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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Philosophical Moment - Courtesy Monty Python

Friday, March 23, 2007

Poetry from sunny Spain

PublishCordoba, Spain (photo by Zoey)

My daughter is in Cordoba, Spain on a several month exchange. The young woman she lives with (Myriam) lived with us in Canada for three months in the fall. We talk now and then and we email a bit too.
Today Zoey sent a poem she wrote - I like it.


Crease of my palm,
holds blue ink.

Holds history, and home.

Shed my skin, cell by cell.

Somehow, the memories stay.
They´re not of my mind,

they´re the stories that are told
by my fingerprints,

by my chewed nail,

this writing callus.

I cant lose, re use, recycle, or deny

it's why I sit here
and appear as I do,

to eyes

seen and unseen

to minds

lost and redeemed.

This hand.

From mother, father, child and lover

of earth and air,
release and despair.

I owe this hand

my secrets and lies

the things it unties
in my heart
and my mind

by the simple task
of holding
this pen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Distracted, but not gone...

I've been a bit distracted with life and all, so the blog has been neglected a little. I haven't signed off (like the Pope seems to have - Ask the Pope). It's an interesting relationship I have with this blog and with many of you. I never expected to feel so responsible and never expected to feel real friendship with such a number of 'strangers'. Some of my close blogger friends (Nerdine, Jublu, Madcap, DA, PT) have also taken breaks now and then.

Keep checking in and I'll be back to being more regular (sounds like an ad for fibre).

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with some graffite from London - R-rated and interesting too...(click on it to see it larger).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Thai Pirates Strike ... Story Results

Kris and Ryan - fresh from the high seas

My son Ryan (19) is in Thailand. We hadn't heard from him for a while when this email arrived (to a large group of his friends also). What do you think? Should I be off to rescue him or should I be looking for an editor and illustrator?

Subject: Fishtales

So last you all heard from me I had just arrived back from Koh Surin
islands, and they were wonderful!

Well, a lot has happened and changed since then, where to start...

Kris and I decided to head to another island after being back on the
mainland for a couple of days. We headed to Ranong where to catch a
boat to Koh Chang. But as we all learn in life, plans often have a way of
ripping at the seams.

We boarded the boat early in the morning (this was a good three weeks ago
now), and headed off as planned. About an hour into the ride the wind
picked up and heavy clouds started rolling in - the rain was soft at
first, but started pelting down hard in a few minutes. Things were shaky and
one older white woman got sick overboard. The driver stayed calm, but I had
the feeling that things were gonna be bad. Some of the tourists were
freaking out, but there was a group of Germans who were so drunk that
the whole thing was just a big joke to them. This made me feel at ease.

To shorten things, I will say that instead of trying to make it to Koh
Chang, the driver decided to stop on the nearest island we came across.
There was no beach so we smashed up against the rocks. The boat got a hole
in it, and cell phone service was out on the island.

We spent four days living happily off the food that was in the boat for Koh
Chang, but things got tense when the rations ran low. On the 5th day
we spotted a boat on the horizon. It stopped a little ways off the island
and sent a smaller boat to us. Kris and I were among the first on
board and were taken safely onto the ship. Little did we know at this point
that there are such things as Nomadic Thai Pirates.

Only 6 of the people on the island cared to get on board with the pirates,
who definitely were a wild group, although they seemed friendly enough to
me. Kris and I decided to get on board because when the shipwrecked Germans
finally ran out of beer, things started getting a little crazy on the mystery

We were told by Meena, the only English speaking pirate, that we'd be able to
get to the mainland with them, but maybe not for a couple weeks. We agreed.
Captain Diu (deeyu) wore a long jacket and actually looked like a Thai
version of Captain Jack Silver. I was quite surprised. While on board with
the pirates we even were able to partake in a couple of raids. We raided a
boat returning from Burma on our second day on board and stole a lot of
Myanmar brand rum. That is when things became somewhat hazy, and when I
learned that Meena, the pirate wench, is a transvestite. Now I know what you
are all thinking, you sick people, but no, it just came up in conversation.

The clothes I had were torn to shreds after only a few days on the boat. I
was given some authentic homemade Thai pirate wear to sport on the open sea
around the same time my clothing deteriorated, I became used to the
constant rocking of the ship and sea sickness.

One night, not long ago, we were on the boat playing Jenga and drinking rum.
One of the cockiest crew members, named Daeng challenged Captain Diu to a
game of Jenga, and said that the winner would take Gaeng (one of the wilder
woman on deck, who happened to be the Captain's partner) for his own. The
rum was poured and the game set out on a table. We all gathered around and
ate fish off the bone. The game went on and on and the blocks were piled
high, everything was getting very wobbly (the constant rock of the boat
didn't help things) and as Captain Diu was gently sliding a block from the
stack, Daeng coughed and sneezed a huge sneeze, the table shook slightly and
then CRASH, that was it.

Daeng jumped up shouting "YOU LOSE! YOU LOSE!.... SHE'S MINE! GET OVER HERE
GAENG AND LET ME TAKE YOU NOOOWWW!!" (or at least I reckon that is a fairly
accurate translation) because Captain Diu jumped up and accused Daeng of
cheating. Within seconds the swords were drawn and I was witnessing my first
live pirate duel, how exciting! I won't go into gory detail, but the blood
spilled, and rumours of "till-the-death" are true... I even helped hoist
Daeng's body overboard.

Just three days ago we finally arrived back to the mainland, and honestly, I
had a hard time saying goodbye, these people took me in during a time of
need and I owe them for it.

Well.... I hope life back home or wherever your feet are holding you is
going well for each of you special spirits, and once again I apologize for
such a long email. If you ever get the chance to spend a couple weeks on a
Thai pirate ship, drinking, dancing, and raiding ships on the open sea, I
hope you do it!

Love all a ya'll


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The sound of freedom and rights...

As Lindsay noted in his comment on my last post, some reversals of rights-infringing laws have taken place recently in Canada. These are laws put in place in the name of security, but which human rights groups, civil rights organizations and level-headed citizens believe go too far. We're not talking a blatant Guantanamo Bay or extraordinary rendition (kidnapping and secretly flying people to hidden jails), but every infringement is a risk to a free society.

Last week, our Supreme Court determined that Security Certificates went against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and gave the government a year to re-write the law. These certificates, once issued against a foreign national or permanent resident, lead to detention without charge, a secret hearing without witnesses or a requirement to reveal evidence...and then lead indefinite detention or deportation without notice...including to countries known to torture. There are currently 5 men detained under these. The government will now have to find a balance, where at minimum, the detained with have counsel and the counsel will be security-cleared to see the evidence and act on thedetainee's behalf. Amnesty worked very hard with others on this and my good friend Michael Bossin (hi Michael) presented our oral case before the Supreme Court (pro-bono I might add). He's a eloquent devil, that Michael!

Other good news. A federal judge in Canada ruled on another case saying that under no circumstances should Canada deport any person to known or likely torture.

And as Lindsay pointed out, our government motion was defeated this week in extended some element of the Ant-Terrorism criminal law (call it preventative detention powers for the police, in simple terms).

Now if we can get some charges going in Canada for complicity in aiding the US kidnapping-flights in Canadian airspace (and landing), it will be a very nice roll we're on. Germany and Italy have already beat us on this one - charging national and U.S. citizens with crimes.

Two steps forward - one step back... humanity's approach to progress - if we're vigilant.

And I'm proud of our Court - see their smiling faces above.

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