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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Poems That Make You Cry

I cannot read Dylan Thomas’ poem, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night‘ without a lump in my throat. I read it at my father’s funeral, several years ago, so for me it has a personal context that retains its emotional impact. Many poems move me or touch my heartstrings, however, that have no such personal […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Camping’s madness carries on

Harold Camping has been dead for almost a year, but his legacy lives on. Not just in the broken dreams of his deluded followers, but in the many lives he destroyed through his madness. You would have thought that, having predicted the end of the world several times, and been wrong each one, because of the […]

Politics, Re-Spun: The CBC Respects Dignity Better than Corporate Media

Corporate media, being owned by corporations, needs to maximize shareholder wealth. That means news is a loss leader.

News is about generating sensationalism, excitement or hysteria.

News is about generating ratings to charge more for advertising to maximize shareholder wealth.

Thus, when the CBC characteristically doesn’t sensationalize something, it’s noted around the world.

CBC is owned by us, WE are the shareholders. WE maximize wealth by having high quality, respectful journalism that enhances dignity. Not like the Jerry Springer that corporate media has become.

So, read this, especially the last line:

Mansbridge, in sharp contrast to the frenetic, breathless delivery (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Reflections on a violent day in Ottawa

Photo from Public Domain

I often find it hard to feel empathy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But when I saw the grim picture of him talking on the phone following the end of his confinement in the locked down House of Commons yesterday, I sensed in him a vulnerability he rarely exhibits. Harper, like his fellow MPs, Parliamentary staff, media, visitors and children in the downstairs daycare, had likely hunkered down behind locked doors, no doubt traumatized by uncertainty when an armed gunman entered the building. Because no one knew who the gunman was after, all were potential targets. (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Thug Kitchen – Healthier Living for Everyone

The following post has a higher than usual amount of profanity (for DWR, anyway). You have been warned.

Eating right is hard. Eating horribly wrong is so very easy. Are we all doomed to clogged arteries, pickled livers, and malnourished obese children? No! Thug Kitchen is here to save us all! What started as an awesome blog is now a cookbook with it’s own trailer!

What makes Thug Kitchen so special? There are lots of health cook books out there, but you may have noticed a slightly unusual tone in the trailer. From the Thug Kitchen FAQ section:

[Thug (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: Girl Posts Selfie – Internet Retaliates

If you took any history 101 class, you may have heard of civil rights activist, and overall great guy, Martin Luther King, Jr.. And if you happened to be awake during your teacher’s lesson, you may have retained some of the brilliant and moving words Dr. King spoke, particularly his speech that included living “in a nation” that judges a person by the “content of their character”. And though these words were taken from a speech promoting civil rights and condemning racial segregation, being judged by the content of one’s character is apparently an ideal the internet has no coding (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Cold Mountain Poems

I first became aware of the Tang dynasty poet, Han Shan, in the late 1960s, when I was engrossed in reading the poets of the earlier Beat generation. It was at that time that, through them, I started to discover and explore Western Buddhism – as it was adapted and represented through their experiences and […]

Politics, Re-Spun: What I Am Thankful For

This weekend, I am thankful for folks in Seattle who know how to transform the imperialist Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

May we all learn this for next year!

“We are all citizens in a democracy, we are all here to work with each other, and by making this Indigenous People’s Day, we are adding something, we are not taking something away. We can both recognize our strengths.”

“We are not reveling in the pain of our past, but rejoicing in the celebration of a triumph—the voice of the indigenous people who are saying ‘we are still (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Revisiting Chinatown Revitalization: Oct 8 at 8pm at Centre A

October 8 Program will start at 8pm Centre A, 229 East Georgia Street. FREE Event. RSVP here. Chinatown—the community, its buildings, its urban plan—is one of the most significant cultural […]

Dead Wild Roses: Splayed Feet: The New Scourge(?) brought on by Birkenstocks

“The Problem with Birkenstocks” by Annie Kreighbaum illustrates so perfectly the fantastical through-the-looking-glass distortions of reality that we collectively we know as “Fashion“. Unpacking this article was kind of fun in the “Wow..really??” sort of way. What wasn’t so fun is that amount of shaming that is going on and the expectations of self-policing and in general the absolute necessity of being hyper-aware of you looks and how others perceive you.

“Birkenstocks are the Chipotle of footwear. Like opting for a burrito bowl and a side order of guac at (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Today in Our Culture of Misogyny – Sam “Social Experiment” Pepper

Fearless amateur sociologist Sam Pepper conducts ground breaking social experiments such as this one.

Yah… he really did that and continues to do creepy things to women objectifying and violating their personal boundaries because in our society in 2014 – the boundaries of women don’t matter. This individual is showing us exactly what women have to put up with on a daily basis (and yes of course not exactly this, everything comes in degrees).

Look at the number of hits on this video, look at the number of “thumbs up”. If anything the greater idea being sent is (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Extra Virginity

For some time before I got this book, I’ve been aware that there is more to olive oil than meets the eye. Or tongue. How much more really was startling. When I started reading Tom Mueller’s 2012 book, Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, I was simply amazed at how little I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Some Latin Quotes to Ponder

Here are some translations from Latin quotations I took from a few books of mine, notably The Anchor Book of Latin Quotations, compiled by Norbert Guterman (Anchor-Doubleday, New York, 1966 and reprinted 1990) and Cave Canem: A Miscellany of Latin Words & Phrases, by Lorna Robinson (Walker & Co., New York, 2008). Some of these […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Is the Internet making us stupid? Or just shallow?

In my never-ending search for some bit of knowledge one day, during a mix-and-match of search engine terms while looking for classical writers’ views on death and dying, I stumbled onto what might have been an off-kilter New Age site, OM Times, or more likely, a parody of the genre. On the page titled “8 […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Our gawker culture

Suddenly the Net lit up with headlines news: celebrity nude photos leaked! Videos too! Facebook timelines were replete with media stories. Shock. Horror. Voyeurism. Click, click, click the viewers racked up the view count as they raced to the sites just in case they actually showed something. A little flesh to feed our insatiable desire […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Classical music matters even more today

The official launch of the new Classical FM 102.9 radio station in Collingwood this past weekend reminded me of my own past history with classical music, but also why it matters so much to have classical music in our lives. And why we need to keep that cultural lifeline to our musical past alive and active. Classical […]

The Misanthropic Bird: Shaping Rape Culture

Smoking was once the epitome of cool, at least by Hollywood and advertising standards. Mid century idols displayed a sense of sophistication with that white stick dangling from hands, mouths, or the even more glamorously, a cigarette holder. Smoking was normal, socially acceptable behavior – in homes, schools, hospitals, and most influentially, in the neon allure of the media. Cut to 2014 and let’s replace that imagery: the vision of smoking, with misogyny, sexism and even rape.

Rape Culture – a ghastly sounding term originating with second wave feminists of the 1970’s – is still prevalent. The phrase itself describes (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

I love Nicholas Carr’s book. There are lots of studies and science mixed with many stories and asides and discussions of philosophers and other great thinkers. It reminded me of reading a Bill Bryson book. You get the facts painlessly. And it presents a strong argument for keeping kids (and everyone) off-line when they work, but I’m still unlikely to  convince them to actually turn off facebook.  Reading the bare bones here doesn’t do it justice, but here’s what I don’t want to forget about my memory:

The Medium is the Message

He quotes McLuhan from 1964 – “The electric (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Sex, violence and TV shows

We just finished watching the third season of Game of Thrones on DVD this past weekend. Before that, we watched The White Queen, another DVD series (one season only, although it deserved more). As we watched both, I found myself wondering why directors and producers felt the need to insert gratuitous – but apparently obligatory […]

A Puff of Absurdity: On Glorifying Psychopaths

Murray Dobbin wrote a very provocative article relating our TV viewing of psychopaths to our politics.  Owen explored the glorification of psychopaths in a post discussing the article, and I commented there on the difficulty of establishing kindness in our self-absorbed culture.  I wrote years ago about the crux of the problem: that it’s not cool to be kind.  When Fonzie started wearing glasses and caring about things, he lost his status with the viewers, and then he literally jumped the shark.

But the article has sparked a few other thoughts.

First of all, is two shows enough to (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Great books: the academic view

In the mid-1990s, journalist David Denby took on a personal challenge to return to Columbia University for a year to take two courses, both focused on reading the “great books” of the Western canon. The results and his observations – along with an entertaining bit of biography about his journey – is told in Great […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Dave Clark Five

We’re sitting on the front deck listening to British Sixties Radio, an internet radio station we like and listen to a lot, and they just played the Dave Clark Five doing Glad All Over. That song came out on the UK charts in January, 1964, reaching North America a bit later. Fifty years ago this […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Finding my muse in Montaigne

Muse: a source of inspiration; especially a guiding genius; the imaginary force thought to provide inspiration to poets, writers, artists, etc. A muse, for modern writers, is that indefinable force that drives us to write. It’s part imagination, part inspiration. I suspect there’s a heady brew of psychology and biology at work, too. Why write […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Neolithic site dig uncovers sophisticated structures

A Neolithic site in the Orkney Islands shows our ancestors had sophisticated building skills more than 5,000 years ago. According to a story in The Scotsman, A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought. The archaeological […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lawrence in Arabia

I recall with some vividness seeing David Lean’s masterpiece film, Lawrence of Arabia, when it was first shown in Canadian theatres. I was 12 and utterly astounded by the movie. Not simply the great, sprawling, adventurous tale that meandered through 220 minutes (plus the intermission), but by the incredible scenery. It was a world totally alien […]