Sunday, March 26, 2006

Colonialism...Phew!

I've been reading, on and off, the 1971 edition of the Norton History of Modern Europe. The section I'm on lately is the late 1800s, the era of Bismarck, Gladstone, Disraeli, Queen Victoria, the height of colonialism.

Sometimes reading history is rather dry. Political movements, war machines, diplomatic manoeuvring. You don't get a sense of the life raging behind the recitation of facts. I'm beginning to get that feeling with this history...The authors go on blithely about the various machinations of European nations with apparently little consideration of what really was going on there.

Here's an example:
By 1885, largely as a result of diplomatic agreements imposed on Britain through Franco-German cooperation, Bismarck had succeeded in securing international recognition of Germany's claims to Southwest Africa, Togoland, the Cameroons, East Africa, and part of New Guinea. The French for their part were conceded French Guinea, part of the Red Sea Coast, and predominant influence in southeast Asia.
I'm not sure what disturbs me more -- the bland presentation of the authors or the obvious arrogance of the actors. Probably the latter. "International recognition" means European states. And who "conceded" territory to the French? Not the inhabitants of French Guinea or southeast Asia, I think. I'm continually asking myself the question, "Where do people get the idea that they should have rights over any territory except the one they're standing on?"

I shake my head at the presumptions of politicians and so-called statesmen. This happened after WWII as well...they carved up the earth into spheres of influence, as if they owned these particular patches of territory, as if the people living in them were negligible. It's colossal arrogance. And of course, we well know that imperialism and colonialism continue to reverberate through our contemporary history. We need look no farther than Palestine.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Notes on Emptiness #10

Struck by the danger of thinking "All is emptiness..."
the folly of concluding "It doesn't matter..."
it matters immensely
the immensity of matter
the minuteness
matters

it's the air we work in
emptiness
the water we wade through
empty wet
the words we say
empty meaning
the actions we take
empty relations

the cause and effect
bricks empty but liable to bruise

it matters

Digg! diigo it

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

2 Pieces of Lunchbucket Trivia

1. Gordon Pinsent was in town today, filming some thing or other written by that radical Anne of Green Gables Sarah Polley.

2. Today is the anniversary of Foster Hewitt's first play by play broadcast of a hockey game in 1923. One between the Toronto Parkdales & the Lunchbucket Greenshirts at the Mutual St. Arena. The game went into 3 overtime periods! Unfortuately, my sources can't tell you who won.

Something Something in Motion

Check out Russell Wyner’s odd video. Cool music.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I Don't Mean to Harp, But...

Boy do I have mixed feelings about this whole seal hunt business. First, there’s Sir Paul who may be the Walrus. Or was John the Walrus? No matter, Walri and Harp Seals, what a combination!

I am Buddhist person, you know? This killing of seals does not sit well with me for that reason. How I would like it if some other way could be found for people to make a living. But that’s OK, Sir Paul the Fabulously Wealthy Walrus has no problem coming along to tell people how they should live their lives. I wouldn’t mind so much if I hadn’t heard (some time ago) this (admittedly second-hand) story from someone who worked in McCartney’s road crew. Sir Walrus is a vegan. Everybody knows. What everybody doesn’t know is that when you work for McPaul, you also become vegan for the duration of the tour. God help you if you get caught with McDonald’s breath, because Mr. McVegan certainly won’t. In fact, you get tossed out on your ear unceremoniously. In other words, Sir McVegan, the fabulously wealthy Paulrus, not only chooses himself to be vegan but insists, on pain of dismissal, that everyone else be vegan as well. In other words, the Dalai Lama would be unable to work on the McCartneys' road crew.

Sure, I agree, much better if we could all be vegans, or at least vegetarian. But we can’t. We aren’t. Suck it up, buttercup. (A phrase lent to me by my other Buddha-buddy Sheryl (not one of the Hyannis Port Kennedys.)

Meanwhile, there are real, ordinary people earning their livings in a crappy, messy business. Here’s the problem: it ain’t done behind closed doors in a factory setting. Many years ago, I spent a summer working at Lunchbucket’s largest meat-packing plant. I was a little runt then, so I managed to avoid being assigned to the beef or hog kill floor. Still, I know the technique for killing a big cow or hog is not much neater than that for a harp seal. It’s bloody bloody! I did work in the chicken shack, and that was a daily orgy of fowl destruction by the thousands, poor chickens literally scared shitless. But it’s institutionalized. It’s hidden. Our meat comes in bite-sized morsels. Not much to remind us it was once a sentient being. Not so with harp seals. Right out there on the ice floes, snuggling up to Sir Paulrus. Blatant barbarity begging for photo-op. I say, Paul, go check out Tyson, the largest meat processor in the US. If you got a beef, why not take it to them, eh? Tell the meat-sucking Yankee denizens of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, A&W, KFC that they must give up their meat! Go pick on the Americans, eh?…Not bloody likely.

And now we have the Canadian Senate entering the fray, in the form of Gliberal Valkyrie Celine Hervieux-Payette. Here’s, possibly, an example of how much the average American (even in the border states) knows about Canada.

A Minnesota family sent letters to all the Canadian Senators telling them to stop the “horrific” slaughter of lovable seals, and if they didn’t, said Minnesota family would no longer vacation in Canada and also tell all their Murrican good buddies to boycott the Great White (tho somewhat blood-stained) North.

OK, they’re American. American Senators are powerful people…so…Canadian Senators must be the same, right? Member of Parliament? What’s that? Prime Minister? Isn’t that the guy in England? No, no, give them Senators hell!

Anyway, that’s a slight digression. Point here is, Senator Valkyrie took exception to snooty Yanks telling us what we should do, and sent them back a sharp letter in which she said that the really horrifying stuff to her was "the daily massacre of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of prisoners – mainly blacks – in American prisons, the massive sale of handguns to Americans, the destabilization of the entire world by the American government's aggressive foreign policy, etc." Of course, she’s right, if somewhat tactless. I have visions of poor Minnesota kids recoiling in horror at the harsh words of some crabby Senator Valkyrie from that French state up there in Canada. “Hey Mom, what’s she so mad about anyway? All we wanna do is play with the seal pups…!”

Well, at least she’s not the Canadian ambassador to Washington.

All this merely shows that people who live in glass houses…you know. And guess what? We all live in glass houses! I vaguely recall something about questionable fishing practices on the US west coast that was harming…what…whales? Or dolphins…something. It’s bootless and fruitless to start making comparisons.

Let the Minnesotans stay home if it suits em. And Sir McPaul Walrus too. (You may remember his movie theme from the Bond flick, Live and Let Die, which I think won a Grammy…so he doesn’t mind spouting nonsense or things he doesn’t believe in if there’s commerce in it…)

Really, I’d rather play the harp than kill it. You have to give people an alternative. McSir Paul Walrus could donate some of his millions to the Seal Hunt Retirement Fund. The Minnesota family could demand that the US government stop paying billions for foreign wars of dubious morality and use the money it saves to buy every Iraqi citizen a Big Mac. Canada can supply the Timmy's. That kind of good will would be cheap at twice the price.

Bloody Blog

I’m testing the bloody blog. Nothin but problems fer the last week.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Okie Dokie Diamond

This is so cool.

An Oklahoma State Trooper, Marvin Culver, took his family to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. This place is an old mine site, I think, and what they do is allow the public to do some prospecting. And old Marvin bagged himself a 4.2 carat diamond, the 17th largest ever found there. (The largest was 40 carats!) Worth $3000 for starters, depending on clarity etc. Nice way to spend the day, eh?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Song of the Day

Winnipeg Wind -- one of Voin's tunes, due to be released SOON -- album title This One's For Kenny -- name of the band 2 Cents Left.

SOON!

Mental Blog Repair 1

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