Thursday, July 15, 2004


(1) How to turn the past week into a monologue with a genuine thread and a distinct voice, and then finish it conclusively? This question is one I sometimes wrestle with, sometimes ignore. This week's answer: sit down at the computer and play Ry Cooder's shiny Brazilian-flavored album Mambo Sinuendo, then open the dictionary to page 638 (kappa-keep, keep-kerato-).. peruse it a while as though you are gleaning some kind of knowledge from it, then shut it and put it aside. Consider what has been happening:

--work (clay dust, kiln fires and mis-fires, wires burning, pots selling and being talked up, handled and fondled by tourists in mini-vans with families and in SUVs with gleaming sides, fresh-cut flowers and Stevie Wonder on the stereo)

--bicycle riding and swimming, sitting on the riverbank allowing all facets of one's body to soak up the sun, dancing the 'day-off tango' with Claire when she walks in the door, walking through fields with grass as high as my breastbone and which makes gentle ripping sounds as you walk through it

--sleep, not enough of, but nearly quite

--eating (lentils and rice, cheese, sandwiches with vegetables and dijon mustard and mayo all mixing together in a zingy mush, soups of various kinds, oats, eggs, nutella, just to state some examples of things I'm masticating at the moment)

--political and otherwise intellect-stimulating thoughts, in the form of reading Harper's Magazine, watching Fahrenheit 9/11, and discussing the world events with people of all stripes, colours, backgrounds and hometowns

Once all these things have been satisfactorily pondered, the task is then to write a narrative explaining the experience of doing, saying, being, feeling, all these things at once, in such a place as North River, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada--in short, of being me. Sometimes it's just easier to make a list.

(2) Why can't Canada's Tax Agency learn from Australia's? I did in half an hour online for Australia what it took me about a month and on paper to do for Canada. But, who's whingeing? Not I. I did find out, however, that on the list of possible occupations to claim in Australia, we have such gems as stripper, surfer, strapper (what on earth is that? one who straps, I presume, but straps what?), and panel beater. Also on the list we have jackaroo (and his counterpart jillaroo, I really should have looked into that when I was there), a powder monkey, and an otorhinolaryngologist. (I pity the fool who must tell people at dinner parties his occupation is the latter, I would maybe print up a little card with a definition and just hold it up and point, then people wouldn't have to either frown and feel stupid or nod and smile as if they know all about it). Just so everyone's covered, there is rabbi, stevedore, stenographer, prostitute, and investigator (private). All told there must be a thousand on there. Another way for me to waste time, browsing through that list. They even had a category for me to pick, kiln hand/laborer. Luckily the system saved so much time for me otherwise that it was not a waste of time to write down all those occupations I just shared with you.

(3) Why does no store in Baddeck sell Vogue? Don't they know my favorite thing in the world is to read Vogue on a hot July afternoon, sipping a gin and tonic with lime? I suppose I will have to replace that this month with nutella and Harper's. Harper's is better for your brain anyway. But does it tell you what will be hip this fall? I think not. Get on it, Baddeck!

PS And may I suggest...the wise and timely words of Richard Heinberg, which can be found at his site Museletter, especially this new article.
This is the fellow who maintains Western society/empire is like a big party (only for alcohol, think oil) and the dawn is breaking, the lights are coming on, and who's going to clean up all the spilled food and drink?

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