welcome to Spain

history here is a conflicted terrain- even more than usually. were they Moors, these people who now are 'Arabs'?

there are areas still known as "the Jewish quarter", five hundred years after they were burnt as heretics or radically encouraged to leave. why? why even mention them anymore?

call them what you will, there's no ignoring the impact of Islam in Andalucia.it seems that the only things they didn't build are the shopping malls and the condominium projects.

god is light - photo by dugg

the Civil War is rare enough to remark upon too. how different it seems to someone who's come from just north of America, where the Civil War is celebrated, mourned and otherwise reflected upon with the kind of nostalgia only found in an empire at the dawning of its' own awareness of its decline.

here the plaques are rare, and the conversations rarely turn that way. more than 70 years later, perhaps the wounds are still too fresh, and there are too many other issues pressing...

it disturbs me, and not only because of the MacPaps and Bethune and others from my country who came here to make a difference and whose bones now mingle with the soil that grows these olives and this jasmine...

dark rider - photo by dugg

in every major town and city, there is a cathedral. often, it was first a mosque although to be fair sometimes it was a Visigoth temple or annointed to some Roman god or other.

but without exception, they are magnificent. old beyond imagining for a new worlder, they inspire in me an urge to look up, look up, look up until my neck cricks with recriminations for my appreciation.

my grandfather was a bricklayer, and i learned early to wonder uponj the piling of stones up into the sky, the craft of doing it well and the sense of work that is much about tomorrows one will never see but which will come regardless.

i cannot help but be amazed by the skills of these long dead men, the excellence of their craft and its evolution into Art. i'm more or less able to check my own spiritual questions at the door - to lay aside my questions about whether or not i'm entitled to know the3 name of the creator of the universe, or why he/she/it might speak one on one with me and respect the fact that right or wrong, untold thousands of people have entered thru these doors and charged these spaces with an energy that only an insensate idiot would deny.

sacred geometry - photo by dugg

respect. even if i would deny it to those who commissioned this work to be done, i give it up for the men who crafted these wonders and the women who made it possible for them to do, and for their sons to do so, and so on, and so, world without end.

part of what is so bewitching about history, hypnotic even is the way we see ourselves in the faces they have carved, the canvases where they commanded paint to reflect light back into all of our retinas in ways we can understand without a guide or a book. we are not so dumb even yet that we cannot recognize ourselves when we look into these mirrors.

and it is here, at this very locus of meaning and connection, that the contradictions rise like wraiths. if i am to be honest about my respect and my own reactions to these skills and beauty, then i have to be just as honest about the vertigo it all induces, and urge to vomit, to shriek, to weep and despair that causes me to leave.

sacred geometry 2 - photo by dugg

who paid for this?

in a culture so fond of counting costs and so unskilled in the counting of benefits, it's a fair question, isn't it?

but here the question never comes up... because it is at the heart of that conflicted terrain.

was it worth the pain of everyone who wasn't greedy? who was not 'well to do' or who did not name that god who may or may not exist? was this magnificence worth millions of lives? was it a good exchange for entire civilizations?

i am arrogant enough to say no, but i don't expect what i think to matter that much. what is beyond negotiation, i think, is that the contributors to this 'magnificence' should be named. they should be included in the descriptions of all this 'beauty'. people died for this, often horribly and for no good reasons.

without them, this beauty would never have come to be. without their names, this beauty has no real meaning. in the absence of remembering what they gave for this to be, this beauty is worse than useless. it is an obscenity, and a blemish on the face of god.

solid silver Mary - photo by dugg


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Illegal Immigration

it's not a new problem...


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the Great Blackberry meltdown!!!

years from now, parents will be telling their grandchildren about this- when for days and days, they could only make phone calls on their cel phones... and they had to use their laptop to get their email, and play Angry Birds and everything...

of course, the kids won't believe them...


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Ye Olde Wealth Pyramid

why are people angry? why are they upset and bothering the upright citizens of Wall Street and all those other important boulevards?


oooops! another bazinga!


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time for a change

here's to all the people in the streets, Wall Street and all those other vital boulevards.



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the Alberta Tar Sands

recent thoughts about those controversial oil sand
developments in Alberta Canada,
served in a demotivational style.


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the Truth about the Singing Shark

when i first saw the Singing Shark,
i just about peed my pants.

"where did this come from?" i wondered.

this is the answer i found here.

It originated in 2007 on the unfunny webcomic "The Hockey Zombie" when the artist Chris VanGompel wanted to do a week long tribute of shark comics for Discovery Channel's Shark Week. He accidentally created one of the internets most beloved and enduring memes. After producing 25 original comics depicting the singing shark he went back into obscurity never to be heard from again.

and this would be my humble homage to this awesome uber-meme...


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the Ozone hole above the Arctic

Big hole in ozone layer, bigger hole in government policy

In 1987, Canada led the world by hosting the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed by  196 nations to ban the use of chemicals known to harm the ozone layer. Now, Canadian scientists aren't even allowed to talk about it.

Censorship- it's a Harper thing...

Read all about it here.


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Being born

Warm and wet, floating in time, his heart beat to the rhythm that he'd known forever when a strange turbulence rocked his world. It grew stronger and he was drawn into a convergence that closed in on him, tighter and tighter, no matter how hard he struggled against it.

Faster than it began, it ended and his world got cold, cold, cold. As the warm fluid in his ears drained, the soundtrack of his life turned up to 11,
a shrill cavernous cacophony that made his head throb.

His eyes opened for the first time on a world in conflict with the vertigo at the centre of his universe. Even the dim lights in the operating
room burned into his retinas, so he closed them
again and tried to cry.

It wasn't until a hand in a latex glove slapped his ass that he even knew he had one, and it hurt. Somewhere inside him a sound rose up to his lips and when they parted, he screamed for his life.


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More money for cops!

Toronto mayor Rob Ford has demanded a 10-per-cent cut from every city department.
Chief Bill Blair insists that public safety depends on a budget increase.

Hamilton has 792 officers for a population of 504,559 = 157 officers / 100,000 people.
Toronto has 223 officers / 100,000 people.

Hamilton's budget of $130,752,220 works
out to $259 per citizen.
Toronto's pays $381 per citizen.

According to Statistics Canada, police spending
in Canada increases by an average 7 per cent a year.

While Canadian police budgets have increased, the crime rate has plummeted to its lowest levels since the mid-1970s, and officers deal with one-third fewer offences than they did in 1991.

Read more in the Globe and Mail.


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Read the signs (again)

more examples of why i love graffiti...
signs of other intelligent life
in the universe, all mixed
into the day to day...


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Climate change?

global warming?
climate change?

when will we stop acting
like an infection
on this planet?


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What If God...

if i was an all-knowing, all-seeing being, i'd be less surprised when humans did dumb things... who needs a god that's always blowing his top all the time?


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the Objects in mirrors

Sometimes space is not as glamorous as it looks from a small town on Earth. After an hour or so of routine valve maintenance, his suit was soaked in with his perspiration and exhalations and felt like a size too small. All he wanted from the universe now was a hot shower and few hours of sleep.

He waved to Jared and signaled his return to the portal, then he saw it again. He'd noticed the other ship maybe ten minutes ago, flashing chrome against the blackness of the stars. In galactic terms, it was on a collision course but by his human reckoning, it was more than fifty miles away - enough to make you curious, but nothing
to worry about...

He was nearly at the hatch when he saw it accelerating at an incredible rate. He blinked his eyes and suddenly realized it wasn't another ship... it was an M102 Remote area denial device, headed straight for his future.


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Learning to Fly

"It's Science, Bertie" said Andrew, casting his
young tenor a little crossly into the gusting dim.

"I'm frightened" said his young companion, shivering from more than the blistering wind
off the Channel, and for a moment, that sound was the world.

Andrew stared back across the meadow and said "The kite flies, Bertie, yes?" and after a moment's hesitation, Andrew replied "Yes".

"So if the kite flies, and you're holding on to that lite very tightly, then you will fly too, yes?".  After
a longer hesitation and with much less certainty, Bertie's little voice answered "I suppose so... ".

"Do you want to fly, Bertie? Do you want to soar above us all and see what none of us have ever seen? Is that what you want Bertie?" said Andrew. There followed an even longer hesitation until Bertie responded without any certainty
whatsoever "Yes....?".

"Then fly, Bertie, fly! Fly now, fly today, fly into history and show us the way!" said Andrew and tugged on the string as hard as he dared. Bertie stumbled into a jog that became a run. The golden rays of the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated his face. Flushing pink, he ran as
fast as he could and then even faster.

Holding on to the kite for dear life, he lept
into the sky and the first true moment of exhilaration in his life. As the ground dropped
and disappeared beneath his feet, he was flying, high above the white cliffs, the green grass and the wet blue of the Channel. Straining his eyes, squinting the misty distance, he saw France!


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Canadian Dream

Canada used to be a place where big dreams could come to life. Sir John A. MacDonald, Sir Wilfred Laurier, John Diefenbaker, Lest Pearson...

now it's a place where dreams die. Thanks, Harper.


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