Sunday, March 30, 2008

Write To Write, Right??

Mentally fatigued, the brain and the fingers are not what they should be. Carry on I must, write to write, that just seems right. No subject, no real meaning behind the words tonight. Perhaps this is an act of futility. Perhaps I am typing in vain, writing to ease the pain. Perhaps I typed that last sentence because I like the way it sounds. Perhaps I am in a good place. Perhaps I am content. Perhaps I am at a place where I might want to scream my joy for all the world to hear. Perhaps I have yet to find the right words to accompany that near primal scream. Perhaps, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I am fully fed-up with winter. I have had my fill of parkas and togues, ok I do have an infinite fondness for a bitchin' togue, but, but, but, its now time for hoodies, I wanna get some sun on my pasty white legs, I need a healthy dose of vitamin D. I have noticed the buds on the trees, I have heard the calls of the Canadian geese, but damn it all to hell its time for the temperature to start to spike. Down with snow, down with wind chills that reach into negative Celsius. Its all gone on too long, this Canadian winter, things need to turn green, flowers need to sprout, hell gimme a few mosquitoes, I am losing the plot, I demand to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Every Now and Then......

To say that I am jaded by the politics of the now would be an understatement. I am idealistic, romantic enough, flummoxed perhaps by Nietzsche enough, to believe that our political leaders should be remarkable, they should be intellectually superior, they should be passionate in their beliefs, there should be a litmus test they all must pass in order to justify their position of power. Sadly, it just does not work that way, George W. Bush is the antithesis of all that I see as wrong in politics. Here is a man, that had a free pass academically, militarily, and politically, simply because of his family ties. In my opinion, a man as mediocre in every way like George W. has no right to the title as the most powerful man in the world. Even as a puppet, a man whose strings are pulled by men far more intellectually advanced, and politically astute, than Bush, Bush has failed in every way. He has made a mockery of the White House. He is what is wrong in the world today.

All it seems is not lost, the ridiculous reign of Bush II, is quickly coming to an end. And, my God, there is a candidate who seems exceptional. Barrack Obama, is exciting, here is a man who can speak the English language, a man who can not only read, and memorize a political speech, but can write a speech that can galvanize the nation. Obama's speech on race and religion is the greatest piece of political/social commentary that I have ever read.
He spoke (like Jon Stewart said last night) to the American people like they were adults. He was able to touch on themes that are uncomfortable, and yet open the door to a dialog, which frankly the USA has been avoiding since its inception.

My concern now, and I don't think it is all that out of bounds, I worry that the USA electorate may choose the easy way out. Denial is easy, why dig up old wounds, why not stick to the status quo? It is very easy simply to elect the token, unexceptional old white fella, or the the prototypical Democratic candidate, whose most controversial political issue is universal health care (as noble an idea as that is). Obama may be too exceptional, here we have a Black man, a man with an engaging mind, a fella whom is not afraid to address Americans many worts, and discuss ways of healing them. Is America ready, is America brave enough? I sure hope so.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Not So Happy Anniversary

Five years ago, still reeling from the September 11th attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the Bush administration hoodwinked its population into thinking that attacking Iraq was the next logical step in the 'War on Terror'. Claims of weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi ties to Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and the ever-present fear that existed (and still exists) in the United States, made such an endeavor an easy sell. The American people were more than happy enough to dance to the beat of the Bush war drums, the Democrats plugged their collective noses, they bought the Bush line that you are with us or against us, supporting the troops was more important than fact checks, everyone was filling up on a huge serving of 'Freedom Fries'. The whole thing was going to be over in a matter of weeks. Iraq was no match for the American war machine.

Time flies when you are having fun. Where are they now? The Iraq war part deux is still on going, truth be told there seems to be no end in sight. The war itself has cost $500,000,000,000, 4000 American lives, 90,000+++ Iraqi lives, and the American reputation has never been so tarnished. There are countless theories as to what might have been the Bush rational in attacking Iraq, everyone now knows that there were no weapons of mass destruction, there are no ties to Al Qaeda. So perhaps it was Junior simply trying to finish the job his father had started 10 years or so earlier, perhaps it was simply a matter of distracting the American people from the fact that the capture of Bin Laden had been a complete failure, perhaps it was about oil reserves, perhaps it was about setting up a permanent American presence in the Middle East, perhaps G.W likes to play GI Joe with human toys, perhaps it all those things. The only truth in any of this is that, the Iraq occupation is the greatest and most barbaric blunder of the Bush Administration. Aside from the human tole, the financial tole in as far as the burgeoning American debt is not only being felt in the USA, but world wide. It would be folly to blame the global economic downturn solely on the mistake that is the Iraq war, but it is symbolic of the ineptitude and madness that has been endemic in the current American administration.

So unhappy anniversary Mr. Bush, I see you have decided to hold a press conference claiming success and victory in Iraq, funny I thought I had seen and heard all that before, say 5 years ago, you had your favorite GI Joe costume on, and you got to play on an aircraft carrier, good times. I hope you are proud of all your successes, you have made your country proud.

About Dreams

I am not famous for my ability to recall dreams. This is troubling because as a writer, dreams are a near infinite supply of subject. Last night, however, I had a dream very similar to many other dreams, that I tend to remember. One rarely forgets the dreams that recur, hell even a poor dream recaller is going to remember the dream that pops up over and over.

My dream last night, was not a carbon copy of any other dream that I have had in the past. It began with me in a mountainous area, could have been anywhere, I will say in Eastern Europe, because my mind is still there. I was hiking around this area, alone, although there were other anonymous characters around, random families, fellow travelers, that were on the peripheral at first, they did not seem part of the plot. I found myself in a particularly stunning spot, there was a lake, a beautiful green mountain, the birds were singing, I had found Eden, I wanted to capture it in a photo. I rifled through my belongings, found a digital camera, but the flash did not work, funny because it was the middle of the day, in the waking world, this would have mattered not. Finally I decided to ask a family if I could borrow a camera from them, it was imperative that I capture this moment in time, and quickly. They loaned me a disposable Kodak, no explanation as to how I might receive the photo in the future, the people were faceless, it was the photo that mattered, the picture had to be taken. Snap, I was transported from my Eastern European mountain paradise, to a forked woods road, definitely in the Canadian Boreal Forest, most probably in Alberta. I have been here before, this is where the dream recurs. In previous dreams there are cabins on the logging road that forks to the right, I tend to stay in one of them, there is usually a scenario where I try to purchase or rent the cabin before the crowds arrive. The logging road to the left leads deep into the woods, and into a maze of other logging roads, it best to avoid the left logging road, its where anxiety and pee dreams live. Last night I did not choose either of the paths, seems my brain decided to change channels, the dream ended, and I did not out of have to deal with Robert Frost's quandary in The Road Not Taken.

What does this all mean? Nothing I bet, simply the brain playing tricks, a little mental diarrhea, a spot of neurotic, subconscious digestion. I thought it might be interesting to see how it looks on the written page. I am not willing to dissect any of it yet, I am not sure if there is any rhyme or reason to my dreams in the first place. I am happy that I actually woke up this morning with a dream still fresh on my mind. Maybe its a sign of things to come.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Random Thoughts On Canadian Politics

I am a political junky, I like to be in the know, I enjoy the debate. I was fully invested in the last Federal Election, there was an air of change, the Liberal juggernaut was crumbling, it looked that there may be some new political blood, new (hopefully progressive) ideas, new life in the Canadian political process, at least thats what I had hoped for, its not easy being an idealist, the last Federal election has jaded any hope I might have had of there being a bold new political reality in Canada.

What happened? Well, the revamped Conservative Party won a minority mandate. I could handle that, hell its what I expected, The Liberals were doomed from the start, and frankly deserved to be kick to the curb. As idealistic as I may be, I am also a realist, I knew that there wasn't a chance in hell that my guys, the NDP, could sneak up the middle, or um er from the left and steal the election. Canada like its cousins down south is basically a two party system, elections go one of two ways, Liberal, or (Progressive, historically) Conservative. The 'fringe' or more accurately 2nd tier parties, the NDP, the Bloc (who only run in Quebec, and thus can't form a government in the first place), and the Green Party (who have been around for awhile, but are the new cool) really are nothing more than also-rans. What made the last Federal election exciting was the prospect of one of these parties, having a significant voice because of the prospect of another minority government. It did my soul a world of good thinking that if the NDP could score enough seats, that they could force the Conservative Party to stick to a moderately progressive agenda, thwarting any secret right wing agenda that Harper and gang might have dreamed up.

What happened? First, the NDP just didn't get enough seats to become the balance of power. The Liberal demise in Quebec, and a Conservative Party mini revival in that same province, meant that the Tories earned more seats than expected, the Liberals less than expected, and the NDP just couldn't make up the difference. The Bloc, is technically the balance of power in Canada, that is if one believes that the Tories and the Grits do not covertly work with each other.Lets face facts, the Harper Tories are enjoying their time as the party in power, and Dion and his Grits have not got their collective shit together to perform as they would like if an election was called.

Where are we? Canada is in a political vacuum. The Tories, can't really go whole hog with any sort of right wing agenda (thankfully), but the opposition is also politically impudent. There is not a strong leader in any of Canada's political parties. Harper and the Tories will goat the opposition into trying to take down the government, it makes he and his Tories look strong, and I think he likes the ego boast, he is in the driver's seat right now, and he knows that the other opposition parties are not ready to compete in an election. The Tories are not at a point where they might win a majority government, but another minority does not seem out of the question.

What is next? I believe there will be an election sometime in the next 6 to 12 months. The squeaky clean, and normally media sly Tories are starting to slip up. The Liberals will eventually grow the stones, especially if the polls look favourable and the soap opera that is a Canadian election will be upon us. Will I be excited this time around, I doubt it, there really isn't a political person or party that excites me at all. I will keep my eyes down south, the story there is far more compelling.

More Easter Thoughts

I decided to do some research on Easter, I understand the symbolic nature of the holiday, its the roving date that has me flummoxed. A quick Wiki search and I learned that Easter is termed a movable feast, it is not attached in any way to the civil calender. It follows the cycle of the moon, hmmm, so as near as I can tell, and with Wiki as my reference Easter is the first Sunday after the first fourteenth day of the moon that is on or after March 21st (my b'day, which this year is Good Friday, furthering my confusion). Is it only me that doesn't understand the mathematics here?? Am I simply too daft to understand the infinite wisdom of our ancient men of religion? And how is it that March 21st is Good Friday? I can not remember my birthday, and the first full day of Spring ever falling on a holy day. Confused I am by the whole thing. Be warned my Christian friends, I do not much like March 21 being attached to your roaming celebration of bunnies, death, and resurrection, the whole thing gives me the willies, I like March 21 like it is, my birthday, and the beginning of Spring. I will loan you the day this year, but you had better not sully it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Should Be A National Holiday

Sure, the percentage of people in Canada with Irish roots is probably not all that high, and I would guess that it is dwindling year to year, but why the heck not? I realize that Easter is only a week or so away. I am not a fan of Easter, I don't get it, yet another commercialized Christian holiday, what the heck does a rabbit have to do with the death, and then reappearance of a quasi-fictional religious prophet??? I respect those Christians who feel that the whole Easter event is a significant event,and sure let them celebrate it, a holiday is a holiday is a holiday. But why the bunny? The whole pagan/Christian mishmash of holidays always confused me, throw in capitalism and it just appears to me to be yet another Hallmark and chocolate cabal cash grab, tacky to the extreme.

Yes, there is a lot of kitsch attached to St. Patrick's Day, hell its really no more than excuse for those with Irish roots, and those without to go and drink, green beer, or pretend to enjoy Guinness. But at least there is joy in the celebration, there is a feeling of togetherness on St. Paddy's that is not seen in holidays that have a religious attachment. Everyone is Irish on March 17th, why keep them from a pub?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Euro-trip Post Script

It would be silly for me to say that I am having a hard time readjusting to Canadian life, I wasn't gone all the long, and truth be told, things haven't changed at all since I have left. Mid January in Annapolis Royal, ain't a helluva a lot different than Mid March, the weather is desperate, the town is dead, and the locals are simply trying to hold on until spring.

So its not a matter of reintegrating, its a matter of settling for second best. Canada is great, I am proud to be from here. But there things that are really lacking. There is less freedom of movement, there is a huge lack of traveling internationals, things are too stiff, we worry too much, we don't eat as well, we don't drink as well, truth be told, we are too young, we haven't learned enough, we are uncultured, we are still insignificant. Canada, and the US for that matter have lived a sheltered life, we have rarely taken any lumps. We are the world's spoiled rich kids, whose parent's sent us to private schools, where we have been taught that this is as good as it gets, the rest of the world is dirty, they have got it all wrong, its best to stick with your own, forget the atlas, put down the book. Our search is over, we have already arrived. We as North American's are close minded, we would rather not know, why risk discomfort?

Europe opens the eyes to the world. It is a melting pot. There is nothing static about Europe, as old as it is, it continues to evolve. Europe has had to evolve, change is a must, its adapt or disappear, its a constant fight to be relative, complacency will not fly. Europeans are passionate, they are honest, they want to be heard, they will call you an asshole, and beautiful in the same sentence, because in the end we are all beautiful assholes, no? We in Canada could learn from this moxy, this honesty. Political correctness, and insular self-protection will get us nowhere. Its true, I am afraid, that the good guy finishes last. Stand up for yourself Canada, you are a grand spot, but really no one gives a damn. Big Brother down south is not going to stop trading with us if we call him an asshole from time to time, he can't, he needs what we are selling. There is dishonesty in Canada's politeness, we would be respected far more if we told it like it is. We need to become more European, we need to tare the piss.

This is what I have learned in Europe. I learned that yes, everyone likes Canada, but no one really knows anything about it. We are nothing more than polite Americans. The first time you hear this, you naturally cringe. Canada defines itself by how unAmerican it really is. How is that for a slogan, Canada, we are not Americans? Really though, we listen to the same music, we wear the same clothes, we drive the same cars, we eat the same food, on and on it goes. Canada is as American as it comes, it hurts I know, but its true. I am glad that Canada is sovereign, it is grand to be from a place that the rest of the world just wants to hug, and yet still enjoy the fringe benefits of the American lifestyle. But, truthfully, if Canada is going to be truly sovereign, it is going to have to become more European, it will have to embrace its European roots, it will have to stand up for its Canadian values, as fuzzy as they might be. If not Canada will slip further into insignificance. It has worked so far I suppose.

Presidential Pop Cultural

There is a global hunger for political change in the US. All throughout Europe I met people who were excited, and even emotionally invested in the political happenings in the USA. It is more than simple a world sick of the failures, and ineptitude of the Bush cabal, there is a feeling out there that Obama and to a lesser extent Clinton represent positive change. Obama is a pop star, he transcends race, gender, and generation. The prospect that finally the US has matured enough to vote for a president irregardless of their race, or middle name, has people seeing beyond the murk of the current administration. There will be messes to clean up, but there seems to be a sense of renewed goodwill, and that will make the transition from murk to renewed positivity easier to bare.

Hillary Clinton does not have the same sort of pop star glow that Obama emits, but I think most progressives feel she is a solid second choice. Had this been a different race, had Obama felt he was not yet ready for the challenge, Hillary's star would have shown brightly. She is, ladies and gents, the first legitimate female candidate to run for president, she is a formidable lady. I believe she has the chops to be a heck of a President, unfortunately for her, the timing was not quite right. Leave it to the US to try and run a black man vs. a woman in the same year, and yes I know they are in the same party, but the competition for the White House is between those two, McCain is a non factor, he is the GOP's lame duck candidate, the GOP are calling a mulligan this time around. God willing.

Gratuitous Random Muse

Here it goes. I could go in a million directions, I have pages and pages all the more of notes written whilst in Europe, I have strong feelings about the never ending Presidential Primaries, I have even tried to catch up with the political scene here in Canada. As you can see, I have so much to say, too much really, where is a fella supposed to begin?

Lets start with the weather,a cop out, the fail safe. Winter it seems is as never ending as the Primaries. Rumours are swirling that a large winter storm is looming, estimated time of arrival, Monday. Funny because I can feel it, I have that nagging ache in my bones, things are about to turn shitty. Oh spring where art thou? I left you in Europe, I politely invited you to return with me, I know that Europe is grand, but come on, how about a little love for the humble folks of the Canadian East Coast.

Geez, that was a whole lot of nothing. I am trying to free associate, spit words, randomly rant. To hell with structure, let the fingers tell the story, unblock the block between brain and finger. Perhaps that method only works with poetry, perhaps I am not in fact Jack Kerouak, perhaps I need to study my notes, perhaps this is the wrong medium....blogged and blarghed.