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Dead Wild Roses: Bullying and the enforcement of normal

Via Shakesville, I stumbled across this powerful and insightful article about bullying among school kids. As somebody who grew up bookish, queerish, funny-looking, and with poor mastery of social skills and “appropriate” gender performance, this totally resonated with me.

The furthest I have come is to accept that I have both been bullied and a bully, both oppressed and oppressor, and that I have thoroughly soaked in a definition of “normal” that I am still trying to undo, day by day. Some of that “normalization” has been enforced by other marginalized people, too — even my own friends — which (Read more…)

Scripturient: Another Archy Poem

Most of Don Marquis’ Archy pieces were written in lowercase. The literate cockroach, we learned, would stand on the typewriter and dive, head first, onto the keys. But this way, he couldn’t use the shift key to get capital letters or punctuation (he did get capital letters, once, when Marquis left the shift-lock on the […]

Scripturient: Killing Our Culture

Collingwood has killed Jazz & Blues at the Station – a popular, long-running, local cultural event second in audience only to the Elvis Festival. It brought some of Ontario’s top jazz and blues talent to play at the Museum. The hundreds of people assembled every Wednesday for the free concert – sometimes more than 400 […]

Scripturient: Great Minds, Small Minds

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. That quote has been attributed online to Eleanor Roosevelt in the images shared by people too lazy to check the facts. And like so many other quotations that circulate on social media, it’s not by the person claimed. As far as has been determined, […]

Dead Wild Roses: John Hari on Addiction – Isolating Addicts is not the Answer

This is taken from the interview titled: Does Capitalism Cause Drug Addiction? The piece that I am going to excerpt is about how we view addiction in society. If we are to believe Hari, it isn’t about a failure in moral rectitude or falling into a drug laden trap of compulsion; but rather it is the atomization and rampant consumerism in society that causes the addictions we see today.

“Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. The drug war is certainly not what we’ve been told it is. And (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Thoughts on our Busy Society – The Amazing Power of “No”

You would think that this would be fairly high up on the time management scale of useful ideas. Some common sense about our over-busy life.

Filed under: Culture Tagged: Carson Tate, Overbusy, Think Big

Dead Wild Roses: Black Mom’s Tell White Mom’s About “The Race Talk”.

Women will bring peace to the world (if men don’t destroy it first) and they shall do it through understanding and listening to each other. Listen to the power of their words.


“Ten black mothers sat on the stage in an auditorium and looked into a diverse crowd of women in the audience. They were about to share something personal and hurtful with this room full of mostly strangers.

They were going to talk about something they didn’t normally share with their white friends or colleagues.

It was about to get real in that room.

In the aftermath (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels

Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they more […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything

I have been reading an entertaining little book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which, as the title suggests, is about the pervasive influence the Bard has had on pretty much everything in our lives ever since he started putting quill to paper. Stephen Marche’s book was described in the NatPost as a, “sprightly, erudite sampling […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Too Many Books?

Tim Parks* wrote an intriguing essay in the New York Review of Books last week with that title. My first thought on seeing it was to wonder if one can ever have too many books. But of course, Parks – an author himself  – is looking at the bigger picture, not the ever-growing collection that […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Musical Sources

Trying learn a song from an old songbook or sheet music can be difficult unless you already know how the song goes. Many of our group are introduced to the music in our songbook only through my version when I play in at our meetings. And, I admit, my version may not always reflect the original […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Defining Classical Music

I listen to classical music a lot, even more than before since the arrival of the new classical FM station in Collingwood. But while my listening at home is through a selected collection of CDs, the content played on radio – internet radio included – is more eclectic. Airplay often includes soundtracks, music from musicals, even […]

Dead Wild Roses: How Equal Do We Want the World? – Dan Ariely

More than you’d think really. Human beings seem to intrinsically value fairness and equality and yet, as of today have constructed societies based on moving as far away as possible from any sort of equitable norm.

Take note of the piece on John Rawls and how using the Veil of Ignorance idea as a cognitive filter for making decisions. I think it is a great idea adding to the list of processes one should go through in making tough decisions in the personal, moral and political sphere.

Filed under: Culture, Education, Ethics Tagged: Dan Ariely, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Jonathan Zittrain – Wikipedia Works Well in Practice, Just Not In Theory

It is kind of amazing how Wikipedia manages to survive given all the anti-reality tendencies of the human race. Religion, extreme right and left politics – wikipedia manages to muddle through most of the time and present a version of truth that is mostly acceptable. More amazing is that the editors are more or less, like you and me.

Listen and watch Zittrain explain how the useful Wikipedia is and how it could be used in the future as a hands on tool for participatory citizenship.

Filed under: Culture, Technology and Computers Tagged: Jonathan Zittrain, Wikipedia

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Dead Wild Roses: War On Drugs Still a Losing Battle

Why are drugs still illegal? I wrote a while ago about the success of Portugal, where all drugs were legalized, and the money previously used to enforce drug laws were instead used to fund social programs to help those with drug problems. Not only was Portugal’s drug abuse problem significantly reduced, but HIV and crime rates plummeted as well. It has been almost 15 years since Portugal started their non-prohibition experiment, with revolutionary results, and yet other countries still refuse to let go of their self-defeating War on Drugs.

I have recently read a fantastic interview with Johann Hari, on Sam (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in Canada. I don’t know if this gets widespread acknowledgement much less appreciation among the public and in the schools, but it should. Poetry is an important part of our cultural lives, although it seems to me our collective passion for it has waned over the past few decades. I […]

Canadian Dimension: No One Is Free Until All Are Free

Illustration by Denitza Tchacarova

This column is adapted from a talk Chris Hedges gave Friday night at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bad Thinkers and the Unknown Knowns

I came across an interesting piece on bad thinking online recently. In it, the author argues some of the points I’ve mentioned in the past about people who believe in conspiracy theories, gossip and other online codswallop: The problem with conspiracy theorists is not, as the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein argues, that they have […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading Ukulele Tabs

One of the things I want to discuss in our upcoming CPLUG workshop is how to read tab sheet music. In this post I’ve give you some pointers so you can practice on your own. It’s worth learning to read tabs because it gives you the ability to play melodies and solo pieces without having […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lucy and the 10% Brain Myth

We watched the film Lucy on iTunes last night and, while reasonably entertaining, its plot is founded on a persistent bit of pseudoscience: that people only use 10% of their brain capacity. It’s so widespread a myth that Wikipedia has a page on it that opens: The 10 percent of the brain myth is the widely perpetuated […]

Dead Wild Roses: Forced Birthers On the University of Alberta Campus

Well it had to happen sooner or later, the viciously anti-woman contingent of local forced birth brigade came to campus with their misleading fetus porn and all the lovely related argument for women to be incubators first and people second.

Thankfully the feminist and queer communities counter demonstrated to help push back some of the nonsense being spread.

Helpful hints for the local forced birth advocates.

Filed under: Canada, Culture, Feminism Tagged: Forced Birth Advocate Fail, Helpful Hints, Pro-Life Bullshit, Universtiy of Alberta

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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Revised Chord Wheel

I have revised my transposing chord wheel/circle of fifths tool this week. It is now a three-ring version for use by all musicians (ukulele players who want to learn music theory or work on arranging songs especially). You can click on the image on the right to download the PDF. The outer ring shows the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ukulele Festival Coming in May!

It’s official: the Canada Ukes ukulele festival will be held right around the corner from Collingwood: in Midland at the Midland Cultural Centre, May 22-24. Three days of ukuleleness, featuring Ralph Shaw, Stevie McNie (leader of Toronto’s Corktown Ukulele), The Skinnydippers and others. Performances, jams and workshops galore! Vendors, too. Early bird tickets for the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Why Elvis Matters to Collingwood

There are some things that are pointless to argue, it seems. Creationism with a fundamentalist. Anti-vaccination with a New Age wingnut. Reason and logic with local bloggers. The value of the Elvis Festival to Collingwood with a closed-minded resident. I recently heard complaints about the cost of the 2014 festival: $74,000. More than double what […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ukulele Workshop Today

I just returned from Orangeville where Broadway Music hosted a two-and-a-half hour musical workshop this Saturday by Manitoba Hal today (which will be followed by his concert tonight from 8-11 p.m. – try to attend, if you can: he’s very talented). Very informative and well worth attending. Interestingly, at least half the participants were my […]