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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That Alternative Universe Thingie


It's like this. I casually check up on an old boyfriend on yer Googley machine. I do this now and again. Throw a name of an old lovie-dove into the big G and watch it spindry for a while and regurgitate an old Himself into something new and shiny or sodden and sad. It's fascinating. Everyone does this, don't they? No? Oh, c'mon! I'm the only one owning up to it then?

The odd one has an obit, I'll tell ya that can weird me out a bit. And in case you think I've been around the block a few times, well I have. But not as much as you're thinking even though I'm flattered that you would.

Well I did this with one the other night. And guess what, if he's not making a big name for himself in politics. Really big. All based on his honesty, open-mindedness and transparency. A manifesto, like. All printed up on his website like an old papyrus document. And a picture of Himself beside it, all blue-eyed truthiness with a matching sweater.

And I sit there gob-smacked.

Maybe I wasn't looking when we were madly in love a decade ago or maybe those qualities are like bunions – you grow them later on in life. But I remember the last sorry week of our relationship when it became evident he had done nothing but lie to me for the two years we were together.

And broke my heart.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Have a Question about Religion?


If you have a question about religion, your best bet is to ask an atheist.

According to the Toronto Star atheists are the most well informed about all religions than any religionist.

The survey polled 3,412 Americans who defined themselves in one of nine groups, including atheist/agnostic, Jewish, Mormon, white evangelical Protestant and white mainline Protestant.

The group that garnered the most correct answers on the 32-part questionnaire was atheists and agnostics. As a group, they answered 20.9 questions on the Bible, Christianity, world religions and religion in public life correctly. They were followed by Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3).


and

principled non-believers performed so well because they had deeply considered their choice to opt out of organized religion. They also tended to have higher levels of education.
.

Amen to all of that, I say.

See other posts on atheism here, here, and here

Saturday, September 25, 2010

After the Hurricane


I fancy there are great underground palaces, hidden away from us insane humans, the lunatics who prowl the earth and seek and destroy all that is good.

And these palaces have food and comfort and choirs singing joyfully. While way up above the two legged cretins get on with the business of killing each other while sucking the last and the best out of Gaia, belching forth the toxic fumes that swathe the earth in dark menacing clouds. And making those eerie, loud and painful noises up above in the sky, on the ground and in the oceans that offend sensitive ears and choke the nostrils.

Down there it is safe and warm. Even in the eye of the hurricane that seems like a distant thunder overhead.

And after the storm is over, the scouts - this week it is the bluejays - on duty are sent above ground to survey the damage and gather food to share at the great banquet tonight, for it is Saturday and there is always a banquet and music on a Saturday night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell


With this abhorrent military policy recently upheld in the US, in spite of the promises of Mr. O., I thought it time once again to present the above cartoon, which just about says it all, n'est pas?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hurricane Igor - Update


Trans Canada Highway collapse - photo courtesy CBC

Power is finally back on in the last few minutes.

How dependent we are on the power grid! I am lucky I have a woodstove but so many are not. I am hoping my chest freezer is OK, I did not open it and understand that it's good for about 24 hours if not opened.

We escaped lightly in this little village. The worst damage was with old trees completely uprooted like matchsticks so people today are busy doing cleanup, chopping and sawing. The sides were blown off the community hall and one shop is losing its vast back and side walls of frozen products. The generator just couldn't handle the requirements.

The rest of our lovely province hasn't fared so well. Some are still living in their town firehalls, cut off by the savagery of the flooding from their own houses. Some were tourists and travellers forced off the Trans Canada Highway by the incredible floods, collapsed portions of the TCH, downed trees and blazing hydro wires.

According to the old timers, they've never seen the like of this. Damage in the tens of millions. Many still without power, but we are so, so lucky, only one death has been reported so far.

Oh lovely, lovely home and my stalwart old trees for only shedding a few old branches and the uprooting of one young (15'footer)beech!

Thanks to all for your lovely thoughts and safe wishes to me. It means so much!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hurricane Igor


Photo courtesy CBC of the St. Lawrence area not too far from here.

Yeah, it's here. Igor has hit and he's brought some really strange weather. House so warm within and so wet outside that all windows are fogged up. The trees sway as their still green leaves get wrenched and thrown at the windows in handfuls.

My niece, who lives about 400km from here tells me her roads are washed out, she ventured out briefly and saw cars floating in the water, something she'd never seen before. She turned and went home. All of her town has folded up into itself, many have lost their homes. Her brand new home has roof leaks, but it could be the force of the wind.

Here we are slightly more sheltered but it is still an awesome sound with a frisson of uncertainty as the windows, under the pressure of the wind, leak in odd places. The roof, so far, is solid.

Only the odd dudely truck rolls by on the streaming flooded road. The stream across from my house has burst its banks, the bay is a mass of whitecaps. If the windows were clear I would try and capture it. I have never seen it like this, a complete turmoil of white and grey flowing in with the north wind.

With all of this maelstrom around, I feel grateful that we are far better off than the unfortunates of Bermuda.

The power is still on, with emergency supplies standing by and the woodstove ready to be fired up.

I'm dry and safe within broken by the odd accusing look from the dog.

You see, in her world, this is all my fault.

**Update - 4.40pm my time
Now the power is out. I have large battery back up and I am on "turbo stick" for internet and had the sense to stockpile a bit of water this morning as my pump is now down and also landline is out. Lots of candles and battery radio. CBC is going to stay with us until it is over but it is on generator power only as all of St. John's now in blackout along with all of the Avalon. Wind is frightening, small branches flung like matchsticks off my trees. Oh, we are such midgets in the force of awesome Mother Nature.
**Update - 7.10pm my time
Well the sun peeped out amongst the speeding clouds for a few minutes. Radio says the rain storm is now over and another two hours of wind. Hurricane has been downsized as of now to a tropical storm. Leo came over and started picking up the branches around the place and then stopped as the wind picked up again. Mr. Igor is not done with us yet.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Juxtaposition


Ye gads and little fishes (what's left of them)!

No doubt about it. We have all entered the Twilight Zone now.

Here we have eminent scientists proclaiming that we have gone past the point of no return with regard to climate change: our Arctic is now just about extinct.
"There can be no recovery because tremendous amounts of extra heat are added every summer to the region as more than 2.5 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean have been opened up to the heat of the 24-hour summer sun. A warmer Arctic Ocean not only takes much longer to re-freeze, it emits huge volumes of additional heat energy into the atmosphere, disrupting the weather patterns of the northern hemisphere, scientists have now confirmed."


Meanwhile we have the U.S. government touring our Alberta oil sands saying we are doing a 'heckuva' job in enviromental safeguards.
"The tour did not include a visit to aboriginal communities downstream from the oilsands, whose residents believe their water, food and bodies are being poisoned by the operations. The senators did not meet with renowned biologist David Schindler or any other critics of development."

BUT
"Senator Saxby Chambliss said he was particularly impressed with the technological advances and reclamation efforts."


When exactly do we pay attention?

Never mind. I know the answer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who's the Smarter One Then?


My dog Ansa is a rescue. We've been together over 5 years now. She was in rough shape when she found me. Skinny, fur falling out, underfed on bread only, never walked and tied up for most of her life up to the point she arrived.

It took nearly two years for her to bond with me. And I remember the moment. I was walking her on leash - as she would run away if off leash - up a hill and she stopped and looked behind at me and then sat down with her eyes on my face. From that moment on she obeyed all commands and I could walk with her off leash and give her the run of the property without fear of her running away. Her intelligence and overall happiness captivates even strangers. She is by far the brightest dog I've ever had and obedient to a fault.

Her only truculence has come at night and I've put it down to a battle of wills.

I say to her: "Time for bed, Ansa" and she skulks off to my office while I go upstairs.

I call her from upstairs:

"Come to bed, Ansa" and it takes some very harsh words to get her to come upstairs, slowly and reluctantly.

If I leave her downstairs, she comes up an hour later and scratches at my door which is both disturbing and annoying.

She pulled this routine the other night when it suddenly dawned on me that the command "bed" meant her bed in my office. Well triple "duh" me! No wonder the dog was completely baffled and what I had put down to a streak of stubbornness was actually obedience.

Now I use the word "Upstairs, Ansa" when I am going to bed at night and she bounds up the stairs instantly.

I'm a bit slow, but her training of me is getting there.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Teachín

I previously wrote about it here.

Well, it's started now.

Here is the foundation:



Here is the view from the front:



And here is a view from the virtual deck looking west:



Work is suspended for a week due to Gordon-the-Gift's prior commitment.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canadian Health Ministers


~~~~~click to enbiggen~~~~

It's a good feeling to post good news.

It's a good feeling to see how much government gender representation has changed - from zero female ministers when I was a young woman to this photo posted in today's paper.

There's a Canadian health minister conference in St. John's right now. 12 provinces and territories are represented.

7 of the cabinet ministers are women. 5 are men.

Yay Canada!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Memento Mori


It's the day after. Headlines were full of it yesterday. I was at a dinner dance where we stood for a minute of silence to honour the Dead of the Towers.

And I can't help myself. I think of the subsequent murderous revenge that massacred the Innocent of Iraq. The men, women and children who were slaughtered. With so little regard for the genocide that the countries who invaded Iraq without cause did not bother to count the bodies piling up. So concerned agencies did. Some say the death toll breached over a million. With the luckier fleeing to other countries. Countless orphans victimized by pimps and paedophiles. The treasure of their country looted, their landscape devastated.

"Mission Accomplished."

"Collateral Damage."

"Shit Happens".

The contempt behind those words hits me square in the heart.

I grieve the loss of lives and country.

I grieve that the tragedy of 9/11 was perverted into an abomination.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reason # 1073 I live in Newfoundland


Day Number Eight

Finally. Today
The food stops coming.
It goes like this
Sometimes.

I drop in here and there.
And emerge laden with
Bread or fish.
And Jiggs Dinners

Or muffins.
Or jam.
Or frozen berries
Or vegetables

Gently washed.
And passed to me
Like gold
Or diamonds.

They stand
At my backdoor
With lettuce and scones
Or home-made pizza

Wrapped like
Christmas.
Thinking
I’d like this.

And they’ll never
Know how I cry
In gratitude
Later. When alone.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Reason # 2621 I live in Newfoundland


It is an extraordinary feeling, the sense that my whole life was just a holding pattern to prepare me to live here in Newfoundland. Getting ready, as it were.

Even in Ireland, surrounded by relatives, friends, acquaintances, I never felt that complete sense of belonging for my self alone, I was always someone's daughter or cousin or niece or grandchild. There was a sense of obligation both on my part and theirs.

But here it is just me, there is none of that baggage, none of the tribal or historical about it.

When I go berry picking here with friends, it feels like I've been doing this for ever. Blue sky above, with the matching ocean below, the hills a pulse of blueberries, the conversation monosyllabic for the most part as butterflies and bees dance among the bushes and I think: there is no finer thing than gathering winter food from the lavish abundance of the land.

My days lately are full of activities. Visiting and being visited is still very strong here, in the true Irish tradition. It is hard to work, the distractions are too attractive.

Today it was afternoon tea at a friend's. And there was all the time in the world to savour the slow talk, the village gossip, the condition of our planting, the work being done on my house, who dropped in to see me, who dropped in on them, our respective families.

Earlier in the afternoon, it was another friend bringing her visiting sister, while Gordon-The-Gift banged out a holy floor in my bedroom above us - the gorgeous narrow boards are from an old church and I, this godless woman, is getting an enormous charge out of that.

And I haven't even talked about the food thing yet.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Life In Books.


I've been reading since I was four. Voraciously. Throughout the sometimes tumultuous railroad of my life, books have been lovers, friends, companions, incurring inspiration, frustration, contempt and disbelief. But most of all, offering me an escape to an alternative universe.

I've always had a few books on the go. Sometimes too many and that doesn't work. Three is a goodly number.

A few are well-loved old companions. Read, and re-read. Lent out. Don't come back. Re-purchased. Loved up again.

One of these is Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast."

Sometimes one can't explain the hook, the addiction, to a movie or a book.

I just can't articulate why this book has consistently grabbed me since I was in my early twenties and it was first published. One of the highlights of my life was being inside the room where he wrote it, summarizing a lot of his diary entries of his early Paris years. He lays it all out here: his poverty, his moments of mad love and despair, his catty resentment of James Joyce, his love/hate relationship with Gertrude Stein, his solitary walks around Paris, his cold water flat sans even a toilet.

He takes me with him through his writer's block, his casually succint observations of strangers, his meals, his fishing and his visits to Shakespeare and Company. I inhale yet again his advice to himself about always leaving the writing when you're flushed with your own inspiration and going back at it again much later when the rush has percolated throughout your body overnight.

I want the pleasure of his company - warts and all - to go on and on and on.