Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm Some Strange

It happened again today. Same scene. Different faces.

“How on earth do you manage,” they say to me, “How can you possibly live without it?”

Their voices always rise a notch. Shock and horror riddled is how I would describe their faces.

“Oh, really, I don't miss it at all,” I say

“How long has it been?” one practically shouts at me.

It's always like this. Every time I break the awful news. To anyone. Shouting. Disbelief. Ascending derision.

“Oh, let me see, “ I say, using all my fingers to count, “That would be eighteen years now.”

“Sweet Jesus, did you hear that there now Nellie, she said eighteen years!” Jack's face has gone purple.

“It's not natural,” Joanna says, looking at me as if she has to now reassess my sanity. Nellie nods her agreement. Vehemently.

“What do you talk about without it, what do you do, like?” Jack asks belligerently.

“Well,” I say, carefully, "Other things like books. And movies. And art. And knitting. And stories. And games. And walks. And singing. And...”

“That sounds like an awful lot of work,” says Joanne, “I'd prefer to have a good rest with it rather than have to do all that.”

“But,” I say, “ That's how people behaved not too long ago, that's how they would fill up an evening.”

“Oh that wouldn't be for us now at all,” says Jack, “That would be going right backwards at life, don't you agree?” and he looks around at the nodding faces.

“You're some strange,” Nellie sums up,”I've never known anyone ever to give up T.V.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Arrogance & Extinction

How arrogant of us to think we can live forever, albeit in a more flimsy format. A forever V2.0. Which adds another level of arrogance to the whole scene.

At the accelerated rate of the plundering and subsequent exhausted demise of this planet, some other, more superior being is going to want us to rape and pillage theirs?

See what I mean about arrogant?

Even if possible, who, outside of this tiny earthly realm in their right mind would welcome us?

Wasn't it Stephen Hawking who said we should lie low, we shouldn't be searching for other planets, other beings, for if they find us they will annihilate us as the pestilential plague that we are.

We come up with the means to control our breeding but do we use it? No. We continue to overwhelm this tiny place with a population that is, in most cases, poverty-stricken and starving. We can't even perform the simple task of feeding and housing what we create.

And can we get along with each other? Take a good look around. Animals, birds and fish get along better than us, sharing resources. That is, when we don't exterminate them like we do each other.

We allow paedophiles and misogynists to dictate the terms of our one and only earthly life with the instructions to breed till we drop and exhibit hatred towards others who do not share these 'values'.

We allow rampant corporatocracy to pollute our brains, our land, our woods, our very water and who then proceed to sell the remnants back to us at inflated prices.

I am reminded of all of this as I watch, with horror, the whole deadly plume of crude overwhelming the Gulf of Mexico and wending its way up the Eastern seaboard and maybe right up to Newfoundland.

And what do the supposedly best brains on the planet do? Leave the foxes of BP in charge of the Atlantic hen-house. The foxes who failed every single competency test in the drilling and management of oil-wells.

We are an appalling species. We are not entitled to be in this life. Not to mention any 'next'.

I predict we will be totally extinct within 100 years, maybe less.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Many of you, I'm sure, are fed up with my constant whinging about living in this province of Dialup Dementia. Newfoundland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but its politicos have a complete and utter disregard for its magnificent outports, many of which have to struggle along on the internet technology of the last century.

Where I live is one of them. And yes, I'm an activist, I write/email all of the politicos involved, both federal and provincial. Some don't even bother to respond, that's how little head-time they allocate to the legitimate concerns of those poor schmucks who put them in office. Poor schmucks who pay taxes and want to develop businesses in afore-mentioned outports but can't due to technological restrictions.

A further glitch was added when I recently bought a new laptop. A dial-up port is no longer provided on laptops. I had to BUY, at the cost of an additional $70.00 a USB dialup adaptor. Yep, totally recessive hardware, costing me extra money for an appalling connection.

To avoid regular head explosions at this ongoing and painful challenge to my business life I would play bridge or solitaire or mahjongg from a games CD I had bought for this purpose.

But in the last few months, I decided to move a little shelf unit beside my computer in my office. This is stocked with wools and knitting needles. Now while I await uploads and downloads - which can take hours - I knit.

This, more than anything else, has saved my sanity, along with frequent trips to Toronto. You can see above the rather fancy dishcloths I make and gift to friends and family.

The necessity of sanity being the mother of invention and all that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Best Kind

One of my photos from 2006 - "Dory in St. Shott's"
One of the Newfoundland phrases that has slipped itself sideways into my own lingo is "Best Kind."

It's a standard response to:

"How's it going?"
"How are you?"
"How's that boat in the water there b'y?"
"What sort of knitting would that be?"

"Best kind."

It's a response that cheers me up, either coming at me or leaving me. A modest pride in one's own well-being and in the work. A refusal to let the irritating nuts and bolts of life get one down.

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English doesn't do this phrase justice by a long shot. For one I've never heard either the definite or indefinite article prefixing it.

best kind n phr Colloquial formula indicating general approval; in the best state or condition; FINEST KIND.
T 393/4-67 When that puncheon was gone, there'd be usually half a barrel o' sugar, molasses sugar [left] in all those puncheons. Boy, 'twas the best kind—we loved it on bread. C 73-128 Beastins was the name on the first milk from a cow when she had a calf. This was considered very good to eat. My father says it was best kind to have boiled, strained and salted. P 141-75 How are you today? Oh, the best kind.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Et Tu, Brazil?

An RC priest in Brazil (where more and more abused children are coming forward) has expanded the empire of paedophilia even further with the addition of an erotic dungeon to his parish house.

Here he would chain up altar boys and rape them.

State prosecutors have accused Marcin Michael Strachanowski, 44, of handcuffing the 16-year-old former altar boy to a bed three years ago in the parish house where the priest lived and threatening to kill the youth if he spoke of the abuse.

You can read all about it here. Same old, same old. More abused children scarred for life. Their lives stolen forever.

But Brazil has come up with a solution to the problem. Yes it has!

The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops recently announced it would prepare a manual with guidelines to help bishops prevent child-abuse cases.

A manual! Now, why didn't the pope himself think of that! The problem of rampant priestly paedophilia is now solved!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

My New Car

Imagine if you will a car that absorbs C02 and expels oxygen.....

Chinese automaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation is doing just that. They recently unveiled designs for a photosynthesizing concept car that could take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Details are still sketchy, which is understandable since it would basically be a leaf on wheels.

Read more about it here - and other innovators, such as MIT, are also developing similar models.

I want one now! But hang on a sec, - shouldn't it have, like, doors and windows for the winter storms of Newfoundland? Or do I have to hammer up my own?

Great golf-cart possibilities though!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's Next?

Anyone else catch this?

It now seems that life has been replicated synthetically.

My thoughts:

It's not so much that it proves that we are still evolving as a species when we can virtually synthesise life now.

It's not so much that it makes the belief (for some) in the existence of a supreme being a little shakier.

It's the whole idea of Big Corp owning all life forms that worries me.

Dr. Ventner is the chappie that put patents on the very genomes of life way back in the nineties.

And for some strange reason I'm reminded of that old, old song, "16 Tons". Here's the very best version by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I was out the other night with a dear friend and talk came around to a horrific procedure called a symphysiotomy that was performed on my mother in 1956. My DF had passed on my information in this blogpost (written in 2007) to a very well known author who has now published it in a book on Irish people's history in the past 100 years.

I read the post again when I got home and found myself still deeply affected. I truly believe I'm beyond anger and hate. Just totally sad at what happened to my mother and all the countless women of her era who suffered so much at the hands of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Here is that post again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pink Me Stupid Redux

I previously wrote about that irritating Breast Cancer Campaign and its inherent pink-me-into-a-coma-but never-find-a-cure premise.

But Lawdy Mawdy, courtesy of the NRA, we present the following, shown recently at a gun show. Yes, they're real.

This sure takes the pink cake in the pink-me-stupid department.

Designed to blow that pesky cancer right out of you.

Along with everything else.

Runner-up prize would have to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken who have now introduced a Pink Bucket of chicken to further the pinkwash cause. Omitting to announce that their product of fat and hormones would more than likely cause the disease.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Suffer the Little Children Chapter 9 Volume 1200

An eight year old child in Boston has been denied admittance to a Catholic School because his parents are *gasp* lesbians.

This was after the parents had paid the deposit and bought the uniforms.

‘We weren’t hiding our relationship,’ one of the boy’s mothers, who requested her anonymity be honored to protect the child, told the press. Both she and her partner had listed their names on their son’s admission forms. ‘I’m accustomed to discrimination, I suppose, at my age and my experience as a gay woman. But I didn’t expect it against my child.'

The saintly Fr. Rafferty
and the school’s principal Cynthia Duggan informed the third-grader’s parents that he would be denied admission because their relationship is in discord with church teaching

And that affects the child's admittance how, exactly? He's a lesbian too? He made them into lesbians?

Read all about it here.

I just despair of this wilfully ignorant,abusive, corrupt, misogynistic child hating

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So I'm in Toronto. In the bliss of Highspeed.

Only when you're without what others take for granted does one appreciate the Small Stuff that makes life so much easier.

And talking of life ~

I wonder what it's like for the 12% of US homeowners now walking away from their houses. "Strategic Abandonment" is the new buzzword for this.

I wonder what it's like to be a fisher in the Gulf of Mexico and have this toxic spill swallow everything in its path.

I wonder what it's like in the EU and particularly in Greece and in the UK where life is about to change irrevocably with further economic collapses.

I wonder at the magnitude of this confluence of what is happening on our tiny planet as it twists and turns in its death throes. A commentary I heard on CBC Newfoundland as I was driving Ansa to the kennel summed up this whole disastrous way of life so beautifully:

"In the last fifty years or so we started to reverse the economic methodology of our ancestors wherein we now placed consumption before production when it HAS to be the other way around."
Amen, I thought. Of course. We have to produce before we consume. Is it too late for our grandchildren to rethink their worlds having been taught the opposite by their parents and grandparents?

And did you know that offshore in Newfoundland, they are digging even deeper for the oil than BP was in the Gulf?

And when the Newfoundland government was challenged on what we are doing to prevent another massive spill, here's a summary of what the minister said:
Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale says the oil industry is watching the events in the Gulf of Mexico to see what lessons can be learned from a massive spill there.

Ms. Dunderdale said earlier this week that the offshore industry is too vital to the province to ever curtail drilling.

Yes, Drill, Baby, Drill is the modus operandi in Newfoundland.

And flying over vast swathes of clear cutting gives me time to reflect on all of this.

And resign myself to the fact that those times I read about as a child are here. Now.

• When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
~ Cree Prophecy

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Blog Buddies

It is extraordinary, this Brave New World.

I use the word 'Brave' deliberately here.

The blogs I read are mainly personal, though I do have a salt and pepper flavouring thrown in there with some political, climate-change, linguistic, feminist and knitting blogs.

I've developed close friendships with some, to the point where we email privately on more sensitive matters and/or on recovery from addictions.

So whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up for speculation.

I have ongoing chats with someone who has some serious mental challenges. She's a brilliant artist, writer and extraordinarily brave considering her personal history which has been plagued with murder, death of a child and serious abandonment issues.

And today she emails me she is horrifically depressed and can't see hope and then deletes her blog.

I have no phone number for her, I don't speak the language of her country to alert the police or have any contact info for relatives or acquaintances.

I feel so totally helpless (and useless).


My friend has moved back to an old blog after deleting her new so fingers crossed, healing thoughts go her way and she has called a crisis line who must be monitoring the situation.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mother's Day Canada May 9th, 2010


For all of us who cry alone
And blunder on, so brave.
Her voice a merest whisper
Echoing from the grave.

We wonder how we tough it out
Without her shining face
Many are times both glad and sad
She leaves an empty space.

We hear her voice at moments
From deep within, a laugh
We catch her carefree open smile
In a yellowed photograph.

Time doesn't have the answer
To this puzzling mystery
Though we are old and tired and worn
Still Motherless Children are we.

I wrote the above for those of us who don't have mothers to celebrate with on this special day and wish we did.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Spin Classes

We can't believe all we read. Ever. Particularly in this age of instant news and more reportage than we've ever had in the history of humankind.

For instance, will we ever know the truth about:

The JFK assassination?
The invasion of Iraq?
The invasion of Afghanistan?

And I offer you this ( tongue firmly in cheek, I hasten to add) as to how the news can be spun in any which way to fit an agenda:

Monday, May 03, 2010

Keeping My Mind Too Pure

I have a friend who lives by the statement "I keep my mind free of any polluting thoughts". She has had more than her fair share of health issues. She is a brilliant woman but won't read bad news or listen to it on radio or watch it on television. She firmly believes it affects one's health and outlook. I would wonder at her state of ignorance. How did she navigate her way around without being fully informed?

I resolved at the beginning of this year to avoid blogging about the perilous state of this tiny planet as I've been doing for years and concentrate on the local and familiar, allowing myself the odd explosion when brain buildup becomes unsustainable and rant just happens. The explosions have been minimal. In spite of an oil spill that is poised to engulf the Atlantic sea shore, Iceland and Greece just the beginning of the toppling of the global economic Ponzi scheme, bees in massive decline (and don't think that's not one of the more serious issues)and rumblings of financial uncertainty from the One Who Must Be Obeyed - China.

I write for other publications, often a rant on the political shenanigans and ignorance of Demz Wot Rulez Us, or an exploration of the failure of urban planning, you get the picture.And I was in the midst of writing a diatribe for another publication about something that was seriously chapping my hide....

When something happened to me. This inner, softer, gentler twin emerged and started writing about beauty and friendship and love and music and good food and the warmth of unexpected kindness.

I'm losing my grip, obviously. I need to brush up on BP and their empty clean-up promises.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Splinty Splice of Newfoundland Time

I enchanted myself with a phrase I used in a comment on Stan's wondrous blog: Sentence First, so I grabbed it and ran with it and plopped it right on my header here. Splinty Splice. Say it.

I had an intense week work-wise. Could barely manage to squeeze in my ongoing online Scrabble games which are usually priority numero uno. Followed closely by blog-reads which had to go by the board while I earned a few coppers to keep the roof over my head for another year.

A couple I don't know very well (no, not Fred and Lily)invited me out for dinner at their place on Wednesday night and a viewing of their organic garden.

They live in a saltbox house similar to mine and right on the ocean in another part of St. Mary's Bay - and what an enchanted place it is. You'd never suspect they had such a magical kingdom from meeting them. They're quite brusque, no-nonsense types. But oh my what an evening we had!

First of all he cooked 4 different kinds of fish in 4 different ways. While he did this she gave me the 5 star tour of the gardens. There were flower beds everywhere, and she proudly told me all flowers had been gifted to her or she had 'helped herself' to the gardens of strangers. "With respect," she added. Masses and masses of different flowers. They had strawberry beds, root vegetables, rhubarb and runner beans ready to go.

Best of all, however, she had created an outdoor art gallery on her trees. Hanging from about fifty trees were pictures and bird feeders of every description, plaques and shells and driftwood and lights and candles. On the ground she had glued arrangements of miniatures - people, tables, chairs on old wood in hidden little spots. I was entranced. I felt it would be totally intrusive to take pictures then but asked her if I could come back to do so and she was thrilled.

But that wasn't all of it. Inside, she gave me another tour and proudly showed me her craft room where she worked on the old treadle sewing machine of her grandmother's. An 1888 Singer. Still in great running order. She had six quilts finished. I admired one gorgeous one of subtle Mexican colours (I'm in love with Mexican culture) and she insisted, over loud and long protests, that it was mine.

After a stupendous meal inadequately squashed down by partridge berry pie, I had the unfortunate stupidity to admire a history book of his and I was presented with that as well. My face reddened even further when he wrapped up a mountain of leftovers and told me I wouldn't have to worry now about cooking for myself with all the work I had to do over the next few days.

They both had to help me stagger to my car with all the bounty they had bestowed on me - oh yeah, did I mention her collection of conch shells from the beach I had the appalling lack of tact to admire?

Newfoundland people. Salt sea.