March 11, 2011

My eldest daughter is up for a Genie Award this evening in sound editing. I’m not big on awards but I am so proud of my daughter. She has worked very hard and retains a keen interest in the world around her. Bravo Katie.

Pain threshold

March 9, 2011

I hate feeling uncomfortable. I have some kind of pain in my leg. (My wife thinks I’m a wimp.)  I think it is arthritis. Could hardly walk upstairs. I had a sudden revelation of old age. I used to kid around about being an old man. And now I am one. The aging process leaves one bewildered. Thinking about the meaning of life has a lot to do with one’s pain threshold. I’m not sure if you come out on the pessimistic/optimistic viewpoint depending upon one’s pain in life. It would be common sensible to think that if one has had it rough, one would become despondent about life. Though you never know. (There is no time in this discussion for the Hallmark views on life.)  Why are we here? Why am I here? Maybe they’re the wrong questions. And yet I’ve been asking them most of my life.

stopping by woods

March 8, 2011

The snow melted. The grass looked weary underneath. Birds chirped in the trees. The sun was light as margarine. And then winter came back. Smack! Like flat beer on a merry-go-round. I think Robert Frost might have been mad.

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Bicycle Thieves

March 7, 2011

A new free download of a coming of age novel. It is called Bicycle Thieves.

It was the nineteen fifties. The suburbs. Septic tanks. Cape Cod houses. Row on row. New schools. Bullies. Mad boys. Black and white television. Aerials. Dogs running free. Pond hockey. Cigarettes. Teenage crushes. Bicycle Thieves. And death.


Since watching Ken Clark fabulous TV series ‘Civilization’ I have been interested in what civilization means. Clark has his prejudices. But overall the series asks some terrific questions. And offers some wonderful insights. The idea of civilization might appear to be an intellectual parlor game to some. Unless you were living in an oppressive society. A civilized society seems to need 1. stability 2. openess 3. some degree of comfort/leisure time. Of course there are oppressive societies that are stable. And there are societies that are wealthy (usually involved with some form of slavery). Clark argues that a society can be measured by its deeds, words, and art. Is western civilization a civilization? At times, I think. Is America a civilization? I’m not sure. There is a lot of fear in American society which undermines the traditional ‘American confidence’. (Do you hear it? I’m already starting to sound like Clark. He’s infectious.)

Eternal damnation

March 5, 2011

How much can the truth hurt? This question arose in my head when assessing my own life. I was very ambitious. And those ambitions were never met. I have a wonderful family and friends. I have met many interesting people. I have fallen in love with some wonderful women. And yet, my conclusion regarding my life is that I failed. Failed to become what I had aspired toward. When I state this (and I don’t do so often) people are taken back. But to my mind, it is the truth. And admitting the truth does not alter my life… I want to take it up a notch. If humanity were of no importance. (Imagining that there is no God.) If we were just a life form on a small planet in the middle of nowhere. If we were the only life form in the universe. We would be beyond insignificant. Our presence in the universe would amount to zero. Would that matter? And if it was the truth and we admitted it, would it make any difference? Facing the truth is not daunting. There is a group of people who faced this issue. Eons ago. It was the ancient Greeks. Who turned away from the gods and thrust themselves naked into existence. Look at what they produced. There is another example. A fictional character in a novel. Huck Finn. He turned away from his society and looked at the world with open eyes. He would help his friend, Jim, even if it meant (and he believed it would) going to eternal damnation. Personally, I don’t want to leave this life with my fingers crossed.


A cloud in trousers

March 5, 2011

There was a young man. A poet. At university with me. He looked like a  poet.  He was Hungarian, I think. And he was always prepared to discuss his poetry with me. ‘I could never get it’. So he would explain. Even his explanations seemed vague. It was as if he lived in a universe with his own private symbols, relationships, ideas. And they were all inaccessible to most people. Although he did have his followers. I find a lot of contemporary poetry  is like that. Inaccessible. Concerning itself with minute almost biological reactions to experience. Of course we all have our own tastes. In poetry, I love T. S. Eliot. But honestly, am bored by Ezra Pound. In ideas, I get Hegel. But am bewildered by Heidegger. In music, I love Tom Waits but am bored by the Rollingstones. So I get ‘tastes’. What I am talking about is something akin to ‘B.S.’ Except that these poets are very sincere. There was a revolutionary Russian poet (whose name eludes me) who described some public figure as ‘a cloud in trousers’. Now, that’s poetry.

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