Saturday, December 30, 2006

Casualties in Afghanistan

A revealing statistic from this website, since the US went into Afghanistan, the Americans have endured more than twice as many fatalities as all other Coalition forces combined: 357 vs. 159. Even in 2006, while Canadians reeled over their losses, the US forces sustained 5 more deaths than all other forces combined. The number of fatalities per year since 2001 has increased by more than 10 times.

If you pay any attention at all to the news, it seems as if the Canadian/Coalition forces keep going back into the same general area, fighting hard for awhile, announcing success, and then going back again shortly after, fighting hard, announcing success, and then going back again not long after, fighting hard, announcing success, and then going back again...

Sisyphus would have been proud.

Meanwhile, if you go to this website, the National Priorities Project, you can see how much the US is spending on the war in Iraq...more than 350 Billion dollars so far, and judging by the counter, adding up at about $2,000/second.

Wouldn't we all love to have a peace dividend?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mental Health Hotline

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Click on the title. I think it requires QuickTime. But maybe not. Or you can download it as an MP3. Or just forget about it. Who has time for this crap anyway?

Stealth Fighter

Since I'm on photos at the moment, here's another one.

Go here to find a whole bunch of photos & videos of planes crashing & crashed. Doesn't it just make ya wanna fly?

I don't have time to look at them all. This was the only humourous one I found.

The Child is Father to the Man

I don't know where this picture came from or who took it or who it belongs to,
but it made me laugh out loud.
You can click on the title to go to the original.
Which looks a lot like the one here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Godfather of Soul


Ah well, another legend I didn't get to see before he died.

Never mind the hair. Never mind the dance moves looking slightly dated. (Except for the, that must hurt!)

It was the music. Never was there anyone funkier than James Brown.

I was going to say, if you searched the word "funk" on Wikipedia, there would probably be a picture of James Brown. So I did just that.

Not quite a picture. But here are the first two sentences of the entry:
Funk is an African American musical style. It originated in the 1960s with performers such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and The Meters, and emerged as a distinct genre by the 1970s.
Here's something about the music. Listen to it. The downbeat is the main thing. He emphasizes the one. Brown's music plays off the one. Rock plays off the two and four. Reggae off the three. The one. That's what makes it so solid.

The Godfather always had ground-breaking musicians with him. But in a certain sense, always quintessentially American, with that polish, that sheen that top American acts seem to have. It's showbiz, man. Sometimes in his songs (maybe often) he would tell the band what was coming next. "Take me to the bridge" he'd say. Or "Down D, Funky D." He also devised a whole set of hand signals and even foot movements to send messages to the band. They always knew when the break was coming.

When I was a teenager...never mind when...long enough ago...James Brown was the man. We would go to see bands, and if they could cover a James Brown tune with style, that was way cool. In fact, there were a couple of bands in old Lunchbucket that could do passable, even good covers of James Brown.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day. I think I'll spend part of it listening to James, the Godfather.

Larry's Buddhist Christmas Message

Verily I say unto thee,
Ye may not enter the

Kingdom of Heaven

Unless that ye be

Born Again...

And Again...

And Again...

And Again...

And Again...

(Until you finally realize it's not necessary)


Trying to see if these animated GIFs will stay animated.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

King Arthur's Masked Men

Still reading Malory.

A perplexing question: Why do all these kniggits never recognize one another? Of course, they're wearing armour...but please...give me a break here. They can be in the same room (or dungeon) and still not know each other. Sir Palomides & Sir Tristram have met and fought several times, and still they can't seem to put the names & faces together.

Meanwhile, they're all idiots. I just read a passage where Sir Tristram jousts, then fights, with Sir Lancelot. For four hours! Both of them are bleeding all over the countryside. Finally, Sir Lancelot says, "Hey buddy, what's yer name?" Tristram says, "Not telling!" Lancelot says, "Hey, come on, I always tell my name when somebody asks." Tristram says, "OK, what's yer name?" Lancelot says, "Lancelot." Tristram says, "Oh my God, you mean to tell me I've been fighting with you for four hours, and now I find out that it's the kniggit I love most in the whole world?"

(If this were Monty Python, the next part would go like this: Tristram: "Did I hurt you?" Lancelot: "Don't be silly, it's only a flesh wound!")

All this mistaken identity leads me to believe they were called knights errant because they erred so often.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bloody Computers!

Through some incomprehensible black box type event, Suzy Homemaker lost all of her Bookmarks. Gone. Nowhere to be found. At least not by her. Nor me. This is a real drag. I know, cuz I know how I felt when I thought all my Bookmarks were gone after I got the computer fixed.

There oughtta be a law!

Of course, it is imperative that Suzy have Mental Blog properly bookmarked. Just for fun I Googled it. No luck. In order to find it, I had to use vajrasattva1 which is part of the URL. Googling that turned up maybe 30 entries. Amazing how stuff circulates on the net, eh?

One of the entries was this: a website out of University of Hawgtown called BlogScope. It led to my posting about Elvis Costello in Oct./06. That blows me away.

And then, by the way, I found this link as well: SproutWorks which has a bunch of stuff, including a Blog directory where, again, I found Mental Blog.

All this took time. Bloody computers! Time-wasters.

Ladies & Gentlemen! Presenting the World Wide Web Time-Sucking Vacuum! Guaranteed for Life!

I bookmarked Mental Blog for Suzy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Format

By the way, publishing is much quicker & less hassle in the new format.

Furthermore, in the process of trying to make the Blog go (Make it go, Daddy! Make it go!) I found Beta Blogger for Dummies. That would be me. It tells you how to do just about everything. (Except get the picture beside the main title instead of underneath.)

If you click on this link, you'll find a bunch of things to do before you "migrate". I didn't do any of these cuz I really didn't know that I should. (I only discovered this site after I migrated & changed to the new format.) Obviously, these are precautionary measures, not necessities. It doesn't appear that I've lost anything. I'm still getting notification when someone posts a comment. etc. etc.

It would be interesting to know, though, if w.t. is still having trouble getting on to the comments page.

The Unauthorized Autobiography

Even though I haven't posted there for a long time, I just switched Larry Keiler: The Unauthorized Autobiography over to the new format. This is actually a little better than the previous one. The template is called Minima Stretch. The text lines are somewhat longer, which I like. Less like a blog. More like a page.

Click on the link to check it out.
Adding A Title?

The test worked, but I can't find a way to add the title of a post. So I'm trying this.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

OK, I discovered what I was doing wrong. It's never anybody else's fault. It's always something that I'm doing wrong. So, we're testing again.

Nuts to This!

I'm startin ta get pissed off.

Here's what I tried to post a few minutes ago:

I went on m@blog a minute ago and noticed that he didn't list Mental Blog as one of those "what he reads a lot". All right for you, Mr. M@!

However, he did have a link in "What I use a lot" called Writely. So I clicked on it and it turned out to be Google doc/spreadsheet, which I haven't really done anything with. Blogger for Werd doesn't werk with the new format. But Writely claims to be able to publish on the blog. So I'm testing.

Well the test failed. For some reason Writely/Google Docs doesn't recognize my username. Can't publish to the blog. Tried my old username & password. Tried the Google account username, which apparently is the one I'm supposed to use. No dice.

I get annoyed when there are technical problems and no tech to talk to.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Geez, Am I Old!

Checking thru details of this new format, I discovered that somehow my date of birth has been set to 1756. Check the profile. I am now 250 years old.

Seems appropriate, somehow. I'm gonna leave it.

Also, email contact has been added to this profile. It was there before & disappeared at some point. It's back now.

Really Changed

I decided that with the new version everything looked too cluttered. Gonna go with this for a while.


So, I bowed to what appeared to be the inevitable and switched this Blogger account. Still looks pretty much the same, with some tweaking, but there are a couple things I notice that I don't like yet.

Now I can add tags, or maybe you can add tags, I dunno. Don't know if tags are particularly useful for this blog.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Song of the Day

Roots Rock Reggae by Bob Marley

...from the first Bob Marley album I ever bought...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Switching the Blog

I see, suddenly, that changes are in the wind for Blogger. Whether we like it or not. No idea if the look of the blog is going to stay the same or what. That's what happens when you take advantage of free stuff, eh? You don't really have any control over it.

King Arthur's Street Gang

OK, so I have this book. That makes 3 now. A lovely book. Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. Lovely book. Big. Oversize you might say. No pocket book here. Big. Boxed. A pleasure to behold. (Not necessarily to hold though. Big. Heavy. One must sit at his/her leisure, preferably in a Monty Python-style comfy chair.)

"A facsimile edition of the Dent edition of 1909, containing the complete Caxton text, over one thousand examples of Beardsley's illustrations and designs, and ten illustrations omitted from the first edition."

Had this book for years. Tried to read it once long ago. Put off by the bad language. And the inconsistent speling. I don't really mean bad language. Archaic language. Hard to read. Strange words you have to suss out the meaning by the context or some modern word that resembles it faintly. So...I put it back on the shelf where it made a fine addition and decoration. Boxed.

However. Illustrations by Beardsley! This is a treat. Illustrations and illuminations. Some full page pitchers! Every page has a sample of Aubrey Beardsley at his oddest & taciturnest. Not a single smiling face. But every drawing has that odd combination of medieval and ultra-modern so characteristic of Beardsley.

So I picked it up again a few days ago. After a while I thought me to look in the back of the book and what did I see? A glossary. Praise be to gods of Avalon!

Now, these kniggits! What a story. As far as I can tell, they are the medieval version of these guys:

Smackin each other around the bend at the drop of a kerchief. One hundred pages in and there's been incest, murder, enchantment, slaying of damosels, mistaken identity, false imprisonment. And oh yeah, Arthur's conquered Europe, killed the Emperor of Rome and had himself crowned Emperor. Hmmm. Apparently the "commons" like him.

I can't see much about the rule of law. It's a strange law those early Britons had. Plus a plethora of kings. Warlords I'd say. All these kniggits promising ten thousand men here, twenty there, thirty forty...battles of sixty thousand with two-thirds killed in two pages. Just what exactly was the population of Britain then? A miracle there are any left.

Now, here's Arthur's Round Table. The Dons of the Emerald Isle. The full patch members:

Notice there are twelve. With Arthur, that makes thirteen. How Christian is that? And there's even the one that betrays Arthur by screwing around with his wife! Betrayed with a kiss!

On the other hand, how much did Malory know? That when he tells the tale of the Sangreal, he's poking a stick in the eye of the Pope? Maybe. And he also mentions that Arthur makes somebody (I already forget who) the Duke of Lorraine. A significant post in the later history of the Grail and the Knights Templar. Malory often mentions the French book which seems to be his primary source for these tales. Those French, always the troublemakers. I fart in your general direction!

Some trivia: Malory tells us that the Round Table was in fact more than these twelve. A full complement was 150. Can you imagine 150 Hell's Angels roaming around southern Ontario pretending they were actually the cops? Gang wars!

More trivia: I think I've figured out how e.e. cummings came by his style. Here's a passage from Malory. I've put it into lines, instead of the prose:

But Sir Gawaine's spear to-brast,
Sir Lancelot charged so sore upon him
that his horse reversed
up so down.

Up so down?

Yet more trivia: e.e. cummings didn't himself choose this lower case business. His publisher decided it for him.

Yet moremoremore: What a mish-mash that old English is eh? Mr. Glossary tells me, for example, that the word seker or syker means certain. The German word for certain is sicher. And of course, lots of French words too.

Yet one last more: A photo sent by the Hells Angels to some website posting pictures after the London Underground bombings to tell the world Londoners were not to be intimidated:

A comforting thought, no?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Rogues' Gallery of Professeurs

HWSRN stormed into my tiny, cluttered cell in Z Block at the Yoni School this afternoon and clobbered me upside the head with a diploma. His.

"How dare you?" he spluttered. "How dare you adopt my academic credentials as your own?"

"Are you talking about the part where you flunked out of law school? Ouch!"

He'd hit me again.

"No, you insufferable slouch, I'm talking about your ill-considered response to the esteemed Madame X in a comment posted on that clog or smog or fog or whatever you call it that you slave over so slavishly instead of applying yourself to the rehabilitation and remedial spelling programs so generously offered by the Yoni School!"

"Oh that," I said, "Just a slip of the ole keybored. Nothing to get all het up about."

"A slip! A slip, he says. Don't think I don't keep track of your drivel and snivel in the smogosphere. This time you've gone too far. You're so lazy you can't even invent a curriculum vitae. You have to co-opt mine!"


OK, OK, HWSRN is right. I was a lotus-eater. My academics consisted of snoring in the library at Lunchbucket U when I was supposed to be in English class. I didn't even go to class until October or November, at which point the professeur widened owlish eyes and said, "Who are you?" I forget my response. Still, I ended up with a C or C+ in that course, merely on the strength of a short story I submitted. (Pauvre professeur didn't, wouldn't, couldn't have known that I'd written it in high school. She suggested I read Atwood's Survival because the story ended with some kind of apocalyptic snowfall. I actually took her up on it. Stole the book.

But enough about me. Mememememememememe.

HWSRN demanded that I allow him to set the record straight with his own posting on the Mental Smog. But I demurred. It’s my blog. Let him get his own bloody blog.

Still, I am his altered ego, so in the interests of egocentric amicability, I agreed to enumerate, myself, a few details of his shabby career in that bloody bilingual backwater that sits on the edge of the Bridle Path in Hawgtown. Maudits Anglais!

Therefore, there follows a brief enumeration, the Rogues’ Gallery, of some of HWSRN’s hallowed professeurs.


1. Let’s see. There was the professeur with the family name that is prominent all over Manitoba, and especially Winnipeg. The name appears on the marquee of a well-known furrier. It is owned by a famous children’s performer. Also, a former attorney-general (or something like that) of Manitoba. (In fact, HWSRN thinks this was the professeur’s brother.) And also by a former Miss Oktoberfest of Winnipeg.

This prof was a former member of the Communist Party of Canada. A good Commie, perhaps, but not much of a professeur. Too inarticulate. Too muddled. Too mumbled. Well-acquainted, however, with the internal machinations of the CPC, and Tim Buck too.

2. Somewhere in there was also a Trotskyist. Long live the Fourth International!

3. HWSRN was also taught by that rarest of birds, a real live former member of the American Communist Party. The students huddled around him in a reverent semi-circle while he sat with his legs crossed, sucking on a pipe, reminiscing about strange days pre-McCarthy.

4. Then there was the prof who later became president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, wrote a famous book about Jewish refugees arriving on Canada’s doorstep before & during WWII…HWSRN thinks it was called, One Book Is Too Many. His wife now sits on the Supreme Court of Canada. Judicially speaking.

This professeur gave HWSRN a D for a paper he wrote about the Dare Foods strike. (A strike which occurred sometime during the middle ages.) He chastised HWSRN for not seeking research advice sooner, and rattled off several sources he should have used…all of which were secondary sources.

See, HWSRN had attempted to restrict himself to primary sources, but didn’t have much imagination about how to accomplish this. He therefore learned a hard lesson on the futility of microfiche, hanging about in the Lunchbucket library sweating and squinting at old obituaries and fragments of information about a strike long gone. HWSRN refused to eat Dare products for years after that. Got a D on his paper. D for Dare. How Dare You? Or as the lapel buttons used to say, “I Don’t Dare.”

5. The son of a famous Canadian historian. HWSRN can’t remember the name of the course, but it was somehow related to public policy. And this son, (HWSRN prefers to finish “son” off with the initials OB) was well-suited to that. He became someone rather well-placed in the Ontario bureaucratic elite.

This prof proved to HWSRN that he must be (or at least his altered ego must be) a writer rather than an orator, for one day he called him into his office and confronted him with a short paper on federalism that HWSRN had handed in. Asked him if he had indeed written it, or had he bought it? Cuz his participation in class certainly didn’t indicate this level of sophistication. Bah! How do you prove that you didn’t buy a paper? In fact, the paper had been quite speculative, proposing a new theory of federalism, or at least a new approach. But the speculation hadn’t really been worked out. Half-baked, it was.

6. A professeur of Chinese politics. Chinese, of course. But of dubious politics. HWSRN never could figure out if he was a Maoist or a Nationalist. But he learned about the Boxer Rebellion, the Opium Wars, Sun Yat Sen, Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang, and the romance of the Long March.

This prof took his students to a real Chinese restaurant in the real Chinatown of Hawgtown and ordered real Chinese food that had nothing to do with Chow Mein. It was from him that HWSRN learned to use chopsticks.

7. A female professor of Political Economy that HWSRN lampooned mercilessly.

8. A former diplomat teaching International Politics (duh!) who had been there with Pearson at the creation of the United Nations.

9. A T.A. (no, Larry, not T &A) who introduced him to the early days of municipal reform politics when John Sewell soared above the low meanness of city politics and the sordid palm-greasing of downtown development. Because of him, HWSRN became acquainted with the Union of Injured Workers, and one night during a march and rally, surrounded by constabulary, sussed out an unwatched back door and led an injured worker into Queen’s Park. This same T.A. also put him in touch with the Law Union of Ontario.


HWSRN, that’s all for now. And more than enough, OK? Suffice to say, you got your BA. You got your invitation to Osgoode. Where you promptly sharpened your pinball skills and acted so bullish in Moot Court that the professeurs really thought you must be a Taurus, not a Leo. And ended by finally requesting your withdrawal. Don’t take it so hard. Everyone loses a case now and then.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Inky Dinky Parlay Voo?

Something that struck me about the run-up to the Gliberal convention, and during it was how often the subject of the candidates' command of their "second" language came up. Dion & the Outremonts was criticized for his poor English. Kennedy for his French. Blah blah. (A good phrase, passable in either language.)

Of course, it's clearly an asset for the leader of a national party to be fluent in both official languages. It's the reason why Diefenbaker is not still Prime Minister. But in fact, every candidate did well in both languages as far as I could tell. M. Outremont's English is really very good. M. Kennedy's French sounded quite good to me. Better than Iggy's. He might not be able to keep up with the French lads in a pub. But then, who can except French lads in a pub? Brasserie. Pardon me. Moi. Pardonnez.

I learned a new word today. Punditocracy. And what I say is, all these supercilious members of the punditocracy should be thinking to themselves before they open their mouths, "Gee, I wish I could speak French as well as Dion & the Outremonts speaks English!"

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Only In Canada, You Say

I was reading my last post. No no no, not the last post. Just the most recent one. I noticed that I used the phrase "out west." Funny Canajun thing. We say "out west" and "down east."

And we speak more true than we know. The west is "out there", so to speak (altho not as "out" as it used to be). And the east is down. Down and out. We got em both, and of course it's up to us centrists, legends in our own minds, to rescue The Rest Of Canada.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Really, We're All Closet Gliberals

It was a political orgy in the media. The Gliberal Leadership Convention.

I must find a name for the new Gliberal leader. How about Dion & the Outremonts?

Green Party, watch out. In fine Gliberal tradition, they will soon out-Green you if M. Outremont has his way. Traditional Gliberal tactic: co-opt the enemy's platform. Personally, I don't quite buy it.

As it turns out, they need not have held the actual convention, since, in spite of what all the pundits have been saying, the result was fore-ordained. Why do I say this? Because.

M. Outremont was the only Québecois in the leadership race. The Gliberals had no choice but him. Otherwise they would have broken their tradition of alternating French & English leaders. Heaven forfend! The Gliberals carried out their subterranean genetic heritage admirably.

Le roi est mort. Vive le roi. Bring on the Harpies! Gather the Few Democrats! Block the Bloc! Smite the Greens with their own old-growth planks!

Give me Gliberal or give me Deaf!

The best line I heard in all the media commentary was this. Shortly before the results were announced, there was a discussion about Ken Drily (a well-loved former goal-keeper with the Montreal Canadiens) and why his campaign got shut out. The consensus was that "he was all over the place". Charles Adler (a talk-show host from out west) asked Peter C. Newman. "So, do you think that was it? That Ken Drily was a man in search of an editor? [ie. unable to articulate a coherent program] And Newman's reply, proving that a writer is always an asset when talking heads are on tap: "No, the problem with Drily was, he was a goalie, and goalies don't score!"

Other losers:

Iggy Popped Martha has left the Hall...Finally
No Camelot for Kennedy No Frisson for Brison
Bob's Rae Faded A Wolf in Italian Clothing

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Song of the Day

Dust in the Wind by Kansas

A rather Buddhist expression of pop wisdom, now that I think about it.

(I close my eyes
only for a moment then the moment's gone...)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Santa Baby

The truth is, I'm not much for Christmas, music sentimentalling all over the airwaves for weeks before it's even decent. But this tune by Eartha Kitt is just too hip. (Like Mel Tormé, I was hep before hip was hep...) I don't know about Madonna's version, but Eartha Kitt's delivery of this tune is priceless.

Check out these lyrics:

Santa Baby
Eartha Kitt

(baboom baboom baboom baboom)
(baboom baboom baboom baboom)

Santa Baby,
Just slip a sable under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too
Light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you'll check off my Christmas list

Santa Baby, I want a yacht and really thats not
Been an angel all year
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need
The deed
To a platinum mine
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex
And cheques
Sign your 'x' on the line
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Tif-fa-ny
I really do believe in you
Lets see if you believe in me

Santa Baby, forgot to mention one little thing
A ring
I don't mean on the phone
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Please, is there anybody out there...

who didn't smoke pot?

All right. I admit it. I experimented with marijuana from time to time in the past.

"Why?" you ask, "Why, Larry, did you never tell us about this before?"

Because the results of my experiments were inconclusive...

The Lancet turned me down flat. The New England Journal of Medicine scoffed at my slipshod approach. Georgia Strait snubbed me. And High Times said, "Get a life, Larry..."

"Guess I showed em all..." (says Larry bravely as he gazes through the bars of his tiny, yet poorly-padded, cell in Z Range at the Yoni School.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Michael Chong Resigns

OK, I'm just cribbing from the Mothercorp, but the salient quote is this:

But Chong, who was responsible for federal-provincial relations, was left out of the loop when Harper was deciding on the wording of the motion. Instead, the prime minister consulted with former intergovernmental affairs minister Stéphan Dion.

In other words, Stephen Harpie bypassed his own Cabinet Minister to discuss and make decisions with a member of the Official Opposition (and, by the way, a candidate for the leadership of the Gliberal Party.)

Chong can talk all he wants about his philosophical opposition to this nationhood notion. He probly ain't lyin' neither. But you gotta know a snub like that from his own leader can't go unanswered.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hugh MacLennan

OK, so I have this other book. That makes two now. Another book I've had for a long time. Since 96. But published in 88. I've had it since 96. It was remaindered in some book store. Possibly Coles. Remember Coles? Since 96, without ever really looking at it.

The book is called Strong Voices: Conversations with 50 Canadian Authors, by Alan Twigg. The interviews go from A to W. No Z. Or X. Or Y either. Canada has no Z authors, apparently. Four Bs though: Berton, Birdsell, bissett and Bowering.

Each interview has a photo of the author. They're funny. Many of the men look like farmers, bearded, goofy, wearing what Fotheringham used to call tractor caps. (Not cool baseball caps like they wear nowadays, but clunky spongy tractor caps with John Deere on the forehead...George Bowering actually is wearing a tractor cap, but it's an old style Montreal Expos cap. So it's a baseball cap. I guess in those days even baseball caps were tractor-like.) There's a shot of Patrick Lane playing pool. bill bissett behind reflecting shades. Robertson Davies with billowing beard and glasses one eye black the other transparent. Leonard Cohen when he still had his somewhat boyish voice. Marian Engel looking thoughtful in the middle distance. WP Kinsella (wearing, believe it or not, not a tractor cap or baseball cap but a visor which might as well be a tractor cap) resembling some scraggly Muppet. WO Mitchell doing his Colonel Blake (from MASH) impression. All in all, an interesting read, given that all the interviews were done in the 70s and 80s. It's an historical document now.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Remember, I said DH Lawrence predicted the future. Well, Hugh MacLennan does too, in this 79 interview. Here's what he says:

The Arabs have such fantastic money power they will soon have A-bombs. They can very easily get the plutonium. There's no problem in hiring the technicians. That's all such a terrifying prospect that it makes what's going on in Canada today utterly trivial. I'm not sure the world will survive it. It's very, very dicey.

This was six years after the first OPEC crisis, of course, so Arabs were probably still on our minds. But here we are in 06 pondering Iran's acquisition of WMD. (I simply had to use WMD. It's now part of our lexicon, just as A-bomb was part of MacLennan's 70s lexicon.) Technically, the Iranians aren't Arab. They're Persian. They are, however, very much Muslim.

So we're not looking so much at an ethnic diciness, perhaps, as a religious one. Nevertheless...Notwithstanding...Albeit...(I heard a guy on a call-in show pronounce this all-bite the other day.) We're still talking about the same general geography. And you can bet the real Arabs are also in there like a dirty shirt, trying to play catch up with those Semitic Sephardic Hasidic Ashkenazi Cabinet Ministers in that land formerly known as Palestine.

And what are we talking about in Canada? A couple weeks ago was the firestorm raised by a Cabinet Minister's reference to canines. Last week it was that female Cabinet Minister's hairdo interfering with global warming. This week it's that other thing, what is it? Oh yeah, that Québec nationhood thing. Let's get over it, shall we? If we all suck it up and say, "OK, Québec is a manly man's province, you have your nationhood proudly at attention, you don't need the national erection of a CN Tower to prove your cojones," can we get on with the division of Alberta's oil wealth?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bookmark This Page!

And then back it up. Put it in your backup pocket. Mark it with magic marker. Catalogue. Categorize. Plagiarize. Damn yer eyes! Give it to the Search & Rescue. To rescue yer bookmarks.

I found all my Firefox bookmarks after diligent & intuitive searching, which the little Windows Search Wizard couldn't seem to do. And Spirograph below was one of the bookmarks. Hope it works for everbody. Works fine on Firefox. Although it does spill over the borders.

Grade 11 English teacher...of Grade 11...said to me in email a couple of years ago that she remembered me as someone who refused to stay in box. Trouble also colouring within the lines. Spilled over borders. Souse of the Border. Two Lips From Amsterdam. Take the Eh Train, eh?


Created by Anu

John Allan Cameron

So John Allan Cameron died yesterday. Another musical icon gone.

I actually got to play with him. Once. In Farguess at the Highland Games. He played Lord of the Dance and I was on the stage (such as it was) with him. Lord of the Dance is a great tune. Unfortunately, I didn't know it very well. In fact, even now, I can really only remember one line of it. So I played quite a few clinkers while John Allan played and sang the actual song. (Lucky for me, I've learned the knack of playing unobtrusively when necessary.) Cameron, being the professional that he was, just ignored the mess I was making and played right on through.

Forsooth! (That will be my word of the week.) Forsooth! I didn't really play all that badly, but there was one section where I couldn't quite figure out where the chord pattern was going. I invariably went in the wrong direction.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Impermanence & Loss

I had to take my computer into the shop for repairs. Turned out to be a hardware problem...power supply. Something which has been plaguing me for months. But other techies (who shall remain nameless) couldn't seem to find this problem. I think they weren't trying very hard.

Anyway, all fixed now. Except! Since they couldn't predict in advance what kind of problem...I agreed to let them reinstall Windows. Everything , data etc. got saved. But! Pretty much all my software needs to be reinstalled. Including my default internet browser: Firefox. That's OK. How else could I be spending my time, eh? Hours of installing is fun. It's FUN I tell you.

Except! It seems that the one thing that didn't get saved, retained, or cached seems...was all of my bookmarks on my default browser: ie. Firefox. Oh sure, they saved the bookmarks on my IEwhatever. I don't use that nearly as much. I had a vast number of bookmarks on Firefox. Gone now. All gone. As far as I can tell. Writing sites. Dharma sites. Music sites. (Including tech sites for repairs to electronic instruments which sometimes go awry.) Well, I'll survive I suppose. What I can't remember...maybe I didn't really need it.

The important thing, I'm sure you'll agree, is that I remembered the URL of Mental Blog.

Forsooth! I did not. After re-establishing my email page, I copied the URL from my "Compose Mail" signature line. That got me to the blog page. From which I was able to maneuver to the login & dashboard page. That'd be a hell of a thing if I lost my own blog, eh?

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Breaking News: Louis Riel Hanged!

The Lunchbucket Lament has just received word via telegraph that the Métis rebel Louis Riel has been hanged in Regina for his role in the Northwest Rebellion of 1884. Members of the Northwest Mounted Police were deployed in force at the site of the execution and throughout half-breed enclaves all across the western territories to minimize any possibility of unrest or violence.

The Prime Minister in Ottawa, Sir John A. A. is reported to have knitted his brow, (the previous brow having become unravelled in the face of insurrection) and murmurred, "Hang the man! He's been no end of trouble to me!" When told, once again, that Riel had been hanged, Sir A. A. nodded and sighed, "Now, if we could only apply the same measures to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition..." Sir A. A. was later seen in the House of Commons, wearing his smartly-striped new brow and sipping ice water from a large tumbler.

Mr. Riel was asked his opinion of the hanging. He said, "I agree with A. A. The Leader of the Opposition has got to go." When reminded that it was he himself who had been hanged, he replied, "My lawyer thinks I'm mad as a hatter. But I've never had a problem with my knitted brow. It's the buffalo hair, you see..."

This correspondent fears that the execution of Louis Riel could well have repercussions that will reverberate far into the future, affecting many diverse aspects of the young Canadian society, from public art to the naming of schools to land claims to highways to the publication of histories and mysteries. Perhaps it would not be imprudent to suggest that the Northwest Territories be granted provincial status as quickly as may be practicable, since this will undoubtedly pacify the numerous savages and facilitate the discovery of wheat and oil.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Update on the Schneider's Sign

Well, I don't know if the hole thing's werkin yet. But I did check out what's actually on it. The top part is time and temp. Below that, the Schneider's orange background with Schneider's girl on the left and Schneider's in big letters to the right of her. Duh. Below that, Schneider's blue background with the motto, Famous For Quality. Then, the bottom scroll.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Elections Ontario

Plus ça change, n'est-ce pas?

Elections in Lunchbucket yesterday yielded pretty much the same results this time as 3 years ago. Almost no changes. Wassup wid dat?

Our grey burghers have so bored us and lulled us and stroked us and conned us and generally pacified us with their dull municipal management and complete lack of colour that we simply couldn't find them against the background of the institutional-whitewash walls to vote against them.

True, there has been some controversy over the last year. 1. Over a new libary in downtown Lunchbucket. Cancelled. Cowards. Philistines! 2. Over the demolition of an apparently Heritage old shirt factory. The facade is now in storage, waiting to stand in for the real thing whenever they get around to putting something new up. Barbarians! 3. Our Lunchbucket Farmers' Market...Our in Your Lunchbucket Farmers' Market (presumably cuz you paid handsomely for it with your tax rather a white elephant. (As have been most of the City-driven efforts at downtown renewal.) Thieves! Rascals! (My own personal beef has to do, naturally, with regional transportation policy, or lack thereof. It's at least ten years behind the times. Incompetent bums!)

These are only minor blips on the municipal political horizon. Lunchbucket will survive, maybe even thrive, if the Schneiders ham doesn't go bad and have to be recalled...

What really concerns me is the voter turnout.

Get this: 23%


Apparently some people are, if not pleased, at least relieved, because it's a higher turnout than last time around. God help us.

This is a badge of shame, as far as I'm concerned. All around. The voters should be ashamed. We get what we deserve. But the pols should be ashamed too. How can you claim to have anything approaching a mandate when less than one quarter of the people have expressed their wills? They should all resign in shame. (Or outrage, one or the other.)

50th Anniversary of "Howl"

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

D. H. Lawrence Predicts the Future

I have this book. I've had it quite a long time. A long time without ever really looking at it. It was written by DH Lawrence. Published in 1923, seven years before his death of tuberculosis. j

You know DH. That randy fellow. Wrote that scandalous book.

This book is not that one. Although I have that one too. Read it many years ago. I'll probably read it again. The virtues of recycling.

No, this book is called Studies in Classic American Literature. In fact, it appears to be a rant against the dry Puritan American soul, disguised as a review and analysis of early American writers: Benjamin Franklin, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allen Poe, Melville, even Whitman. (I often think of the sign I saw in the rear window of a car a few years ago which read: There Is No Country In The World Called America) (I say, God Bless Amurrica!)

Lawrence enjoys himself in this book. He has a romp. I suppose he thought he was entitled, since he & his wife lived in the US for a period of time. In the first chapter about Franklin, he makes you understand why the author of Poor Richard's Almanack was indeed "poor." Poor Ben. Poor Puritans. Poor Murricans. Chained to their Oppositionism. Slaves to Moderation. (But perhaps only Public Moderation. Private inclinations are always another matter.)

Anyway, that's not really why I'm constructing this post. In the third chapter of the book, Lawrence starts in on Fenimore Cooper, but not without a parting shot at Franklin. I intend to quote the first paragraphs of this chapter, because this is where Lawrence predicts the future. Our future.

Benjamin Franklin had a specious little equation in providential mathematics:
Rum + Savage = 0

Awfully nice! You might add up the universe to nought, if you kept on.

Rum plus Savage may equal a dead savage. But is a dead savage nought? Can you make a land virgin by killing off its aborigines?

The Aztec is gone, and the Incas. [The Mayans remain, but clandestine. Tour guides for the ruins. LK.] The Red Indian, the Esquimo, the Patagonian are reduced to negligible numbers.

Où sont les neiges d'antan? [I can't find d'antan in my French-English dictionary. Babel-Fish, that next to useless engine translates this phrase as: Where are snows of antan? Duh. Now, Suzy Homemaker teaches French in her spare time & when her schedule permits. She tells me "antan" means "yesteryear." So there you have it. And I have it. And Suzy has it. Where are the snows of yesteryear? Dave Phillips, Canada's national weather weenie says there actually is less average snowfall over the last 20-30 years. So when you get all nostalgic about how you used to play King of the Castle on huge snowbanks overlooking the gritty streets of Lunchbucket or Kirkland Lake, you are remembering really and truly the golden age of snows....And now, back to our story...LK]

My dear, wherever they are, they will come down again next winter, sure as houses.

Not that the Red Indian will ever possess the broad lands of America. At least I presume not. But his ghost will.

The Red Man died hating the white man. What remnant of him lives, lives hating the white man. Go near the Indians and you just feel it. As far as we are concerned, the Red Man is subtly and unremittingly diabolic. Even when he doesn't know it. He is dispossessed in life, and unforgiving. He doesn't believe in us and our civilization, and so is our mystic enemy, for we push him off the face of the earth.
Well, there it is. Even now, the aboriginal chickens are coming home to roost. Or roast, as the case may be. And who are they roasting? All us interlopers. Ex-Europeans. Ex-Asians. Ex-Africans. The so-called Indian problem has never gone away in fact. The debacle down there in Malebonia, just south of Steeltown, is only the latest. In Canada, we have the shining example of Oka. Ipperwash. OK, so it's been a couple hundred years. The First Nations are patient, but unrelenting. And Lawrence is right. They don't believe in us and our civilization, our rule of law. They are following their own law, even if they have to make it up on the spot.

Here's the problem as I see it. Neither side has decided to recognize reality. The First Nations think they can still push us off the edge of the continent. Not likely. Coming waves of Asian immigration will overwhelm any countervailing force. The "new" North Americans have not yet recognized that they need to satisfy the First Nations. Whatever that means. What do they want? (What does Quebec want?) (It's the same question, probably the same answer: Mâitres chez nous...but difficult to qualify, fearsome to quantify.)

It's a dilemma, for sure. The Europeans -- English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese -- usurped the entire continent and left the natives little corners. Somehow they must be recompensed. But the natives must also recognize that this is indeed the dominant culture here now, and come to some settlement that allows for this. The Six Nations protesters down in Malebonia have been flouting laws all over the place, thumbing their noses at the police and terrorizing the local population. (I use "terrorizing" carefully, but correctly.) That can't continue.

Land claims are all very well. But the First Nations people must know that we (let's say descendants of usurpers) are not going to just up and leave. Not anymore. Maybe 300 years ago. But not now. So, get over it, natives.

These days, the currency is money. Wampum, I guess. But we shouldn't expect the natives to be bought off any longer with trinkets. Maybe it's time to really pay.

On the other hand, maybe they can turn all the vices we white peeple brought with us to their advantage. Enough of being slain by demon rum. Turn it back on them. After all, I have lots of friends who go regularly to the reserve to get cheap tobacco. Casinorama is doing a fine business. Maybe the aboriginals can get their land back. Just feed us all the stuff we crave...alcohol, tobacco, gambling. We'll do ourselves in.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Schneider's Sign Blow-Out

Anyone who lives around Lunchbucket knows the Schneider's sign along the 401. It's gotta be one of the most famous landmarks around. As soon as you see the Schneider's sign, you know you're only 15 or 20 minutes away from home. (Except that nowadays at rush hour you have to take Highway Late into town, and that adds 20 more minutes...)

I don't know how long that sign's been there. Seems like forever. Since afore ah wuz born mebbe. A long time.

Tonight, the sign was off! Or at least parts of it, the main parts. The top section was still lit up showing the time & temp. The bottom scroll advertising Red Hots was still on. But the main section, the colour section, was dark. I can't remember any time when the main part of that sign wasn't working.

But seeing that big black blank raised a riddle. What the hell is actually on that sign? Residents of the region drive past it every day. Hell, I probably drive past it several times a day (on my clandestine excursions from the Yoni School). And suddenly I couldn't remember what the sign says, what it consists of.

It's the Dutch Girl, the Schneider Girl, right? But what else? Who remembers? (No cheating now, driving out there at midnight to take spy photos infrared undercover mug shots...)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Vajrasattva for wt.

Vajrasattva (Vajra Hero, Tib. dorje sempa) "Dorsem" is the buddha of purification. As the "action" or karma protector, he also manifests the energies of all Buddhas.

Vajrasattva manifests in two forms: solitary and in union with consort. As in all depictions of deities with consort, the male represents compassion, the female represents wisdom. In Buddhist tradition, this union, known as yabyum indicates the unity of wisdom and compassion (or wisdom and method).

My "history" with Vajrasattva seems to be a tale of how a deity picked me rather than vice versa.

Now, just to make things a little more confusing, here's an image of a vajra, the hand implement used in Tibetan ritual.
I borrowed this image, believe it or not, from a Dutch website.

The vajra is also a thunderbolt. I guess you could say it represents (among other things) the cataclysmic flash which is the direct realization of emptiness.

Wikipedia says, "The vajra destroys all kinds of ignorance, and itself is indestructible. In tantric rituals the Vajra symbolizes the male principle which represents method in the right hand and the Bell symbolizes the female principle, which is held in the left. Their interaction leads to enlightenment. Also the Dorje or Vajra represents the "Upaya" or method Tibetans name Vajra as "Dorje". Made to be worn as a pendant, it reminds the wearer, and the viewer, of the supreme indestructibility of knowledge."

(Actually, the "made to be worn as a pendant" comment doesn't quite make sense. Unless it's a pendant, which most of the time it's not. It's an actual implement which fits in the palm of your hand.)

More: in Tibetan instructions, vajra is also the term which refers to the penis. The vagina is called the lotus, a felicitous expression if there ever was one.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spoke 2 Sune

photos on & off
more off then on
slow boat to photo
slow read to blogger
could not connect
publishing may fail
saving may not save you
photos blankety blank
blankety blank blank failsaved

Thass better

No sooner bitched about than the gods of the blogosphere saw fit to put the heavens aright.

Hey man, where's my pitchers?

An interesting phenomenon...all the photos have disappeared from the blog. I'm assuming it's only temporary. Funny this should happen just as I was posting that previous entry...all about photos a flash of lightning...phantoms disappearing...of course, photos, even when printed are nothing but a record of phantoms...

Zen Poem

Like dew that vanishes,
like a phantom that disappears,
or the light cast
by a flash of lightning--
so should one think of oneself

Ikkyu Sojun
Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)
A Zen Buddhist monk who is supposed to have been eccentric even by the standards of Zen at the time.

Well, ole Ikky may have been eccentric, but the pome is straight ahead Dharma, no heterodoxy there at all.

Excuse me now, I have to go look up heterodoxy.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

The Names People Give Themselves

Larry is doing up a mailing list for his Buddhabuddies, a list compiled at the latest incarnation of the Relic Tour in Hamilton. He's amused by some of the names people come up with for their email addresses.

Here are a few (not fully protect the identitititititieess of those who would rather not be seen consorting with Buddhists?):


We are left to wonder what some of these mean.

Of course, Larry's email handle is vajrasattva1. But everybody knows what that means, don't they?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Goering Tells the Truth For Once

I simply couldn't resist this. I picked it from a website called Wisdom Quotes:

Hermann Goering:

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
quote verified at

The more things change, eh? What have we been bombarded with since 9-11? On the airlines now, you have to take out your tube of Preparation H and put it in a plastic bag for all to see. Why? Because we are under attack!

All right. The US was attacked. Rather than dealing with that particular problem, however, the Bushwhackers decided to mount a general counterattack -- wide and sweeping -- and now we see the results -- gels and liquids are no longer allowed on your red-eye to wherever. Does this say something about the law of unintended consequences? Or was it intended all along?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Save a Life, Raise Your Insurance Rates

Here's an interesting, not so trivial factoid.

If you see this little guy here on the side of the road and he suddenly decides to jump out in front of you, the insurance companies in Ontario want you to hit him rather than swerve to avoid him and maybe end up in the ditch or hitting a tree.

Why? Because if you hit him, there's proof that an animal was involved in your collision. Therefore you're not at fault and your insurance rates won't rise. If you miss him, however, and hit a tree, you can't prove that there was a deer on the road. Therefore, it looks like and is treated as a single-car collision, and you (you compassionate, caring, deer-saver) are totally...100%...utterly...completely at fault.

(I hate to say it, but I can see the insurance companies' logic here. However, I'd still be doing my best to avoid hitting Bambi.)

(More Trivia: During mating season, early November, 65-70 deer are struck on the highways per day! Not sure if that's just Ontario, or all of Canada. Just Ontario I think.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Canada Post?

Try to figure this one out. I saw three of these driving in a convoy down the highway towards Hawgtown today. All of them had Minnesota licence plates. One of them was towing a car that had Michigan plates.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's Bugging Me Now

A rough drawing of the bug climbing up my water bottle in the early morning.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Words & Music by Elvis Costello

Is it worth it
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday
It's just a rumor that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we'll be shipbuilding
Well I ask you
The boy said 'Dad they're going to take me to task
But I'll be back by Christmas'

It's just a rumor that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of this shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls

It's just a rumor that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks they'll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin
Once again
It's all we're skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls

Since I’m on anti-war songs. This one has always impressed me because it, too, is incredibly powerful and never once uses the word war.

Here’s what the website Songfacts says about it:
Elvis has said in interviews that this was written from the perspective of workers in British shipbuilding seaports during the buildup to England's war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982, an event that then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher seized (as most politicians would) in order to use the cacophony of nationalistic fervor to drown out the groaning sounds of a crumbling economy. The song is set in a region that's economically depressed, one where essentials like "a new winter coat for the wife" is hard to come by. But there's a "rumour" that the local shipyard will soon have work, building ships for a war. The townspeople want to be happy that they will soon have jobs, but it is at the expense of their own boys who must go fight the war. Chet Baker plays the mournful, lonely trumpet solo on this ballad. It is rumored to be Baker's last recorded performance.

The lines, “we will be shipbuilding, diving for dear life, when we could be diving for pearls”…these are priceless. And Costello repeats the diving for pearls line a couple times at the end, and leaves us hanging with an unresolved note.

Many of Costello’s songs are difficult. They’re not pure pop. They’re not always easy to sing along with. And this one certainly requires you to think.
Help! I've written and I can't get up!