Friday, September 28, 2007

Darwin Award Candidate?

Sometimes, like yesterday, the local newspaper yields a nugget.
A 46 year old man in St. John's was up on charges for exposing himself in public. He had a previous conviction in 1991 for the same thing.

He chased two women (separately) on the same morning in a distinctive green van and exposed himself. They individually called 911 and he was easily spotted in his van by police and immediately arrested.

Now get this. His day in court arrives and I hereby quote from the newspaper, The Telegram:

McCormack, wearing a T-shirt bearing the Vienna Sausages logo with the words "King of Sausages," appeared nervous and wiped his hands with a tissue as he testified at his sentencing hearing in front of Judge Gloria Harding on Wednesday.

P.S. The women were unharmed, when accosted one even went so far as to tell him: "Put that thing away!"

P.P.S. He got sixty days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thank you, Joni Mitchell, you rock! {LINK}

A long awaited new album from one of my true favourites, released yesterday.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------SHINE BY JONI MITCHELL

Oh let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on Wall Street and Vegas
Place your bets
Shine on the fishermen
With nothing in their nets
Shine on rising oceans and evaporating seas
Shine on our Frankenstein technologies
Shine on science
With its tunnel vision
Shine on fertile farmland
Buried under subdivisions

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on the dazzling darkness
That restores us in deep sleep
Shine on what we throw away
And what we keep

Shine on Reverend Pearson
Who threw away
The vain old God
kept Dickens and Rembrandt and Beethoven
And fresh plowed sod
Shine on good earth, good air, good water
And a safe place
For kids to play
Shine on bombs exploding
Half a mile away

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on world-wide traffic jams
Honking day and night
Shine on another asshole
Passing on the right!
Shine on the red light runners
Busy talking on their cell phones
Shine on the Catholic Church
And the prisons that it owns
Shine on all the Churches
They all love less and less
Shine on a hopeful girl
In a dreamy dress

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on good humor
Shine on good will
Shine on lousy leadership
Licensed to kill
Shine on dying soldiers
In patriotic pain
Shine on mass destruction
In some God’s name!
Shine on the pioneers
Those seekers of mental health
Craving simplicity
They traveled inward
Past themselves…
May all their little lights shine
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------YAY JONI!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pornography Part 4 ({LINK}

I was more than gratified to read the above which reinforces my own concerns and thoughts on the subject of pornography.

So----- it hits the main stream media and written by a man, to boot. He really does get it.

Now let's hope that it causes some serious debate.

It is long, but well worth reading, particularly the comments of the women in the shelter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An antidote to the 12 year-old Australian runway model {LINK}

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift !

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50,60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it ...! )

Monday, September 17, 2007

Much to mull

I get into these modes periodically. Reflective, overly analytical, perhaps too self-indulgent. Many thoughts and ideas percolate, I always carry a mini-journal with me. So I jot things down throughout the day as I read or observe or reflect.

I was reading the life-journal/biography of a now elderly man who "came out" publicly and on television in the early seventies in Toronto. A professor, well respected, an activist, husband and father. It took enormous courage to do what he did. I admire such bravery and wonder if I could have done the same in his shoes and doubt it. His book is almost heart-breakingly personal.

He has a fetish for younger men that consumes him in tandem with a fear of being alone. His childhood was sad, he and his brother abandoned to foster homes by a drug addled mother. His whole life is about finding that perfect younger companion who, along with being sexually stimulating, is his intellectual equal. A herculean goal, never to be met, of course. So he has a revolving door of a life. So many men being test driven for the role of lover and companion.

But it is in the failures and the hurts and the savaging of his heart that I find inspiration. To this day, he never gives up. Mid seventies now. Still hopeful. He cherishes his friends amongst whom are his ex-wife who remains loyal as do his ex-in-laws.

I think he does not quite perceive his own heroism as he is full of self-doubt at times and touchingly grateful, so grateful, when his birthday is remembered. This man was and is an icon of gay liberation in Toronto, a hugely successful author and talking head, revered professor, activist, well-known, and yet takes sleeping pills on Christmas Eve (and feeds a small measure to his dogs) so he (and they) can sleep through Christmas and wake up on Boxing Day, bypassing the day completely. He succeeds. That is how terrifyinly lonely he is.

But he drops many nuggets and quotes on the way to a conclusion of his lifelong desire - the belief that serenity trumps loneliness. And finally - I like to think - embraces it.

Some thoughts of his: The world's not made up of atoms but of stories.
And this: There is no duty we so much under-rate as the duty to be happy.
And this: Loneliness and love create each other.
And this: A person is not best known by his abilities but by his choices.
And finally: We are what we want to be.

This last on the surface almost too simplistic, but quite profound.

Thank you, John Alan Lee, for giving me much to ponder over the course of reading your book. Gay, straight, asexual or whatever, our lives have such common threads, not the least of which is the eternal search for that perfect soulmate who will know and understand us like no other.

Here is the link for anyone interested in reading this groundbreaking work, though I need to warn you that the sex (homosexual)can be quite graphic so avoid if squeamish.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

We the sheeple, or why I don't do Big Box.

Moving past boarded up small shops, little hardware stores, plumbing supplies centres , I am more than saddened at the passing of these small landmarks of a slower pace of life. These old corner store reliables with their personal touch - the proprietor knowing the customers, their likes and dislikes along with their hatchings, matchings and dispatchings, now all ending in an inconspicuous death rattle - strangled by the creeping virus of Big Box Blobbery.

The outskirts of every town is now looking just about the same. Even the restaurants are just about all chains, plonked down in the competitive sprawl of feuding chainstores, Mike’s, Kelsey’s, Australian Outback, Boston Pizza.

Maybe it’s me. I just can’t bear those monolithic impersonal yawning caverns of endless aisles and know-nothing student staffers (oops, ‘associates’). I resolved, four years ago now, that I would never darken the doorway of a Walmart, Home Depot, et al, again. Since then I have watched the documentary “The High Cost of Low Price” which explores the rotten underbelly of the business practices of Walmart and other such chains.

I don’t feel particularly virtuous about this resolution of mine. It is fairly self-serving. I like the little stores, the personal attention, the “I’ll order it in for you.” I can wait. The first sign of maturity after all is deferred gratification and that has been one of my bugaroos all my life: immediate satisfaction. So if I can wait until (s)he orders it in I can bask a little in the arms of my own ‘I’m all grown up now, mother’ state.

Little bookstores are another victim of the super-large cavernous virus. How few of these are left, I wonder. I counted one in downtown St. John’s, very few in downtown Toronto. Indigo and Chapters have taken over, along with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Is this a good thing? I do use Amazon along with Abe’s for used and out of print. Am I part of the problem then?

Recently I read a book called “The King’s English” which I highly recommend, about the survival of a small bookstore in the states. Against all odds. So it is possible to buck the sweeping incoming tide of impersonality.

The world is getting more and more cookie-cutter. I keep thinking we are not too far away from “Soylent Green” the movie that predicts a future of blank sameness, even to our food, even when we run out of food.

Big Corp along with Big Pharm and Big Agro are slowly seeping into our very souls, our governments have already been swallowed up by them – some more than others.

Some days, like today, I feel kind of hopeless about it all.

Other days, I just concentrate on my own path and what I can do to make a difference. To keep bucking the system and step back and say “wait a minute, here!”