Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quote of the year

"That's a colossal squid; that's one colossal headache to defrost."

Oh yeah, I had forgotten the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) from last year, which those New Zealanders caught in the Ross Sea, off the coast of Antartica. Defrosting such a creature isn't simply a matter of, well, letting it thaw. The squid has so much squid (1, 089 pounds and 26 feet of it; and the eyes alone measure 10 inches each) that if you just let it thaw, the outer flesh will start rotting by the time the inner matter gets a chance to defrost. So you have to add ice into the saline solution in which you are immersing it (they haven't determined the sex yet). Indeed, one headache of a balancing act.

There's something interesting about the turmoil they go through in dealing with that hulking deep-sea corpse. I find it rather poetic. The situation, not the corpse. That mysterious colossal squid, which can descend down to 6, 500 feet in the ocean, and which has a sharp, wickedly strong beak, and has hooks on the tentacles; they just aren't seen underwater, alive and swimming and all.
So to have the largest one yet known above water, and to freeze it and have to defrost it, and all those scientists and researchers bustling around figuring out how they are going to do this right - over a colossal squid; it's a metaphor, yes. Nature has this built-in metaphor of our larger situation or story. No matter how much certain people make us out to be God, that conflict, that sunderedness between creatures still calls us: the enabling of our exploration and adventure, which God has created and made free. Free with the smiting proclamation of a thunderclap. It is to uncover the hidden metaphor and story that arouses our curiosity in such things of the natural world, like the colossal squid. One of those denizens of deep down where is found much other hideousness and freakishness incarnate:

Such are the rovers where no light breaks. And one of the strongest impulses of man is to bring things to the light; even when done as "playacting".

You can see some coverage of the squid thaw here.

G.K.C. Conference

The 27th. annual Chesterton Conference will be in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 12-14. If you're close by or have the means, it's recommended. Great people, great talks, great food. I haven't been to one yet, but understand these conferences are quite a good time.

Here is more information.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Photo by David Holmes

Usually most of us ask someone we know or regularly cross paths with, "How are you doing?" Or something along those lines. Some ask it all the time. Others not so often; but it usually gets said, even by those who deliberately refrain from it - to fill in silence.

Rarely is the question both sincere and the circumstances appropriate. You will know both are present when the answer to the question is not merely: "Good." Or, "Good thanks, how are you?", or, "Good thanks, yourself?" And yet, there are times when the question is asked automatically and it's fine, even the answer "good" sincere.

But those times when the question is blurted by someone as he is passing you by, with the diseased pace of those who go about as though they were deep in the middle trial process of trying to win immunity on Survivor, and keeps going without a flicker of a pause: what is up with this? But worse is when both questioner and answerer conspire in this madness.

"How are you doing?"

And, without a missed beat, like the scenario has been rehearsed a thousand times before, which by the way, it has, the other says, "Good".

But now I have noticed something new in this exchange. Something I can't remember being so prevalent before, if at all. When the person asks, "How are you doing?", the other person doesn't just say, "Good", but, "Good, good."

Like the extra "good" is a sign of the illegitamacy of the answer "good", but the person can't figure out any other words to save face, in the illusion that is mad-paced routine. The double affirmation works against our affirmation. And it doesn't end there, because I have also heard the double affirmative carried to new heights. The person doesn't just say "good" twice, but three, or even four times - but without the commas. Or the spaces.

"How are doing?"


Is this is a true sign of our last dying gasps of unwillingness to be seen by someone as discontented or unhappy? If so, then what will the answers be as things get progressively worse?

"How are you doing?"
"Goodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoogoogoogoooogoogooogogoo...ah screw it, I give up: In answer to your question, I am unhappy, and so by the way are you, or you wouldn't be asking me that arbitrary question, yet I have the sense that my unhappiness is proof that there is a happiness, one called eternity in heaven; and this makes me happy. Yes, that's right; my happiness is totally gratuitous: desperation has no rootstock in it. And it shows up my unhappiness."

Friday, April 25, 2008


Some spittle; starting mud. Even the thus worked
wonder of restored eyes, done by the by;
sends out the man with a mustard seed of song
to the flint sects; for himself, no stone for headrest:
each rung he scales is less scaleable than the last,
throughout this hotter-growing kiln called his
ministry; three years’ terminus, the start:

cruellest crucifixion, exposed nerve-endings
set to fire with what would blackout any
other mere mortal. What mere mortal can birth
eyes in a man who never had them from birth?
Brings us his fire and strength by his baptism:

asphyxiation, haemorrhage, dehydration,
enmeshed in a slashed body that ceases never
through every nerve to be on fire.
But greater than these, still, still, in this terminus:
the mildest unrebelling heart whose fire
grows stronger by its very gashes.

Horse and Crow

This is sort of a flat cobbling together of elements. Definitely not concentrated or sure of where it was going from the start, except for the crow and sunset. Horse was totally and suddenly added. Not sure if it will get finished. In which case if it does it will be changed quite a bit. Way too coarse. No patient work in it. Not enough objects painted from real life. Not one I regard as typical of my work. It's oil on matte board, and just happens to be one I have on file. Overall impression of the colours I like though.


The story of the heron is one
comes to the shake-grass sides of streets
that run through farmland and over
rivers. He does not dress
when he appears.

When the heron’s story is dressed in night
his overhead sailing is every good book
a child has ever read in bed
before his sleep.

He carries pure pages of his life with him
while other birds shake theirs loose.

Mind your peas and carrots

Can the unclean produce the clean? --Sirach 34

I was thinking just this week about vegetarianism, and how it seems to inevitably send runners (like strawberries) out into all the other aspects of that particular vegetarian's life - especially in the way they treat other people.

Vegetarianism is an ascetical crop-up in the history of certain religions - most notably in Hinduism and Sikhism. The purity thing, that goes hand in hand with abstaining from alcohol. It turns out to be an enjoyable sort of thing, enjoyable like someone gets to enjoy, more and more, watching his savings account accumulate with every cheque cashed. It's an oxymoronic sort of asceticism. It follows due process with perfection, except for the end part, where, as in true asceticism, the practise is supposed to sort of "terminate" in hiddenness - whereby the practising soul goes forth "like in the body of a stranger". Instead, the poor vegetarian souls let it breach all their conduct and dictate its vanity in the lives of others. They love to tell a person who has just gotten out of the hospital after treatment for inexplicable and total kidney failure: "You should take care of yourself".

Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays, and while such a practise can indeed lead one to a certain snobbishness, or more like a certain sort of pride, in declaring to the offer of meat on that day, "I don't eat meat on Fridays", the very practise is entirely different from the no-meat of the Hindus. Different in its significance, different in its aim and different in its being a sort of rule, hence different in the end result and formal execution.

In the Catholic world, the ascetical practise, be it no meat on Fridays, be it vow of silence, be it a hard board to sleep on and a rock for your pillow or sleeping in your future coffin, takes on the outlandish shape of simply being what it is. Hence the cultural pointing of giggling fingers and quirking reactions to the shape of Catholic practises; and the total acceptance to the point of patronizing sentimentality and psuedo-religous feelings of certain westerners towards various eastern practises. The Catholic does not abstain from meat on Friday because he believes it to be a purification or a rite of passage or a better thing than eating meat. He is indeed, more inclinded to declare that it is significantly worse than eating meat, and depending on who you talk to, will eschew the no-meat on Fridays altogether, or if not eschew it, will find it a hard thing.
The significance of the Friday is that Jesus Christ died on a Friday. For those who believe in the Son of God, what else can a Friday signify? So from this preposition, the abstaining from meat takes its cue, and yet the abstaining from meat would be meaningless if it were just for the "significance of it", the non-existent practise that certain securalists take to be the core of religion: some kind of vague and nice symoblic something or other for the sake of being symbolic. It is a concrete handle if you will; a mysterious, not altogether explainable concrete handle, for our own actions as human beings that form our culture will always have this mystery about them. But it is a handle, one that gives way to the objective reality - that reality being the real Person of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors

The British Columbia government has recently enforced laws prohibiting smoking in the vicinity of public buildings, backways, sideways, on the roof, whatever, which includes outdoor patios and whatnot. Laws have also been enforced that make shop owners cover all tobacco products behind the counter. They also send out hired minors to buy cigarettes, whence the store owner is fined $500.00 for selling them without asking for i.d.

Odd position for a government that takes in roughly around $500 million annually through tobacco tax. And the Federal government takes in around $6 billion. There are the government associated help lines to quit smoking and anti-smoking ads and campaigns, in the schools, on t.v., on the radio and everywhere; all of them telling us of the formidable addictiveness of nicotine (exaggerated claims), speaking in sober heavy tones of the difficulties of quitting smoking and if you're quitting, then we can...

We are enormous dupes. The addiction to cigarettes is psychological by more than half. No, it is not largely chemical. It is precisely when someone is "helped" in a barage of serious campaigns to quit smoking, that the difficulty comes in to play and screw around with them. So it goes round and round, with their trials of quitting smoking and then, on an urge, taking it back up again, the fear of "giving it up" becoming enlarged - because they have got it pummeled into their poor heads, courtesy of their government, that quitting smoking is this mighty big thing.

So, as with the HRC, we see government interference accomplishing the extreme opposite of what it is telling us it is doing. But in the case of the anti-smoking campaigns, and their very obvious opposite effect, in light of the money that is brought in through tobacco's enough to make you think that the government knows precisely what it is doing.

Pine beetles are global warming deniers

An article in The Province says B.C. pine beetles, which are thought to have have destroyed more than 435 million cubic metres of timber, will have added an extra one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - by the time the unprecedented infestation ends.

This is via researchers from the Canadian Forest Service in the journal Nature. The figures include the CO2 no longer taken up by the dead trees, as well as the CO2 released by the dead trees as they rot.

And so there you have it. We will have that much more CO2 in our passive, one-dimensional atmosphere because the above-mentioned calculations are not a demonstration of the severe limitations of human 'scientific' logic; for such research also takes into account every single natural occurence around the globe and every single cosmic tilt of the scales and every single beetle fart.

You must also understand that the beetles are flourishing because of the increase in temperatures due to global warming; because the winter kills them off. They think maybe they can use the dead trees for biofuel.

I find it hard to believe that such people who are supposedly intuned to the changes of nature are so unnatural in their conclusions, in their mechanical logic. Is there anyone out there who, truly being an observer of nature, is seeking a true solution to the infestation, like using our research and technology to bring in predators of this particular beetle? Some kind of bird, or other insect?

Is this being looked into?

Ever wonder

what the socialist brain of a liberal democrat looks like?

Take a look.

Be sure to read the LRAM (Liberal and Radical Axis of Mediocrity) Modus Operandi list.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stories told

The giant’s bedrock pain amid the dwarves
is not today’s choice of archetypal tale;
we rather the dwarves’ exclusion from a giant’s horde
or the giant’s repression of the dwarves.

But whether in spiritual sight the dwarves
are actually giants, the giant a dwarf;
and one who will rise on the horizon
of the fallen ages’ ashes will look

like a dwarf or giant or both, I don’t care.
Because each has a haunting giant who
lifts to tell their soul they already live
in a long ongoing aftermath, the start of which

was a cataclysmic crucifix.


The miracle of trees
swaying in the breeze
or standing still and plain
frozen in your pane
has largely been covered
and not very lovered
yet to be discovered
due to our artificial matrix
that takes as normal, things like latex;
much like verse is made a mongrel
by this wondrous doggerel

How Quantify?

Love is left up to us
who are ourselves made from dust.
Open-ended Nature awaits
our forming heat that satiates
never in this world; only but
to burn the hunger wider: so the lees
is what we fear, the final pouring out
that drains us past exhausting drought
and into the never-tiring
ever-filling fount of love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My favourite film

Well, "favourite" as in one of those works of art that become your companion of consolation and challenge, on your pilgrimage of life. You do not know if the work has so much appeal because you have "found" something that "speaks to you", or because the work has found, and formed, you. To watch Tarkovsky's Stalker with sensitivity is to be purified and made ready to re-enter life. On occasion I have found this film to have such transcendence, such reaching power, during viewing, as to evoke in me the joy that is inseparable from trauma. I mean trauma as in sitting there in your seat while having this physical, hot, crushing, purgating avalanche fall on you, while tears come to your eyes, and your soul rises.

I have seen the film numerous times on the Russico dvd. Then one time I had the privilege of seeing it in a theater, at some Russian film festival in Vancouver. And it was like seeing it for the first time. Lord, the Russico dvd is a strange thing. They have two "versions" in the one package. For some reason when they transferred the original soundtrack to 5.1 dolby, they thought, apparently assuming they knew better than Andrei Tarkovsky, that it would be superior if they added more sounds and musical strains and extended the duration of existing sounds which, being originally of shorter duration, were far more subtle. They also seemed to think it best to excise certain pieces of dialogue, and sort of neutralise what dialogue does remain. Though, that sounds worse than what it actually is, really, when you see it in the theater, the way it was and is supposed to be, what a difference you are able to see.

One bonus for the Russico dvd, you might say, would be the actual picture quality. Though even here, I can envision what Tarkovsky's reaction to it would be: too sharp! Too much sharp relief! Nonetheless, if you ever get a chance to see this film, either on dvd, or in theater (if by any chance you have a Russian film festival in town), it just may be something you won't regret. Though of course, there is no telling. If you do watch it on the Russico dvd, do not waste your time with the 5.1 dolby version. Just watch the original mono. The way Tarkovsky intended. It was a small miracle that the first time I watched the film, on the Russico dvd, not knowing about the two "versions", I unintentionally picked the original mono.

Ah, well. Tarkovsky suffered worse.

Imagine a world without satire

A savaging of a certain popular song you may have heard in your lifetime.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pulse is in the failing carpet.
The cover dying; a constant autumn
beneath the evergreens, where the needles,
fans and brooms fall down
into open-ended tapestry
that bronzes, ever, dying with life.
Pulse is in the failing carpet.
The cover dying; a constant autumn
beneath the evergreens, where the needles,
fans and brooms fall down
into open-ended tapestry
that bronzes, ever, dying with life.