Curiosity is terminal

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Money Can't Buy Me Love

I heard Ella singing that the other morning. It got the day off to a great start and I have been singing it ever since. At the top of my lungs if I happen to be alone. Singing makes me feel better. Funny, that.

Stephen Collis writes today in Rabble about an article in Nature about climate change, which makes him think of all the environmental changes in Bill C-38, and then also about a book I shall have to read, "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber. Collis says this near the end of his article:
What we need is movement building: a movement grounded in the commons (in care for the commons, which is simultaneously a care for the future we will share); a movement against the damage legislation like Bill C-38 participates in (damage to the natural environment and the commons, damage to First Nations' territories and traditional ways of life, damage to citizens' rights and freedoms, damage to workers' opportunities and well-being); and a movement that-when the next election does come around -- will allow us to genuinely use the electoral system to reverse some of the damage currently being done, and in turn reform that electoral system so the sorts of abuses we are now suffering are not possible in the future.
For now, we need the streets, and we need pots and pans. But even this must be little more than a prelude and means to deeper organization. We cannot simply hope to increase the numbers of willing casseroles participants week by week, until we somehow overwhelm the government. We, too, will run up against the metric of our "base," or at least fall into the calculus Graeber warns against: "Any system that reduces the world to numbers can only be held in place by weapons." That's the state's game. It can't be ours.

I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was with  Occupy.  I thought one of its strengths was its taking care of others. As hopeful as I was about it though, I was not sure it had the momentum to start the revolution. The reason I say this is that I think a majority of people are still comfortable enough not to want to lift their heads up and risk being a target. I don't mean to say that they are happy with things. I don't think  folks are happy. Indeed, I think they are not, but that they may be scared. This movement that Collis talks about will only come when people no longer feel they have anything to lose. And those of us advocating a movement have to think about how those we ask to rise up are going to feed and shelter their children, their elderly and themselves.

Which brings me to the weird benefit that Enbridge and its stupid pipeline and this government with its nasty omnibus bills are actually conferring on us. They are reminding us what community is about. They are threatening us, but in our conversations about this we are aware that others are threatened, and frightened. Here in Atmon (Almost The Middle Of Nowhere), which is quite close to the towns and regions that will be directly impacted by the pipeline, we have quite a cohesive little community centred around its opposition. And this is true of other hubs of opposition  too. And because it has been going on for some time now, these communities have really grown to know and care about one another. 

This is coming up again and again for me. Last weekend Lorne linked to an article by Murray Dobbin in Counterpunch on this same theme.

My child goes to university in Halifax. I went to visit her in her first semester there and we went to the Farmer's Market together. In the middle of a fairly large area was a community trading post. It was a  six foot 4 x 4 with a base of some kind to keep it from falling over, festooned with index cards of skills people wanted to trade for needs they wanted met: This is what I can do; this is what I would like. I will cook you a meal in exchange for french conversation practice, I will trade my plumbing skills for lessons on the piano,  I will trade carpentry skills for patching my jeans. It was the loveliest thing. I am still nearly verklempt thinking about it.

I think I'll go and sing...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Could These Things Be Connected?

Doug Saunders had a good article on the war of 1812 in the weekend Globe. Yes, I read the weekend Globe. I don't want to discuss it. Everyone has an embarrassing habit. This is mine.

Anyway,  it was about the war of 1812. (Everything seems to be about the war of 1812 these days. Remember those heady days when you turned on CBC radio and EVERYONE! was talking about sex? I thought that was tiresome. Who knew I would feel nostalgic for the merely tiresome?)

Anyway! (again) this article had this neat little gem in the middle of it:

"The events of the war,” historian Colin Read wrote, “demonstrated that a significant portion of the province’s approximately one hundred thousand inhabitants were either indifferent or hostile to the British cause … how to purge the province of this lamentable pro-American element was clearly a major question, then.”
The solution, our leaders decided, was to import people who were loyal – not inventive or talented or ambitious, but loyal."   (italics mine)

Which made me think of the shiny new legislation that allows employers to bring in foreign workers and pay them 15% less than the prevailing wage. And the about-to-be-new shiny legislation that repeals the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which used to specify that workers on Federal contracts had to be paid the local prevailing wage and be compensated for overtime.

Yes indeed. One more way to not be proud to be Canadian.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Not Much Between Despair and Ecstasy

I've been transferring my vinyl into MP3 files. That's a line from an old song that I had not thought about for a long time. It's a fun morning wake-up song.   Can you identify it?

Despair is more the order of the day just now. I should like to have to stop meeting a certain group of people in this particular way:

Both rallies were pretty great. It's refreshing to be around a bunch of people who think as I do about the state of our country. One of the participants said she was having a bad day and she felt really discouraged about things but when she stepped out her door (just a block from the protest site) and saw 80 people with signs and banging on casseroles it lifted her spirits immeasurably.

Alas the buoying that my spirits got from organizing this event was kind of short-lived. I am offended that my elected representatives are reading and watching movies and just following the command to vote no to every single amendment. I am outraged that any and all opposition to this bill is characterized as merely delay. This is what the man who works out of the office shown in the second photo said to our local paper yesterday:

"The opposition parties are trying and will continue to organize public rallies using people that support their side and people that would join them in a 'No' vote in every part of the budget." he said, adding the governing party could do the same. "But those folks are all busy working and earning a living and raising their families and trying to make their lives as good as they can."

Almost all of the above folks came to these protests on their weekends and after a hard day's work. Some of them spent the day caring for their children or elders. Every single one of them is trying to make their lives as good as they can, and the lives of others, besides. It nearly broke my heart to read that and to think of all these committed caring people dismissed so easily. I phoned the man. Told his poor assistant what I thought of his lousy quote. Informed him that I organized these rallies in my time off from the job in which I earn a good living and paid quite a few taxes, including his salary, thank you very much.

Yes, despair pretty much all I had the last 17 hours. And then a link in my blogroll sent me to Framed In Canada where I saw this video (also available in french):

And, lo, if not ecstasy, I have a tiny slip of hope again.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sampson 2010- 2012 Rest in Peace Kitty

Sammy reached out at me in the pet store. He was reaching and calling and I couldn't hear him through the glass, but he had my heart that moment. I persuaded Don to take him as a housewarming present. Because home is where the cat is, don't you know. Don figured I really bought him for me, which may be true, but Sammy was his own cat. Right from the start he wanted love and attention when he wanted it, and not for one moment longer. He especially did not want his belly touched, which was really hard:

because he had such a soft, spotty belly. Sammy was and 8th floor apartment cat, but he visited my house often and grew to love riding in the truck and the car.

 He was taken from his mother too soon and when he settled into bed next to us for the night, he would purr and his little paws would pound the air and he would suckle at his own nipples. He grew out of the suckling, but he never figured out the kneading. He would come to have his head scratched and purr like crazy and his front feet would knead away in the air, sometimes even reaching over his head. He has this great way of coming silently into a room, sneaking up on you and then turning on a roaring purr right under your chair. It was the loveliest surprise. 

Sammy liked boxes

fishing and gardening

He liked to help Don shave

and help me do my homework

Sammy loved to play in the grass and climb the plum tree in the front yard. He liked to wake us a couple of times a night, stomping on us and purring. He had a stuffed goose he took to beating up when it was bigger than he was and watching him carry it around was the funniest thing. He had a great fondness for mohair yarn, and he would fish in my yarn baskets looking for a ball to carry around. I loved finding a random ball of mohair where it ought not to be. He had a flair for making an entrance. Somehow it always seemed like he was shouting, "I'm here! Here I am!" I think we will be watching the doors for his entrance for some time.  Sammy left his footprints on our hearts. We will miss him so much.