Thursday 15 March 2012

One would have to call it a bust.

or, Six ways from Sunday.
Up, Down, Appendices. 
[Wowzers! It's the Ides of March!

So ... I began to translate the Kony 2012 video into Portuguese to send to the girls; and thought, "Hey, maybe this would be useful to the Invisible Children 'team' too?" Sent an email offering the translation free-for-nothing, had a response as if it had been forwarded to someone in charge of that end of things, and then ... nothing. I thought, "Oh, they're busy with all the controversy." A week has passed, almost. I know my expectations are unfair but the translation has languished & stalled. WTF?! Oh yeah, I quit, gave up, again. What are you supposed to do in a vacuum? Practice breath yoga?

But yes, I will get back to the translation soon, and my son and I look as if we will go out together on the night of April 20.]

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me, other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me     what a long, strange trip it's been.

It went something like this:
Omar Figueroa Turcios.I never did like the Grateful Dead, their music didn't make sense to me - literally off key - except for this one single tune, Truckin', which did make sense and still does. It stuck ... and the rest slid on by.

The 'is/should be' dualism doesn't really wash. You can see it clearly in the struggle over Brasil's new Código Florestal: ruralistas who are really agribusiness vs the ambientalistas who (quite rightly) shout "Não! Não! Não!" as loudly as they can. When Marina Silva calls it a farce she is coming across on at least several levels.

The Câmara dos Deputados was supposed to vote on Tuesday March 6th. They put it off to the 13th, and then again to 'maybe next week'. What is goin' on is the damned Rio+20 in June and the cowardly politicians don't want to embarrass themselves before that. You've come a long way Dilma eh? Shell games.

And the kids over at CYCC are inviting applications for the COP18 CYD (you cannot touch anything to do with the UNFCCC without being swamped and overcome by acronyms eh?). COP18?! Doh? Doh? Doha?! Would not the resources that will be squandered on attending this patently useless conference and its enormous carbon footprint be better spent on some local initiative? Education say, or, or ... a campaign along the lines of Kony 2012?

Then there is this artist fellow, this Omar Figueroa Turcios, who seems to be more involved with an 'is/could be' dualism.

Omar Figueroa Turcios.A strange fish, sort of ugly and sort of not, with a beautiful tree growing up.

Hippies were stoned and horny, but the defining quality, or the one I am seeing today anyway, is gladness.

That joke about vinegar sums it up ... I posted it here somewhere some when ... but can't find it of course ... the hippie says "Yeah man! It's ... sweet." ... Ah, here it is - found a somewhat reasonable scan of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and excerpted the last bit below.

A few more Turcios images turned up on the journey (which need no commentary):

Omar Figueroa Turcios: Man feeding on his dreams to avoid eating reality.Omar Figueroa Turcios.Omar Figueroa Turcios.
I know you don't really understand any of this, but the elements are all there eh? What more can I do? If you could read you might understand; and that you can't read is not my fault.

Tensegrity Yurt.Tensegrity Yurt.In the late 70's we made a hippie faire in that Ottawa park, the one that was famous for its 'gay stroll' - same one that Roméo Dallaire tried to kill himself in (they say) ... just a sec ... right, Major's Hill Park. I put up two prototypes of a Renaissance Yurt - a small rhombicuboctahedron tensegrity made of cardboard tubes & woven polyethylene, Fabrene, with red polka-dot balls as the joints (the only colour I could get in quantity on short notice). I thought it might be useful for the Afghani refugees who were standing outside in the snow and rain in northern Pakistan in those days according to reports. I have a picture of it somewhere.

Some honcho hippie turned up, I think it was Stephen Gaskin from The Farm in Tennessee, and since I was sort of in the central commmittee I got introduced. He was wearing a leather baseball cap with a Grateful Dead logo of some kind on it which I remarked on. He said, "Yeah, I am still flying our colours," and I said, "They're not my colours man," and he turned away - and that was the end of that. He got up on the stage we had there and said a few things which I have forgot.

There was eventually going to be a smoke-hole in the top panel but it was not included in the prototype. It rained heavily overnight and when I arrived the following morning the top (flat) panel had caught the rain like a bathtub - it was 100 gallons or more, Huge! - and the whole structure was straining - but intact. Marvellous! I pushed the bathtub up and away went the water. The yurt configuration also sheds wind, even very strong wind, but that's another story - Aikido tactics.

Eventually I gave the prototype to the Peace Camp on the Parliament Hill lawn, and they set it up there. I have a picture of that somewhere too, from the newspaper, front page I think. It fell down the next night because the adhesive I used to put the Fabrene panels together, an experimental double-sided tape from 3M (covered in 'TOXIC!' warning labels), could not absorb the free liquid ethylene that rises to the surface of all polyethylene films. The tape let go all at once in the dark. He told me he woke up looking at the stars, wondering why he could see them. That was funny. We both laughed.

Large Rhombicuboctahedron.Large Rhombicuboctahedron aggregation.
The plan, the 'program' was to move on to a large rhombicuboctahedron tensegrity in the cardboard tubes & Fabrene scheme but using a heat-weld to join the panels. I got a commercial partner, Descon Inc., whose principals eventually called me an 'outrageous convoluted bastard' for no reason that I could fathom and turned me out. They did frame one of my sketches and hung it on the wall in their office.

Large Rhombicuboctahedron aggregation.Large Rhombicuboctahedron tensegrity.My colleague's timorous wife (he was a Polish refugee who claimed to have advanced degrees in everything which he never had, but he was helping with the model) nagged him into either getting something on paper or getting out. There was nothing to put on paper so that was that and nothing came of it. Golden Goose syndrome.

I never figgured out what I did in the darkroom to get those light waves - I like them, some kind of static; but I could never reproduce the effect. Kirlian static maybe, auras.
Two quick but serious stories:
#1 Incident At OISE:
At one of the Occupy Toronto gatherings at OISE, sat down and had a smoke with some young guy, got up, said something in the General Assembly - very short, just to clarify some meeting time & place - and the same guy came over, I recognized him, and he asked me what I had said, and I said, "I didn't speak," and he said, "No no, I mean just now in the GA," and I said, "Definitely wasn't me." He just backed away with a look on his face. I wondered about it and eventually remembered, maybe ten minutes later.

#2 A Bigish Chunk:
Reading Andrew Weaver's book Keeping our cool: Canada in a warming world and I am about half-way through before I realize I've read it before. (!)

Stuff is falling off the back of the turnip truck. More than just these two no doubt. Uh oh!

Oh right! Stop moaning about bog-standard senior moments. Except I know what they are like - forgetting where you put things, forgetting appointments, pouring the coffee into a pot instead of into the cup, all'a that, not scary at all, funny - and this ain't like that.

How it is gonna work itself out when I am so isolated I don't know. It scares the shit out of me to think of being at the mercy of the medical bureaucrats. By that time I am guessing there will be a 'final solution' in place to deal with indigent & forgetful boomers if there is not one already.

If I had any money left I would get back to Brasil and be one'a those guys led around by the hand or pushed in a wheelchair by a couple'a smiling black women. Used to see 'em all the time on the beach at Ipanema. 
Diabolical keyboard:
This keyboard is so FUCKED UP with 'hot keys' that take the cursor all over the place, or maybe it's 'sticky keys' ... and no way to turn it off that I can find. So it takes roughly three keystrokes to arrive at a single character inserted into this text. Nevermind how many it takes to put in an accent. Nevermind the idiot HTML hanging you up all the time. And if there is any such a thing as a train of thought (questionable in my case maybe) it is persistently and effectively derailed by daemonic technology! BOLLOCKS!
Chang School at Ryerson:
So I think, ok, I'll go take some courses and get back on top of whatever this computer thing has become. Ask the damned IT PROGRAM DIRECTOR, Janet Shusterman (with four, count 'em, FOUR degrees after her name), ask her twice, and politely too mind you, for some way to get at a guidance counsellor and all she can do is recite URL's letter by letter over the telephone 'til I hang up! And they want $800 for 42 hours, 20 bucks an hour - per course - so I can't very well just suck it and see. BOLLOCKS! (My daughter says, "Go up there and offer a student money," - this could work ... I haven't quite given up.)
Google & Privacy:
It becomes necessary to switch away from Google as much as possible - damned inconvenient to change email addresses too it is since Gmail is the best of a bad lot - for now I am just being sure to log out when I am done. When you do use their search (because Image Search is another best of another very bad lot) close the browser immediately afterward. Nevermind how long it takes to turn off the damned 'safe search' and 'instant predictions' every time before you use it. BOLLOCKS! Best to set the firewall to prompt for permission for any communication because Google are not the only ones using this update scam; set the search history to zero days; a-and set cookies to self-destruct when you close the browser (for as long as these restraints are permitted). Try DuckDuckGo for regular searches (silly name but it works).
The Google Virus:
A program called GoogleUpdate.exe - if it was Anonymous doin' it they would use the real name for these 'updates' - runs itself every half-hour or so to let 'em know exactly what you are up to. BOLLOCKS! To pull its little tongue out you have to first shut it down using Windows Task Master, then delete the .exe files in several locations, and then disable the services it uses (right-click My Computer, Manage, Services, & disable Google Update items).
Another potential trojan is Plugin-Container.exe brought to you by impenetrable & hermetically-sealed Adobe - even more inconvenient to get rid of because if you limit its Internet connectivity quite a bit of content becomes mysteriously inaccessible. Oh well.

And finally, just a question: Why is the FBI so hot on Anonymous d'you think?]

Modernity and the Holocaust by Zygmunt Bauman covers some heavy ground, so the frequent grammatical errors and typos are good in a way as comic relief when I hurl the book at the wall. Then a whole chapter on Stanley Milgram with hardly a typo in it (?) ... it could be that our Zygmunt is making his way in the world, like a sociologist, like most of the rest - so it goes. That said, there are points of light in it.

And Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah (downloadable at Demonoid); nine hours, bound to have an effect and not an entirely salubrious one but - clearing away the cobwebs thread by thread.

In Chapter 3: The Roots of War: Rousseau, Darwin and Hobbes of his book War, Gwynne Dyer writes:
We merely need to establish three propositions. The first is that human beings have the physical and psychological ability to kill members of their own species. The second is that human populations will always grow up to the carrying capacity of the environment and beyond. The third is that human beings are no better at conserving their environment and preserving their long-term food supply than any other animal.
... coming at it in a different dimension.

The shape of an integrated notion begins to emerge out of all of this: which I am in no position to elaborate on very much, yet - an amalgam of instrumentalism, so-called rationality, bureaucracy, compartmentalism ... physiology ... given my mental state I may very well have been here before and simply       forgot.

So ... I will go back and re-read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, slowly; get Stanley Milgram in the original; read Raul Hilberg and Yehuda Bauer; and Gwynne Dyer's War; the list will certainly get longer as I go along.
[... and I may report on it from time to time, somewhere, but it will not be here - this blog is going to finally close, come to an end, stop.]

Though one is rarely permitted to compare the Holocaust with anything, surely the end of the genus Homo and most if not all of his cousin caterpillars ... surely this comparison is legitimate eh?

[This poem comes from 1969. I found it while I was looking for the tensegrity photograph. A little poetry magazine I edited, Umwelt, at MUN, which was universally ignored except for some bad jokes by the grad students ('Bumwelts!' - "Oh look, you just have to add two letters! BS! Oh it's too funny!"). Helen, the secretary, was so demoralized that she refused to send out the comps to all the university libraries - they are probably still in the cardboard box where I left them all ready to go except for stamps.]

Umwelt, editor's note.

                             ( editor's note )

            eX  be-un around

con   u   bial   -ial

                             eul  eul  eul

                             pooh pooh

                                     puH   !

                             huh   ?

[I have quoted from the Umwelt preface by my friend Keith several times before, so I cobbled the whole thing in below. The original was on toilet paper. Not that complimentary I guess. He told me he was surprised I had even included it. How could I not?]
My father had a great laugh. One of the times I remember him laughing was as he was explaining Income Tax to me: a 'temporary measure' introduced in Canada just before WWI - the absence of such a tax had been a big draw for immigrants apparently (and he was one of them). Why was it a draw do you think?

And again when we discussed Social Insurance Numbers - I was an upcoming young systems analyst with infinite faith in unique keys - and he said, "They will use it for whatever they want to use it for," (with a laugh y'unnerstan' and no trace of sardonic).

William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity always turns me away and I find myself composing three letter acronyms as I go along - D.D.D. dubious dilettante dalliance - but maybe I will get a little farther into it this time. Echoes of Oscar Wilde.

A-and yes, Andrew Weaver: I am reading Hard choices and Keeping our cool - all at once, gobble gobble.

The big question so far is ... Why is the power-elite not heeding this man?

The introduction to Hard choices is by Jan Zwicky (another 'famous' Canadian poet I have never heard of). Something about her prose rings a bell, an alarm bell that is, so I follow it up a bit and find a connection to Robert Bringhurst, which rings yet another bell. Funny really, because the first thread to catch & snag was her use of the word 'partner' instead of spouse or husband or girlfriend or something - and I found myself wondering if she might be a lesbian (apparently not).

Bringhurst's bell is more serious. I lived on Simon Charlie's land in Duncan for a year or so, almost two, helping him install his totem poles in the lodges of rich white folks - very straight guy Simon, very clear, what a friend.

Later on, when my children were small, I read to them almost every night, or sang to them, or both - and sometimes in the afternoon! We set a high standard for stories - two very favourites were Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams, and The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling.

When The Raven Steals the Light came out in 1984 we immediately got a copy. I was pleased to be able to connect Simon Charlie to a wider context, especially of the calibre of Bill Reid. Sadly, the writing was not up to spec - basically unreadable - and I wondered and wondered how Bill Reid could have done such a thing. Eventually, reading his (the only words in the thing that are unequivocally his) preface carefully , with its implicit criticism of the stories as presented, I tentatively concluded that the book had been produced by a cluster-fuck of bureaucrat poetasters.

Hard to tell. I have wondered about Bill Reid before and got nowhere.

The central story, as apparently interpreted and 'written' by Bringhurst (text here): doesn't know to whom it is addressed (children or concupiscent cynics); consistently uses 'the Raven' instead of 'Raven' as in Simon's usage; and contains far too many blundering inconsistencies of all kinds ... we never did finish reading it aloud, the book languished on various shelves until it was lost.

Bill Reid, Dogfish Woman transformation pendant.One aspect of it, from Bill Reid as well I am sure, is the epilogue, on Dogfish Woman.

Simon made transformation masks, counterweighted, you pulled a little string underneath and it ... transformed. He offered me one once, but I took a carving of Eagle instead, a choice I've often regretted.

Any man who has been divorced will have a visceral response to this Dogfish Woman piece - in addition to possibly finding a way through it to integrate the experience.

Bill Reid, Dogfish Woman transformation pendant.This all relates, comes back around eventually to the introduction to Andrew Weaver's first book, if you are willing to see it, and if not it will do no good to explain much farther.

In short: Birds of a feather flock together.

I was going to post her introduction somewhere on-line for easier analysis but thought better of it. Get the book, read it for youself, tell me I am full of shit, whatever.

I am still waiting for Generation Us.

From what I have read I can see clearly that Andrew knows his stuff and knows what has to be done. I could quibble with the editorial quality - his books are nowhere near as carefully put together as Peter Sale's Our Dying Planet - but the material is all there.

I guess it comes back to the ways in which those of us who understand what is happening and what is coming out of it deal with despair. That's it really. Andrew seems to have been taking comfort with a certain flock. I know how it is in Victoria, did a few shifts there, anywhere handy to the university is permanently frozen solid. Have to wait and see what is to be found in Generation Us.

Still and all - Why have our leaders not acted on these clear warnings? Ai ai ai! 
Seven year itch I guess, this blogging business. When I was developing computer systems I had a (glad) vision of helping to make the world a more rational and accessible place, even the stuff I did for the oil barons. Nonsense as it turns out. And the Internet, Netscape Navigator, then Google with their 'No Evil' and all, the (always coming but never here) open-source. It was reasonable to think of a discussion, exchange of ideas, progress (in my limited understanding of progress). Now it seems that even email just reinforces most people's unwillingness and inability to read and understand. Making principles of incapacities. Bollocks! All bollocks!

There has not been one single conversation come out of this blog in all these seven and more years. On the contrary, old friends, even family, who would tell me they were following it never said anything serious, and eventually stopped talking to me altogether. The vast majority of comments are spam. Another wasteland.


One would have to call it a bust.

Spiral heart.There once was a man named Moby Dick
Who had the misfortune to be born with a corkscrew prick
And all of his life he did search and hunt
To find a woman with a corkscrew cunt;
But when he found her he dropped down dead -
The son of a bitch had a left-hand thread.

That's what they do I guess, what we do, fat old farts washed up on the stinking beach: reminisce on the glory days, complain, converse with dead people, remember (and when memory fades, imagine) big white smiles in black faces, somehow get the seratonin level back up into positive numbers.

Sumac, March 25.Sumac, March 11.But hey! One of the sumac sprouts in my defunct garden has come to life again! How did it know? I thought not being frozen all winter had done them in. Up (comes) the Sumac!

I am sorry to be such a know-nothing shit head gentle reader. I am kinder up-close - of course almost no one comes there anymore, a few friends in Brasil, by email. Harmony [河蟹] is coming.

"Practice ressurection," says Wendell Berry; a Christian meme. "No matter, try again, fail again, fail better," says George Orwell in a more secular tone. "Read books, repeat quotations," says our Bob, "draw conclusions on the wall."

An up side is that daylight savings time changes no longer upset me - my circadian clock is so fucked that it just makes no difference.That's it gentle reader. :-) I'm not, literally, actually, a sumac (yet) and I hardly notice.

Be well.
[It's not true. I was mistaken. I DO notice, and as in all the years in the past (that I can remember) I send a curse to the class of bureaucrats who imagine they can manipulate time (and to all those who pay them to do it).]

1. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues excerpt 'Special Bonus Parable', Tom Robbins, 1976.
2. Umwelt preface, Keith Eccleston, April 1969.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues excerpt 'Special Bonus Parable', Tom Robbins, 1976.

Special Bonus Parable

In a place out of doors, near forests and meadows, stands a jar of vinegar–the emblem of life.

Confucius approaches the jar, dips his finger in and tastes the brew.

"Sour," he says.

"Nonetheless, I can see where it could be very useful in preparing certain foods."

Buddha comes to the vinegar jar, dips in a finger and has a taste.

"Bitter," is his comment.

"It can cause suffering to the palate, and since suffering is to be avoided, the stuff should be disposed of at once."

The next to stick a finger in the vinegar is Jesus Christ.

"Yuk," says Jesus.

"It's both bitter and sour. It's not fit to drink. In order that no one else will have to drink
it, I will drink it all myself."

But now two people approach the jar, together, naked, hand in hand. The man has a beard and woolly legs like a goat. His long tongue is slightly swollen from some poetry he's been reciting. The woman wears a cowgirl hat, a necklace of feathers, a rosy complexion.

Her tummy and tits bear the stretch marks of motherhood; she carries a basket of mushrooms and herbs. First the man and then the woman sticks a thumb into the vinegar. She licks his thumb and he hers. Initially they make a face, but almost immediately they break into wide grins.

"It's sweet," they chime.

Umwelt preface, Keith Eccleston, April 1969.

               the reader the writer  :  one  smple plextext'us
               DRUMMOXSEZ!          (theis readder rights)

               YOUR NAME INLIGHT?
your poems are          PLEASE!
your prooems             please?
your pomes
                                     are knockious  .
let in?
               to my peur lamsbed?       (your peaces of come are
                                                                  droppings low)
KNOW!       (the redder rites)

               Go thic leeches! What means this (s)p(l)ay
               ing with my wierds?
               (will's son missspell(ing)     RECEIVE so eve
               recs i after seeing)
               eden he kn ought breech the LAW of Muspellrime)
               Pawits! emittaries of the commonterm
                              agens of the politeburrow Lucius

never mind.

(y)our cerebration of wit'suntidy mess will bring
               b   light
            ((alb)orotar es junto a
              (alb)orozar)               (writhes the reacher)
niever monde.

               be naieve in night nigh wor(l)ds               (o hum)
               an perhappenings the whirld's end
               with a sigh               tuuuuuuuuus               that breath
outlet with all my ploysuns in again

               The Cant is   :   "things that love night/love
                                               not such nigh(t)s as this."
                                                            (III ,ii , 42-43)
"Let's in" saith then that Fool.
                                                            (the wreather wretches
                                                              the wrider wights

(the parts of the reader was plaid by keith eccleston
who has withheld his name
for fear he"d be permitted.

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