Friday 13 July 2012


Up, Down. 
Wasserman (edited) on Lies & Integrity.Wasserman (edited) on Lies & Integrity.
[Apologies to Dan Wasserman. The original is here.]

Não sou de Ninguém, in the São José do Norte harbour, 2008.Music to accompany: reprise of Tom Waits' Singapore. "I've fallen for a tawny Moor ... When you hear the steeple bell ... Heave away boys! Heave away!"

I love the way they talk: "The government's position as an advocate for nuclear power makes it difficult for the public to trust it as an impartial source of information," (British MPs in a report on Fukushima from the Guardian).

Ditto the rationale for subsidised Tar Sands development ... in fact, you name it, the entire institutional gamut, the whole Shitteree (!) is corrupt, as corrupt as can be. Nonsense raised to such a level beyond any epitome: the Titanic hits the iceberg and most of the passengers and crew drown - live on your TV & iPod!

Or ... 1: the British wring their hands and debate whether to reduce (?!) wind energy subsidies by 10% or 25% (here); and, 2: Thomas Lubanga, in the very first ICC judgement gets off with 14 years for his war crimes, less time served and with time off for 'good behaviour' - even if he loses his appeal he will be less than 60 when he gets out (Gets out?!); and, 3: Toronto firmly assumes the ostrich position on public transit (see here); and, 4: Stephen Harper will put those pesky scientists to work looking for the (elusive) adverse health effects of wind generation (see here) ... ad fucking infinitum. (For a more reasonable and composed view see here.)

It took fifty years to get here!? From there!? Bollocks!

I have a plan to save our children from an environmental holocaust. / A lucrative plan? / Yes. / Go ahead [and tell me then].I have a plan to save our children from an environmental holocaust. / A lucrative plan? / Yes. / Go ahead [and tell me then].

Sometimes the IISD ENB, the (Canadian) UN propaganda arm, inadvertently says something: "As one delegate remarked, 'the less you want to do about it, the more you talk about it.'"
(Thirtieth session of the Committee on Fisheries, COFI, of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO: Highlights for Tuesday, 10 July 2012)

[A note on process:    Striving for 150-200 words in a frame. It was also mentioned in the Guardian recently so why not? Bowing to the inevitable maybe. From the outset word processors have dealt best with a paragraph at a time if they're not too long, maybe two if they're short. Even in this (smaller, shorter) environment the slip-ups with HTML are numerous, but findable at least. Tractable towards local consistency, and there are advantages - switching easily back and forth from display text to HTML, getting two views side-by-each (thanks again Glen, and echoes of 'one side of one 8½ x 11 piece of paper'), montage and learning about the up side of cognitive dissonance.

Google search is so useless ... so, abandoning 'keywords' and working at completing the index to this blog. ... Polishing a turd? Maybe, and no guarantee that it will work much better. If I could just hook CTRL-F onto a mouse-click ...] 
In protestant Toronto of the day the old joke goes like this:    A Jewish father is teaching his little son confidence by having him jump down the stairs. He places the boy on the second step and says, “Jump, you can do it,” and the boy jumps and lands without falling. The father places him higher and higher on the stairs telling him, “Jump, you can do it.” Though the boy is more and more afraid, he trusts his father, does what he is told, and jumps and lands safely. Then the father puts him on a very high step, and the boy is too frightened to do it. "Jump, I'll catch you," says the father. He trusts his father and jumps, but the father steps back and the boy falls on his face. As he picks himself up his father says, "There, let that teach you never to trust a Jew, even if it’s your own father.”

Anti-Semitic and hardly funny; but the story is about trust not Jews or fathers or even fatherhood, and it is solidly welded into the social imaginary one way or the other.

In Matthew 7:9, the Sermon on the Mount, Christ asks: "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" And the honest answer is "not many perhaps, but yes, some." You can walk around and around it, build walls of doctrine & ideology, enforce faith and positive thinking with the death penalty if you like ... and still, some (many? most?) will give stones & serpents.

Even (giving us all the benefit of the doubt) out of ignorance or mistakenly making something true which might be but is not - and passing it on as received wisdom.

My my ... Is all (some? most?) of Steve Gardiner's ethics just pissing in the wind then? Hair splitting shadow work? 
[... polishing ... I am wondering if it is like having pretty tits? People used to tell me I was handsome and had a good singing voice. Not as repeatedly and earnestly (I don't imagine) as women with a certain pneumatic quality in their boobies get the message. Who knows? Having relatively recently acquired them (the old man variety) I may have a pleasant surprise in store (but not so far). So these tiny stories are exactly 'such as they are' - careful and conscious but not consistently down to 150-200 words yet. That's ok, just practicing, playing:]
Ottawa courthouse:    They take his children in this place, almost dismember them, rip at their limbs like some medieval torture machine, grind them in the wheels of justice. His daughter draws a picture of her dream - two fire-breathing dragons tearing apart their prey on a hilltop. It seems he is the only adult in the room when he stops it. "Alright then, take them," he tells the judge. And then tells her to fuck off (she wants money) and walks out. Barely makes it. She pushes her red button and he just slips past the two heavies coming down the hall to get him. Good thing he is wearing a three-piece suit and not running. It is the end.Bruce Garner, Due Process.

The kids could be worse. He never recovers. He thinks it saves them some grief at least; that's the best that can be said. He thinks they might eventually figgure it out but if they do they don't say.

His friend offers to sleep with him that night but he can't relate to her. Gets drunk instead and then stands looking at the stones in the statue's mouths until dawn. And again, often and often and often in the days and weeks and months and years, weeping. Oh yeah, he knows this place.

Grandfather:    Today is Sunday. There is a family story in which his grandfather as an altar boy attacks the priest with the censer during mass. The family pew is locked when they arrive the next week. The great-grandmother makes a separate peace somehow but the great-grandfather will not parley and so spends subsequent Sunday mornings walking with his son in the woods and fields. Maybe he is smoking his meerschaum cigar-pipe with rearing horses carved in full-relief on the back of the bowl. It is still here on the shelf though the amber stem is gone.

The next father takes his children to the woods and fields of a Sunday too he guesses, and the next: down the Belt Line to the Don Valley before the days of expressways, into ravines, Hog's Hollow, to the Credit River after they get the car, the Elora gorge.

Maybe the priest is a kiddie-diddler. That's not in the story so who can say? But does the boy just whack him over nothing then?

The Girl at Palmas:    One night he is drinking too much with some of the guys at Palmas, a sidewalk barzinho on Avenida Silva Paes. The woman who runs the place obviously wants to close but stays on 'for a regular'. A girl starts passing back and forth on the other side. They say, "that's not a girl," but he says, "yes it is," and eventually staggers over to see. She is wearing a short macramé skirt and nothing else and lifts it up with a smile. He takes her home. She flops back onto the bed. She wants 30. He gives her 50. She is enthusiastic and says, "I can cook too," so ... "come back tomorrow then," and her, "we can go shopping together."

Sure enough she calls and comes over, with creased pictures of her baby folded up and tucked into some invisible pocket. She sees the wallet on the table and quickly robs it, politely leaving the small bills and ID. He doesn't notice. When she says she is going to get more pictures to show him he waits on the doorstep for almost an hour.

They live in the neighbourhood. He sees her on the street. Sometimes he drinks at the bar on the corner where she comes in for smokes and soft drinks. The bartender gives her an approving look when her back is turned. He doesn't look though. He wants to but is afraid to say, "hello."

Morena:    The tall morena arouses his honest interest and admiration. She is a waitress at the local. He is looking for language tutorial and when the subject comes up she says, "Eu 'tou uma boa professora, mas falo rápido e só uma vez," (I am a good teacher, but I talk quickly and only say things once). He doesn't take her up on it, not quite a real offer or seems not to be. Shortly after she is fired for mysterious reasons.

She stays in his thoughts, then turns up at the shipyard as a welder-in-training, then appears with one of the engineers. He is pleased for her but one night out-and-about he comes across them and neither one says hello. An oblique situation, not overt but not unintentional. Next day the engineer denies all involvement. Years later he tells. How she moves into the hotel with him for a few months but stays behind when the project winds up and he leaves town.

Ski stories:    From a distance through the blue snowy air you can see trails cut into the side of the hill spelling out L O L. His father, one of the architects of this strange calligraphy, stops the car to point it out. They are on their way to the big party the year the deal is cut to go commercial; mid-50's sometime. He is a kid and does not know how to ski very well and so gets dumped on the bunny hill.

There is a microphone and PA system. A dare-devil is announced and ... There he comes! Dressed in flowing gauzy green veils, yodeling down the steepest parts. Airborne off every mogul and then crashing, spectacularly, again and again. Will he get up? How can he carry on? When he staggers to a stop there is so much applause and cheering that he makes a second run.

He spends the rest of the afternoon trying to imitate this green hero. No one notices. They stay in a cabin in the woods at a lodge with the magical name of Limberlost. There are elevated steam pipes running to the cabins which leak a bit making delicate sculptures of frost at the joints that shatter at the gentlest touch.

Ski Tow:    It is a Model-A Ford up on blocks facing away from the hill. The rope loops around one of the rear wheels (tire removed) and runs over some idlers to another wheel tied high up into a tree at the top. If it's not too busy and if the guy running it trusts you he can gun it and make a real ride with 'air' in the hollows and at the landing.

The 'expert' skiers have heavy leather mitts with wire embedded into the palms for grip. But he explains that this makes too much wear on the rope, and big rope like that is expensive. He is drinking something from a pocket flask, not hiding it but with his back turned.

Telemark:    They are skiing for the weekend near Huntsville. There is a T-bar where the Model-A rope-tow was the year before, and a big competition is going on somewhere nearby. Overnight it snows heavily and in the morning the hill is perfectly covered in many inches of new powder. It is early. The tow is just starting up. The hill is unmarked. It is cold enough that the snow squeaks underfoot. They are all laughing.

His father sets out to demonstrate a telemark turn. It is long and slow and graceful, arms held out from the shoulders, one leg trailing far behind - a ballet. But the snow is not as deep as it seems and he hits a rock and falls. One of his skis comes off and goes to the bottom before it stops.

Later on, at the lunch counter in the lodge, a man speaking in a heavy accent orders a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Everyone laughs. The short-order cook says archly, "Would you like that ... toasted?" He thinks for a moment and says, "Sure, why not?" His father says to him in a whisper, "That guy just won the giant slalom - let them laugh if they want to."


[Or ... you think you are doing one thing when you are really doing another thing altogether and the Guardian is really just shilling for Reader's Digest tyros.]

[Revisionism: It is tempting to revise the past, and easy in this blog environment. On second look, lack of capitals and punctuation seemed like an affectation so they have been approximately updated.] 
Trailer in Cleveland Texas.Trailer in Cleveland Texas.Trailer in Cleveland Texas.Juan & Maria's young daughter was repeatedly raped in this trailer in Cleveland Texas during the fall of 2010, over a period of weeks, months. The city fathers have now torn it down.

Twenty (or so) men and boys are on trial for the crime. Some, many, turned themselves in. Some, many, are making plea bargains.    And none of this is strange,
             ... except that is, that it is not strange.
My friend Simon was a carver. I wanted something to keep and asked him one day for an eagle hanging in his shop. He offered me a transformation mask instead - he may have wanted to keep the eagle because his assistant on it had been a lovely young woman we knew (one eye green and one bright blue). Like a fool I insisted and took the eagle. Years later he also gave me a maquette of Bear and Salmon made in some aromatic wood. My son has the eagle.

David Malouf's An Imaginary Life ... after a number of readings I still have no idea, and since there are large changes coming soon I am also tipped into dipping a finger or a toe at least into Ovid and his Metamorphosis (to see if there are any obvious dots to join up).

Either that or go to Ottawa and demonstrate with the scientists (here and here) which is ... almost enough to get me up to the bus station but not quite - I only leave this place to buy food and (cartons of) cigarettes these days; must be those subliminal despair effects kickin' in.

             Foole, thou thy Mother trusts in things vnknowne;
             And of a Father boasts that's not thy owne.
George Sandys' translation (1632).

 :-)Someone has hijacked Charles Taylor's email and is sending out spam asking for money. That's funny.

Experiment:    Find out when ceramic toilets were first manufactured. Get some samples, bowl fragments, covering the period, say, five. Section and microscopically analyse the surface crystallography. Any bets? (That there is an evident increase in porosity that is.)

Speaking of toilets ... Some things should not be funny (we may imagine in our anal moments) ... and then one day they just are funny; so here's Alzheimer's
'Vantage #10: "Vintners in the Hunter Valley area, who primarily produce Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a hybrid grape with anti-diuretic properties. The wine from this grape, which may reduce nocturnal micturition among the elderly, will be marketed as 'Pinot More'," (heard it through he grapevine).
Do you want to see my human prototype? / This is not my beautiful concept of a human. / Come with daddy, c'mon Amoeba.Do you want to see my human prototype? / This is not my beautiful concept of a human. / Come with daddy, c'mon Amoeba.

[Sometimes spam can be eloquent: "Racking your brain trying to find a solution for your erectile dysfunction?"]

Triskaidecaphilia, c'mon down!

Diverte-se. Be well.

Here, just for the halibut wrap your head around this - Dadaab, Kenya numbers of refugees as of July 2012 (explicitly including the 'Registered Somali Refugee Population', so actual figures are likely higher):

Dadaab, Kenya.Dadaab, Kenya.Dadaab, Kenya.Dadaab, Kenya.Dadaab, Kenya.         Individuals  Households

Dagahaley  118,680      34,570
Hagadera   136,537      43,092
Ifo        108,753      35,467
Ifo 2 East  32,189       7,979
Kambioos    14,389       3,212
Ifo 2 West  41,960      11,271
           =======     =======
           452,508     135,591

(That's 3⅓ individuals per household.) For perspective: Somalia, 10 million; Mogadishu, ~3 million; Kenya, 45 million.

The only half-ways good news that came to me lately is this from Lester Brown: Throwaway Economy Headed for Junk Heap of History.

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