Monday, October 31, 2005


"The ancestral voices were prophesying war because ancestral voices never shut up, and they hate to be wrong, and war is a sure thing, sooner or later."

--Margaret Atwood in 'The Blind Assassin', 2000


July 30, 2001

Ferry to Haida Gwaii:

West-bound long-distance ferry 6 hours from Prince Rupert to Queen Charlotte Islands: tmperate rain forests and Haida Gwaii culture artifacts thereof. Arguments abound all the way, working it out toward saying goodbye.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

What are 'Diverse People?'

M and I often discuss how we float in a void between the radical left and the mainstream. Some of her classmates are so radical all they ever seem to see is racism, or some other ism. And the isms are indeed everywhere; if you care to look it's not hard to find peole being excluded for one reason or another prejudice or 'systemic barrier.'

A recent discussion inspired me to suggest a presentation topic for her: bring in corporate wishy-washy photos of 'diversity.' Chances are you'll see various ethnicities, ages, and probably one person in a wheeelchair. Then take pictues of people gathered publicly in real life - on the bus, at meetings, around town. Outside of that public image of diversity consciousness we tend to hang with out own, don't we? There aren't a whole lot of exceptions.

Then I saw this picture online of John from Anaheim Whoop Whoop's (JAWW) class in peace studies at Notre Dame (that catholic school in Indiana):

I guess it's your standard diverse (or multicultural at least) group photo. What's really cool about the program is you live in shared housing with your classmates, and room with someone from another region of the planet. So they become more than diverse colleagues, they become a diverse community. JAWW says he is really enjoying the program so far, and it sounds like an amazing concept.

--The Bopper

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Justin Rutledge Show

So we took in Justin Rutledge and Serena Ryder at the Mod Club in Toronto last night, which is a 5-minute walk from the house. (Bosh, the more adventurous of our two kitties, decided to join us for the walk - I've never known a cat to follow his humans around like that.)

Serena Ryder has this insanely powerful voice, which is sadly misused in the wrong genre. It's a jazz voice and hearing it belt out kitchy love sap is just a little off.

Justin Rutledge continues to rock my world - my favourite musical discovery this year, and in fact since Danny Michel (who I first heard in 2001 with In the Belly of a Whale).

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Environmental Racism

For all those who think racism is uncommon in Canada read this and this and this and think again. This is what is often called environmental racism - sticking the undesirable people in an undesirable location/situation and forgetting about them.

Also see here for why I can't enjoy fish anymore.

On a happier newspaper note, the sun may finally be finding a new place to shine besides Bush's asshole.


"President's a Bush
Vice-president's a Dick
Whole lotta fuckin'
is what we're gone get"
--Talib Kweli

Aiti: Mother-in-Law

Aiti is 'mom' in Finnish. It's a good thing to call my mother-in-law. Calling her 'Mom' wouldn't seem quite right. Maija Liisa's a bit too informal yet also impersonal, and too similar to Miia Liisa (my wife). Aiti is just right. Here she is:

You can see where M's Finnish beauty comes from ;-)


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday June 18, 2001

Long-distance cross-boarder train, outta da cesspool an’ inna da fire. Land of the obese fading behind.

To be clear: I ache. Fire-belly, lead-lids, Ferrari eyes, basket-balls. Beer, grease, women, late nights, early morning; America. Too much money for its own good. Yesterday was New York City in the hurricane rain. Delis and Greenwich Village Record Shops with rare Bob Dylans and unknown Tracy Chapmans. Took in a Shea Stadium subway series with $6 beer, $4 soda (or water), $7 sandwich – all prices American dollars.

This game goes on forever. Fat Mets fan down front with a rally cap on and cell phone inning-by-inning updates. Six dollar beer going down like water. All-black grounds crew cleans up after multi-millionaire crotch scratchers. I love this game! Must be the money – these big-bottomed millionaires get special Democrat health care, no waiting times.

My friend the Polar Bear recently had a series of ultrasound MRI CAT scans through his lower hernia, only to discover himself half-naked in a room full of fat men in blue mini-skirts, being told to “sit ‘n’ spread!”

“I ain’t a fuckin’ cattle, dude!” he shrieked. “You can’t herd me in like the rest of them. My balls don’t make public appearances unless there’s a hole in my crotch! Mooooo! Mooooo!!” A deep belly-moo, ocean rolling through grey concrete. A quick electric shock to the fanny calmed him down, and only cost him an extra gold card. No wonder Canada wants to privatize. Thank God the Bear ain’t pregnant – he’d have to sell the house to pay for delivery!

Abortion is unlikely with this President George Walker, a Bush (P-GWaB). P-GWaB is a pro-lifer, which in his case means he believes in genetically engineering retarded babies to go on killing sprees at Democratic conventions and executing them later on cable TV.

What I like about America is friendly, outgoing people. My buddy Georgia Brown (GB), who brought me to Shea, fits right into that scene. What I like about GB is he makes mundane fun. Like reading the want ads dryly: “’NYPD Blow. Offering oral servicing to men in blue and other uniformed, suited or hard working str8 type men, any race, 21-65.’

“He’s not picky.

“Check this one: ‘Seeking Doctor, 40+ to examine me at your private office (well endowed a must!) Need all holes checked during examination.’

“Meticulous by nature I guess.”

It’s the homophobia that gets me: “Every fuckin’ second guy in fuckin’ New York is a fuckin’ fag!”

“How do you know that?”

“Well, I don’t know, but it seems that way. Not that I have anything against it. I just get sick of it. I love the multiculturalism though, everybody’s different!”

I offer to buy him a coffee at Starbucks because I need the hit and he tells me, "Naw, FUCK the establishment man! Let’s go to some independent place.” Another small-town contradiction living in the big city.

Big city blues, I gotta come down from all this. I’m checking into rehab: Minister Swears’ Detox Centre. Right in the middle of Canada’s biggest people trap. Minister Swears is a frizzy-haired little environmentalist and certified United Church Minister. “Lan’ sakes alive!” she’ll say to me. “I thought I’d gotten rid of your blaspheme-izing ass for the summer! Heavens to Betsy!” This right before kitchen-rage delicacy preparation and salon-like pampering.

I hope she’s open because I gotta purge mad pixie hormones, social alcoholism, and cultural bloody consumption. Not to mention train-food. Chicken and cheese on a bun. Toppings in a separate container. On a cardboard tray. Disposable cup for tea with wooden stir stick wrapped in paper. Suck ‘n’ chuck in the land of the free enterprise. $7.25 for fat enhanced Mexican war sewage and pesticide-laced grown for six bucks a day immunity-enhancing (since what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger) 3-month old neutered clipped crammed in a cage hung upside-down throat slit death scream E. Coli mad-cow risk factory farmed chicken sandwich.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

suck it, Renoir!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

An apology to Oscar Barbarena

Oscar Barbarena; 1988-2005

Oscar Barbarena, I want to apologize to you on behalf of the world
We can't blame the man who shot you down because he was scarred
with fear of constant danger and bloated with a trigger and an itch
to be the man society demands who can defend and be offensive too
Though it makes me angry what he did he's really not the problem
and I can even understand his reaction given his own circumstances

I sure as hell don't blame you and it's not just because you're so young
and I've been told of your innocent yearning for a mother to shield you
from the hate of the ones who have it all and jealousy of the ones like you
who have nothing at all and compete with you for any means of escape

What of your mother the one who escaped on her own and left you alone?
It's hard to blame a woman in Nicaragua when you consider her burden
Was she one of the great many abused by her husband after being raped by others?
What shape was she in to be a mother and what choice did she ever have?
What choice did you have either Oscar; who gave you a choice in life?

In all this post-modern contextualizing where do I a faraway foreigner
place my anger and sadness, who's ass do I kick here Oscar?
I want to stand up for you I want to make it right but I can't
For though I'm far richer than you I'm no Ronald Reagan
and I can't afford to finance the remaining Sandinistas
I've no strings to pull your politicos and I can only hope that
my few hundred dollars will maybe help one of your friends
but you are fallen and you won't be the last one gunned down

I want to apologize to you on behalf of the world I live in
because we are more at fault than the Nicaraguans who let you down
I guess we feared what you were capable of if you had an education
May or may not have thought about what you'd do without one
and with access to machetes and guns and glue to numb reality
I'm sorry you had to pay for the crimes of a US President
who went to his grave unpunished and blissfully unaware what he'd done
I hope he woke up in some kind of hell - maybe a Nicaraguan dump
but for my role in this unjust world I offer you my apologies
Oscar Barbarena I hope you can forgive but I guess more importantly
I hope you find peace and comfort, safety in the great mother of us all

With great sincere regret, anger, and sorrow,


Friday, October 14, 2005

Confessions of a CD Shopaholic

I'm on such a CD binge - yet another hypocrasy of the anti-consumerist Torontonian.

On the advice of JonBen I picked up AC Newman's The Slow Wonder and Death Cab for Cutie's Plans, both of which are excellent, but I'm especially like Death Cab - very groovy and happy sounding, pretty music, but with far better lyrics than your average pop.

M has asked me to help her keep current on the music scene because she fears future mocking from our yet-to-be-born (or conceived so far as I can tell) children. So we have this 'cd of the month club'. The problem is I seem incapable of walking out of a record store with anything less than 4 cd's.

Her September selection was Justin Rutledge, who I learned about from PWI, and is a country genius of the highest calibre. Some people think country genius is an oxymoron but that's because they think country is Garth Brooks and his clones, but that ain't real country - it's just bad.

Anyway Justin Rutledge turned out to be an apetizer - I also scored Magnolia Electric Co's What Comes After the Blues, Cuff the Duke's self-titled album (which former roommate C learned me on), and Joel Plaskett's latest.

M's October selection is K'Naan's Dusty Foot Philosopher, also a C discovery of sorts because it was him I first saw K'Naan with at North by Northeast. But while grabbing that disc I stumbled on a new release from Blackalicious, which happens to kick serious ass. I learned about these guys from another former roommate, who has since dropped from the earthface, leaving only musical remnants behind. But I couldn't leave the best music store on earth without also snagging Ryan Adams' latest - very much a country album, more so than anything else I've heard from him, and it too kicksass.

But in all this music buying I couldn't find, until last night, the release of my desire: where you live, tracy chapman's latest. I was so grateful to Ed's Music World for carrying it that I also carted away several cheap bin selections like U2's claaaaasssic 'War' (which I have on tape but for 8 bucks what the hell?), Bacdafucup, another classic by ONYX, which is heavyweight (and still undisputed!), and Ron Sexsmith's 2001 offering: blue boy.

And thrown into all these new purchases is this guy Richard Buckkner, another great offering from six shooter records, where life is too short to listen to shitty music. If there's a great sounding Canadian folksy in your ear there's a chance he or she has been signed to six shooter.

Speaking of he or she, why is it that almost all the above listed music is by men? And judging by the music blogs I've seen, even the ones by women, it's not just that I'm a mysogenist (and bad speller).

Cat Power!



Tuesday, October 11, 2005

MZ + PP 4evr

On the left is MikeyZ, a great great friend, with Ana, our friends' baby girl.

On the right is PP, also with Ana.

This weekend they're getting married, unifying. I'm the MC. I'm nervous as hell - if only I was as cute as Ana.

They are wonderfully sweet, earnest, kind, and funny people with big beautiful hearts, and I wish only the best for them.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Soul Donor

We went for beers the other night with my friend C and his partner S. M always goes on about how alike C and I are, and I suppose there is some truth to that - the man has impecable taste in folk music and books, and it was he who let me know Salman Rushdie was in town so I'm forever grateful for that.

S & M also have much in common - both social workers with similar approaches/ concerns/ frustrations.

And C and I are both eco-geeks who don't always buy into the rhetoric of the left, of which we are card-carrying members. In my case, this is literal - I have an NDP membership card around this office somewhere. I pretended to be a student when I bought it so they only got 5 bucks from me at a Jack Layton function. (I voted for the French dude, Pierre something, not Jack. I've met the man twice and he is impressive in some ways; too whorish in others.)

Anyhoo what frustrates both C and myself about environmentalists is that they live in a self-satisfied downward-looking bubble that prevents them from interacting with the rest of the humans in any meaningful way. They bitch to each other ad nauseum about the state of the world but anytime any of their ideas goes mainstream it pisses them off and they drop it (kinda like some indy rock fans).

Case in point: C's running this great campaign in partnership with Home Depot giving away energy efficient light bulbs - they've given away hundreds of thousands of them. This alone will drastically reduce energy use in a province ever on the verge of brown and blackouts. But even better is that they have a 5-minute conversation with every person they give a bulb to, about energy efficiency. So, hopefully, the impact is lasting. Clever no?

But apparently some jackasses have blogged rather negatively about the campaign, deal with the devil and whatnot. Home Depot, if you're reading, and you wanna give me a crapload of money to do something socially responsible and sustainable, I got my soul right here, signed sealed and waiting for a recipient.


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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Funkyass Wedding Pics

Eventually I'm going to put all those wedding pics in one blog location. In the meantime, they continue trickling in from friends, which is great. Here are some taken by John from Anaheim, Whoop Whoop!


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