Monday 19 December 2011

eighth blackbird, is that VIIIb then? or bVIII?

(with a sub-theme of 'grateful for small mercies')
Up, Down, Nothing much.

Winter Solstice Vigil.If you are in Toronto, please consider attending this important event - details here: Hungry for Climate Leadership.

A candle-lit vigil of hope and solidarity, on the longest night of the year (in so many ways); at the Constituency Office of Peter Kent (sleveen), Canada's Minister of the Environment:
       7600 Yonge Street, Thornhill.
       (not the 7600 in Richmond Hill).

(Why not straight in front of his house, I wonder? Doesn't he live there somewhere?)

Wednesday December 21, 4:00 to 6:30 PM. Rallying at Yonge & Steeles (a 20 minute walk away) at 3:30 PM.
(You can't get there by TTC apparently. If I find a way I will post it here.)

Elizabeth May has her moments: She doesn't call Peter Kent the P.O.S. he really is - but she doesn't tell us how much she likes him either, at least not this time (and I am grateful for that).

In this press conference she several times hits the shiny little nail right on its shiny little head:
       - the original at CBC 30 minutes (better sound quality),
       - posted by the Green Party as part 1 & part 2 (not so much).

And in this post: Kyoto withdrawal: There must be a political price to be paid.

Aislin, Keystone Kops.Looks like Barack Obama has caved in / is caving in / will cave in / might cave in / might not cave in ... on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Bloomberg: "... Republicans fell short on efforts to force the permitting of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline ..."
Globe: "... would require Mr. Obama to decide within 60 days whether to grant a permit for the pipeline. But the legislation also allows Mr. Obama to decide not to do so ..."
NYT: maybe so ... maybe not ...

And more of the same nonsense equivocation from McKibben & Meisel (with exaggerated emotional overtones worthy of a basketball). At least they have stopped spouting, "WE WON! WE WON!" and I for one am grateful for small mercies.

Just have to wait and see. (But we don't like waiting, do we?)


      Among twenty snowy mountains,
      The only moving thing
      Was the eye of the blackbird.

      I was of three minds,
      Like a tree
      In which there are three blackbirds.

      The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
      It was a small part of the pantomime.

      A man and a woman
      Are one.
      A man and a woman and a blackbird
      Are one.

      I do not know which to prefer,
      The beauty of inflections
      Or the beauty of innuendoes,
      The blackbird whistling
      Or just after.

      Icicles filled the long window
      With barbaric glass.
      The shadow of the blackbird
      Crossed it, to and fro.
      The mood
      Traced in the shadow
      An indecipherable cause.

      O thin men of Haddam,
      Why do you imagine golden birds?
      Do you not see how the blackbird
      Walks around the feet
      Of the women about you?

      I know noble accents
      And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
      But I know, too,
      That the blackbird is involved
      In what I know.

      When the blackbird flew out of sight,
      It marked the edge
      Of one of many circles.

      At the sight of blackbirds
      Flying in a green light,
      Even the bawds of euphony
      Would cry out sharply.

      He rode over Connecticut
      In a glass coach.
      Once, a fear pierced him,
      In that he mistook
      The shadow of his equipage
      For blackbirds.

      The river is moving.
      The blackbird must be flying.

      It was evening all afternoon.
      It was snowing
      And it was going to snow.
      The blackbird sat
      In the cedar-limbs.
   Could be way misleading, what with Obama and 'blackbird' and pictures of a young black woman mixed up into it and all. Oh well.

Geli Forlefac.

Geli Forlefac.

Geli Forlefac.

Geli Forlefac.

Geli Forlefac.

Can't be helped; or could have been maybe but wasn't; suffice to say it's about what the 1% or the 99% (or whoever the fuck they are) are not stopping doing anytime soon. Makes me want to hear Caetano's Terra or here or here.

Photographs of Geli Forlefac from Kwesi Abbensetts.

Nothing needs to be said here about eighth blackbird, or very little - their website is one of the few I've seen that actually works, both comprehensive and intuitive. The notes that follow are just reminders to myself:

     eighth blackbird: Nicholas Photinos, Tim Munro, Yvonne Lam, Matthew Duvall, Michael Maccaferri, Lisa Kaplan.
eighth blackbird: Michael Maccaferri, Tim Munro, Yvonne Lam, Matthew Duvall, Lisa Kaplan, Nicholas Photinos.
formed in 1996

• Tim Munro, flutes (Molly Barth to 2006)
• Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
• Yvonne Lam, violin & viola (Matt Albert to 2011)
• Nicholas Photinos, cello
• Matthew Duvall, percussion+
• Lisa Kaplan, piano

- Round Nut Tool
- beginnings
- thirteen ways
- fred
- strange imaginary animals
- Double Sextet • 2x5
- On a Wire • QED: Engaging Richard Feynman
- Lonely Motel: Music from Slide

None of their music shows up on the pirate sites, not much on YouTube either - and downloads are only available in the US, so ...

Reading Empire of illusion, the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle from 2009.

Why thirteen pages of wrestling up-front? I thought I had taken the point after a page or two. And the writing often seems so ... all-over-the-place, tendentious (is that the word?) ...

That said (and nevertheless), parts of this book are making me take long uncomfortable looks at myself.

The little piece of lyric from eighth blackbird's 'addiction': "one too many unchecked fantasies / one too many unchallenged assumptions /one too many unexamined beliefs /and you slide into addiction ..." which I found as I was finishing up the last post - seems to be a harmonic convergence.

And what comes around seems to go around too (or something) - this review of three Orwell biographies turned up in the free section of the LRB: Reach-Me-Down Romantic, which (going around yet once more) also touches on Christopher Hitchens (though the review is dated 2003 it seems to acknowledge Hitchens' recent death - ambiguity is good I guess).

I read some of this on Gutenberg Australia: Fifty Orwell Essays, particularly 'The Lion and the Unicorn' mentioned at the end of the review.

Depressing ... I hadn't realized that he was given to such concluding sentences as, "I believe in England, and I believe that we shall go forward." Oh well.

That's it; running out of candles.

I did find a bakery this week with a woman there (one of the owners) who both knows how to make bread and run the slicing machine (unlike the wage-slaves at Weston's & Cob's Bread respectively), and she was not in a hurry; and the bread is about half the price. And with croissants. A TTC ride away, but I like riding on streetcars - I was smiling the whole way back carrying my weekly supply of bread.

Something to look forward to on Sundays.

Be well.

( ... hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain ...)

Nothing much:

An interesting survey from the Globe: Poll: C’mon, be honest: Answer these highly personal, somewhat inappropriate questions posted on the 16th, response as of the 18th here (but the wankers haven't said how many responded and have not published the geographical & age stats, yet - 'stay tuned' they say).

Responses to December 19th:
1. In 2011, were you more stressed or less stressed than you were the year before?

 Way more stressed 27%
 A little more stressed 27%
 About the same 23%
 A little less stressed 16%
 Much less stressed. Who can complain about 2011? 7%

2. What's the biggest stress in your life?

 Money 22%
 Family 14%
 Work 35%
 The current political climate 7%
 The environment 1%
 My love life 9%
 My health 6%
 What I'm going to cook tonight 5%

3. How many Facebook friends do you have?

 50 or fewer 19%
 51 to 150 18%
 151 to 250 11%
 251 to 400 10%
 More than 400 7%
 None: Facebook is for chumps 36%

4. How many of those friends would you tell if you had a serious health problem?

 None 9%
 5 or fewer 40%
 Up to 25 20%
 More than 25 5%
 Everyone would know. I'd post it on Facebook 1%
 I told you I’m not on Facebook 26%

5. How much household debt (including your mortgage) do you have?

 None. I'm in the black, baby 38%
 Less than $150,000 32%
 Between $150,000 and $300,000 18%
 Between $300,000 and $500,000 8%
 More than $500,000 4%

6. Is that more or less than last year?

 A lot more. I've racked up at least another $50,000 6%
 A little more. I've added on another $1,000-$50,000 12%
 About the same 25%
 A little less. I paid off up to $ 50,000 25%
 A lot less. I paid off more than $ 50,000 5%
 Let me repeat: I’m in the black, baby 26%

7. How many servings of vegetables do you eat a day?

 Do chips count? I don't eat vegetables regularly 8%
 One to two servings 51%
 Three to five servings 35%
 More than five servings. Just call me Popeye 6%

8. How much chocolate do you eat a day?

 I don't eat chocolate most days 62%
 Less than half a chocolate bar 27%
 Up to one chocolate bar (or the equivalent) 8%
 One chocolate bar and another chocolate snack 1%
 As much as I can get my hands on 2%

9. Did you sext this year, either as a sender or receiver of text, video or photos?

 Yes. What’s the harm? 19%
 No. I’d be mortified 63%
 I don't know what sexting is 18%

10. Do you know anyone who did?

 Yes 28%
 No 64%
 I'm not saying 8%

11. Which of the following did you do as a parent over the past year (check all that apply)?

 I lied to my kids 12%
 I bribed them 14%
 I swore in front of them 24%
 I spanked them 4%
 I ate their Halloween candy 17%
 None. I'm a perfect parent 4%
 I don’t have young kids 67%

12. Which of these foods should be banned (check all that apply)?

 Bluefin tuna 34%
 Shark fin soup 61%
 KFC's Double Down sandwich 40%
 Foie gras 25%
 McDonald's Happy Meals 25%
 None. I don't believe in food bans 27%

13. Who is your favourite royal?

 Harry (of course!) 10%
 Will (of course!) 8%
 Elizabeth (of course!) 17%
 Kate (of course!) 17%
 Does Pippa Middleton count? 13%
 Abolish the monarchy 36%

14. Whose death this year affected you the most?

 Jack Layton 55%
 Amy Winehouse 6%
 Steve Jobs 20%
 Elizabeth Taylor 2%
 Christopher Hitchens 11%
 Hickstead 5%

15. What resolution do you really want to commit to this year?

 Save more money 14%
 Lose weight 27%
 Have a better sex life 12%
 Get a better job 9%
 Be nicer to friends and family 10%
 I'm not making any 28%

16. How much cash do you have on you right now?

 None. I've always got my debit card 14%
 Less than $20 22%
 Less than $100 37%
 $100-$ 500 21%
 $500 or more 5%

17. Did you join a gym this year?

 Yes 24%
 No 76%

18. When was the last time you worked out?

 This week 50%
 This month 14%
 Within the past three months 10%
 Within the past six months 7%
 I didn't work out at all in 2011 19%

19. When was the last time you had a physical?

 Within the past six months 25%
 Within the past year 29%
 Within the past five years 26%
 It's been more than five years 11%
 I've never had one 8%

20. What's your secret vice?

 Junk food 27%
 Porn 26%
 Nail-biting 7%
 Impulse shopping 8%
 Stealing office supplies 1%
 I'm not telling 31%

21. Are you feeling hopeful about 2012?

 Yes 65%
 No 13%
 Not sure 22%

22. What are you most hopeful about?

 Money 14%
 Family 25%
 Work 20%
 The current political climate 2%
 The environment 0%
 My love life 12%
 My health 9%
 What I'm cooking tonight 4%
 I told you I'm not 14%

Ah ... another systematic information twister discovered: Pain in the ass formatting tables - so I pasted the responses into a .jpg with Paint, which .jpg was long and skinny (300 x 5,000 pixels or so); uploaded the .jpg, all done! Wrong! Google sets a maximum dimension on photographs (I guess) of 1,600 pixels, so it was not legible.


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