Equality Before The Law



So all people can now get married and enjoy  the responsibilities and benefits that our society accords to people who settle into a domestic union. Like interracial couples, LGBTQ folk should now have access to what the rest of us have enjoyed in terms of societal recognition. community acceptance and tangible benefits over the span of recent history.


So here is Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, celebrating Pride and the Supreme Court Ruling that says that people ought not suffer discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Problem is that a raft of Democrats then climbed on board the TPP Fast Track wagon, expediting the adoption of yet another treaty that has less to do with real trade than it does with ensuring corporate rights to make profits before all other considerations, including human health, the environment, and the democratically expressed will of the people of the U.S. Lest we feel smug, we need to remember that Canada wasn’t originally scheduled to be included in the TPP, but Stephen Harper whined and complained loudly and long enough that the rest of the guys gave up and allowed him into the club. Negotiations have been held in the most strict of secrecy and only small parts of the treaty have leaked out, but we can say with a degree of certainty that the section on investor-state relations, the Chapter 11 of this monster, is the key and basically enables malcontents in the corporate world to sue the rest of us for profits they think they might have accrued had laws not been passed to insert sticks into their spokes. I believe it also allows the suits to override whatever restraints any jurisdiction within the signatory countries might put on unbridled greed.Note that these cases are heard by (again) secret trade tribunals set up by the corporations themselves.


In effect, your vote doesn’t really mean anything any longer, unless you and any democratic pals you have can fly under the corporate radar. I don’t quite know how that could happen with the increased surveillance that seems to happen all over both the corporate and government sectors, sectors which seem to be closer to a complete merger with each passing bit of legislation.

So to all the LGBTQ folk, welcome to equality, but you’ve picked a bad time to win this equality, because it means that you will basically earn the same exploitation as the rest of us.

(In all fairness to Ms. Pelosi, I believe she voted against Fast Track in the House, but her friend Diane Feinstein voted for it in the Senate, so it seems that there is unlikely to be any public debate on this corrosive corporate dreck.)

The “Celluloid” Transformation



We went to an actual movie theatre last night to see Inside Out, my first go-around at a 3-D movie and a bit of an adventure, given my rather sour attitude toward Disney, with or without Pixar. The film didn’t disappoint: it was full of emotional moments pulling all the familiar levers to generate empathy/sympathy and stunning animation to go with the sassy, cliché-laden language of contemporary pre-teen parlance. Still, I was there because my grand daughter, a somewhat atypical eleven-year-old, had told me that I should see this film, and she was present, along with Mummy, Daddy, Baby Brother, Friend, Nana, Grandpa and Grandma. I could see where she would like the film and where it might raise some interesting questions were they laid out in some sort of reflective way.

The feature was delayed because some folks had arrived too late to get through the gauntlet of ticket wicket and concession. I hate it when people aren’t punctual, and even more when others cater to the needs of the tardy. Hence, I was not in a particularly receptive frame of mind when I was shown a trailer for the upcoming screen adaptation of St.-Ex’s Little Prince.

It’s a lovely little tome that Grand Daughter recognized right away as being a part of Grandpa’s cultural firmament, a book that reads well as a child’s bedtime story or as an adult reflection on a plethora of knotty problems confronting those serious and sensitive enough to question their way of life, their relations with other people, animals and things, and the way perception can affect reality. The language is simple without being simplistic, and the illustrations, done by St.-Ex himself, are charming accompaniments to the text.

The trailer tells me right away that I won’t be going to see this film. It layers another story over the original princely narrative, nesting the Prince in a contemporary context of a controlling family, reiterating one of the central themes of the book in a most unsubtle and decontextualizing way, keying into that same sassy cliché of pre-teen angst that flavours so much of the Disnified reality superimposed on so much of the life lived by young folks in the current context. I don’t want to have to fight through the Disney layer (is it a Disney film? It hardly matters.) to get to the charm, and likely, for the price of admission, I can buy a copy of the book and read it to my grandchildren, or to myself, for that matter.

I was silly enough to read a couple of books by a man named Pierre Boule, Planet of the Apes, and Bridge On The River Kwai. If ever screen adaptations messed up the message of original novels, Boule got messed over royally. I fear that St.-Exupéry is about to get a somewhat milder dose of the same treatment. It’s sad that we can’t come up with original narratives that better reflect what film makers want to say without twisting someone else’s work into something it was never intended to be. Dr.Seuss is another recent victim of this kind of Hollywood trivialization, and it seems that Charles M. Schulz’s estate is offering up some of the same for next fall.

Worth knowing that St.-Ex’s other works are for adults and are well worth reading for their reflections on adventures, confronting danger, the agony of defeat. His own story is worth a look.


I think I’ll go draw a boa, or an elephant in a boa, or some sheep.





Pater Noster

qui es in caelis.(RIP, February 8, 1998)


And there is almost the whole rotten hockey-sock full of us, camping at Mt. Lassen in 1958. Maggie is off somewhere tending to the latest, baby Gabrielle. I got on well with my Dad, though I occasionally got into a tempestuous funk when he called bullshit on some of my out of bounds forays. Retrospect, even the shortest and most immediate, drove me to apologize and acknowledge that he was likely right about everything he said, and ultimately, it was that schooling that helped me to be a reasonably constructive being (of course, I also had the benefit of a mother who tempered whatever hard-nosedness I perceived on Dad’s part, so equal participation in whatever good I might have done).

This all came to mind when the house filled up with the perfume of black currants last evening, part of the cycle of things ripening in the yard and coming indoors to be eaten or to be processed for later reference. Black currants make wonderful syrup (Crème de Cassis) or jam/jelly. Dijon is famous for its currants, as is another spot somewhat to the North and West, Bar-le-Duc, which was the source for a blackcurrant jelly that Dad particularly liked.



So, after enjoying the perfume of the blossoms, I watched as Erica pulled the fruit off the bushes while I did some grunt work close by.







Then they went into the steam juicer and into the Maslan Pan.

















Eventually, they look like this. There was even a partial jar so that we could toast some of Erica’s whole-wheat bread and slather it with our own home made jelly.


I have no children of my own, but I worked at being a decent mentor for my stepson and have been pretty present in the lives of his kids. The young man in question asked me long ago why I never seemed to get upset and I explained to him that first of all, I had two grandfathers who didn’t really want to deal with children and whose gruff manner was enough to ensure that there would be no attempts at intimacy, and that, as well, he never seemed to do anything worthy of anger (true statement).

When he was over on Thursday, we snacked and cobbled together a home-made periscope, something that arose in a book his mother had given him.



The book also had material on spiders, on bruises and cuts, on sea urchins and a wealth of other topics. most of which the little man wanted to share. His mother’s parents live in town as well, so he and his sister are surrounded by care, love and coaching at many levels.


As much as to say that life in our little circle is pretty darn wonderful. The sad part is how quickly the picture degrades as we move away from that centre of friends and family, a wider world that seems to have forgotten the value of integrity, truthfulness, mutual aid and caring.

It is somewhat comforting to think that there are myriad other little islets of family and friends, of integrity, truthfulness and caring, though the network is spotty and we aren’t all connected, and that there might be a possibility that cooperation, collaboration and mutual aid might emerge as a dominant way of directing our actions. The alternative is too ugly to contemplate.



Reactive on Reading

The Globe and Mail has a post about the seven books that Bill Gates wants me to read this summer and he’s qualified to direct my education because he’s…rich? Because he made a ton of money selling half-baked and shoddy software? Because he aided and abetted in the dumbing down and distraction of his fellow citizens? Because he cloaks his current sleaze behind a curtain of show-philanthropy?

Better we all develop healthy bullshit filters and go read the blogs for an hour or so a day, then look for works that will theorize on how to get us out of the hole rather than digging it deeper, then find good works of literature, some of it foreign (broadens the perspective) so you can die educated (I guess it might help to influence a few other folks, who knows?).

Ignore Gates and read the Globe and Mail only as a penance.