HURTS AND ALERTS
the past couple of years as Senior Editor of Arts &
Opinion, Mark Goldfarb, vetter extraordinaire,
has had to decide either for or against articles that are submitted
for publication. Here is a collection of his often wry, witty,
ironic, insightful comments, (culled from unshredded, intra-virtual
office correspondance) which gathered as a whole, constitute,
in the best sense, a criticism of life. They come in no particular
and lungs are our first line of defence against external pathogenic
factors - and both are stressed to the max when we run hard.
suppose in a hundred years from now when everyone breathes bottled
air the way everyone today drinks bottled water, when the ozone
layer rips beyond human surgical repair, when this planet becomes
one big ball of death, people will wonder frustratedly why I,
knowing full well the consequences of my actions, continued
to drive my gas guzzling, environment polluting car, continued
to support the corporations that control Life.
to my world. I crawled out of bed today at 4:30am. Must be our
residual ornithic genetics. As I fell asleep last night I was
thinking your exact thoughts - that editors make writers look
good - and that if those writers had a lick of sense they'd
know it, appreciate it and learn from it. It's not for naught
that authors, in their prefaces or acknowledgements, gush fluvial
gratitude to the folks who meticulously and painstakingly read
and re-read their manuscripts.
has to wonder what droplet of hope we humans have of achieving
peace and eliminating our barbaric streak when it is so difficult
for us to drive five kilometers without giving someone the finger.
Old World culture such as the tea house discovered by Avi in
Istanbul may be hard, if not impossible to find in Vancouver.
For one thing, smoking is not permitted in BC restaurants. A
burger and coke brewed under Mickey D's golden arches, served
in a Styrofoam plate on a formica tabletop, might be this city's
nearest - and furthest - equivalent to the nargile
and mint tea of a traditional Turkish serai.
as Avi postulates, it is our reconnection with history that
makes the ancient tea house comfy and cozy, I would add that
it is as much its pace and space, the sense of stability and
eternity it imparts, and the organic melding of ecology and
gastronomy to which we owe the allure.
is all that counts. Thinking isn't doing and counts for naught.
True too that what we think is natural to us is often another
form of conditioning imposed without our consent or conscious
knowledge that we mistake for our true nature and which traps
us throughout our lives. Indeed my yin, solitudinous and loner
nature has another side to it, a yang, gregarious side that
craves the company of the pack. Life is an endless struggle
to break those bonds. To become fluid and powerful like water,
to find our own level and place, to course over or around all
obstacles - until our very essence flows freely like the river
there's a writer who cares about how he says something at least
as much as what he has to say, who chooses his words wisely
in full knowledge of the fact that to survive the wilds of the
blank page a mighty word is all one has.
completed a shirtless run under a sun that did a 30 minute drum
solo on my traps, deep-frying them to samosa status. Summer
has shrivelled my track, reduced its jade plumpness to a wrinkled,
rumpled raisin. The once proud grass that grew to leonine lengths
during the early part of the season now sports a mousy mottled
coif, like freshly cut straw roasting and bleaching while it
waits for the bale, looking for all the world like a tired and
glammed-down David Bowie. Each time I rounded the bend where
my T shirt hung stuffed through the mesh of the home teams's
dug-out fence I'd glance at the tattered skein, half expecting
to see a sagebrush lizard scaling curious and exploratative
along it. Obviously going where no lizard had gone before.
agree completely with your Homeric on the effects and art of
writing. When words transcend their literal meaning and move
beyond the category of assembly instructions for an Ikea bookcase,
they hit our funny bone, tap into our intuition, and reveal
more than any set of poorly translated Japanese instructions
ever could. Excellent writing conveys the invisible, unuttered
and untranslatable communication that often only takes place
with eye contact. Real eye contact. The kind you allude to in
Me and Michelle when you speak of eye contact between lovers.
No surprise you end your paragraph with "enuff of this".
This deep method of exchange via eye contact or writing is as
personal and self-confessional as human beings can possibly
be. An invitation - or for that matter a B&E - into someone’s
innermost self should be taken very seriously.
and a half billion people on the planet speaking thousands of
languages and thousands more dialects of those languages and
life still boils down to the irreducible boy meets girl, boy
gets girl, boy loses girl, boy looks for another girl. Make
the appropriate substitutions for queer folk.
and salt trucks barrel down boulevards where alpacas and llamas
once meandered. Every step on crunchy snow is paradoxically
remindful of softer, redder desert sands. Your bones do their
best to keep from cracking in temps 60 degrees colder than what
they've become accustomed to, your sinews tighten and shrink
unmercifully like thick wet ropes and all your senses struggle
to fathom a sun that doles out crusts of warmth in so random
and arbitrary a fashion.
At 12 times the price and one tenth the flavour you'll wonder
if it's worth it. It won't tingle on your tastebuds the way
alive food does because it isn't alive. It's embalmed. Packed
with the goodness of pesticides, vaccinated with the friendliness
of fungicides and, if the CFIA ever gets it's way, irradiated
and fumigated. An avocado that would do Sebastien Dufault (local
the problem disappeared only to reappear later. This time pharmaceuticals
wouldn't work. Antibiotics and hydrocortisone creams were powreless
weapons against the beasty bacterium which were now wearing
newly designed bullet-proof vests or had developed their own
resistance to the drugs I was taking. Hey, humans aren't the
only species with an immune system and a will to live. All life
strives to survive. I abandoned the western mode of germ warfare
and made dietary changes, lifestyle changes and gave myself
moxibustion. The rash and itch vanished and haven't since returned.
Like the herpes zoster virus, they're probably dormant, hiding
in my five o'clock shadow, waiting for the propitious, andropausal
moment to gobble up my face and destroy my harmony. Such is
The day millions of faithful, with their hopes of forgiveness
and prayers for salvation, flock to church. Millions more, with
their stacks of French toast and rashers of bacon, wisely flop
in front of their TV's, whence the ministrations of God's apostles
excrete. Take a drive down Queen Mary Road and you might spot
a cult of pilgrims crawling up the 283 cement steps of Saint
Joseph's Oratory, en route to a chat with Brother André's
statue located at the southern rear of the Basilica. Blind or
deaf, drug lord or junkie - everyone's waiting for a miracle.
I know I am. I'm not baptized but I am circumcised, my dick
notarized, the deal done in blood.
general and with few exceptions, mainstream and academic treatments
of history including Bush-Cheney/Nixon-Kissinger versions, are
fictitious and devoid of any humanity -- men in suits who reduce
all phenomena to dollar signs, economical equations, collateral
this and expedient that; arrogant Abrahams who would sacrifice
their only sons for a few nuggets of gold. Our culture measures
health and wealth as money and analyses all human endeavour
from a business perspective - with one eye always on the bottom
line. History books may as well be written by accountants.
nutrient is an island unto itself. Everything is a co-factor
or inhibitor of something else.
the FGM acronym. It's been on my mind as well these last few
weeks. It strikes me as a slick, convenient and callous moniker
- a witty ditty - that erodes the seriousness of the issue.
Are all these acronyms a sign of our fast-as-light times, or
merely the latest trend in marketing, a fashion statement so
to speak? Our attention span has plummeted inversely with the
rise of our disposable time (and disposable income). We've become
such chronophones that all manner of communication has been
reduced to webchat abbreviations. LOL. :) How ironic in view
of the fact that the average North American life expectancy
has almost doubled from 47yrs of age in 1900 to 80ish if you
were born in 2006.
am still picturing Leonard (Cohen) in the movie's final scene,
planted like cement, like a meditating zen monk, like a stalk
of bamboo wavering ever so slightly in the breeze, singing Tower
of Song, his cataracted eyes guileless as an Arctic snowstorm,
his flawless, booming voice stronger than I have ever heard
can taste your walks against sea-salt cliffs and precipiced
papal fortresses, your swims off bleached beach buttes. The
only things ancient in this town are its ecosystems of extraordinary
beauty and environmental importance, most of which are being
destroyed to build more important things like Wal-Marts, subway
lines, four-lane highways and more malls. How many Starbucks
and Gaps do we actually need?
we living longer? Stronger? Perhaps longer and stronger than
we have in the last couple of thousand years. I don't know if
we're living better than we did 5,000 years ago. There's no
written history. There are however oral histories that claim
some of us once lived much longer and vital lives. For all we
know we've travelled this road before, blown ourselves up before,
and started all over again. Certainly many lives are snuffed
out or immeasurably truncated through auto accidents (the other
side of the technological coin). A fact which, like war, has
simultaneously resulted in medical innovations to keep up with
the mangled mass of human tissue that dot our highways and war
zones. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. DG will
find a job five seconds after she graduates. Similarly, the
medical and pharmaceutical industries have been kept on their
toes and quite rich by fallout from the agro-chemical industry,
the food industry, and their own egregious malpractices. McDonald’s
supersizes your blood pressure and gut with one hand, provides
a gymnasium on their premises with the other, and Pfizer does
the rest. We let them do it. In Flanders fields the poppies
grow. Row after row after row after row.
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