Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Madcap's Haiku Prize (for those who asked)
It was a carefully selected novel, written by a friend of mine in Nelson and (I think) very tuned to Madcap's wonderful sense of place, time and land.
It is Treading Water, by Anne DeGrace. You might like it too.
Congrats Madcap - enjoy!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Man with Tall Hat versus Amnesty International
The Pope and his boys now are instructing all Catholics to stop supporting Amnesty. Those guys! What a barrel of fun they are. They'd make good dads I'm sure...
I was involved in the decision-making process here in Canada and we know that we will lose some supporters, those who are opposed to abortion in any circumstances. We have also gained supporters, who wonder how a human rights organization cannot campaign on such a fundamental woman's issue.
Even though it's a grassroots democratic organization, gaining or losing supporters is not the business of Amnesty - working to promote human rights and address grave injustice is.
Here's a terrific article by one of my favourite Canadian journalists - Heather Mallick.
Weigh in if you want to...
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Dirty Tricks as Bush and Harper Snuggle (Senor Calderon is in bed too)
The only advisory group to the Three Amigos is a round table of corporate execs - get the picture? Free flow of capital, less regulation, commodification of all things social (health care, education, the environment, etc.) And put up a big wall to keep the so-called terrorists out. Nice...
Now we have learned that the violent protest outside the gates may well have been prompted by police agents (story). Friends of mine were there, protesting peacefully.
Let's be sure to boot Harper and his cronies out as well as Bush and Co.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
11th Annual Gentlemens Cruisa Palooze
In addition to the tomfoolery you might expect from men in their 30s to 60s - fart jokes, drinking, testing herbal medicine, card games, fishing, hiking and jumping in the lake - we also have good conversation around the fire and learn lots about each other.
The area of BC I live in is here. Come visit sometime!
Friday, August 17, 2007
HAIKU PRIZE AWARDED!
Each poet's name was written on a slip of paper and put in the handmade wooden box (Zoey's school project). The box was shaken (not stirred) and a name was carefully and blindly selected.
The winner is Madcap!
I must say that this is fitting as one of her recent posts is a poem that is most wonderful (see the photo of the raspberry on her site and you're there). Once I have a mailing address, the prize package will be on its way. The contents are entirely unpredictable (just ask previous winners).
The submitted haiku:
Explosion of grouse
Stopped my heart altogether
Then - fast as their wings
Monday, August 13, 2007
THE BEAT WAS KEPT...
Hand-painted sign hanging near the park entrance (click to see larger).
My daughter Zoey played a set of her songs, with Ben on bass, Laura helping with vocals and Nick on guitar (Zoey's at the piano). I'm biased, but it was a great set.
There was some rockin' going on later in the evening! (I don't remember all those damn bubbles though....)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Rights of Indigenous Peoples - action opportunity
Within weeks, the United Nations General Assembly must make a decision on the long awaited and urgently needed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Either the international community will move ahead with final adoption as has been urged by Indigenous peoples and their supporters worldwide, or adoption of the Declaration will once again be delayed due to the demands of a small, yet vocal group of states (guess who?).
Please take this opportunity to support the Declaration (petition here).
More than 18,000 individuals and organizations have already signed a global petition hosted by Amnesty International Canada in support of the Declaration. If you haven't already done so, please add your name and encourage many others to do so.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Time to lighten up - Haiku ... and a prize
- 5 syllables
- 7 syllables
- 5 syllables
...usually with some reference to nature (not required by Withinsight).
THE THEME: 'A summer morning'
THERE IS A PRIZE. I will award it by drawing names out of my little wooden box (the one I keep arrowheads in, but that's another post).
Here's something to start you off...
Water and sky touch
Ghost mist off Kootenay Lake
Sun rays heat my brow
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The Life of Brian...
As I read, I began to notice that a lot of the identifying characteristics of these Mormon spin-offs are parallelled in the Christian fundamentalist churches and often find a place in a general way in the mainstream Republican conservative movement, (though not, I hasten to add, paedophilia). These social entities would claim no kinship with one another theologically, historically, politically or socially. I thought the Mormons weird, extreme and stupid, so I was surprised to recognize so much of their strangeness elsewhere. I am not surprised that Christian fundamentalists are weird, just that they are weird in many of the same ways as Mormons.
Here are some of the common themes I found:
First, anti-intellectualism. There is an almost universal denial of science, and the elevation of belief over fact, and sometimes a denigration of knowledge in general. There is rejection without debate of any objection, or even questions relating to matters of faith. To suggest that there is anything that is not perfect is to call into question the foundation of the whole edifice. It seems that in all cases the fall back position in terms of knowing ‘what to believe and how to behave’ is an individualistic interpretations of ambiguous historical writings. (In the case of Republicans, just think of the Constitution.) In all areas of behaviour obedience is demanded, not understanding, (with the consequent dilemma: how can you know what is demanded unless you have some understanding of it?) These features may be common to most religions, but as we go on, other things begin to emerge and it gets more interesting.
Individual rights. There generally exists a belief in the domination of individual rights over community rights which is often evidenced in a denial of the authority of the state. The God given right, and it is God given in most cases, to use force, most boldly characterized by support of the right of the individual to carry and, in the event of opposition by others, to use a gun. In many ways this is parallelled in US foreign policy.
Individual rights issues have a couple of sub-themes. First is the notion of male dominance in family relationships, usually with the rest of the family having duties to the ‘head of the family’ and he having different and often fewer duties to them. The common rejection of abortion is an easily identified further example. (Usually expressed in terms of the rights of the foetus, but actually flowing, I believe, from the evolutionary value for the male in having his genetic line maintained.) The other off shoot is a rejection of ‘otherness’. This is noteworthy in strong homophobia and its companion, hatred of same-sex marriage, and is further evident in varieties of racism and a general xenophobia.
Finally, I noted materialism. There seems to be a common belief in the positive value of material things, to the extent that God’s pleasure can be measured by one’s material success. As a consequence there is commitment to the values of hard work, honesty, and commitment at the expense of creativity, relaxation, and undeserved pleasure.
It seems to me that narcissism is a factor common to all of the above. They all serve to elevate self and self interest above any and all competitors. So why, I asked myself, do these different belief systems all promote narcissism? Then came the aha moment. The religions do not promote narcissism. The narcissism promotes the religions. Mormonism, Pentecostalism (et al), and Republicanism do not cause people to be narcissistic. Those are simply different ways to exercise that same psychology. It is their narcissism that causes them to create and promulgate these faiths.
Okay, now here is my real question: What the hell is it that makes so many Americans so self-important (not all of course)? I know that some of this seeps over the border and infects us, but it appears to have its genesis to the south. I seem to remember reading about the frontier experience having a strong influence on U.S. character. Maybe that is part of the answer. Have you read anything that addresses this issue?