Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Add a vodka-and-tonic and a good book...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

As everyone knows by now, evidently a number of Marines in Iraq took umbrage at having one of their members killed by a roadside bomb - the ever-popular IED - and took out their ire by summarily gunning down a few civilians. Now, what do you think the odds are that the U.S. will turn over the accused Marines and the evidence to an Iraqi court for trial? After all, surely the sign of a free and democratic society - the thing Dubya keeps saying his whole war is aimed at providing Iraq with - is a sound justice system. Would the chances of the accused in this case be any worse than those of the people currently held at Guantanamo, or in various unknown prisons in the Middle East, at the behest of Dubya and his version of the U.S. government?

Meanwhile, in Europe, last bastion (more or less) of civilisation, another quiet "No, no, no" to George & Co.

I still can't figure out why it's so hard for America to collectively say the word "Impeach". They had no problem when a blow-job was involved, but, now that they're all being royally (and that does seem to be George's dreamed-of adjective) screwed, all is quiet. This moron and his handlers are destroying a potentially great country, and its citizens are just letting him do it. I dunno. Anybody tested the water lately? Quaaludes? It's all mysterious and just too depressing.

I've got to stop reading the news.

Yep. It's a lamp. Standing tall, ready to shed light where none would otherwise be. Stirring, isn't it?

Monday, May 29, 2006

And then it was pasta sauce. Puttanesca, to be specific. Some anchovy paste, lots of garlic, capers, kalamata olives....Mm-mmm, good! Naturally there was also freshly-grated Parmesan, and, of course, red wine. A guy's gotta eat right, after all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Come on - it's nice to start the day with some charming flowers, isn't it? (He said to his friends on the East coast, who'll be up 3 hours earlier than he will)

Another week begins - it's show time!

I finally saw "Match Point", Woody Allen's latest, last night. Definitely worth seeing, though I think I like "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (which it very closely resembles) better. I'm not sure I can really justify the opinion, but "Crimes and Misdemeanors" seems to me to have more weight to it. On the other hand, the influence of luck in a person's life gets put to nice use in "Match Point".

I also watched Sally Potter's "Yes". Also worth watching. Very different. Very good acting from everyone in the film. Very hard to describe properly.

Lastly, everyone ought to run out and buy the June issue of "Harper's Magazine". Art Spiegelman has written a nice article on the whole Danish "Muhammed cartoons" affair. And the magazine's literary editor, Ben Metcalf, has written a killingly funny essay in the magazine's "Notebook" section. I'm sure the folks at the NSA all think so, too.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just another sunny day at the beach. Granted, it was a couple of months ago, but...

Meanwhile, Smirkin' Steve continues to stand up in front of the press and boldly say, "Don't ask me that question, it's too haaaaaard!"

Which sort of makes me reflect on the colours of our flag. - the colour of embarrassment - and white - the colour of a coward. Hmmmmmm......

Keep up the good work, Smirk.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Whoever invented "The Weekend" was a genius! Now it's time for some teriyaki and sake.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Load what?, would be my question. No loading bay. No obvious product. Which reminds me...

The Smirk hasn't got any ideas worth loading either. Here in Vancouver, steps have been taken to reduce the harm done by drug addiction through the establishment of safe injection sites. Deaths due to overdoses have been cut, as has the rate of HIV transmission due to needle sharing. The Smirk's response? "Duh. I dunno." Maybe he'll have a better notion after he's talked to his idol, Dumbya, next week. Care to make any bets which way he'll go?

What in god's name did we do to deserve this moron? On the other hand, evidently he is going to take darn firm steps against those nasty street racers. Punishment he understands. Compassion (despite being, by his own claims, a committed Christian (you know - those folks who claim to be big into forgiveness and redemption?)) he's not too clear on.

Like I said - this guy's a national embarrassment. My apologies to intelligent people everywhere.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Work and a social life - they're so inconvenient! I could be out taking pictures, but, no - I've got to deal with all this other stuff. So very sad.

Or not.

Speaking, however, of sad - where do they keep digging up these neo-conservative nitwits? Apparently a writer for the "National Review", John, J. Miller, has spent a good deal of his personal time listening to rock and roll songs, his undoubtedly tin ear carefully tuned to pick up evidence of rampant rock conservatism. Now, talk about a waste of time! There are lyrics in rock and roll that express conservative (small "c") sentiments?!? Oh, say not so, Mr. Miller! It can't, it can't be true! Rock is a monolithic leftist conspiracy, isn't it? No room for deviation from the Party line? No acknowledgment of hopes disappointed? No awareness of history? No honouring of any traditional values? My gosh, I'm just going to go and burn all those right-wing fascist CDs right now. Thanks for the tip-off, Mr. Miller.

It's wide open! It's spacious! And, it's cloudy! What more could a person want?

And, this just in - the Smirk's a spineless wimp, afraid to face non-preapproved questions from non-preapproved reporters:

Golly, what a surprise. And, frankly, how embarrassing.

On the other hand, I didn't vote for the jerk.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It was rainy and gray around here today, so I thought a little sunshine was in order.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"O.K., coppers, ya got me."

Meanwhile, if you're looking for something to read, "Everyman", Philip Roth's latest, would be a good choice. As would Julian Barnes's "Arthur and George". As always, trust me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

O.K., Rorschach fans, take it away...!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just watched two great movies. The first was "Clean", which starred Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte. Very good movie. If you've seen "In the Mood for Love," or its companion, "2046", you'll see a different side of Ms. Cheung in "Clean". (And, if you haven't seen those movies, you should.)

On a silly side, as the movie opened, I kept thinking, "Hmmm, that looks familiar," but I couldn't figure out why. Not that I didn't know what the setting reminded me of. It was just that my thought was, "Nah - that's impossible. Hamilton? No way." Who would think that a movie starring Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, set mainly in Paris, would open in Hamilton, Ontario? Not me, that's for sure. And then we get introduced to Nick Nolte's character down by the Fraser River in what looked to be Ladner (near Vancouver). Well, that was too weird.

The other movie was Atom Egoyan's, "Where the Truth Lies". Kevin Bacon just keeps getting better as time goes on. And Colin Firth gets to play a somewhat dark character at long last.

O.K. - so I don't do movie reviews. Just watch them. You won't be disappointed. (Well, unless you've been waiting with 'bated breath for the release of "The DaVinci Code" that is)

And, maintaining the "yellow" theme...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This workin' for a living sure cuts into the photography time. On the other hand, it does pay for the camera.

The weekend's coming. All ready for a little house-cleaning?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This poor plant just wants to go outside and play. Sad, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's always the behind-the-scenes stuff that's the most interesting.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You have to admit, flowers are pretty swell. Yes, they're a photographic cliche, but...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It's now officially Sunday (hell - it's 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning!) so I can post this photo.

Now, I posted the one from the 19th hole only an hour or so ago, so this really represents a two-for-one bargain (well, it represents a "bargain" if you like the photos...otherwise...). But, in the interval, I checked in on Mike Johnston's site, where I found the beginnings of (or the end of?) a discussion on the nature of art. Oh, no! This is not the sort of thing one wants to find at 12:45 in the morning! But, naturally, I'll stick in my two cents' worth here.

Art is a means of communication. Sometimes that communication can be pretty darn obtuse, but... Unless the "thing" intended as art speaks to someone else's experience, the artist has failed. The artist is simply talking to him-, or her-, self. Granted, it may take some time before someone gets the message, but, until someone does, it ain't anything.

It is, I guess, a lot like radio transmission. The artist is the transmitter, and is responsible for sending a signal that's at least, in principle, receivable. But the artist can't be held totally responsible if the message isn't received. The "art consumer" (sorry - I can't think of a better term at the moment) is responsible for being receptive. Sometimes the signal is impossible to receive, but much of the time there is simply a failure on the consumer's part to be receptive. For me, Andy Warhol's art is a good example. "It's a Brillo box, for heaven's sake!" was the general, original response. The other levels went unappreciated. Another good example is Shakespeare. Most people these days seem unable to get beyond the incomprehensibility of his language, so they miss the fact that the things he's writing about are things we all experience as life goes on.

Teaching Bill's stuff in high school is probably pointless. Until you've lived a lot of life, you're not likely to understand what he's talking about - the heartbreak of love gone wrong, despite one's best intentions; the struggle to do the right thing that, nevertheless, brings about disaster; the foolishness we all inadvertently indulge in that, amazingly, we find ourselves forgiven for. It's nice to know that people living 400 years ago were just as dopey as you are. You think misery loves company? Not half as much as helpless silliness does.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Just beyond these tulips is the 18th green of the Fraser View Public Golf Course. Which means that I, and some friends, were sitting at the 19th hole, doing what people at the 19th hole traditionally do - we were enjoying beverages. And, yes, those beverages contained alcohol. And, also possibly traditionally, we went on from here to more of the same. With very good pizza, I might add.

And, just to allay the fears of other friends in other parts of the world, no, we hadn't played 18 holes of golf previous to enjoying our beverages. Being efficient, we simply eliminated those nasty hours spent flailing away at a far-too-small bumpy ball, using much too expensive hardware to do so, and cut straight to the actual good part. Yep. We went to the golf course, ordered drinks, and enjoyed the view. Much better.

Now, you might be thinking that, because of this alcoholic interlude, you'd be able to get away from this thing without some deeper message being imparted. Well, sadly for you, you're wrong. Damn. Wouldn't you know it?

So - alcohol dehydrogenase - the enzyme in your liver that detoxifies alchohol (it is toxic, you know) - why do people of European descent have a very efficient version of this enzyme, while people of Asian descent (among others) don't? Have we Europeans had a drinking problem from time immemorial? What selective advantage does it confer? And why was it evidently unimportant in other parts of the world?

And, by the by, "Hi" to a bunch of important (to me) folks in various parts of the world - some near, some not so much. (See? Alcohol makes you sentimental. Or is that my Irish heritage showing?)

Much as I'd rather be wandering around in the woods on this sunny Saturday, I'll be revising lectures instead. Isn't it sad?

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's too easy to pick on Dubya - spying on his own citizens, even as he pushes their heads deeper beneath the economic waters, and arranges to have their children shipped off to die in Iraq - so I thought I'd express a touch of disappointment with my own Baby Dubya, Smirkin' Steve Harper, instead. Seems he and the Reform party are having problems with the Kyoto Accord. Not that they're going to bail, mind you. No, no. At least, not as long as the rest of the world goes along with the idea that Canada shouldn't really be expected to do anything. "Can we wait a little longer? Can we do a little less?" True Reform Party thinking. Although, it strikes me that "thinking" might be giving a little too much dignity to what goes on in their heads.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This is a photograph of a skunk cabbage. Skunk cabbage, as its name implies, is generally acknowledged to emit a fairly unpleasant odour. Well, you can imagine where that idea's going, right? Right.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I seem to be into a visual allusions mode at the moment. You figure it out.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A lake. An empty dock. Again, so rich in symbolic possibility. George?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oh, the number of things this photo could represent. But, who am I to say? Really - all it is is a set of stairs.

Meanwhile - another opening day! The jostling crowds, the laughter, the excitement, familiar faces, new faces...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I mentioned the other day that I needed to get out more often, and it strikes me that anyone reading this blog (assuming there is anyone) might have taken that as a hopeful sign that the photos would get more exciting. I apologise to anyone who might have been so misled.

This is the back of a fancy men's clothing store. Anyone who knows me will realize that I had no interest in going around front of, let alone actually into, the store, despite the fact that it is indeed Sunday.

However, just down the street from this store, the bookstore was also open. Now that's a happy thing. I picked up an Iranian novel, "My Uncle Napoleon". In Iran, since the novel was published, the term "Uncle Napoleon" has come to indicate someone who insists on seeing a foreign plot in everything bad that happens there. The character named Uncle Napoleon in the novel beieved it was the British (the novel takes place in the mid-2oth century). Obviously, the evil foreign hand now belongs to others. The paranoia, however, is the same.

It's depressing to think that most Iranians, like the majority of citizens in most countries, are just average folks wanting to live decent lives. Unfortunately, they're trapped in a regime run by lunatics.

The novel, by the way, isn't legally available in Iran. But you'd probably already guessed that.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

a) Life can get awfully cluttered, can't it?
b) I'm obviously not getting out enough.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Oh, how I wish I had a picture of a burnt out lightbulb (to symbolize The Smirk's intellect), or a cloud of smoke (to symbolize his treatment of environmental issues), but I have neither. Sigh.
The last time Pete Seeger got as much attention as he's been getting lately, the U.S. was involved in, well, pretty much the same situation it's in now - stuck in a war started on false evidence (i.e. "lies"), costing billions of dollars (up to $320 billion a year these days), thousands of lives, and governed by incompetent, corrupt morons.

Now, what could a responsible government do with one billion dollars a day? Health care, maybe? Education? Fix a levee here and there? Help for the poor? While you think about it, join me in a round of "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy".

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The gap is closing! Another term begins on Monday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is it Mr. Moussaoui, or just one of his new cell mates? You be the judge.

In either case, I've got to admit to being surprised at the verdict to send him to jail forever. Pleasantly surprised, mind you. The death penalty just has too many flaws. One of which is that it's too easy on the guilty party (assuming no error has been made). Death means never having to say you're sorry (you thought that was "love", didn't you?). The dead don't suffer for their crimes (sorry, folks - there is no hell). Only the living can suffer and I'm happy to think that Mr. Moussaoui will have plenty of opportunity for that.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's Not My Fault!

I try. Really, I do. Political ranting gets tiring. To read and to write. I'd rather just be thinking about photography. But...

Look, this is a brick wall, right? Often used to symbolize the end of the line? No proceeding beyond this point? So, what does this article in the New York Times suggest Dubya and the Smirk ought to be doing? And, are they? Are any of our mighty world "leaders"? Hell, no.

In fact, apparently the folks running China and Russia are suggesting that Iran ought to just keep right on going with its nuclear arms program. Brilliant! Good, clear, far-sighted thinking, boys.

So, I'm still debating that new camera.....
A couple of days ago, I put up a picture of Panorama Ridge, and mentioned that Black Tusk was just across the way. This is Black Tusk. A large chunk of lava. You can climb to the top of it and get, apparently, a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. I say, "apparently" because, as you might guess, I've never climbed up there. I tried, once, but a number of thoughts came to me at the same time before I'd gotten even a quarter of the way up.

The first was that I was climbing on rock that wasn't much more solid than a dried-out sand castle. Lava does not make very good rock. It's very, very crumbly. Which means it's no good for either hand-, or foot-holds. Not a comforting thought when you're needing to climb 30 or 40 meters up (or down) a vertical chute. Especially not when your starting point was already a fairly steep, rocky slope.

Another thought was that, because of a slight bend in the chute, you can't see whether or not anyone is above you beyond a certain point. Is someone climbing down? Anyone ahead of you, going up? Hmmmm. Crumbly rock. Hmmmmm. Gravitational acceleration, um, 9."something" meters per second squared. Hmmmmm. Anything falling down that chute - rock, fellow hiker - will be moving fast when it hits you. Hmmmmm. O.K. - I'm outta here.

Call me chicken. The view from the base of the Tusk is also spectacular.

Monday, May 01, 2006

No pictures from the Big Day in Nanaimo yet, but I had a grand time. In fact, maybe a little too grand. Thanks, Bev! (And, though he wasn't there, Doug, vintner extraordinaire) And, of course, Candace and Shadow.

Meanwhile, a shot of prairie sky. No symbolism intended.