Sunday, July 30, 2006

Literature and Science

"Sidereal motion (1complete revolution around the earth) of the moon takes 27.3217 days. Thus along the path of the moon it traverses 27 nakshatras or group of stars. Here Sidharth brings in the myth that Daksha had 28 daughters and the Moon spends about one day in each nakshatra and takes a little over 27 days to complete its synodic cycle. Hence one nakshatra had to go and Daksha married off one of his daughters to Siva.

A further significance of the number 27 can be seen in a circle drawn inside a square touching its sides. The circle is divided into twelve equal parts (12 x 30 = 360). They are named after the common zodiac signs for convenience. Then the circle is divided into 27 equal parts of 13 degrees 20 minutes (13o 20” x 27 = 3600) accommodating 27 stars per asterism. 5

Interestingly this combination of 13 and 20 is found in the Mayan calendar, referred to as the Tzolkin.! The Mayans also had a 365 day calendar, known as the Haab which intermeshed with the Tzolkin.

The most striking feature appears to be identification of the Precession of the Equinoxes, which simply put, alters the position of the star in the sky due to the spinning motion of the Earth, i.e. the celestial north Pole does not point towards the same star after a given period of time due to the wobble of the earth as it spins on its axis. The precession of the equinox appears to be the underlying theme in Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend’s masterpiece, Hamlet’s mill, as being the encoded message in myths amongst many cultures.6 Due to precession, the vernal equinox moves along the ecliptic by 1° in approximately 72 years. Coincidentally, the number of temples built around Angkor Wat is 72! The Chatur-yuga, 4,320,000 years is related to the precessional cycle, 25,867 years corresponding to a precession of 50.1 arc-seconds per year. This is amazingly close to the normally accepted value of 50.2 arc-seconds for the precessional constant."

from Subra Narayan

From Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time

String theories ,however, have a bigger problem: they seem to be consistent only if space-time has either ten or twenty-six dimensions, instead of the usual four! Of course extra space-time dimensions are a commonplace of science fiction; indeed, they are almost a necessity, since otherwise the fact that relativity implies that one cannot travel faster than light means that it would take far too long to travel between stars and galaxies. The science fiction idea is that maybe one can take a shortcut through a higher dimension. One can picture this in the following way.

Imagine that the space we live in has only two dimensions and is curved like the surface of an anchor ring or torus. If you were on one side of the inside edge of the ring and you wanted to get to a point on the other side, you would have to go round the inner edge of the ring. However, if you were able to travel in the third dimension, you could cut straight across.

Poetry and Physics

Reading backwards

"Writing is murder" Walker Percy.

House-sitting or staying with family and friends has often seduced me with new books to read. I love looking at other peoples book shelves filled with chatckas, dvd collections or books. How many friendships, or travels or coincidences in conversations have manifested a wonderful book into my lap? Endless. Reuniting with a pagey friend though is a love affair like no other. I recently unpacked and repacked boxes of my library. It isn't a very big library. There was a time when I had something like 60 milkcrates of books. When I moved my friends hated me. At the moment the books I own and savour are mostly favourite novels, and many reference non-fiction books. I sent a suitcase home with Stagg last month. I kept a half dozen or so with me during my visit in Canada.

One of these delightful old friends is a book I must have scavanged somewhere, it is beat up but unread by me. It is Illuminations by Walter Benjamin published post-humously in 1955. Benjamin is most known for his translations, which is primarily how I know him, although he is also a challenging literary critic.

"The growing proletarianization of modern man and the increasing formation of masses are two aspects of the same process. Fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. The masses have a right to change property relations; Fascism seeks to give them an expression while preserving property. The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life. The violation of the masses, whom Fascism, with its Führer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values.

All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. War and war only can set a goal for mass movements on the largest scale while respecting the traditional property system. This is the political formula for the situation. The technological formula may be stated as follows: Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system. It goes without saying that the Fascist apotheosis of war does not employ such arguments. Still, Marinetti says in his manifesto on the Ethiopian colonial war:

“For twenty-seven years we Futurists have rebelled against the branding of war as anti-aesthetic ... Accordingly we state:... War is beautiful because it establishes man’s dominion over the subjugated machinery by means of gas masks, terrifying megaphones, flame throwers, and small tanks. War is beautiful because it initiates the dreamt-of metalization of the human body. War is beautiful because it enriches a flowering meadow with the fiery orchids of machine guns. War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the stench of putrefaction into a symphony. War is beautiful because it creates new architecture, like that of the big tanks, the geometrical formation flights, the smoke spirals from burning villages, and many others ... Poets and artists of Futurism! ... remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art ... may be illumined by them!”

This manifesto has the virtue of clarity. Its formulations deserve to be accepted by dialecticians. To the latter, the aesthetics of today’s war appears as follows: If the natural utilization of productive forces is impeded by the property system, the increase in technical devices, in speed, and in the sources of energy will press for an unnatural utilization, and this is found in war. The destructiveness of war furnishes proof that society has not been mature enough to incorporate technology as its organ, that technology has not been sufficiently developed to cope with the elemental forces of society. The horrible features of imperialistic warfare are attributable to the discrepancy between the tremendous means of production and their inadequate utilization in the process of production – in other words, to unemployment and the lack of markets. Imperialistic war is a rebellion of technology which collects, in the form of “human material,” the claims to which society has denied its natural materrial. Instead of draining rivers, society directs a human stream into a bed of trenches; instead of dropping seeds from airplanes, it drops incendiary bombs over cities; and through gas warfare the aura is abolished in a new way.

“Fiat ars – pereat mundus”, says Fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. This is evidently the consummation of “l’art pour l’art.” Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art."

from; The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

I kept this book by Walter Benjamin with me because he has some criticism and notes about Brecht and Proust, both of which I was hoping to read this summer. Despite having dyslexia, I am an avid reader. Usually books on non-fiction about nature and science and mythology. But for the last few months I have been reading online and magazines. I don't seem to have the attention span for a book of any kind, least of all fiction. So, Harpers, Vanity Fair, WIRED and blogs it is for me. A book of essays by Walter Benjamin seemed like a good return to book reading.

I was unprepared for the stunning introduction by Hannah Arendt and lost the morning to her reflections. Arendt met Benjamin in Paris in the 30's where she describes him as cultivating his life as a flaneur.I am not a big fan of biographies although I could likely tell you who Brad Pitt was dating in 1985...but something about the deadly combo of Arendt and Benjamin drew me in. I knew nothing about this unusual man who translated and was a peer to Kafka and Brecht and was immersed in the study of Goethe, Here was someone who obsessed about the ordinary and surrealism. I had no idea that Benjamin was so taken with surrealism, he was friends with Georges Bataille and died tragically by his own hand trying to escape nazi Germany for America. He also collected quotations.

Not uncommon for a writer and artist, I too, collect quotations. I am more likely to post a quotation here at my blog than my very own thoughts. I find a world of passion in other peoples thoughts. My student sketchbooks offer little to me with their feeble inexperienced drawings and notes, but the excitement of reading the quotes I transcribed as a young person deliver me to the world of searching for answers and the classic debates over beer with fellow students and punks and freaks and artists. A life pahse that usually only lasts for most people during their life, that period when we actually have the time and commitment to question authority and live the life of a flaneur with our friends rather than slaves to the Man. I was charmed by reading that a large aspect of Benjamin's literary criticism was his adoption of using endless quotations within his work and collecting not only books but notes and notes of quotations. Arendt describes him as a man walking backwards into the future. And that his use of quotations in his writing was like a surrealistic montage.

From Arendt's introduction...
Insofar as the past has been transmitted as tradition, it posesses authority; insofar as authority presents itself historically, it becomes tradition. Walter Benjamin knew that the break in tradition and the loss of authority which occured in his lifetime were irreparable, and he concluded that he had to discover new ways of dealing with the past. In this he became a master when he discovered the transmissibility of the past had been replaced by its citability and that in place of its authority there had a risen a strange power to settle down, piecemeal, in the present and to deprive it of "peace of mind", the mindless peace of complacency. "Quotations in my works are like robbers by the roadside who make an armed attack and relieve an idler of his convictions" This discovery of the modern function of quotations, according to Benjamin, who exemplified it by Karl Kraus, was born out of despair-not the despair of a past that refuses "to throw light on the future" and lets the human mind "wander in darkness" as in Tocqueville, but out of the despair of the present and the desire to destroy it, hence their power is "not the strength to preserve but to cleanse, to tear out of context, to destroy". Still, the discoverers and lovers of this destructive power originally were inspired by an entirely different intention, the intention to preserve; and only because they did not let themselves be fooled by the professional "preservers" all around them did they finally discover that the destructive power of quotations was "the only one which still contains the hope that something from this period will survive-for no other reason than that it was torn out of it." In this form of "thought fragments," quotations have the double task of interupting the flow of the presentation with "transcendent force" and at the same time of concentrating within themselves that which is presented. As to their weight in Benjamin's writings, quotations are comparable only to the very dissimilar Biblical citations which so often replace the immanent consistency of argumentation in medieval treatises.

I understand this to mean, that by using quotations Benjamin knew he could turn political censor and attention away from himself and demonstrate that others had already taken a stand exploring oppression and freedom within literature. I also take this to mean that we quickly forget our past stories and their wisdom or folly. A good example of this is the last election in Canada. How could Canadians elect a leader who was against gay and womens rights? Because he stopped quoting his own biogtry and so did the media.

"The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.

How quickly we forget. How clever are the stylists to the stars and politicians revamping Harper all the way to Prime Minister. Nice work Canadian voters. How could you? In part because we don't read or remember the past. Maybe we deserve these self-serving leaders since we are too lazy to think and read for ourselves?

"The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair. " Walker Percy.

"You live in a deranged age, more deranged that usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing." Walker Percy.

At the moment "the past" in the middle east is being recalled in a series of "they started it" quotations of They said/They said.

"They started it" has never worked for parents or for child care workers. Why do we accept it from grown-ups?

Just exactly who indeed are we?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I actually like this tag concept...

Five things in my freezer...

2)stewing beef
4)paint brush in a plastic bag preserving the paint so I didn't have to wash it right away
5)two chicken kiev

Five Things in my car(that just got towed to the car big sleep a 1090 suzuki swift...)

1) a Buddha on dashboard
2)a silver sun reflector
3) the inside cloaked half of my Alpine stereo which I forgot to salvage, fuck!
4)a plaid blanket

Five things in my purse

1) bikini
2) sunblock
4)WIRED magazine on the future of food
5)organic source vitamins

Five things in my closet

1)a black leather belt
2) Harold Bloom's Shakespeare:The Invention of the Human
3)pink stilletoes
4)winter festival decorations
5) suitcase always at the ready

Tag yer it goes to...

The Healing Room
Apperceptive Journey

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Search words leading to here...

gnostic picture symbols
dancing exercise niagara
gay kitimat
soda pop urban legends myths
books in lost
musical compositions by burt baccarat and dionne warwick
live chris daltrey
i am a shit disturber
danny mansmith chicago magazine
seen bunnies fun sex
runs with kittens
rats rabbits and alchemy
daniel pinchbeck new york times review jarhead
vintage acordion hohner picture
betel leaves and arecanut in montreal area
grafitti styles
addicted to depression
krump pride
minx men temple mounds

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Plato's Spindle

I painted this first version of Plato's Spindle in 2002. I would call this painting a transitional painting for me. Every now and then I make a painting where I feel I am trying to do something different in my eyes...and often they are strange combersome pieces but I have sentimental attachments to these particular paintings because I worked out something...or at least I feel I did and they have a weird value to me. The way I painted changed after I made this painting. I guess a transitional painting in my mind is like one of my own missing links...? Above, with flash. Below, without flash.

Plato's Spindle, March 21, 2006 version.


Well, I said, I will tell you a tale; not one of the tales which Odysseus tells to the hero Alcinous, yet this too is a tale of a hero, Er the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by birth. He was slain in battle, and ten days afterwards, when the bodies of the dead were taken up already in a state of corruption, his body was found unaffected by decay, and carried away home to be buried. And on the twelfth day, as he was lying on the funeral pile, he returned to life and told them what he had seen in the other world. He said that when his soul left the body he went on a journey with a great company, and that they came to a mysterious place at which there were two openings in the earth; they were near together, and over against them were two other openings in the heaven above. In the intermediate space there were judges seated, who commanded the just, after they had given judgment on them and had bound their sentences in front of them, to ascend by the heavenly way on the right hand; and in like manner the unjust were bidden by them to descend by the lower way on the left hand; these also bore the symbols of their deeds, but fastened on their backs. He drew near, and they told him that he was to be the messenger who would carry the report of the other world to men, and they bade him hear and see all that was to be heard and seen in that place. Then he beheld and saw on one side the souls departing at either opening of heaven and earth when sentence had been given on them; and at the two other openings other souls, some ascending out of the earth dusty and worn with travel, some descending out of heaven clean and bright. And arriving ever and anon they seemed to have come from a long journey, and they went forth with gladness into the meadow, where they encamped as at a festival; and those who knew one another embraced and conversed, the souls which came from earth curiously enquiring about the things above, and the souls which came from heaven about the things beneath. And they told one another of what had happened by the way, those from below weeping and sorrowing at the remembrance of the things which they had endured and seen in their journey beneath the earth (now the journey lasted a thousand years), while those from above were describing heavenly delights and visions of inconceivable beauty. The Story, Glaucon, would take too long to tell; but the sum was this: --He said that for every wrong which they had done to any one they suffered tenfold; or once in a hundred years --such being reckoned to be the length of man's life, and the penalty being thus paid ten times in a thousand years. If, for example, there were any who had been the cause of many deaths, or had betrayed or enslaved cities or armies, or been guilty of any other evil behaviour, for each and all of their offences they received punishment ten times over, and the rewards of beneficence and justice and holiness were in the same proportion. I need hardly repeat what he said concerning young children dying almost as soon as they were born. Of piety and impiety to gods and parents, and of murderers, there were retributions other and greater far which he described. He mentioned that he was present when one of the spirits asked another, 'Where is Ardiaeus the Great?' (Now this Ardiaeus lived a thousand years before the time of Er: he had been the tyrant of some city of Pamphylia, and had murdered his aged father and his elder brother, and was said to have committed many other abominable crimes.) The answer of the other spirit was: 'He comes not hither and will never come. And this,' said he, 'was one of the dreadful sights which we ourselves witnessed. We were at the mouth of the cavern, and, having completed all our experiences, were about to reascend, when of a sudden Ardiaeus appeared and several others, most of whom were tyrants; and there were also besides the tyrants private individuals who had been great criminals: they were just, as they fancied, about to return into the upper world, but the mouth, instead of admitting them, gave a roar, whenever any of these incurable sinners or some one who had not been sufficiently punished tried to ascend; and then wild men of fiery aspect, who were standing by and heard the sound, seized and carried them off; and Ardiaeus and others they bound head and foot and hand, and threw them down and flayed them with scourges, and dragged them along the road at the side, carding them on thorns like wool, and declaring to the passers-by what were their crimes, and that they were being taken away to be cast into hell.' And of all the many terrors which they had endured, he said that there was none like the terror which each of them felt at that moment, lest they should hear the voice; and when there was silence, one by one they ascended with exceeding joy. These, said Er, were the penalties and retributions, and there were blessings as great.

Now when the spirits which were in the meadow had tarried seven days, on the eighth they were obliged to proceed on their journey, and, on the fourth day after, he said that they came to a place where they could see from above a line of light, straight as a column, extending right through the whole heaven and through the earth, in colour resembling the rainbow, only brighter and purer; another day's journey brought them to the place, and there, in the midst of the light, they saw the ends of the chains of heaven let down from above: for this light is the belt of heaven, and holds together the circle of the universe, like the under-girders of a trireme. From these ends is extended the spindle of Necessity, on which all the revolutions turn. The shaft and hook of this spindle are made of steel, and the whorl is made partly of steel and also partly of other materials. Now the whorl is in form like the whorl used on earth; and the description of it implied that there is one large hollow whorl which is quite scooped out, and into this is fitted another lesser one, and another, and another, and four others, making eight in all, like vessels which fit into one another; the whorls show their edges on the upper side, and on their lower side all together form one continuous whorl. This is pierced by the spindle, which is driven home through the centre of the eighth. The first and outermost whorl has the rim broadest, and the seven inner whorls are narrower, in the following proportions --the sixth is next to the first in size, the fourth next to the sixth; then comes the eighth; the seventh is fifth, the fifth is sixth, the third is seventh, last and eighth comes the second. The largest (of fixed stars) is spangled, and the seventh (or sun) is brightest; the eighth (or moon) coloured by the reflected light of the seventh; the second and fifth (Saturn and Mercury) are in colour like one another, and yellower than the preceding; the third (Venus) has the whitest light; the fourth (Mars) is reddish; the sixth (Jupiter) is in whiteness second. Now the whole spindle has the same motion; but, as the whole revolves in one direction, the seven inner circles move slowly in the other, and of these the swiftest is the eighth; next in swiftness are the seventh, sixth, and fifth, which move together; third in swiftness appeared to move according to the law of this reversed motion the fourth; the third appeared fourth and the second fifth. The spindle turns on the knees of Necessity; and on the upper surface of each circle is a siren, who goes round with them, hymning a single tone or note. The eight together form one harmony; and round about, at equal intervals, there is another band, three in number, each sitting upon her throne: these are the Fates, daughters of Necessity, who are clothed in white robes and have chaplets upon their heads, Lachesis and Clotho and Atropos, who accompany with their voices the harmony of the sirens --Lachesis singing of the past, Clotho of the present, Atropos of the future; Clotho from time to time assisting with a touch of her right hand the revolution of the outer circle of the whorl or spindle, and Atropos with her left hand touching and guiding the inner ones, and Lachesis laying hold of either in turn, first with one hand and then with the other.

When Er and the spirits arrived, their duty was to go at once to Lachesis; but first of all there came a prophet who arranged them in order; then he took from the knees of Lachesis lots and samples of lives, and having mounted a high pulpit, spoke as follows: 'Hear the word of Lachesis, the daughter of Necessity. Mortal souls, behold a new cycle of life and mortality. Your genius will not be allotted to you, but you choose your genius; and let him who draws the first lot have the first choice, and the life which he chooses shall be his destiny. Virtue is free, and as a man honours or dishonours her he will have more or less of her; the responsibility is with the chooser --God is justified.' When the Interpreter had thus spoken he scattered lots indifferently among them all, and each of them took up the lot which fell near him, all but Er himself (he was not allowed), and each as he took his lot perceived the number which he had obtained. Then the Interpreter placed on the ground before them the samples of lives; and there were many more lives than the souls present, and they were of all sorts. There were lives of every animal and of man in every condition. And there were tyrannies among them, some lasting out the tyrant's life, others which broke off in the middle and came to an end in poverty and exile and beggary; and there were lives of famous men, some who were famous for their form and beauty as well as for their strength and success in games, or, again, for their birth and the qualities of their ancestors; and some who were the reverse of famous for the opposite qualities. And of women likewise; there was not, however, any definite character them, because the soul, when choosing a new life, must of necessity become different. But there was every other quality, and the all mingled with one another, and also with elements of wealth and poverty, and disease and health; and there were mean states also. And here, my dear Glaucon, is the supreme peril of our human state; and therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let each one of us leave every other kind of knowledge and seek and follow one thing only, if peradventure he may be able to learn and may find some one who will make him able to learn and discern between good and evil, and so to choose always and everywhere the better life as he has opportunity. He should consider the bearing of all these things which have been mentioned severally and collectively upon virtue; he should know what the effect of beauty is when combined with poverty or wealth in a particular soul, and what are the good and evil consequences of noble and humble birth, of private and public station, of strength and weakness, of cleverness and dullness, and of all the soul, and the operation of them when conjoined; he will then look at the nature of the soul, and from the consideration of all these qualities he will be able to determine which is the better and which is the worse; and so he will choose, giving the name of evil to the life which will make his soul more unjust, and good to the life which will make his soul more just; all else he will disregard. For we have seen and know that this is the best choice both in life and after death. A man must take with him into the world below an adamantine faith in truth and right, that there too he may be undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil, lest, coming upon tyrannies and similar villainies, he do irremediable wrongs to others and suffer yet worse himself; but let him know how to choose the mean and avoid the extremes on either side, as far as possible, not only in this life but in all that which is to come. For this is the way of happiness.

And according to the report of the messenger from the other world this was what the prophet said at the time: 'Even for the last comer, if he chooses wisely and will live diligently, there is appointed a happy and not undesirable existence. Let not him who chooses first be careless, and let not the last despair.' And when he had spoken, he who had the first choice came forward and in a moment chose the greatest tyranny; his mind having been darkened by folly and sensuality, he had not thought out the whole matter before he chose, and did not at first sight perceive that he was fated, among other evils, to devour his own children. But when he had time to reflect, and saw what was in the lot, he began to beat his breast and lament over his choice, forgetting the proclamation of the prophet; for, instead of throwing the blame of his misfortune on himself, he accused chance and the gods, and everything rather than himself. Now he was one of those who came from heaven, and in a former life had dwelt in a well-ordered State, but his virtue was a matter of habit only, and he had no philosophy. And it was true of others who were similarly overtaken, that the greater number of them came from heaven and therefore they had never been schooled by trial, whereas the pilgrims who came from earth, having themselves suffered and seen others suffer, were not in a hurry to choose. And owing to this inexperience of theirs, and also because the lot was a chance, many of the souls exchanged a good destiny for an evil or an evil for a good. For if a man had always on his arrival in this world dedicated himself from the first to sound philosophy, and had been moderately fortunate in the number of the lot, he might, as the messenger reported, be happy here, and also his journey to another life and return to this, instead of being rough and underground, would be smooth and heavenly. Most curious, he said, was the spectacle --sad and laughable and strange; for the choice of the souls was in most cases based on their experience of a previous life. There he saw the soul which had once been Orpheus choosing the life of a swan out of enmity to the race of women, hating to be born of a woman because they had been his murderers; he beheld also the soul of Thamyras choosing the life of a nightingale; birds, on the other hand, like the swan and other musicians, wanting to be men. The soul which obtained the twentieth lot chose the life of a lion, and this was the soul of Ajax the son of Telamon, who would not be a man, remembering the injustice which was done him the judgment about the arms. The next was Agamemnon, who took the life of an eagle, because, like Ajax, he hated human nature by reason of his sufferings. About the middle came the lot of Atalanta; she, seeing the great fame of an athlete, was unable to resist the temptation: and after her there followed the soul of Epeus the son of Panopeus passing into the nature of a woman cunning in the arts; and far away among the last who chose, the soul of the jester Thersites was putting on the form of a monkey. There came also the soul of Odysseus having yet to make a choice, and his lot happened to be the last of them all. Now the recollection of former tolls had disenchanted him of ambition, and he went about for a considerable time in search of the life of a private man who had no cares; he had some difficulty in finding this, which was lying about and had been neglected by everybody else; and when he saw it, he said that he would have done the had his lot been first instead of last, and that he was delighted to have it. And not only did men pass into animals, but I must also mention that there were animals tame and wild who changed into one another and into corresponding human natures --the good into the gentle and the evil into the savage, in all sorts of combinations.

All the souls had now chosen their lives, and they went in the order of their choice to Lachesis, who sent with them the genius whom they had severally chosen, to be the guardian of their lives and the fulfiller of the choice: this genius led the souls first to Clotho, and drew them within the revolution of the spindle impelled by her hand, thus ratifying the destiny of each; and then, when they were fastened to this, carried them to Atropos, who spun the threads and made them irreversible, whence without turning round they passed beneath the throne of Necessity; and when they had all passed, they marched on in a scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness, which was a barren waste destitute of trees and verdure; and then towards evening they encamped by the river of Unmindfulness, whose water no vessel can hold; of this they were all obliged to drink a certain quantity, and those who were not saved by wisdom drank more than was necessary; and each one as he drank forgot all things. Now after they had gone to rest, about the middle of the night there was a thunderstorm and earthquake, and then in an instant they were driven upwards in all manner of ways to their birth, like stars shooting. He himself was hindered from drinking the water. But in what manner or by what means he returned to the body he could not say; only, in the morning, awaking suddenly, he found himself lying on the pyre.

And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my counsel is that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus shall we live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remaining here and when, like conquerors in the games who go round to gather gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be well with us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been describing.

Circus Wrap Party

The band Runs With Kittens.
Below, Lisa and Don.

Anton and Ben


Les Walkyries

Georgina and Anthony.


Sue Morrison, Dan Nemo, Eric Davis and Eli, Ringmaster of Zero Gravity Circus.

Eric Davis and Sue Morrisn, co-writers of Red Bastard.

Runs With Kittens.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bloggers banned! (or 20 comments Wednesday has more meaning to me suddenly)

It takes me so long to do this that I thought I would start now, late late on Tuesday evening. Does that count Mr.Pie?

I have had a very shocking piece of news. My friend Rauf the photographer in India whose blog I so much enjoy has posted that his government has put a ban on blogging. I hope this is some kind of urban legend or joke...but I worry it may not be. What the hell is wrong with our governments and leaders...? I have changed the name of this post from 20 comments wednesday to Bloogers banned in support of my friend and spreading the word. There seem to be a lot of blogs posting ways to get around the governemnt censorship, so that is interesting...

I am going to try to post as many comments as I can on blogs tonight till I get tired in honor of our Indian blogger mates. I think I made it to 31. Cheers!

Minj's Picnic Site
The Assimilated Negro
Built To Be Destroyed
Things That Make You Go Hmm
The Assimilated Negro
Mathematical Poetry
Photos In India
Red's Page (I think I put three comments here!)
A Blog About Nowt
Punkin Homer
The Cappicino Kid
Rock It To Me
Peaceful Revolution Leader (warning Abu Ghraib photos)
The Healing Room
Heavy Mentalist
Watch My Loss
This Blog Sits At The Intersection...
Death Begins In The Colon
How To Save The World
Totally Waisted: Corsetry
From A Lofty Perch
High Class Jackass
Give Me Your Hand
Logan's Blog
Infoshop News
Anarchist Spititualist Barbie a long but interesting article about environmental medicine is top story.
Red Sox Forever
Red Sox Fan I met in a bar in Chicago
Humanity's Critic
Guy Kawasaki. Obviously I am not going to give him a link, heh heh. But I did go to his blog and taunt him.


I love pirates and pirate movies. Pirate flags are pretty cool too. My grandparents were Danish so perhaps that makes me a pirate since viking is code for pirate. Pirates, like outlaw cowboys of American were often former cival war soldiers who quit the army or were thrown out over a battle of ethics, honor or terms of engagement or on the losing team. Pirates and outlaws always seem to have such great biographies.

So, it will be no surprise that I went opening weekend to Johnny Depp's new pirate movie. I've been twice. Love pirates!

I am not going to give a movie review at this time except to say it's a great bit of fun. Instead I want to quote a section from The Ape and the Sushi Master by Frans De Waal.. If you are going to see Pirates of the Carribean, this will just enhance your enjoyment a little more...without revealing anything about the story.

Music historians have found it hard to accept that one of the most idolized Western composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, could have arranged a solemn ceremony, with veiled, hymn-singing mourners, and a special poem by the composer himself, for the burial of a bird. could it be that, since Mozart's father had died the same week, the funeral was related to this family tragedy instead? This conjecture hardly explains, though, why on this sad occasion, on June 4, 1787, the great composer's recital began with these lines:

A starling bird rests here,
a fool whom I held dear.
Who in his prime still,
swallowed death's bitter pill.

Anyone familiar with the European starling, Sturmus vulgaris, knows how apt this description is (the German word for "fool" in Mozart's poem is Narr, also means "jester" or "clown"). The same ordinary bird is now common in the United States because a different kind of fools released over one hundred of them in New York's Central Park in the 1890's as part of an effort to introduce the entire avian cast of the Shakespearean theater. With several hundred million starlings now blackening the skies across the North American continent, the amount of agricultural havoc created by this well-intended decision has been immeasurable.

Starlings are clowns, and no one knows this better than the people who have raised these overactive birds at home. They imitate all kinds of sounds made by other animals, people, and objects such as telephones, rattling keys, and clinking dishes. In the households of academics, they have been known to pick up phrases, such as "basic research" and "I think you're right," which they use at inopportune moments, resulting in amusing commentaries. One bird had a custom of landing on a shoulder while uttering "Basic research, it's true, I think you're righ." Another bird, squirming while being held for treatment of its feet, screeched "I have a question!"

When you see the movie sequel to Pirates you'll be glad you read this post.


The Fertile Crescent

We need to take a stand. It's okay to take a stand. They are going too far for too long, there is no mystery about it.

They are all being assholes.

We don't need to take sides. There is no side.

People need to co-operate with each other, period.

We need to conduct a zero tolerance of the behaviour in Middle East.

Space is a premium. Instead of sharing all parties decide to con favour through religion and so-called history. No we have real estate and water shortages.

It's time to share.

It's time to tell the middle east to grow up or fuck off.

There is no history book or theory or "special understanding" of a people or culture or visits to a nation that justify this addiction to revenge.

There is zero excuse for this behaviour.

And anyone who takes sides can fuck off too: because then you're as corrupt as they are ethically.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Advice curiousity

I've had a wee request about my busking ADVICE at the Toronto International Circus Festival.

The context of this circus festival is a forum for street theatre around the world in one comfortable visually stimulating Victorian Industrial area of Toronto.

I was very fortunate to participate in the circus festival last weekend. I set up a couple chairs and a sign simply saying ADVICE within a gold frame. What I like about this idea is that it is an alternative to the expensive cost of a lawyer, shrink or psychic. And yet, it might appeal to folks who are not interested or have the time for Oprah or Dr.Phil. I could be the antidrphil.

I found I was entirely entertained by looking into the faces of people as they walked by. There were large numbers of people who never cracked a smile, tried to avoid eye contact, and walked by as quick as possible. Then there were scores who just were laughing and delighted by the sign and me sitting there smiling. They got it. Often it was one of them that came up to me. And they often said "give me advice". I would say, "anything, just random advice?" And they would smile and nod.

I would supply them with a nugget of advice about farming:suggesting we grow all our food in cities, avoid eating prison food (bread, rice, noodles, potatoes) or advise them to park their car except for road trips, avoid buying any new clothes or household items or any shopping for a year...they will feel rich. I advised they think about corn, after all it takes a gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn. So why the devil would we want to develop corn based fuel for cars?

Then there seemed to be a lot of negative types of folks who looked at me like I told them their teenaged child had lost their virginity. They looked at me and then their company as if "who does she think she is to give away advice?" Complete disgust.

And then there were the naysayers who approached me. "What qualifies you to give advice?"

"Is that worth two bucks to you to know?"

Maybe these folks wouldn't have participated, but once I ask them if that's their question, they kind of get commited to hearing my answer and will agree to a donation. I would answer them with the following resume.

I have been a bartender all my life. I did improv for ten years, and I write scripts. I have travelled so much that my conversations with needy fellow passengers and listening to their life stories have made me wise and determined to cure the world of unhappy fellow travellers so a girl can get some sleep on an overseas flight. One year I read 300 books.

Two bucks in the hat no problem.

The most rowdy customers were often two couples out on the town. One guy said..."advice...oh we gotta try this" He had me laughing and his wife and friends laughing and I gave it right back at them. Very fun.

Ten bucks in the hat no problem.

But it wasn't all vaudeville and lively banter. I had many many serious questions that took a fair bit of time to ask the asker questions so I could get a better idea of what was going on with their challenges in life.

Lots of questions about travel and health. How to get a boyfriend. When to conceive. Should I call him. Should I call her. Should I get a whippet.

I was so blown away by the number of people who had such serious and sincere questions and I met a lot of wonderful folks and had some great conversations and hopefully hopefully a few of these fine people had a sense of peace or at least a feeling someone was ready to listen with no vested interest in their predicament but still felt responsible.

I don't want to give away the literal questions I was asked as some of them were deeply personal. But it was such a rewarding experience I took it to the financial district today and will try the beach tomorrow.

My general impression is that there are a lot of people out there that are not quick to smile, and that makes me a little sad. Mind you...after working a ridiculous 40 hour week, in stuffy offices and the world going to hell in a handbasket...what's to smile about? Maybe just maybe me and my advice sign will bring a few more smiles to the world. Cross your fingers.

I'd like to sit in Gaza and give advice.

I would say...sit down, don't eat, don't move, don't retaliate. If you took to a peaceful demonstration and sat among the bombs the whole world would be on your side.

Careful what you wish for...

As you know, I've been having some fun trying to beat business guru Guy Kawasaki to the top ten in technorati ranking game. I wished for links, because it's all about the links baby! I have been linked by some peoples blogs who I feel are dead wrong in their ethics. This came as a great shock to me.

I wanted success at my competition and success I have been getting. So successful in fact that I have been linked by certain blogs and websites that I would perhaps rather not be. Please be advised that I would rather not be associated with any racist blogs, or those that preach bigotry in any form. My presence as a link on their sites is an unfortunate side effect of my Kawasaki competition at technorati. And, we can't control how our ideas may be used by others, that is a risk within a democratic structure like the internet. I can take a stand though.

I am in the process of making comments regarding the racist and prejudicial opinions on some of these blogs, along with a request that I be removed from their blogroll.

I feel racism and hate is dead wrong.

I believe we need to talk to the very people we most fear and judge in order to understand each other and to learn to at least tolerate our different opinions.

I believe in free speech and that everyone is entitled to their opinion...but in the words of Woody Allen, the lamb will lie down with the lion, but the lamb won't get much sleep. I am vigilant in my rejection of racism, agism, prejudice and hate.

Especailly with the headlines of war, the crisis in the middle east, and hate crimes even in free countries I feel it's especially important to take a stand for peaceful conflict resolution, understanding and at the very least tolerance.

With prayers and meditations heading from my heart to the middle east we need to take a stand and not allow the residents to play out their own horrors and resentments. Perhpas no one should live in the middle east.

We wouldn't allow little toddlers to act the way we allow the middle east to act. We teach our toddlers about time-out.

It's high time we turn the whole fertile crescent into Time Out International Park. No one can live there any more. Militia will be the Park Rangers, with 50 dollars U. S. and a passport and complete search of your bags and may go visit Mecca.

Fertile Crescent? Your priveledges have been revoked. You are grounded. You may come and live in Canada where we play card games, allow gays to marry, have medical coverage based on income, hockey, beautiful beer, cold winters and hot summers. You will learn to love the leaf of peacekeeping on our flag. You are not allowed to fight but rather debate. And play sports. Sports is the marriage of art and war. Technorati Ranking is the new black. My joyful teasing of Guy Kawasaki's desire to be top ten rank in technorati is a metaphor to me about how to fight. Fight with art. Not the art of war.

Fertile Crescent? You will be returned to Nature: Time Out International Park.

Or else? Go fuck yourselves, you're worse than a toddler without a caregiver! You should be ashamed.

There is only one race. The human race. Every other concept of race is socially constructed based on superficial adaptations to environment.

You are fighting over something that doesn't even exist you idiots.

Tired of moving stones?

Walk away.

20 Comments Wednesday...late on Monday.

Okay, this is for last Wednesdays 20 Comments. And I've only made it to oops done. This took me over three hours...but I caught up on lots of peoples blogs and that was very relaxing. I am going out the door, to the business district. I'm going to try my ADVICE piece where it might be very funny or a complete disaster. You know, saving the world one investment broker at a time. Later...
The Assimilated Negro
Built To Be Destroyed
Things That Make You Go Hmm
The Assimilated Negro
Mathematical Poetry
Photos In India
Red's Page (I think I put three comments here!)
A Blog About Nowt
Punkin Homer
The Cappicino Kid
Rock It To Me
Peaceful Revolution Leader (warning Abu Ghraib photos)
The Healing Room
Heavy mentalist (she has a hell of a post over there right now, whew)
Watch My Loss
This Blog Sits At The Intersection...
Death Beins In The Colon
How To Save The World
Totally Waisted: Corsetry

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Backstage With The Circus

Shona, left, friend and provider, played our fearless caterer first thing in the morning. Nicole, right, child face painter pitching in with breakfast prep.

What I did on my summer vacation? I ran away and joined the circus. I love back stage photos. I love being backstage and I might be at some of happiest moments when I am on a film set, especially if it's my film set, ha ha. I love performers and the make up and the nerves and the food and the excitement and the notes( breaking down the performance afterwards). I was really lucky this past weekend, friends let me participate in their circus festival. The festival had acrobats, fire swallowers, jugglers, escape artists, clowns, gymnists, musicians, tighropewalkers and street theatre. And one newly born "advice giver". Yep, I busked my idea of advice on the street. It was an incredble social experiment for me and also an incredible experience to talk to so many interesting people, take their puzzles and hopefully make them laugh or inspire them with their decisions and situations. The questions I was asked were all over the map and all level of fun and depth, and seriousness. Very cool and I loved talking to everyone. I put a photo of my advice sign in here somewhere.
Below, Jean Saucier and Davio and Nicole.

Michelle and Zane.

Above, Anthony, Georgina and Anna. Below Scott.

Anthony and Georgina.

After show beer garden, The Walkyries!

Scott and Dan who co-produced a theatre show during the festival.

The next morning.

Just graduated from circus performance school in Montreal, Fernando Dudka. He performs the Equilbriste you see in photos. (for Americans, that means balancing in French)

Red Bastard. He is one of the best performers I've seen in ages. He has something for everybody because he is so visual with body work and costume but so cosmopolitan intellectually. Stand-up style with literary and existential brocade. And just look at him, he funks up funny!

Jen on the left who performs on "the silks" a classic circus style where she uses long silks hanging from the ceiling and does interpretive dance and acrobatics hanging in the air. She is beautiful and her show will surprise and inspire you. On the right is the Amazon third of fantastic "all girl fire acrobatic group" called The Valkyries. Exciting powerful women and they are from Montreal. Or is that redundant? I love them to bits.

Carnival Electro Delightful one man show which plays with the idea of where imagination works and how art can be made out of a dream or one's transformative experiences. The narrative is as if the moon is dreaming and the moon dreams of ladders, clouds, tiny aircraft, safety and how to make all our own dreams become a way of living where true happiness lives. Plus, it's very funny.