Monday, November 30, 2009

Declaration of Indigenous Peoples for Food Sovereignty

Representatives of Indigenous Peoples from the regions of Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, North America, Africa and Northern Europe, gathered at the Global Forum for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty in Rome from the 13 th to the 17 th of November 2009.

Reaffirming our right to Food sovereignty, which is intrinsically linked to our historical, cultural and spiritual relations with our Mother Earth, our lands and territories,

Upholding our right to communal self-determination, as enshrined in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

Ratifying out rights, as established in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,

Concerned by the most recent reports issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which indicate that over a billion people in the world are going hungry, over 80% of whom are food producers and the majority of which live on the territories of Indigenous Peoples,

We convened at a Forum of Indigenous Peoples for Food Sovereignty and we agreed upon the following:


1. - Indigenous Peoples came from places as diverse as the Amazon rainforest to the Arctic homeland of the Saami to the Sahara of Africa, the islands of the Pacific and the mountains of the Himalayas to sound the alarm on the dire effects suffered by their communities from the food crisis. Their communities are the most impacted by hunger and malnutrition, constituting a violation of their right to food, and our self-determination.

Remembering that the World Summit on Sustainable Development reaffirmed “the vital role of Indigenous Peoples in sustainable development” and called upon the states and United Nations organisations to “Promote the effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in decision-making processes and the implementation of policies relating to the use of traditional knowledge and biodiversity, amongst many other issues including agriculture, poverty and development.”

2. - Aware that the States and their governments are supporting the large transnational companies to the detriment of the Indigenous Peoples' traditional food production, through the appropriation of our lands, territories and resources.

3. - We have decided to continue using our indigenous seeds and our traditional products, and to continue our struggle against the capitalist market of food production, as well as against genetically modified products, because they weaken and exterminate traditional seeds.

4. - Indigenous Peoples have the right to possess, control, protect and pass on the traditional knowledge originating from our lands, territories and resources which we have possessed, used and occupied, respecting the relationship we have with Mother Earth and looking after the environment. In this sense, we are the alternative model of sustainable food production and protection of biodiversity.

5. - Therefore, we as Indigenous Peoples reject farming practices that use inorganic chemical substances and genetically modified seeds, also because their use aggravates global warming and climate change, affecting our Mother Earth. To this end, we demand that the FAO and all UN agencies also recognise the farming practices carried out by nomadic pastoralists.

6. - Remembering a number of UN bodies have adopted resolutions and agreements which state the fundamental importance of participation of Indigenous Peoples and the fact that governments must collaborate to facilitate it. In the same manner, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the former Human Rights Commission, the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the Stockholm Convention, the current Human Rights Council, together with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, amongst others, have created mechanisms which promote full and effective participation of representatives of indigenous communities in their meetings. These mechanisms range from the financial support established by the Voluntary Fund in order to facilitate participation for indigenous and local community representatives in meetings, to logistical support, as well as allowing participation in formal and informal groups, thereby stressing good practices for the entire UN system.

7. - The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly, in Article 41 and 42 states that the UN must establish ways of guaranteeing indigenous participation in matters that affect them.


8. - We call on the FAO to approve and establish a Relationship Policy with Indigenous Peoples based on the progress made on the draft of this policy and on issues related to the recognition of territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples.

9. - In this regard the FAO and IFAD must create a Working Group with Indigenous Peoples in the Committee on Food Security as well as in the specialised agencies and bodies of the FAO and IFAD.

10.- Beginning in this Indigenous Peoples` Forum on Food Sovereignty we have come together as an Indigenous Peoples` Caucus to facilitate dialogue, to foster communication, participation and following-up with the FAO and other bodies related to agriculture, food and food sovereignty and security.

11.-. We, Indigenous Peoples, reaffirm the alliances we have with Social Movements, Nomadic Pastoralists, Artisanal Fisherfolk, Peasants, Small-scale Producers, Universities in solidarity with our cause, Women and Youth.

12. - We will also promote strategic and respectful alliances between diverse social movements, Indigenous Peoples, rural populations and urban groups. .

13. - We call on the Indigenous Peoples of the world to put forward as part of Food Sovereignty the concept of “Buen Vivir” (Living Well) which is practiced by the Original Peoples of the Andes and other peoples.

14. - We call on the states and on the governments to recognise the different the cosmovisions of Indigenous Peoples, whilst respecting the autonomous processes of Indigenous Peoples and to adopt the concept of “Buen Vivir” in their national legislations.

15. - We, Indigenous Peoples, demand the right to define what our diet is and what it means to us, as part of our cultural identity. We cannot speak of food without speaking of water and the right to water as well as the protection and definition of our relationship to water. It also implies talking about our right to our territories and resources.

16.- In this manner, we urge the FAO and governments to develop policies for the decolonization of our lands, territories and natural resources as well as the re-education of states and governments on the vision of the Indigenous Peoples.

17. - However, we will promote the establishment of local markets which benefit our peoples, in the face of the monopoly of large companies which commercialize and hoard food products.

18. - We, Indigenous Peoples, reject the use of Intellectual property rights which contribute to the appropriation, monopoly and alienation of genetic resources protected by indigenous knowledge.

19. - We, the Indigenous Peoples will continue to consume our traditional foods. Seeds are what we find along the way, wild animals are our siblings, our myths and our history are linked to the way we eat.

20. - Food is not just agriculture or what men and women produce, but it also includes wild plants and animals, and the relationship between these and Mother Earth. We, as Indigenous Peoples will continue to put our traditional methods of food producing in practice as an act of self-determination.

21.- We, the Indigenous Peoples, demand the right to enjoy what we produce and improve our livelihoods, as well as to continue to use our traditional ancient seeds.

22. - We, the Indigenous Peoples, and Indigenous women in particular, should have the right to participate in the definition of specific policies that affect our right to food. This includes the right to use methods like crop rotation; the recognition of nomadic pastoralism, traditional hunting and gathering; and creating policies to guarantee our systems of land and resource tenure.

"One does not sell the land that one's people walk upon" Tashuhka Witko "Caballo Loco/Crazy Horse" 1840 – 1877

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trains-Wake Up Canada

Map of high speed trains in Europe. Click on image to see...check out the speed legend!

I'm not like the biggest train geek in the world...but I do have a thing for trains. My grandfather was a dispatcher for Canadian National Railway and my mother was born in a train station where my grandparents were working in northern Canada. Our family was riding a train somewhere at least a few times a year. Every summer my sister and I took a train to our grandmothers cabin on a lake without road service in northern Ontario. I used to ride between Calgary and Montreal frequently and the trip between Alberta along the Frazer River to Vancouver is among my favourite travel memories. Canada made a big mistake by not keeping up train schedules...a mistake that is likely to be turned around as soon as petroleum is too expensive and we need high speed trains to get from city to city. Canada should be creating jobs right now building high speed trains and tracks. (hint hint...President Obama...trying to create jobs? some trains!!!!) Meanwhile...Stagg and I want to go to Europe for six months. We're not sure when or how we are going to get this trip going...but I have been looking at trains and schedules for high speed train travel in Europe. It's getting me really geeked. We have a rough idea of where we'd like to go in Europe. Florence for one month. England/London for one month. Rome two weeks. Ireland one week. Frankfurt one week. Berlin a few days. Venice two days. Copenhagen one week. Lisbon one week. Stockholm one week. Paris one week. Amsterdam one week. Prague one week. Warsaw one week. Again, how we are going to manage hanging out in Europe for six months...we haven't figured out yet...but trains will surely be helping us get around. Three cheers for trains!

The Trans-European high-speed rail network is one of a number of the European Union's Trans-European transport networks. It was defined by the Council Directive 96/48/EC of 23 July 1996.
The aim of this EU Directive is to achieve the interoperability of the European high-speed train network at the various stages of its design, construction and operation.
The network is defined as a system consisting of a set of infrastructures, fixed installations, logistic equipment and rolling stock.

High speed train in Italy. Site for trains in Eurpoe

"the bullet train" is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the 210 km/h (130 mph) Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the now 2,459 km (1,528 mi) long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world-record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.

The international definition of high-speed rail is new lines with a speed of at least 250 km/h (155 mph) and existing lines with a speed of around 200 km/h (124 mph).[1] As of 2009, there are four "classic" main railway lines in the United Kingdom operating at 125 mph (201 km/h), plus 108 km (70 mi) of purpose built high-speed line.

The high-speed route to Mokpo will share the existing Seoul-Busan tracks to Osong. From there it will head south west for 230km (144 miles) to reach Mokpo, with some sections paralleling the existing conventional Honam railway route, which takes 2hrs 58mins to traverse from Seoul to Mokpo.

The new line will radically reduce journey times. High-speed services will be able to reach Mokpo in 1hr 46mins, partly aided by a shorter route, at an estimated average speed of 181km/h over 320km of new railway.

Construction has been due to start in 2006, with the aim of completing the whole route by 2017, at a cost of around US$11bn.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Schitzo TV

How can I love two shows that seem so completely at odds with each other? I love love Californication starring David Duchovny. ...which has some of the funniest lines delivered perfectly one can find on tv. My friend Tim says of Duchovny playing sex addict, shithead lost boy writer..."Yep, he really is the asshole you always wanted Fox Mulder to be". At the same time as season 3 Californication reaches new heights of depravity and sexual content vh1 has begun a season of Dr. Drew's Sex Rehab. Dr.Drew's show is absolutely addictive. I think I need rehab from being addicted to his reality shows. One program is hilarious and hip...the other has hip people but tragic and both shows are propelled by the same patterns of behaviour.

Process addiction is an addiction to an activity or process, such as eating, spending money, or gambling. These addictive behaviors can be as debilitating as those associated with substance addictions, and they require psychological treatment. People sometimes have difficulty understanding process addictions, because they believe that people should just be able to stop negative behavior, but people with process addictions face the same problems that people with substance addictions do. from here

Californication is hilarious, dirty and is everything the stereotypes of California we've come to think of. Duchovy and the other actors are terrific. Kathleen Turner is on this season and she kicks ass. She blows away William Shatner's character on Boston Legal. She is kin d of like some sex crazy Hunter S. Thompson. I'd love to see a fantasy show with her and Shatner's characters hooking up. You can laugh your ass off to always feels like maybe it's going to be's hip funny and with a soundtrack loosely informed by the lyrics and music of Warren Zevon at times. Steve Earle is on soundtrack covering one of Zevon's songs.

Meanwhile Dr. Drew's Sex Rehab is a mess of heartbreaking childhood mameories, of beautiful people damaged and spoiled and torn up by craving love and affection disquised as sex. It doesn't feel like everything is going to be okay. I admire several of the people who have allowed themselves to be filmed in this process of therapy. I don't even know if they realize how profoundly generous they are to those of us who are obsessed with their journey and like me, hope they come out the other side. I find myself wishing I could hug a few of the celebrities who have half dead arrived on the steps of this recovery facility. There are a couple of the patients who have really touched me and I am so involved in finding out how they do...One is a drummer from Skid Row Phil Varone. Two of the women are former adult movie stars, Kendra Jade Rossi and Jennifer Ketchum. They are beautiful and sad and their habits are ruining their lives. Amber Smith is a heart breaker...she was on one of the previous Dr. Drew seasons for substance abuse, got clean, and then found out she was also a sex addict. Something about Amber just moves you...she seems so vulnerable and you feel like you just want to keep her safe. And then there is the pro surfer...who is wild, crazy and funny...but tragic, Jamie Lovett. And one of the most touching people is film director Duncan Roy. His family history and his odd British humour make him a totally intriquing person.

Some of the songs featured in Californications's soundtrack...

Penguin vs. Whale

Worlds hardest working penguin...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Whew...He's Got A Fucking Pulse Again!

Can't embed this video...but it's so nice to see our ol' pal with a fucking pulse again...he's been Jesus, he's been Jewish and now he's alive and kicking as Santa...about time wear Pagan well. Welcome home!

...must be Santa indeed...

And if you haven't seen the brilliant I'm Not There you shouldn't even be at my fucking blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


What's Been Going On

Yes, I know...I haven;'t been around much. Realized I should probably cwrite a few notes about how things are going around here.

First, Stagg is really really better. His face is almost completely healed. He looks all rested and symetrical again. He gave us all quite a scare. I highly recommend acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for prevention and healing. I'm utterly impressed by the overall general response Stagg had to treatment. Mind blowing.

Yep, we are still eating about 99 percent vegetarian. We always ate about 85% vegetarian...with a few meals of organic, grass-fed meat throughout the month. Usually Stagg would eat about four sandwiches a week. I almost always avoid bread...but he was eating it for his lunches. We haven't had bread around for almost three weeks. Since he isn't packing a lunch we've had more fresh food at lunch time. He's lost almost 15 pounds. I've lost about 10. The weight loss s from not eating the processed food...specifically bread. Yes, I know a lot of people forget that bread is processed food. So is pasta. These are the original processed foods.

Anyways, we've been eating a lot of vegetarian and quite often vegan meals. I'm desperate for new recipes and ideas. If any one has a recipe for wheat-free protein meals and vegan...please share. We actually might pop by a vegan restaurant near our place to get some inspiration. It's very easy to have dairy as a protein in vegetarianmeals but it's a whole new game when you want to avoid dairy or wheat. good grief...I am amazed how vegans do it. So, long story short...Stagg and I have more or less really embraced eating less dairy and adding more vegetarian meal into our diets.

We've been busking whenever the weather allows. It's been going pretty good, the best reward is being outside and talking to people. Also getting a coffee has been fun. We've actually been in coffee shops a lot int the last few weeks. I've kind of fallen in love with hanging out in a coffee shop and reading all over again. I find just people watching to be immensely satisfying.

I'm back on a reading jag. I always read a fair bit...but in the past year I've mostly been reading magazines and articles online. Right now...I'm in major catch up of my MBR pile. It feels really good. I've had a hard time relaxing in a specific way in past few I haven't been in book mode. it feels awesome to be back in deep reading some books.

The other night we played Wii for about 7 hours. Stagg played guitar for most of it while Tricia and I took turns singing. I sang "Maps" by Yeah yeah yeahs, "I think I'm paranoid" by Garbage, "Don't Look Back In Anger" by Oasis, "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden, "Celebrity Skin" by Hole, among a bunch of others. Stagg sang an awesome version of "Sabotage" by Beastie Boys when we let hm on the mic, mostly he played guitar. I got booed off the stage when I played the guitar. It was so much fun it was sick.

Had lots of studio time, in fact, Stagg is working away making paintings right now as I type.

Well, I can't think of much else to catch up on for now. I'm reading The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare with my online Shakespeare group, John Irvings new novel, Cornel West book and Superfreakonomics in a couple of days.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Canuck Hero

Is it possible to love madly and feel a complete stranger inspires your life. Yes. Wade Davis is one of my heroes. I've never met him, but I feel he a brother of mine.

"All people share the same raw adaptive imperatives. We all have children, we all have to deal with the mystery of death, the world that waits beyond death, the elders who fall away in their elderly years, all of this is part of our common experience.

So this shouldn't surprise us because after all, biologists have finally proven it to be true something that philosophers have always dreamt to be true that we are all brothers and sisters. We're all cut from the same genetic cloth. All of humanity is probably descended from the 1,000 people who left Africa 70,000 years ago.

But the corollary of this is if we are all brothers and sisters and share the same genetic material all human populations share the same raw human genius, the same intellectual acuity. And so whether that genius is placed into technological wizardry has been the great achievement of the west or by contrast, into unravelling the complex threads of memory inherent in a Myth. It's simply a matter of choice and cultural orientation.

There is no progression of affairs in human experience.

There is no trajectory of progress.

There's no pyramid that conveniently places Victorian England at the apex and descends down to the flanks of the so-called primitives of the world.

All people's are simply cultural options. Different visions of life itself" Wade Davis

Friday, November 13, 2009

Submission For MTV Tarrantino Spoof Contest

My friends entered an MTV contest this past summer and here is the short film they made. Some visitors may recognize Anita from one of my short films. She and her film buddies have been writing and making short films all this past summer and fall. The spoof above was featured ina montage on MTV which is a pretty cool accomplishment I think.

Adam Ant In Bladerunner!

Wow. If you look at the above stills from the movie Bladerunner, projected onto the architectural details of a pillar, is an image of Adam Ant. I am so freaked out by this cool bit of movie triva,, it's huge! The amazing Adam Ant memorialized in one of my major favourite movies. It's too much for a gal to handle.

Thanks Asterisk for highlighting this article. Click on the above photos or go to the article link to read more and see Adam Ant in better details. Too cool.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Survivior: Up To Episode 4,

I mail a set of vhs tapes of the tv show Survivor to our friends Red and Asterisk in the U.K. because the show was cancelled there....who we met blogging over three years ago. They only have tapes this season up to Episode if you're also a fan try to not make any spoilers if you happen to also watch this program. I am so freaked out by one of the contestants. His name is Russel and he is an owner of an oil company in Texas. He reminds me of the Daniel Day-Lewis character in There Will Be Blood and he is every bot as evil and sociopathic as his character "Plainview". In the very first...opening episode of this season...ths asshole burns the socks of HIS OWN TRIBE (see I had to yell I am so upset. He set his fellow tribe members socks into the fire in the middle of the night while they slept. And he drank all their water and poured out their canteens of what he didn't drink. They all wake up freezing and with o water, get immediately dehydrated and continue to lose all the challenges. None of them have any idea he has been sabotaging them. They think he's great...except one woman who is a cop and he gets every one to vote her off! Anyways...I had some pics I wanted Red and Asterisk to see and here they are...

Am I losing my mind or is it now impossible to take a picture from the tv with some strange new HD? I tried and tried to take a photo...and visitors know, I've taken many pics from the tv with my digital camera...but this time I couldn't get a pic without this strange set of lines running through. So Jeff Probst was co-hosting with Kelli on my mornign talk show (which i watch religiously now for decades)...and they had this really awesome poto...which I've been dying to show Red and Asterisk...

Check out his tight red spandex pants...

I swear I die laughing at this photo. When he co-hosts this program they always bring this hilarious picture out...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I love it when a food surprises me. I had never heard of dilled brussel sprouts before. I wasn't able to find a picture of the organic pickled brussel sprouts I found a couple weeks ago...but here are some other versions. I was so thrilled to find something I had never tried tasting before. Pickled brussel sporuts? AWESOME!

Rah Rah Do The Zombie Twist

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Miss Conception

Miss Conception is one of my favourite performers. My family and I had wonderful pre-Christmas drinks on Church Street in Toronto a couple years ago at one of her shows. If you get a chance check her out sometime.

Monday, November 09, 2009

What's In Your Bread?

In April 2008, Health Canada assessed that bisphenol A may pose some risk to infants and proposed classifying the chemical as "'toxic' to human health and the environment."

Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies — to the tune of six pounds per American per year. That’s a lot of estrogen.

More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine, and scientists have linked it — though not conclusively — to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

Now it turns out it’s in our food.
From here and Consumer Reports

Bread ,tofu and pasta lovers...heads up...

The metabolism of the environmental estrogen bisphenol A (BPA) was studied in heterotrophic plant cell suspension cultures of soybean (Glycine max), wheat (Triticum aestivum), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), and thorn apple (Datura stramonium), which were regarded as metabolic model systems for intact plants. Three main metabolic routes of BPA were observed in the tissues. Most of the radioactivity found in the cell extracts consisted of carbohydrate conjugates of BPA amounting to about 85% (foxglove), 80% (wheat), 7% (soybean) and 15% (thorn apple) of applied 14C. Department of Biology V (Ecology/Ecotoxicology/Ecochemistry), Technical University Aachen, Worringer Weg 1, 52056 Aachen, ALLEMAGNE

Claude Levi-Strauss, R.I.P.

Levi-Strauss promoted the idea of different cultures and economies as being potentially as intelligent and efficient as so-called civilized cultures. His defense of indigenous peoples social and cultural lives is something I respected him for accomplishing. I disagreed with his approach and ideas on almost every other aspect. In fact, I never considered him an anthropologist, but rather a philosopher. In that discipline he was an interesting thinker. Levi-Strauss was a philosopher of Structuralism and he was able to articulate his belief that human brains were like a dichotomy machine. Levi-Strauss was also a great philosopher with his acknowledgment of the importance of storytelling. I consider him more a philosopher of storytelling traditions. And although I reject just about all of his other conclusions and interpretations of cultures I feel a loss for the man who had massive respect to cultures other than the dominating Agricultural economy.

Thanks to The Underground Baker for pointing out the NYTs obit. Below are some selected quotes from the obit...

The world of primitive tribes was fast disappearing. From 1900 to 1950, more than 90 tribes and 15 languages had disappeared in Brazil alone. This was another of Mr. Lévi-Strauss’s recurring themes. He worried about the growth of a “mass civilization,” of a modern “monoculture.” He sometimes expressed exasperated self-disgust with the West and its “own filth, thrown in the face of mankind.”

His interpretations of North and South American myths were pivotal in changing Western thinking about so-called primitive societies. He began challenging the conventional wisdom about them shortly after beginning his anthropological research in the 1930s — an experience that became the basis of an acclaimed 1955 book, “Tristes Tropiques,” a sort of anthropological meditation based on his travels in Brazil and elsewhere.

But he worried about the fate of the West. It was, he wrote in The New York Review of Books, “allowing itself to forget or destroy its own heritage.” With the fading of myth’s power in the modern West, he also suggested that music had taken on myth’s function. Music, he argued, had the ability to suggest, with primal narrative power, the conflicting forces and ideas that lie at the foundation of society.

The final volume ends by suggesting that the logic of mythology is so powerful that myths almost have a life independent from the peoples who tell them. In his view, myths speak through the medium of humanity and become, in turn, the tools with which humanity comes to terms with the world’s greatest mystery: the possibility of not being, the burden of mortality.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Alternate View Of Change

Have you ever got hooked on a mini-series?

I was reading through one of my bookclubs notes and someone asked the question...What movie version of an history did you feel was a great adaptation?"

One of the most influencial for me...was a BBC program I watched when I was growing up. It totally had me hooked and addicted...and every installment had me feeling a paradigm shift. I just remember being completely blown away by each segment. The show utterly affected how I looked at life and how I began to develop my own way of looking at history and ways to live and think.

The secret to this show Connections was it's hosts interdisciplinary approach to viewing history.

This approach fed me in all ways and influenced what books I began to look for, and how I made art and how I lived and thought about the world. I would say it changed my entire life. I would even go as far to say that the sensation I first felt watching Burke's show Connections is physiologically identical to the first time I began surfing the internet. All connected...


From Wikipedia:

Connections was a ten-episode documentary television series created and narrated by science historian James Burke. The series was produced and directed by Mick Jackson of the BBC Science & Features Department and first aired in 1978 (1979 in the USA). It took an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention and demonstrates how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events built off one another in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology. The series is well-known for Burke's impeccable narration (especially its dry humour), historical reenactments, intricate working models, skillful use of classical music (most notably Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, or "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana), and shots on location as far afield as Penang (Malaysia).
The popular success of the series led to two sequels, Connections² in 1994, and Connections³ in 1997, both produced for TLC. KCSM-TV produced Re-Connections, comprising an interview of Burke and highlights of the original series, in 2004 for the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast in the USA on PBS.

Connections explores an "Alternative View of Change" (the subtitle of the series) that rejects the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. Burke contends that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. Rather, the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events, each one consisting of a person or group acting for reasons of their own (e.g., profit, curiosity, religious) motivations with no concept of the final, modern result of what either their or their contemporaries' actions finally led to. The interplay of the results of these isolated events is what drives history and innovation, and is also the main focus of the series and its sequels.

To demonstrate this view, Burke begins each episode with a particular event or innovation in the past (usually Ancient or Medieval times) and traces the path from that event through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of the modern world. For example, the "The Long Chain" episode traces the invention of plastics from the development of the fluyt, a type of Dutch cargo ship.

Burke also explores three corollaries to his initial thesis. The first is that, if history is driven by individuals who act only on what they know at the time and not because of any idea as to where their actions will eventually lead, then predicting the future course of technological progress is merely conjecture. Therefore if we are astonished by the connections Burke is able to weave among past events, then we will be equally surprised by what the events of today eventually lead to, especially events we weren't even aware of at the time.

The second and third corollaries are explored most in the introductory and concluding episodes, and they represent the downside of an interconnected history. If history progresses because of the synergistic interaction of past events and innovations, then as history does progress, the number of these events and innovations increases. This increase in possible connections causes the process of innovation to not only continue, but to accelerate. Burke poses the question of what happens when this rate of innovation, or more importantly change itself, becomes too much for the average person to handle and what this means for individual power, liberty, and privacy.

Lastly, if the entire modern world is built from these interconnected innovations, all increasingly maintained and improved by specialists who required years of training to gain their expertise, what chance does the average citizen without this extensive training have in making an informed decision on practical technological issues, such as the building of nuclear power plants or the funding of controversial projects such as stem cell research? Furthermore, if the modern world is increasingly interconnected, what happens when one of those nodes collapses? Does the entire system follow suit? "

If you've never seen the documentary Connections I highly recommend it. I suppose it isn't as innovative now so many decades later...but Burke's interdisciplinary approach to history is every bit as relevant today.

You can watch the entire series at is one good link...but there are more. Do you have a documentary mini-series that you loved? A concept that gave you a new sense of the world?

Friday, November 06, 2009

More Busking Stuff

Part of my studio floor, we've been busy doing things all week...

Stacks of stuff ready to go and to grab when we go busking...

These are photo frames drying that Stagg and I painted...and below, frames varathaned and finished.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

2 Canuck Heros

A Little...Surfing...

Last night after a truly crazy day...where nerves were shot and almost insurmountable red-tape was dealt with...Stagg and I had an evening meeting with a film company who wants me to do some assistant direction work.

So there we are in Andersonville "Little Sweden" and Stagg wants to check out this restaurant I was telling him about so he goes off while I begin my interview. When he gets back he's carrying a pizza! He said on the way to the restaurant he noticed a pizza store and bakery was looking for workers so he applied for a job on a whim. the staff were closing and they had an extra pizza they were jusst going to throw out and asked him if he wanted it. Of course he did! When he tells me and the producer this story, Im like, "My husband, the freegan!"

So today I kind of was surfing around about "freeganism". I found all kinds of amazing histories at Wikipedia. We have been slowly working our way through the U.S. Parks documentary on PBS and it's narrator is Peter Coyote. I've been interested in this actor since readign an amazing book called They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam America 1967 by David Maraniss. This book was a wonderful comparasion of one segment of time at Madison University (where Dick and Lynne Cheney attended) andit's war protests to an initial invasion of U.S into Vietnam. The book follows several real people in each location. It's just a mind-blowingly good book I read in 2003.

On the weekend of the book in University of Wisconsin at Madison when student protesters tried to stop Dow Chemical, the maker of napalm, from recruiting on campus at that weekend an actors troupe was at the school and one of the actors was Peter Coyote. He has always stayed in my mind and I noticed with interest as he narrated the documentary about U.S. National Parks.

So...I googled "freeganism" and got wikipedia stuff...which led to a group that Peter Coyote was in in San was really cool stuff I'd never heard of before...he are some odds and ends...

"Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers (often referred to as simply "the Motherfuckers", or UAW/MF) was an anarchist affinity group based in New York City. This "street gang with analysis" was famous for its Lower East Side direct action and is said to have inspired members of the Weather Underground and the Yippies.

The Motherfuckers grew out of a Dada-influenced art group called Black Mask with elements of another group called Angry Arts. Formed in 1966 by painter Ben Morea and the poet Dan Georgakas, Black Mask produced a broadside of the same name and declared that revolutionary art should be "an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth.""

"The Diggers were a radical community-action group of Improv actors operating from 1966–68, based in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Their politics were such that they have sometimes been categorized as "left-wing." More accurately, they were "community anarchists" who blended a desire for freedom with a consciousness of the community in which they lived. They were closely associated with and shared a number of members with a guerilla theater group named the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers (1649–50) who had promulgated a vision of society free from private property, and all forms of buying and selling. During the mid- and late 1960s, the San Francisco Diggers opened stores which simply gave away their stock; provided free food, medical care, transport and temporary housing; they also organized free music concerts and works of political art. Some of their happenings included the Death of Money Parade, Intersection Game, Invisible Circus, and Death of Hippie/Birth of Free.
The group was founded by Emmett Grogan, Peter Coyote, Peter Berg (see, and other members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe including Billy Murcott, La Mortadella, and Butcher Brooks.

The group sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. The Diggers provided a free food service in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park in Haight-Ashbury every day at 4 p.m., generally feeding over 200 people who had no other source of food. They served a stew made from donated and stolen meat and vegetables behind a giant yellow picture frame, called the Free Frame of Reference."

"They threw free parties with music provided by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and other bands. They also staged street theater events, such as driving a truck of semi-naked belly dancers through the Financial District, inviting brokers to climb on board and forget their work. In October 1967, they staged The Death of Hippie, a parade in the Haight-Ashbury where masked participants carried a coffin with the words "Hippie--Son of Media" on the side. The event was staged in such a way so that any media that simply described it would be transmitting the Digger message that Hippies were a media invention. This was called "creating the condition you describe" and was used skillfully by the Diggers to control the media. Their own publications, notably the Digger Papers, are the origin of such phrases as "Do your own thing" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life". The Diggers fostered and inspired later groups like the Yippies."

"Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on "limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources". Freegans "embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed."[1] The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as dumpster diving. Freegans salvage the food for political reasons, rather than out of need."

The word "freegan" is a portmanteau of "free" and "vegan". Freeganism started in the mid 1990s, out of the antiglobalization and environmentalist movements. The movement also has elements of Diggers, an anarchist street theater group based in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960s, that gave away rescued food.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Worried About The Flu?

I don't know...a bunch of folks ar going nuts in Toronto...sort of like they did when SARs hit. The h1n1 flu is travling around and there is always a question of whether someone should get a flu shot or not. People who are not even at risk ar being shown on the news joining line ups to get a flu shot in Toronto. They're going crazy for flu shots here in Chicago too...but I expect that because Chicago tens to be a little paranoid. (usually with good cause heh heh) But come on Canadians it's unbecoming seeing so many all freaking out over a flu shot. Flu shots are recommended by some specialists "Public Health Agency of Canada lists the following at-risk groups who should get the vaccine first: Children 6 months to 5 years; pregnant women; anyone who suffers a chronic health condition, such as heart or kidney disease, diabetes, asthma and chronic lung disease, suppressed immune systems, neurological disorders, liver disease, blood disorders, and severe obesity; people in isolated communities; health care workers; and people who provide care for any high-risk individual who can't be vaccinated."

I don't believe in flu shots...but I know several people who do believe in getting them and who worry about getting a flu. Wash your hands and face several times a day when you are working or outside with others. No really, go nuts washing hands.

I just got an email from my herbalist today. He's an old dear friend of mine in fact, he was at my house when I had my daughter. (yep...home're not sick when you're knocked up you're just having a baby! So why go to the hospital)

I love it when my herbalist sends me a message...he has given me endless health tips over the years. Here is todays message regarding flu shots...

"you guys should be taking cod liver oil (or Vit D3) Carlson's lemon flavoured is good, this is the best protection for flu, the vaccine is big trouble, we interviewed a doctor for tonights broadcast (a retired neurosurgeon Dr. Blaylock) We will be playing in first 2 segments (8pm EST)"

So I guess I'm off to track down some Vitamin D3. Here is the Wiki page for Vitamin D.... Did you know you can produce Vitamin D in your skin?

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight. Season, geographic latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis in the skin, and it is important for individuals with limited sun exposure to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet. Extra vitamin D is also recommended for older adults and people with dark skin. Individuals having a high risk of deficiency should consume 25 μg (1000 IU) of vitamin D daily to maintain adequate blood concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

You can get Vitamin D from eggs, eel, herring, salmon, beef liver, tuna and fish liver oils. Go for it and fight not only the flu but arthritis and bone related ailments! Vitamin D also fight cancer cells and builds immune system.

Related Links:

1) Vitamin D and Influenza
2) Buddhist blog about Vitamin D3...
3) Some more ideas for preventing flu...(yogourt builds your immune system)
4) An holistic doctors blog.
5) The immune system and a Cytokine Storm. (Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system)
6) The ingredient that anti-vaccine activists most question is thimerosal, a preservative added in trace amounts to keep vaccine in two-shot doses from deteriorating if stored while awaiting application.
Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury, and critics allege it can cause autism and other neurological disorders. But researchers say there is so little thimerosal in the vaccine that it poses no harm. Nevertheless, they have produced thimerosal-free, single-shot doses that can be ordered. Also, researchers say there is no thimerosal in the nasal spray.
From here

More Connections To Monsters Of Folk...The Felice Brothers

One of the best bands I've seen in the last five years has been The Felice Brothers. They used to play at their parents bbqs and in the subways in New York. They have toured with some of the guys from the "supergroup" Monsters Of Folk. I love this whole scene of music.

“Hey, there’s an interview goin’ on in here, asshole!” James Felice calls out the door of the Winnebago in the direction of guitar music. His brother Ian is strumming outside with a wild-eyed, fu-manchu’ed man named Searcher, who is singing along in falsetto.

Searcher pokes his head through the passenger’s side window. “Hey, you don’t need to call people ‘asshole,’ douchebag!”

Ian’s nasal voice arrives with the crown of his head at the side door. “I had to get the secret cigarette I keep here.” He produces a cigarette from somewhere.

“There’s only one? Ah, fuck.” says James.

“Yeah, and you don’t get one, you know why?” says Searcher through the front window.

“There’s an interview goin’ on in here!”

These are the Felice Brothers at home. They’ve lived in the beat-up Winnebago for the duration of their summer tour opening for Old Crow Medicine Show—the two brothers, their bassist, their fiddle player, two drummers, and their tour manager. It’s a crowded little cavern, with every surface buried beneath clothes, books, and miscellaneous clutter. There’s a tub full of beer, wine, and ice on the floor inside the door. James has poured us Delirium Nocturnum ale in plastic cups.

“Even though I specifically asked him to get a cigarette for you and I, do you know why you don’t get one now?” says Searcher.

“No, I was calling Ian the asshole,” James explains, grinning.

“Let’s smoke a cigarette, then!”

“I’m doing an interview here!”

From an interview with James Felice

Below I's Tim Kasher playing with Cursive ina record store in Boise in 2006...

The only thing missing from this set of music is Bonnie"Prince" we go...this round off these bits of music nicely. If you get a chance check out the brilliant Old Joy thatstars Bonnie Prince Billy, aka, Will Oldham...

Related Links:

1) Interview with James Felice I can’t decide which he finds weird and sad: the idea that they could play rockstars, or the concept of ‘playing rockstar’ in general. It might have been the former—a token nod to the self-deprecation you’re supposed to exhibit in interviews. But then, the Felice Brothers’ entire act does seem to mock the rockstar pose. It’s messy, unglamorous, unadorned; there’s an overwhelming sense that hey, these are just regular folks.
2) Interview with Coner Oberst of Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk
3) Interview with Tim Kasher
4) The Felice Brothers joined Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle and the Dave Rawlings Machine for a nine-city package tour called The Big Surprise Tour, after the lead track from the Yonder is the Clock album. Wiki Page on Felice Bros.

Photos...Shout Out...

Two blogs I absolutely love and a lot because of their non-verbal communcation are these two...check out the stunning photos of Rauf in India...

And Fond Of Snape usually has such a variety of photos and images it's hard to keep up. Her dog photos always inspire me because her dogs actually smile!

And thanks friends for leaving comments even after a post may have drifted down the face of the blog. I do go back and check all my old posts for comments... thank you!

The Botany of Desire

PBS has an awesome adaptation of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire. If you get a chance check out the program. Each segment follows the symbiotic relationship of humans to four plants, the tulip, marijuana, the potato and the apple. All from the plants point of view.

All this time we have just been used by these plants. I feel so dirty.


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