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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hunting of the Snark

I’ve always wondered why Lewis Carroll’s wonderful poem, The Hunting of the Snark – an Agony in Eight Fits – has never been redone, rewritten in a modern version, with modern references and people. It seems to lend itself to revision, at least to my eyes. Perhaps it’s because this sort of whimsical, satirical poem is not […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown

I’ve watched three of the four productions in the 2012 TV series, The Hollow Crown, this past week, and am greatly impressed by the productions and the acting. Wonderful, rich stuff. The series consists of the second Shakespeare tetralogy, the Henriad: Richard II; Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, each roughly two hours […]

Melissa Fong: Activist Killjoy: Vancouver Arts is getting pennies from Developer CACs

I know everyone in the arts community is celebrating this news: City hall is bringing some relief to Vancouver’s embattled arts community, which has for years complained about a lack […]

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Unmaking Global Capitalism

When Marx famously declared that while the philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it, he was asserting that it was not enough to dream of another world nor to understand the dynamics of the present. It was critical above all to address the question of agency in carrying out transformative change. For Marx, that agent was the working class. The gap between workers’ needs and their actual lives — between desire and reality — gave workers an interest in radical change, while their place in production gave them the leverage to act.

The fundamental contradiction of (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: WWHWWWH

WWHWWWH is one of two formulae I need to keep in mind when working through my scales on the ukulele and guitar. The other is 2122122. I see the musicians among you already recognize what these mean. I still need to have these written on a sticky note so I will remember when I practice. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Three Stooges

I bought a DVD set called The Ultimate Three Stooges this weekend.* I was rather surprised that even 20 DVDs could not contain all of the film work the trio (more on that, below) put together in their long career. But it does contain the core – and the very best – of their work, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Song arrangements for CPLUG

I have arranged several songs for our local ukulele group (CPLUG – the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group) over the recent months, and put them online for our members and for any other ukulele aficionados. The most recent was prepared for our May 21 get-together. Links are below. Some of these are my own arrangements […]

Politics, Re-Spun: “Those Mainlanders” and other racist ways to start a sentence

I was at a restaurant with friends a few weeks ago. The conversation was kind of slow, so I mentioned my plans for travelling to Hong Kong next year and asked for advice on which attractions to visit.

One of the members of the group took this as an opportunity to talk about all the annoying “Mainlanders” – a term referring to people from Mainland China – I should be wary of during my visit.

“Mainlanders go to Hong Kong to show off their money. They’ll go into an LV boutique and say to the sales assistants, ‘I’ll take all the bags in the store except these (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How many chords?

How many chords does a musician need to know? How many does an amateur musician who plays mostly popular, folk and blues music, need to know? My first answer has always been, “all of them” because you never know when you need them. But that’s not realistic. After all, there are thousands of chords you […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Random grumblings for a Sunday afternoon

Why can’t I buy Yorkshire Gold tea in town? I can buy Barry’s tea, from Ireland, and Morse’s tea packaged in Nova Scotia locally. As well as other brands. Surely someone can bring in Yorkshire Gold… Barry’s tea is nice: a bit on the robust side, which we like, but the tea bags could use a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading music and music theory

I write about reading a lot, because I read a lot of books. There are other kinds of reading – other languages, too – that I don’t write much about. Reading music is one of them. It’s a different language; a symbolic language with its own grammar, punctuation and rules. As far as reading music […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: More reasons to read

On the Inside Higher Ed website, Joshua Kim recently asked the question, When do you find the time and energy to read books? That surprised me. What energy does reading take? It’s not like running, or swimming or playing sports. Sitting down in a comfortable chair, cat on the lap, cup of tea at hand, […]

Melissa Fong: #VanCulturalSpaces @VisionVancouver event summary: “Protecting Vancouver’s Cultural Spaces: How we can preserve culture in a growing city”

I Live Tweeted the Vision Vancouver-sponsored event “Protecting Vancouver’s Cultural Spaces: How we can preserve culture in a growing city”- You can search the hashtag #VanCulturalSpaces for related tweets on the event. It […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Just Six Songs?

Author, musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says all music can be classified into a mere six types of song. That’s part of the premise in his 2009 book, The World in Six Songs. I recently started reading it and it has opened some interesting areas of thought for me.* A mere six fundamental themes in […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Pseudo-patriotic madness

This is news, right from the CBC, not April Fool or The Onion: The Massachusetts House of Representatives has finally granted initial approval to a Bill naming the Fluffernutter the official state sandwich. The bill was filed in 2006 by then Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, in response to a motion by State Senator Jarrett Barrios limiting […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Help Conservative Senators Stop Harper’s Banana Republic

Emperor Stephen Harper and his double double.

Interesting times indeed.

8 Conservative senators have decided that Emperor Stephen Harper has no clothes. The Emperor has whipped and intimidated his backbench, cabinet and senators for a long time. Senator Hugh Segal stood up to him on bad legislation. Though he left the senate.

Jim Flaherty stood up to him on how bad a public policy that family income splitting would be. I think he quit politics to avoid the idiocy of Harper firing him from his finance ministry to replace him with the lacklustre lapdog Joe Oliver.

Now we have 8 (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Manners, bloody manners

I was in a local grocery store not long ago, standing mid-aisle and peering at shelves of canned products, trying to find the ones I wanted for my cart. As I reached out to snag a can in front of me, a cart appeared between me and the display. To my right, a woman – talking […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The difficult art of reading poetry

Synecdoche. Metonymy. Not exactly words that trip lightly off the tongue. Unless, I suppose, you’re Harold Bloom. Those are two of the four fundamental tropes in literature, Bloom tells us. Identified originally by Kenneth Burke, who, as Bloom calls him, was a “profound student of rhetoric.” Bloom references Burke in his introduction to The Best […]

Melissa Fong: Electronic music, raves & Toronto’s moral panic on drugs

…they do the work because they want to re-produce the type of city they want to live- the type of city that is worth living in. … …not all entertainment is built the same- some of these very worth while performers and promotors can’t jump through your hoops, or will grow tired doing so. These local, smaller-name talent will seek other places with fewer restrictions- and those other cities, their citizens and tourism will benefit from it. You have local artists just trying to build a city they want to live it- why are you squashing their efforts? One of the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Oooh, shiny….

Religious texts are full of admonitions about avoiding temptation. The Lord’s Prayer tells God to “lead us not into temptation.” Fat lot of good that does. Not only do we lead ourselves there, we go willingly and eagerly. Pushing and shoving aside those who stand in our way to reach temptation. Ever see the crowds […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: Mad As Hell

I got up this morning to a fog rolling into the city. It’s not from rain, or from temperature change or any other natural reason for a hazy day. It’s because I live in Beijing, and the pollution levels are on the rise today. Jumping a few dozen points between 8:00 and 9:00am. The AQI is 249 at the time of writing this.

I made tea, and watched the latest episode of VICE, which only further disgruntled me with its expose on the scrapers working legally and illegally in America’s industrial towns, taking apart once booming factories to sell the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading: A Canadian tragedy… or not?

The map above might show the making of a serious tragedy for Western and especially Canadian culture. It indicates in colour which nations read the most. Yellow is the second lowest group. Canada is coloured yellow. In this survey, Canada ranks 10th – from the bottom! Twenty countries above us have populations which, on the […]

Things Are Good: Indigenous Food and Cultural Protection

Food and ecosystem knowledge which has been passed down for centuries is constantly threatened by the modern mechanical market. To stymie this change in food (and knowledge) consumption there is a global effort to protect the sanity of food and related support systems.

The significance of sacred foods. Many indigenous communities have certain foods—including corn, taro, and wild rice—that are considered sacred and have profound teachings and practices associated with them. One of the most significant ways that indigenous peoples have demonstrated a respectful relationship to their sacred foods is through sustainable land and water practices. Because these totem foods (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: If the 1% Has Russell Brand Killed…

If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.

Why?

He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.

Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:

His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)