My Crazy Ideas for 2018

Call me “Sir”. As Supreme Being I Decree:

  • Every seat in government has to be co-occupied, job shared so they can have a life while being involved in governance. That way, looking after the kids, the pets, the community garden, or community market, is part of their lives; so they can experience things that are about being a human being and not just an ambitious grasping jerk. Does that mean things will take longer to get done? Maybe, but they won’t take as long as fixing fuck ups!  Like war, like bad legislation, like inequity, like sanctioned discrimination, like really bad ideas. I heard they are doing this somewhere, Iceland or Greenland, or Paradise Island…
  • Anyone who is  in a position of authority must be referred to as “Sir” regardless of thier gender.
  • Queen Elizabeth the first (not our Queen Elizabeth, the zoo creature and her litter of baby zoo creatures) made a rule that one tree for every 100 acres every where in England had to be maintained.  (She needed mature trees for building ships to fight Spain…) We can do that! We have surpassed Tudor England with Good Ideas We Can Do THAT.
  • We will always have problems when laws and personal freedoms conflict, but lets face it, people are often jerks.  They gripe about everything.  Even a free lunch.  This planet gives us a free lunch when it comes to air and water but we constantly ruin it!  So these things have to be legislated up the yin yang. Because as I said, jerks.
  • Corporations,  and I heard they are now considered persons,  can be HORRIBLE jerks.  They need rules to govern them, rules up the whazoo.  Corporations don’t need thier own armies. Nope.  They can’t be allowed to go into a country and then build a fort with “private security”.  If they are not benefiting in a direct way the people who live there so that the people there have an investment in their presence, they are breaking international law. Period.  Saying you are building a school for the local population and then teaching them to be domestic servants in the hotel you are putting up (totally bulldozing over the local population and their needs) is NOT  building a school.  Unless a gulag is a school. Time was, people welcomed trade. But when its about flim flam, nobody welcomes them. Bad for business really is about bad for people, OTHERWISE IT’S ABOUT BAD FOR BULLSHIT AND THEFT.
  • And we need gun laws, MORE OF THEM, because, again, people can jerks. Lets face it, many jerks are alive today because there wasn’t a gun handy at the time and  I would like to think that where there is life there is hope. We might shop at “Jerks r us”, but we don’t want to live there. Or die there. I realized the other day that there are so many mass shooting in the United States that now they catagorize them. “Church mass shootings, school mass shootings, Walmart mass shootings…” Sheesh.
  • Taking a life is not a good thing.  It will never stop happening but it should not be a reason for celebration, ever.  It should not be the object of any game.  The enjoyment of violence is not something we want to encourage.  It is not how we navigate towards our objectives as human beings on this planet, and anyone who enjoys causing pain and suffering  is to be considered damaged, possibly ill/sick and should be denied employment where violence and abuse would be likely, i.e. the police force, the army and probably some sports.  I recommend cross stitch for violent people. They can design whatever violent scene or sentiment they like but it has to be rendered in cross stitch. I know you are thinking that these are the jobs where we want violent people because “the enemy” is ruthless, bla bla bla, but I’m Supreme Being in this make-believe scenario remember? Nobody gets to have fun killing. End of discussion. Now go and work on your sampler.*
  • As for sports, I find quilting pretty intense so I am no authority but I think it might change the game if commentors made comments like: “Youre right Jim! And that impressive body check he took will mean he will be ten times more likely to suffer early dementia, depression and suicide!” “Danger pay Rex?” “Well I say, God Bless them, they give us our careers Jim.”  “Hahahahahahaha”. The camera can pick out a child in the bleachers who has seen the results of Repetitive Head Injury Syndrome in a parent. 😦  I would imagine competitive quilting and cross stitch would start to look pretty good. Okay, that’s maybe cruel. Cross stitch is hard to do.

I just realized that all these things are pretty much the things I would have decreed when I was six years old. So, just in case your were wondering, no it’s not likely I will ever succeed in becoming “Supreme Being” so relax. I mean, really, I can’t think of anything more unlikely happening…oh wait, ick, this is awkward…

Finally, it was argued recently that things are changing for the better. I don’t know. Talk is cheap. Only when we meet in the field of our own vulnerability, aware of this vibrant and improbable event that is life, when we are just there, not in an abstraction, but in the terrifing, liberating beauty of it, does anything change.

If not now? When?

Happy New Year!

* It seems there really is a program to teach inmate to quilt.


Can Poverty be Re-branded?

“Sometimes when it feels like things are falling apart it’s just things falling into place”.

This inspirational saying brought to mind the Monty Python skit of “Catch that prize!” where if a contestant could catch, say a refrigerator, dropped from a fourth story window he could keep it. It is annoying how many pithy sayings there are for things falling apart.

I went to a lecture titled, “Is poverty a disease? Could treating poverty work like medicine?” Dr. Gary Bloch, a nice young  doctor who works out of a hospital in T.O. in an area with a lot of homeless people using the ER. *

I am biased, three times around the big C has introduced me to lots of doctors, I have found many doctors, young white males in particular but not exclusively, to possess large egos if not pugnacious attitudes of entitlement. I have read a bit about what internships are like, so I add exhaustion as an excuse for some of them, and then there are the ones who really want to do good… and this guy is one of them. But he is still coming from a culture (medical professionals) that looks at everyone as a set of symptoms.  It is also a culture that is very difficult to enter because of the costs of medical school. Why money should be allowed to be a deciding factor in who might want to be, or might be able to be, a doctor is another question. Most doctors tell me that I can discuss only two things per visit. However, if one of them is about O.H.I.P. the clock seems to fly out the window. Sorry I am griping. 😛

At the very end of the lecture I got to say my two cents worth. My heart was pounding so hard once I decided to try to speak that I might have not heard all of his lecture.  I brought up the Harris government, 25 years ago in Ontario targeting single mothers, reducing their family benefits by 1/3 OVER NIGHT and then standing back to watch the fallout. All the tax payers who could accept the cost of constant road repairs before they accepted the cost of social repairs? Well, if driving over the bodies of welfare mom’s had caused a bumpy ride to work they still might have supported this bludeoning of Family Benefits. I’m not sure but the effects were not as immediate as a bitter cold winter on ashphalt so they weren’t too bothersome. But a large number of women and children fell through the cracks. “Falling through the cracks” meant they went missing in the minds and hearts of the society that they belonged to. And many ended up in peril.

Harris’ cuts weren’t even cost effective, they shifted the expenses to totally ineffective services and removed large numbers from the data for political purposes only.  Add mismanagement of support payments, often those coming after a forced combative situation, a stipulation of receiving benefits was legal action against the absent partner, and voila, many families found themselves unable to pay rent. Their next step was into homelessness. There were piles of cheques for support that were months late and yet they sat unprocessed. Miscommunication, hostility and ineptitude turned up the heat on fathers who were labeled and threatened for being “dead-beat dads” which did not help moms and kids either. Many of my peers who didn’t have any other support network to help them were lost as the stress of jumping through hoops and sorting through requirements turned them back either to abusive situations or bad choices or emotional collapse and mental breakdown. The resulting years have led to the cost to taxpayers in law enforcement, incarceration, emergency services and health costs all skyrocketing and all caused by the repercussions of what were applauded as reforms twenty-five years ago.

I ended my diatribe with “Poverty is not a disease, it is a crime.” and I got applause.  (That was a bit frightening actually).

However quietly, fearfully we do it, we need to speak up about the things that maintain poverty so we can talk about the things that can alleviate it. Poverty is a crime being committed against the most vulnerable, and it is global. It is endorsed by the most wealthy and most priviledged. Poverty makes possible all sorts of abuses of human rights and so often leads to violence and even war. But I worry about calling it a disease. People living with poverty are already in isolation.

*I wrote this draft perhaps five years ago never publishing it.  If you go to the link for Dr. Gary Bloch you will see he is doing many positive and constructive things and lecturing other doctors. Maybe he is changing the culture from within? As I said, he is one of the good ones.

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror…

I read my horoscope everyday, not so much because I believe in the power of celestial bodies messing with my life as I believe it is the acid test for how I am feeling when I read it.  Today it said something to the effect that I would be likely to get into arguments, which pissed me off.

I do get angry. It is hard not to sometimes but I try to be aware of it before I am in some action that can do harm and also, I will admit, gets me in harms way.

I used to toss a coin when I couldn’t make my mind up about something.  Never anything really important, usually when either choice was valid.  I found if I didn’t like the outcome of the toss I would simply do the opposite. Again, either choice being valid, my inclination was the question. I learned that didn’t need to waste my time. I am not as quick witted as I once was, but I am more measured.

Inclination is in itself a type of coin, perhaps a coin we don’t know we carry until something in life causes us to choose an action and we have to turn it over. Granted there are plenty of thoughtless thugs who never question their inclinations. Often if they have some part to play in history they become celebrities at least in their own pub or whatever cultural gathering place that includes mental incapacity due to alcohol or religion or the combination that results from professional sports. Or they become infamous villains depending on way things play out, how attractive their features are and if they survive or end up on t-shirts. Those who question inclination often become ineffectual in the grand scheme and hardly thought of at all when the dust settles except perhaps when they say, “I was alive during that time”.

My question is, within the mass of humanity that might get caught up on the streets in some sort of demonstration either by folly or desire or virtue, are not most feckless wanderers who despite the rightness or wrongness of their inclination would choose NOT to cause harm to another human being, especially if they could toss the coin endlessly until the question of being there or staying home was exhausted?

I once spent a weekend with a lovely couple in the seventies who had been caught up in the arrests without cause that followed the FLQ crisis back in ? She was less ardent but he was sure a war between French and English Canada was coming and after hours of talking concluded that I would be shot by both sides. The assertion being that NOT CHOOSING was a greater sin than being wrong.

But again, there are people who just show up. People like me who don’t know how to effect change but recognize at some point you have to decide to show up in support of this or that. The hard part is not falling prey to the inclination to do harm. The miraculous part is seeing some who can show us how to address the harm that others might do without perpetuating it or fueling it.

Wow. Just writing that last sentence got my heart pumping. The scary thing is being scared and not succumbing to acts of violence. Not condoning aggression even as pay back. It is the fear of losing the peace that I enjoy that reveals the fear and perhaps the dishonesty of my pacifism, but that peace includes everyone I endeavour to love and that includes everyone. So when whatever war comes to my door (because I will stay in) I will try to be brave and say, “either side can kill me, I will not defend myself if it involves harming others.” My inclination will not decide for me. Regardless of how close to what history will bare as the most important choice a person can make in these times, a gut reaction will not be useful. My practice and commitment to love and to do no harm to others will be what determines my actions. I will be wrong perhaps but not untrue. I tend push back, it is my inclination, but I submit by choice.

These are frightening times.

P.S. I have just learned of the events in Charlottesville, in the U.S. yesterday. It is hard not to want to strike out against the monstrous mental paralysis that has lead to these murderous acts. It is not terrorism, it is bare-faced murder.

These people who are in the mental paralysis called fascism want to kill the opposition. They do not recognize any people who have opinions other than theirs as being human, as anything but a target for their hatred.

So how do you respond?

I think that it is good that the statue is coming down and it shows the success of government and civic responsibility. I don’t believe that the fascists have done anything to change that. (I hope). I am sorry for all the people who were injured and their families.

Digesting the jagged

I am sick of war. I am tired of us and them.  Let’s focus on what it is like to be human. Fear feels the same for all of us, suffering from violence feels the same for all of us. We need to stop feeding into what fuels violence and what always incites it. And what that is, is a sense that we are different in important ways, that we are entitled in some way that others should not be (because of this and this and that) and some people are just too different to be allowed to breathe.


All people die when one person dies and how everyone dies is important. We don’t want assault rifles in our clubs or our homes .  We don’t want assault rifles killing anyone anywhere anymore people of the world. We are sick of the war on this and that.  We want peace with this and peace with that and peace with each other.


This is when I am usually informed that I have missed the point. Eat your point. Break it into all its tiny pieces so you can swallow it. Stop sticking it in my face. Yes, I am angry. But I use words.  I am heartbroken but when I feel this way I cry.  I don’t fight.


When we all feel better we can talk calmly about how we are not so different. We can talk about loss and fear and how we want to share a better world.  And those jagged pieces that we both have had to swallow, we can digest and perhaps even come up with legislation to improve things.  How’s that for extreme radicalization?

I Went to a Movie Alone

My New Year’s Eve involved going to bed early. But during the day I did two things I don’t usually do, I got a burger at my favorite place and then went to watch “The Imitation Game”, by myself.

I had considered a few of the people I could ask to go with me but I wanted to go that day and not be swayed into putting it off or just giving up due to the lack of enthusiasm and spontaneity of others. So much to my amusement, there were more “singles” there than I had ever seen at a theatre before. Single seating does tend to make the audience look bigger at first. Every one first sits in the middle row, in the middle, and with at least two seats (one being an empty seat buffer) to every person and then they spread out from there. Gradually, the gaps start to fill in as, you guessed it, singles have to bunch together to allow seating for couples and triples…The other difference I saw in this audience from the usual was how many white haired people there were, so many that anyone without white hair stood out. Perhaps all the young people were getting dressed up for a New Years Eve bash?
The Imitation Game is about code breaking in the WWII but really about Alan Turing. It is one of the most tragic stories about a genius that I know. Given that some tweaking of the chronology was done, and with a few emphasis adjustments,it pretty much illustrates how amazing it is that our species survives given that we are so often offended by the irrelevant and yet thrilled about violence, whether it is the bureaucratically sanctioned kind or just your usual bloody thugism. Is Thugism not a word? Weird, it is so prevalent.

It’s a really good movie. You should see it. There’s even a joke in the middle.

A Poem a Day, Day Four

I just finished reading “The Cellist of Sarajevo”.  It made me think of this poem that I wrote in response to another terrible event, but it could be applied to so many events in history.  We are growing to understand our shared humanity.  The only way to undermine the terror caused by those who would motivate people to do harm to others is to assert our every day humanity. 

If you can find “Una Giornata Particolare” I would highly recommend it.

Everyday People

I saw a great movie, it went like this:

 Sophia Lauren’s fat ass walking up and down stairs whilst carrying laundry to the roof. She is wearing shoes with the backs worn down from slipping them on in a hurry and running after too many children all born out of her sloppy twat and a housedress that smells of the meals she has prepared and toilets she’s cleaned and the floors she scrubbed, a dress that is long enough to hide her knees and ugly enough to defeat calves that could make Michelangelo weep over their perfection.

 Alone in rooms that sigh when her family leaves, she opens the window to let in the air. Breezes, that don’t know what Fascism is, know what loneliness is.

 On this Special Day, this Una Giornata Particolare (One Particular Day) she has sex with her doomed homosexual neighbour while crowds welcome Hitler to Italy.

 It is always the same, every time I watch it.

 Today, the day after another disaster, broken hearted people mop up the mess while others cobble something together that reminds them of love.

Small acts of forbearance and enormous acts of fortitude hold the truth of everyday people.



Why I love Doctor Who and Stuff About Heroes, Real and Imagined

Doctor Who is an alien. He has known countless lives, he is oblivious to conventional human society with all its ways of distancing self from other and he passionately loves us. He continually rushes in to do what is right. He is full of doubt and pain but he nevers tires. He is the embodiment of our disolocated, unstuck in time, brave and compassionate best. He is a good fictional role model.

I watched a documentary on child soldiers last night. Our most lovely hero, Romeo Dallaire who “shook hands with the devil” has gone back to Africa to address the issue of child soldiers. He is a unique individual because he will sit close enough to reach out and hold a hand of a father who has lost his children to a militia, who has lost everything infact. Dallaire finds the thread in his own life that he can share, “I too am a father”. He makes a connection. He recognises the evil of using children as weapons and tells us, even though we don’t want to know. He knows these children. They have been abused and manipulated by thugs who want to rule with terror. Romeo Dallaire, a soldier, believes that a better world is within our grasp now. He really does. He is not advocating bigger guns but the opposite, bringing everything down to the very personal and responding appropriately, like Doctor Who, except he is real, like us.2011-fight-like-soldiers-romeo-dallaire

I have been trying to write a book about the loss of innocence called “The Children’s War” for ten years (yes, I am a bit slow). I ask myself, why is science fiction the most appealing setting for me? Why so often is this the genre for us to work out so many of our own issues?

I think we make up stories about people who are who we would like to be and we feel more comfortable if what they have to deal with is not so close to home. We call them Saints or Heroes or Aliens and yet the essential truth of the best of our created characters is that they don’t require anything special, not a Tardis or a War or a God because it is their choice to do the right thing that defines them.

Remembrance day is not about making up stories about the glories of war but about recognizing the very difficult and necessary actions carried out by those who saw something needed to be done against criminals and thugs who would try to rule. It was for peace that they fought and died. That is what makes them heroes.