Saturday, January 28, 2006

Canada's ex-prime ministers in reality TV gig

"Five young Canadians will endure public speaking and debate challenges to transform themselves into a possible national leader. The prize includes an internship in a Canadian public policy think tank.

TV reality shows have long depended on stage veterans like pop stars, supermodels and actors for celebrity judges. But this format will see former prime ministers Kim Campbell, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and John Turner passing judgment."

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

interview with Brian Jungen--

"But here, sometimes the media tries to be so poetic and it's embarrassing. Around Shapeshifter, [one local newspaper reviewer] did this awful piece about me being the whale. My friends were killing themselves laughing. Please, please don't compare me to whales in captivity!"

 Posted by Picasa

happy 250th Mozart!
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Anthony Powell at the Wallace Collection in London--

"It's possible, for instance, to imagine Powell's Barnby enlivening a portrait session much as Henry Lamb did when he enlisted his sister-in-law, Lady Violet Pakenham, to talk to Powell while he was being painted. Lamb's portraits - of Powell, of Lady Violet, of Evelyn Waugh - are the most assured and historically significant in the exhibition. Perhaps there is some correlation between Powell's at times curiously subfusc prose and the sober Camden Town colour and gestural reticence of Lamb's portrait of him."

Posted by Picasa

a fine new issue of onedit is up, with poems by Jean Day, Jonathan Skinner, Kevin Killian, Buck Downs, Brenda Coultas &c. including this one from Michael Gizzi--

Clouds Nine

The best way to become a cloud--a cloud one could be
proud of--is to have a father

who's a meteorologist. Yosemite Sam upbraids a dust devil.
What would he say about

the weather on Lesbos? Or on drugs, for that matter? Leave
it to Beaver Lamarck to

form a list of cloud types. These here blew in from the
French Revolution to stack up

over this canary yellow hum cover. One never knows, do
one? Would you believe a

cicerone in his cups under a claudicated anvil fixin' to
fulgurate a lunch loaf? Nosh on

this: The concupiscent curd of a former whirling dervish. Is
Rumi in the house?

Posted by Picasa
Revenge of the Mutt People

"My point here is that we rural and small town mutt people by an early age seem to have a special capacity for cruelty, compared say, to damned near every other imaginable group of Americans. For instance, as a child did you ever put a firecracker up a toad’s ass and light it? George Bush and I have that in common. Anyway, as all non-whites the world round understand, white people can be mean. Especially if they feel threatened -- and they feel threatened about everything these days. But when you provide certain species of white mutt people with the right incentives, such as free pork or approval from god and government, you get things like lynchings, Fallujah, the Birmingham bombers and Abu Ghraib.

Even as this is being written we may safely assume some of my tribe of mutt people are stifling the screams of captives in America’s secret “black site” prisons across the planet. Or on a more mundane scale of cruelty (according to CBS footage) kicking hundreds of chickens to death every day at the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Wardensville, West Virginia, just up the road from where I am writing this. Or consider the image of Matthew Shepard’s body twisted on that Wyoming fence. All these are our handiwork. We the mutt faced sons and daughters of the republic. Born to kick your chicken breast meat to death for you in the darkest, most dismal corners of our great land, born to kill and be killed in stock car races, drunken domestic rows, and of course in the desert dusty back streets at the edges of the empire. Middle class urban liberals may never claim us as brothers, muchless willing servants, but as they say in prison, we are your meat. We do your bidding. Your refusal to admit that we do your dirty work for you, not to mention the international smackdowns and muggings for the republic -- from which you benefit more materially than we ever will -- makes it no less true."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Emmanuel Todd via James Wolcott--

"American neo-conservatism is not alone to blame. What seems to me more striking is the way this America that incarnates the absolute opposite of the Soviet Union is on the point of producing the same catastrophe by the opposite route. Communism, in its madness, supposed that society was everything and that the individual was nothing, an ideological basis that caused its own ruin. Today, the United States assures us, with a blind faith as intense as Stalin's, that the individual is everything, that the market is enough and that the state is hateful. The intensity of the ideological fixation is altogether comparable to the Communist delirium. This individualist and inequalitarian posture disorganizes American capacity for action. The real mystery to me is situated there: how can a society renounce common sense and pragmatism to such an extent and enter into such a process of ideological self-destruction? It's a historical aporia to which I have no answer and the problem with which cannot be abstracted from the present administration's policies alone. It's all of American society that seems to be launched into a scorpion policy, a sick system that ends up injecting itself with its own venom."
Not So Bad, Eh?

"In the end, we have a Conservative government, not because Canadians want radical change, but because they could no longer stomach Paul Martin's decaying Liberals. They supported the Conservatives only to the extent necessary to rid themselves of Martin -- and no further. That is the message voters sent on election day. Canadians, as confirmed in every in-depth values survey done in the past five years, are in their large majority, progressive and tolerant, support activist government, are appalled by the level of poverty in this country and repelled by what is going on south of the border. Any party that ignores this fundamental fact of Canadian political culture will ultimately fail."

the actor Chris Penn has died. This is a link to Cintra Wilson's great profile of him for Salon, which I posted last year. Bye bye Nice Guy.

(above w/ Steve Buscemi & Harvey Keitel)

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

essays on Canada and the Early Cold War, 1943-1957--

"The political scientist Denis Stairs substitutes Metternich for Kant as the inspiration behind Canadian policy. Steeped in a European realist tradition, Canadian politicians and diplomats acknowledged the fundamental importance of power and geography in determining a state's foreign policy. " Security politics," Stairs argues, "were geopolitics ." A classic balance of power analysis, reinforced by Ottawa's experience with the Great Powers during the Second World War, determined Canada's pragmatic approach to reconstructing international order after the war. Canadian interpretations of Soviet and American behaviour in the initial phase of the Cold War, the focus of Stairs 'work ,were also shaped by traditional geopolitical considerations. Hence, for Canadian diplomats, carefully controlled calculations of power and national interest - not ideology - were crucial in developing an effective diplomatic strategy in the Cold War context."

 Posted by Picasa


"Visit one of the most unique sites in Canada. A huge four-storey bunker, buried deep under a hillside and meant to house crucial elements of Canadian government in a nuclear war, is now open to you. Exhibits and recreated areas provide a startling glimpse into Cold War history.

This National Historic Site of Canada, located outside the capital city of Ottawa, is an underground nuclear bunker built in secrecy during the height of the Cold War between 1959 and 1961, and was meant to house the top officials of the government and military during the risk of nuclear attack.

Tours of this incredibly unique facility take visitors through a time warp to 1960s era government rooms, living quarters, cryptographic areas. Visitors enjoy a guided tour of the entire facility, over 100,000 square feet in size, four stories underground. Some of the focal points will include the Prime Minister�s suite (above), the War Cabinet Room, the CBC radio studio, the Bank of Canada vault, and the Emergency Government Situation Centre."

 Posted by Picasa

live from the Diefenbunker...

Nanaimo has a Diefenbunker, next to the College, all closed up.

(above: Motorola Diefenbunker Phone) Posted by Picasa

laurels to CPAC, the Canadian Public Affairs channel, who had the best election coverage, with real-time door-to-doors, etc, & their polling was not only the most accurate, but they would break it down carefully--last night's results were little surprise to those who caught this feature. Their website has a live feed, podcasts & a very slick Flash/Tetris election results display.

 Posted by Picasa

best election round-up is at the Tyee--congratulations to our member Jean Crowder (above right), re-elected with a huge majority, whose superb performance as NDP health critic helped to bring more Island ridings into the NDP fold, including Victoria which elected Denise Savoie (above left) in an upset.

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006

the old Kelvinbridge Station from Hidden Glasgow -- Subway pre- and during modernisation - in colour!

I distinctly remember riding the old Glasgow Subway c. '71; I'd already ridden the tube in London so it seemed toytownish and no big deal to me as a 12 year old but can it really have been so tiny and Edwardian and Brothers Quayesque as this? Through such a Lucozade lens? Flocking on the chairs, pink of the four page evening paper with the soccer and horse results? Old guys carrying tobacco in those rubber wallets? I think it was. Before the patina of industrialisation was powerwashed off the innocent granite, the skylights bricked off, the terraces re-inforced...

Posted by Picasa

Sir, You Bastard in the OED...

from def. for "square one"

"G. F. NEWMAN Sir, You Bastard 279 A couple of wrong answers and Sneed knew he'd be right back on square one"
 Posted by Picasa

Victoria earlier in the month like Nanaimo today! shocker from Weldon Hunter's blog--

"Little Half Way

for Alex Gigeroff

Fresh trees should have
ridgetops like smoke,
iron branches in winter.
I built a tall fire and fed it
with these boughs (wind
has torn like that for me).
The spiraea moonlight dove
into the scene and illuminated
a birdshit fleck on my hat.
The old people moved near
to another. The woods
were oven-warm."

All the storm fallen branches left--even when cleaned up--big stacks of needles & caught on the road behind & up from our house perhaps a dozen quail feasting on the bugly richness--so oven-warm certainly.
Posted by Picasa

kudos to Lori Emerson for assembling this very extensive page of bp Nichol sound files. We miss you Barrie!
 Posted by Picasa

"It is a duty and pleasure to vote." Posted by Picasa