocals of the original, but it's an interesting tribute nonetheless. Forget Shaggy or Sean Paul's pop albums, Banton's 'Til Shiloh is the greatest dancehall album of all time. In fact, in 1999 'Til Shiloh was selected by Rolling Stone as one of the top 100 best albums of the decade. Banton's gravelly voice gives this song, about the struggle of the poor, a soulful raw quality that always strikes a chord with me. As surely as Dylan's voice was "a voice that came from you and me" (Don Mclean, American Pie), Banton's voice speaks for many of the developing world's struggling poor.


While I'm living
Thanks I'll be giving
To the Most High, you know

I am living while I'm living to the father I will pray
Only him know how we get through every day
With all the hike in the price, arm and leg we haffi (have to) pay while our leaders play
All I see is people a -rip and a-rob and a - grab (ripping and robbing and grabbing)

Thief never love to see a thief with a long bag, (thieves never like to see thieves with more than them)
No love for the people who ah suffah real bad (the people who are suffering badly)
Another toll to the poor, may God help my soul
What is to stop the youths from get out of control?
Filled up with educations, yet no on no payroll (yet not on any payroll)
The clothes on mi back have countless eye-holes

Chorus x2

I say who can afford to run will run (leave Jamaica)
But what about those who can't... they will have to stay
Opportunity a scarce, scarce, commodity
In these times I say... when mama spend her last to send you to class...
Never you ever play (when mama spends her last bit of money to send you to class, you don't ever play)
It's a competitive world for low budget people
Spending a dime while earning a nickel
With no regard for who it may tickle
My cup is full to the brim

Could go on and on the full has never been told
Through this life keep getting me down
Don't give up now
Got survive someway some how

Saturday, November 11, 2006

White Poppies?

In 1933, the Women's Cooperative Guild began producing white poppies as a symbol of peace and the end of all wars. The Peace Pledge Union took up the white poppy in 1934 and continue to produce it as an alternative to the red poppy. The Peace Pledge Union began after the canon of St. Paul's cathedral asked people to send postcards promising never to support war. This dubious promise was taken up by a large number of Britons and their membership soon swelled. According to the White Poppy for Peace website (run by the PPU, the white poppy stands for a pacifist solution to war:
The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers. Our work, primarily educational, draws attention to many of our social values and habits which make continuing violence a likely outcome.
From economic reliance on arm sales (Britain is the world second largest arms exporter) to maintaining manifestly useless nuclear weapons Britain contributes significantly to international instability. The outcome of the recent military adventures highlights their ineffectiveness in today's complex world.
Now 85 years after the end of the ‘war to end all war’ we still have a long way to go to put an end to a social institution which in the last decade alone killed over 10 million children.
The large difference between the red poppy and the white poppy is that the white poppy is meant not only to remember all the victims of war, but also to support pacifism. Of course, the implication is that wearers of the red poppy would rather see the continuance of war (and support arms sales, nuclear weapons, and the killing of 10 million innocent children.) Wearers of the white poppy, besides their distasteful disrespect of veterans, have too much faith in humanity. I would never pledge to reject war, and not because I love war. On the contrary, like most people, I find war abhorrent. Still, I recognize that there are always going to be genocidaires, Hitlers, Pol Pots, militarism, greed, and ideological clashes. Thus, there will always be a need to protect and defend the defenceless. This is what the red poppy stands for, not only for remembering the dead, but also for carrying on their fight for justice. The red poppy should not be a political symbol that asks us to support wars whether our government is wrong or right. No, it should be a symbol of remembrance and of the fight for justice. In the words of Peter Tosh on his song Equal Rights: "Everyone is crying out for peace, no one is crying out for justice." We can demonstrate for an end to violence, but are we demonstrating for true peace? True peace, true shalom, encompasses justice and the restoration of all creation to God's original intent. This is something that we cannot have as long as humans, with all their evil and hate, are in the picture. We work for shalom, but we know it is not obtainable by human power. Unfortunately, as a last resort, justice must occasionally be obtained through violence. John McRae's powerful poem, In Flanders Fields, asks the reader to take up the battle so that the dead can rest in peace. McRae meant that we should take up arms and fight on, but also, I think, that we should honour their memory in all that we do in our society. These men and women fought for justice, and we should remain vigilant in protecting our communities and working for true shalom. The red poppy stands for peace too, but not a peace that is blind to the imperfections of humanity. We shall not forget.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Flickering

The old man could often be seen strolling around the mall. He would put one foot in front of the other and sort of swing his body from side to side. No one could call him graceful; his method of walking was more akin to a loping steer than a slinking cat. Sometimes he would fold his hands behind his back, moving forward at a leisurely pace as his shoulders swung to and fro. This was the way that he felt royalty walked. That is, not loping like a bovine, but at a gentle pace with their hands behind their backs. He did not realize how ungainly his walk looked.

It bothered him when people would rush to stand in front of him on the escalator and then just stand and wait to be taken to the top. The thing was, he never stood on an escalator. In fact, when he was on an escalator that was when all of his sauntering ended. On the escalator, he moved with the furious energy and purpose of a high-paid lawyer. No, when someone stepped in front of his doddering old form on the escalator, he would wait, arms folded in front of him, until that person had completed their journey to the top. Sometimes, if the mall was especially busy, he would have to wait for half an hour until he could make the journey to the top of escalator the way he wanted to.

He hadn't always sauntered. There was a time when his escalator pace had been the pace of his life. He had been a brisk walker with hard long steps and almost no wasted movement. This had been when he had known his precise destination and purpose. Now -- now he drifted along slowly, and tried to let his mind catch up to his languid pace. He had hated malls before and avoided them whenever possible. Now he would spend hours at the mall. He had carefully calculated his walk to give the impression of an old man enjoying the twilight of his life, but inside he was panicking.

Smiling wistfully, he strolled along with his hands folded behind his back. Why had he come to the mall? He winked at a tiny baby to spite the panic welling up inside of him. Why was he here? He felt the sack brush him gently on the back of his knee. He brought the sack from behind his back, slowly, as if he were merely admiring his merchandise. There were four cans of tomato soup. Why did he need four cans of tomato soup? Perhaps he was making tomato soup for his daughter. He smiled, imagining that tiny bundle of joy running to greet him at the door. It was such a pleasure to have a daughter. He glanced at the four receipts scattered amongst the cans. Why had he bought tomato soup four times? He couldn't answer this question, but the despair and confusion this caused him were not apparent on his beaming old face.

Once he had wandered the parking lot for two hours, looking for his car. Up and down the rows he walked, doing his best to appear to be an old man enjoying a pleasurable walk in a parking lot. A couple of minivans and an SUV had almost hit him. He had not been able to recall if his car were green or blue or turquoise. He would stop suddenly at a familiar-looking car, pretending to admire its chrome sheen and then moving away when he saw an unfamiliar bumper sticker or a foreign item dangling from the rearview mirror. Finally he had seen a car that looked like his and when he had reached for his keys he had realized that they weren't with him. He had not driven that day. In fact, he had not driven for a month. His wife had told him she had lost the keys the day after he had run out of gas on a rural highway far from home. He had been exploring, he told his wife, but there had been a worried expression on her face.

He thought of his wife now, but he couldn't remember what she looked like when she was worried. Her face was young and happy and there were no lines whatsoever on it. Remembering her, he smiled to himself. He wasn't pretending this time.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tune of the Week:
I have decided, each week, to share a song that I enjoy. If reggae isn't your thing you will probably be disappointed most of the time. However, there is no need to fret because I do enjoy a wide variety of musical genres. Yes, yes, I know that you weren't fretting, but I was only attempting to multiply, in my mind, the impact of my blog. The first tune is Damage by the underrated Anthony B. Anthony B's patois is quite thick and his Rastafarian double-speak might be a little confusing to wade through and so I have printed the lyrics and given a few definitions. "I and I" is a phrase which eliminates the pronouns you, me, they, he, and she in order to emphasize the i-nity (unity) of the community with the Most I (Most High.) "Downpress" is the word which Rastafarians use to signify oppression. Up is a positive direction and therefore up-pression is an lexicological oxymoron for the Rastafarian. "Babylon" is the entire wicked system of downpression and "livity" is the Rastafarian word for life or for being alive. Enjoy . . . or start fretting, you can do that too.

Anthony B - Damage

I and I defend the downpressed is a must!
You neither I and I need to fight nor fuss
'cause everything them say them rightful own, belong to us
my father don't tell I and I that everything shall fall to I and I is a must
so Babylon set the livity, every day another one bite the dust, my Lord!

You don't have to say you're sorry, for all the wrongs that you have done, mmmmm
I don't want to hear sad stories, 'cause the damage already done
oh, the damage already done

Broken bones and wounds need tender repair, hang on brotherman, don't despair
although we forgive seven times seven, still the damage already done, so much damage already done.
Stop and listen a while to this meditation style, going straight to your mind.
True, you're wicked and wild, (but) the only way you can deal with this vibe
is to free up your soul and mind, a yagga yagga yagga yoy (chorus)

Everybody wants their peace of mind, trying to justify how they deal with mankind
sometimes I wonder how they sleep at night time when all the damage already done, oh the damage already done. Stop and listen a while to this meditation style, going straight to your mind,
true, you're wicked and wild, (but) the only way you can deal with these vibes
is to free up your soul and mind, a yagga yagga yaga yoy (chorus)

Who deh?