Friday, November 30, 2007

the heavenly stars

laura veirs was an unknown quantity to me until this beautiful rolling along song came into my possession. from her latest album saltbreakers, the song entitled “to the country” has an earthy yet urban quality about it that makes me reflect on my long held wish to live in the country but not entirely by the terms of the country. more of an aesthetic than a practical wish.
mixed into the talented group she has assembled around her is the amazing guitarist bill frisell who will surely feature in an entry on the golden fish.

one of these days.

to the country

here are the lyrics so that as you slowly swirl through the candlelit shadows of your livingroom you can stop in front of your window and sing along . . . . .

Don't recognise my face
Everybody knows your game
Feel like I'm running in place
Everything's changed, everything's changed
I'm gonna move to the country
She's gonna move
So I can see the stars
Heavenly stars, the heavenly stars, the heavenly stars

She's gonna move
Heavenly stars, the heavenly stars, the heavenly stars

I dove into the night
Bathed in the beautiful blue light
Sheltered inside a bat cave
Me and my baby had a conversation
Gonna move to the country
She's gonna move
So I can see the stars
Heavenly stars, the heavenly stars, the heavenly stars

I'm gonna move to the country
She's gonna move
So I can see the stars
Heavenly stars, the heavenly stars, the heavenly stars

Thursday, November 29, 2007

all the things you are

it's a rainy late autumn november morning. snow has stayed on the ground for several days now so the overall effect of the rain is to colour the sky, the snow and anything the snow rests on various shades of light violet.
rainy mornings lend themselves to jazz or wistfull music and so this morning a chestnut.

all the things you are - a classic jazz tune - and a point of reflection when we consider ourselves and significant people in our lives past present and possibly even future. because all the things we are is a dynamic state and to describe it reduces it to the status quo and the people i know are for the most part not a piece of that or interested in being a part of it.

i had the great fortune of seeing keith jarrett at massey hall in toronto in 1975. he was there with his “treasure island” band - dewey redman and charlie haden among them. it was a powerful experience for me as it took my experiencing of jazz to a different place with its emphasis on in-the-moment creation grounded in a rock solid intuitively creative rhythm section.

this is a much more traditional setting with dave holland and jack dejohnette handling the rhythm and jarrett stretching out the music.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

getting the prize

my dear friend cathy contacted me today with stunning news! her father has been asked to accept the half of this year’s nobel peace prize belonging to the ipcc (intergovernmental panel on climate change) which they will share with al gore. holy moley! i'm absolutely gobsmacked. how many times could a person say they know someone whose dad accepted a nobel peace prize? how many times could a person say their dad accepted the nobel peace prize? way to go jim bruce.
jim bruce?
right here ladies and gentlemen!
James P. (Jim) Bruce, OC, FRSC
Senior Associate, Global Change Strategies International Inc, Ottawa, ON
Jim Bruce's career has been in meteorology climatology, water resources, disaster mitigation and science management. He was the first Director of the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington and subsequently Director General and Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) responsible for national water programs. These included programs of hydrometric monitoring, river basin planning, flood damage reduction and water quality monitoring. In the 1980s, he was ADM Atmospheric Environment Service, and subsequently Director of Technical Cooperation and Acting Deputy Secretary General, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva. This involved oversight of international programs on weather, climate, water, and atmospheric composition. In the 1990s, and to date he has served as consultant on many projects relating to climate change, water, and disaster mitigation most recently as Senior Associate, Global Change Strategies International. For the Canadian Climate Change Action Fund he led a study of potential climate change impacts on water resources in Canada and is currently involved in a project on probable climate change effects on boundary and transboundary waters. Recent awards include the IMO Prize of the World Meteorological Organization for "exceptional world-wide contributions in meteorology and hydrology," Officer of the Order of Canada and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has received Honorary Doctorates from University of Waterloo (DES) and McMaster University (DSc).
canadian boy folks - yep.
oh, and that bit above cover’s the working part of his life. there's more!

the mother of the world

here's a face full of colour. i took this pic of my front window through a pair of glasses brought back from the 07 burning man gathering by vancouver ali.

i've been blessed in being the father of three children - two of whom live with me - all of whom get along. the two younger ones like to bug and tease each other but nothing near as much as my own brother and i did at the same age.

bill callahan - a.k.a. “smog” bangs out a lot of worthy tunes, but this one has stuck with me as a favourite in my headphones for a long while - almost a year!

"i feel like the mother of the world". i wonder when i hear this if my own mother and father felt this way about my brother and i who found almost any excuse to knock the snot out of each other, bug each other and generally make life less-than-pleasant for all around us.

here are the lyrics so you can sing along . . . . . .

I Feel Like the Mother of the World

Whether or not there is any type of god
I’m not supposed to say
And today
I don’t really care

God is a word
And the argument ends there

Oh do I feel like the mother of the world
With two children
Oh do I feel like the mother of the world
With two children fighting

When I was a boy I used to get into it bad
With my sister
And when the time came to face the truth
There’d only be tears and sides
Tears and sides
And my mother my poor mother
Would say it does not matter
It does not matter
Just stop fighting

Oh do I feel like the mother of the world
With two children

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

blue woods

here are the woods not far from my home. they are often full of children riding bikes, chasing squirrels, building forts, playing hide-and-seek.

love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others ... and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

walt whitman

Monday, November 26, 2007

frost berry

the mornings are almost all starting out below freezing right now and we have had many frosts - and of course, freezing rain, hail, and snow.

a very long time ago i was walking alone along a path just south of the english town of stowe-on-the-wold. i had just spent the night staying in the town and was beginning my day with a short three-mile jaunt that would take me across some fields, through some woodland and then back into the town.

the morning was quite cold - it was early october - and a frost had settled over the branches and leaves and it was on that day that i came across a site that i have treasured in my memory ever since. a bush dotted with crimson berries, each of which was encircled with a perfect white ring of frost that caught the morning sun like a halo.

to describe the moment as magical would barely contain the wonder.

earlier this year i went for a walk through some nearby woods and when i emerged from the woods i noticed that some bushes, similarly berry covered had a dusting of frost on them as well. this is one of the pictures i took of that day. to accompany the picture i would like to share with you a mary webb poem entitled “hawthorn berry”.

A hawthorn berry
How sweet a thought,
How strange a deed,
To house such glory in a seed--
A berry, shining rufously,
Like scarlet coral in the sea!
A berry, rounder than a ring,
So round, it harbours everything;
So red, that all the blood of men
Could never paint it so again.
And, as I hold it in my hand,
A fragrance steals across the land:
Rich, on the wintry heaven, I see
A white, immortal hawthorn-tree.

mary webb from “spring of joy”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

josie's lalaland

this beautiful short film slipped into the golden fish world headquarters this morning and i had other plans but absolutely had to watch it.

the film is entitled "josie's lalaland" and is by director yibi (eb) hu. not a household name but a deeply talented person who very obviously draws similarly talented people into his circle.

a brief but informative interview regarding the thinking behind "josie's lalaland" can be found here

if you would like to view this beautiful film you'll find that lalaland is here .

Saturday, November 24, 2007

up the snowy street

here's a view north from my front door up the street . . . . .

i rode thursday - scared myself and didn't ride yesterday.

that's probably why i am still here to write........!

worthy mix number one

this is the first in a series of worthy mixes compiled by fellow bloggers who have greater technological expertise than me and can somehow assemble a stack of cds, choose beautiful excerpts from those discs and then meld them together seamlessly into one piece of music. then, in the generosity of spirit characterized by bloggers around the world, they then upload the whole for the betterment of the assembled and rapt audients around the world, me being one of them.

this mix comes courtesy of the good souls at


music for an evening leaving the day or for a mid morning welcoming the mid day. in both instances the music expresses contentment, fripperies, tolerable discordance, and comfortable solitude.

this image can be purchased through the talented and insightful artist dawn chandler
dawn also has available a journal of daily watercolours that are so stunning - i am amazed that they are there for anyone who wishes to see them.

here's the playlist:

T R A C K L I S T :

00:00 - 00:50 Peter Broderick - Balloon Bomb
00:50 - 02:00 twinsistermoon - I wish I could drown the world in reverberation
02:00 - 08:20 Robert Fripp - Tallinn
08:20 - 20:30 Meursault - Sleeping Debris
20:30 - 23:30 Origamibiro - Gathers in Puddles
23:30 - 25:30 Wooden Spoon - Untitled #10
25:30 - 30:20 Wixel - Nowhere
30:20 - 33:40 Brian Grainger - wind calmly bends our hair
33:40 - 36:20 Hisato Higuchi - Kizauto
36:20 - 40:30 øjeRum - tonerum
40:30 - 41:40 Area C - Daymarks
41:40 - 45:10 Peter Wright - Folk Song for Contradiction
45:10 - 49:20 Christopher Flores - Farewell Son
49:20 - 53:30 Oren Armbachi - fever, a warm poison
53:30 - 59:20 Meursault - Mirror
59:20 - 02:20 Six Organs of Admittance - Goodnight
02:20 - 04:30 Wooden Spoon - Untitled #1

don't let the fact that you know none of the names on the list scare you away from a lovely experience . . . . . . . . .

Friday, November 23, 2007


i visited both east and west berlin in 1973 as a sixteen year old with my brother david and my aunt margaret. my memories of berlin are of a city torn in half - east berlin (which at that time was accessed through “checkpoint charlie”) being characterized by faceless blocks of apartments and official buildings - countered by its western half, lit up by flares of colour - neon, loud cafes, modern buildings built to replace all those destroyed in the war. my most powerful and abiding memory is of the interior of the kaiser wilhelm gedächtniskirche a 53 metre high octagonal building built next to the original cathedral which was bombed by the r.a.f. in 1943.

this extraordinary building, seemingly constructed entirely of blue glass tiles, encapsulates my memories of that trip standing as it does as a beautifully modern structure next to an almost entirely destroyed older structure. it seemed to describe berlin more fully than any tourist guide or brochure.

three years after my trip, west berlin became home to a small group of musicians who chose it as a place to escape the pressures and attentions and expectations of the very culture so precisely preserved in the city’s overtly commercial and extravagant recreation of the west. berlin was one of those cities where you couldn’t help feeling that, like any bubble, the slightest pressure would bring the whole edifice crumbling in on itself.

among those musicians who made it their home were david bowie and his creative sidekick iggy pop. david bowie was messed up on drugs and moved into a big apartment in an old building in the district of schöneberg. as well as the diversions offered by the isolated city, berlin became the much-needed inspiration for a new set of songs for bowie which he recorded in the “hansa-by-the-wall” studio. this eventually emerged as the album entitled “heroes”.

it was 1976 that saw this, the second installment of what was to be a musical trilogy, released to critical aclaim. the first album entitled “low”, placed bowie squarely on the fence between his rock heritage and his fascination with experimentation. this divergence is physically apparent in the organization of the record which on side one (this was vinyl remember!) contained danceable but melancholy tunes, and which on side two included some tone poems, ambient excursions and a tip of the hat to what is now termed “krautrock”, a melding of mechanical beats and psych. meanderings overlaid with apparently random lyrics.

heroes followed the stylistic organization of the first album with side one falling into the general rubric of progressive art school rock, and side two with its mix of mechanic beats, koto, wailing sax in a tunnel, and thunderously depressing piano chords setting a more ambient tone - albeit not gentle.

here's the view from the hansa-by-the-wall recording studio. you are looking at the no-man's land area inside the wall:

an excellent interview detailing the process of recording “heroes” can be found here:

the title song for the album “heroes” depicts a relationship that bowie observed taking place each day as two lovers met by the wall. the juxtaposition of something so essentially human and connecting and affirming as love, and something so essentially human as the artificial separation of the whole of a region into two arbitrarily truncated halves really pulls the human condition as we experience it to the forefront.

the constant disconnect between our inner and outer worlds is tragically contained in bowie’s words:

“Though nothing
Will keep us together
We could steal time
Just for one day”

here are the words, and following that, a live version of “heroes”. i should add that the studio version of this song, which includes the work of brian eno and robert fripp, far exceeds this live version in its sonic expressiveness and most especially for fripp’s repeating sustained three note theme which carries the song on its back in its riding the song’s central theme of optimism amidst despair.

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing will
Drive them away
We can beat them
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
Just for one day

And you
You can be mean
And I
I'll drink all the time
'Cause we're lovers
And that is a fact
Yes we're lovers
And that is that

Though nothing
Will keep us together
We could steal time
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
For ever and ever
What d'you say

I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins
Like dolphins can swim
Though nothing
Will keep us together
We can beat them
For ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes
Just for one day

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing
Will drive them away
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be us
Just for one day

I can remember
By the wall
And the guns
Shot above our heads
And we kissed
As though nothing could fall
And the shame
Was on the other side
Oh we can beat them
For ever and ever
Then we can be Heroes
Just for one day

We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
We're nothing
And nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying
Then you better not stay
But we could be safer
Just for one day . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2007

late november storm

late november and the first real snow storm arrives. here it is arriving from the west.

No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.
Matsuo Basho.

space up! blue

i was chatting with some of my colleagues about the new vehicle from z.e.n.n. that is available on the west coast and as we were talking, i remembered seeing this car - the space up! blue. i love the name - it comes right out of blade runner thinking but from the name through to the details of the concept i am sure that you will see volkswagen has developed something real, viable, and not hard to look at.

the volkswagen space up! blue family concept car recently made its debut at the los angeles auto show. the space up! the volkswagen space up! blue is a zero emissions van styled after the legendary volkswagen bus. energy for its electric motor comes from an array of lithium ion batteries that can provide a range of up to 65 miles on a full charge. the batteries can be recharged either via a plug or the fuel cell stack. the combined range of the fuel cell and battery system is 220 miles and more energy can be added via the roof top solar panel.

for a person like myself, this vehicle offers enough of a range, enough seating, a guilt-free drivetrain, and reasonably funky unique looks to make me interested. i bet it has a heater as well!!!

more coolness! vw's design chief,walter de' silva, says that starting next year, every vw will have a touch screen interface. all the car's main passenger-usable systems will be controlled by the screen including climate, radio, entertainment, etc. this has put more fuel on the fire of rumours of a collaboration between apple and vw integrating apple’s iphone touchscreen technology into the workings of vw automobiles.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

autumn leaves

autumn leaves in front of my home.

a cold raining hard dark-purple-sky morning with snow forecast for this evening - potentially enough snow to make the morning ride tomorrow a sketchy proposition. i look ahead and see fairly cold weather in the forecast. makes sense. it's november almost december.

here's a song that pops in my head sometimes on days like this:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

autumn grasses

it rained through the night - i know this because i left the window open so that i could hear it. even as i listened i reminded myself to treasure the sound . . . . to let it settle into me. i love the sound of rain and with the details of the seasonal changes, rain becomes a non feature of the winter . . . unless it's freezing rain which doesn't quite count!

here's an image from the nearby woods.

here's a japanese version of autumn grasses:

Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period (1868–1912), ca. 1872–91
Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)
Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper;

Monday, November 19, 2007

why the fish laughed

a fish story to start our week off - and a strange meandering fish story it is as well!

this image is of a stone fish - a carving currently in the possession of the museum of civilization in hull, quebec. this is an amazing museum and well worth visiting.

Cow Point, Grand Lake, New Brunswick
ca. 2000 B.C.
Length: 2.5 inches

Why the Fish Laughed

As a certain fisherwoman passed by a palace crying her fish, the Queen appeared at one of the windows and beckoned her to come near and show what she had. At that moment a very big fish jumped about in the bottom of the basket.
"Is it a he or a she?" inquired the Queen. "I wish to purchase a she-fish."
On hearing this the fish laughed aloud.
"It's a he," replied the fisherwoman, and proceeded on her rounds.
The Queen returned to her room in a great rage; and on coming to see her in the evening, the King noticed that something had disturbed her.
"Are you indisposed?" he said.
"No; but I am very much annoyed at the strange behaviour of a fish. A woman brought me one to-day, and on my inquiring whether it was a male or female, the fish laughed most rudely."
"A fish laugh! Impossible! You must be dreaming."
"I am not a fool. I speak of what I have seen with my own eyes and have heard with my own ears."
"Passing strange! Be it so. I will inquire, concerning it."
On the morrow the King repeated to his vizier what his wife had told him, and bade him investigate the matter, and be ready with a satisfactory answer within six months, on pain of death. The vizier promised to do his best, though he felt almost certain of failure. For five months he laboured indefatigably to find a reason for the laughter of the fish. He sought everywhere and from every one. The wise and learned, and they who were skilled in magic and in all manner of trickery, were consulted. Nobody, however, could explain the matter; and so he returned broken-hearted to his house, and began to arrange his affairs in prospect of certain death, for he had had sufficient experience of the King to know that his Majesty would not go back from his threat. Amongst other things, he advised his son to travel for a time, until the King's anger should have somewhat cooled.
The young fellow, who was both clever and handsome, started off whithersoever Kismat might lead him. He had been gone some days, when he fell in with an old farmer, who also was on a journey to a certain village. Finding the old man very pleasant, he asked him if he might accompany him, professing to be on a visit to the same place. The old farmer agreed, and they walked along together. The day was hot, and the way was long and weary.
"Don't you think it would be pleasanter if you and I sometimes gave one another a lift?" said the youth.
"What a fool the man is!" thought the old farmer.
Presently they passed through a field of corn ready for the sickle, and looking like a sea of gold as it waved to and fro in the breeze.
"Is this eaten or not?" said the young man.
Not understanding his meaning, the old man replied, "I don't know."
After a little while the two travellers arrived at a big village, where the young man gave his companion a clasp-knife, and said, "Take this, friend, and get two horses with it; "but, mind and bring it back, for it is very precious."
The old man, looking half amused and half angry, pushed back the knife, muttering something to the effect that his friend was either a fool himself or else trying to play the fool with him. The young man pretended not to notice his reply, and remained almost silent till they reached the city, a short distance outside which Was the old farmer's house. They walked about the bazar and went to the mosque, but nobody saluted them or invited them to come in and rest.
"What a large cemetery!" exclaimed the young man.
"What does the man mean," thought 'the old farmer, "calling this largely populated city a cemetery?"
On leaving the city their way led through a cemetery. where a few people were praying beside a grave and distributing chapatis and kulchas to passers-by, in the name of their beloved dead. They beckoned to the two travellers and gave them as much as they would.
"What a splendid city this is!" said the young man.
"Now, the man must surely be demented!" thought the old farmer. "I wonder what he will do, next? He will be calling the land water, and the water land; and be speaking of light where there is darkness, and of darkness when it is light." However, he kept his thoughts to himself.
Presently, they had to wade through a stream that ran along the edge of the cemetery. The water was rather deep, so the old farmer took off his shoes and paijamas and crossed over; but the young man waded through it with his shoes and paijamas on.
"Well! I never did see such a perfect fool, both in word and in deed," said the old man to, himself.
However, he liked the fellow; and thinking that he would amuse his wife and daughter, he invited him to come and stay at his house as long as he had occasion to remain in the village.
"Thank you very much," the young man replied; "but let me first inquire, if you please, whether the beam of your house is strong."
The old farmer left him in despair, and entered his house laughing.
"There is a man in yonder field," he said, after returning their greetings. "He has come the greater part of the way with me, and I wanted him to put up here as long as he had to stay in this village. But the fellow is such a fool that I cannot make anything out of him. He wants to know if the beam of this house is all right. The man must be mad!" and saying this, he burst into a fit of laughter.
"Father," said the farmer's daughter, who was a very sharp and wise girl, "this man, whosoever he is, is no fool, as you deem him. He only wishes to know if you can afford to entertain him."
"Oh! of course," replied, the farmer. "I see. Well, perhaps you can help me to solve some of his other mysteries. While we were walking together he asked whether he should carry me or I should carry him, as he thought that would be a pleasanter mode of proceeding."
"Most assuredly," said the girl. "He meant that one of you should tell a story to beguile the time."
"Oh yes. Well, we were passing through a corn-field, when he asked me whether it was eaten or not."
"And didn't you know the meaning of this, father? He simply wished to know if the man was in debt or not; because, if the owner of the field was in debt, then the produce of the field was as good as eaten to him; that is, it would have to go to his creditors."
"Yes, yes, yes, of course! Then, on entering a certain village, he bade me take his clasp-knife and get two horses with it, and bring back the knife again to him."
"Are not two stout sticks as good as two horses for helping one along on the road? He only asked you to cut a couple of sticks and be careful not to lose his knife."
"I see," said the farmer. "While we were walking over the city we did not .see anybody that we knew, and not a soul gave us a scrap of anything to eat, till we were passing the cemetery; but there some people called to us and put into our hands some chapatis and kulchas; so my companion called the city a cemetery, and the cemetery a city."
This also is to be understood, father, if one thinks of the city as the place where everything is to be obtained, and of inhospitable people as worse than the dead. The city, though crowded with people, was as if dead, as far as you were concerned; while, in the cemetery, which is crowded with the dead, you were saluted by kind friends and provided with bread."
"True, true!" said' the astonished farmer. "Then, just now, when we were crossing the stream, he waded through it without taking off his shoes and paijamas."
"I admire his wisdom," replied the girl. "I have often thought how stupid people were to venture into that swiftly flowing stream and over those sharp stones with bare feet. The slightest stumble and they would fall, and be wetted from head to foot. This friend of yours is a most wise man. I should like to see him and speak to him."
"Very well," said the farmer; "I will go and find him, and bring him in."
"Tell him, father, that our beams are strong enough, and then he will come in. I'll send on, ahead a present to the man, to show him that we can afford to have him for our guest."
Accordingly she called a servant and sent him to the young man with a present of a basin of ghee, twelve chapatis, and a jar of milk, and the following message:--" O friend, the moon is full; twelve months make a year, and the sea is overflowing with water."
Half-way the bearer of this present and message met his little son, who, seeing what was in the basket, begged his father to give him some of the food. His father foolishly complied. Presently he saw the young man, and gave him the rest of the present and the message.
"Give your mistress my salaam," he replied, "and tell her that the moon is new, and that I can only find eleven months in the year, and the sea is by no means full."
Not understanding the meaning of these words, the servant repeated them word for word, as he had heard them, to his mistress; and thus his theft was discovered, and he was severely punished. After a little while the young man appeared with the old farmer. Great attention was shown to him, and he was treated in every way as if he were the son of a great man, although his humble host knew nothing of his origin. At length be told them everything--about the laughing of the fish, his father's threatened execution, and his own banishment--and asked their advice as to what he should do.
"The laughing of the fish," said the girl, "which seems to have been the cause of all this trouble, indicates that there is a man in the palace who is plotting against the King's life."
"Joy, joy!" exclaimed the vizier's son. "There is yet time for me to return and save my father from an ignominious and unjust death, and the King from danger."
The following day be hastened back to his own country, taking with him the farmer's daughter. Immediately on arrival he ran to the palace and informed his father of what he had heard. The poor vizier, now almost dead from the expectation of death, was at once carried to the King, to whom be repeated the news that his son had just brought.
"Never!" said the King.
"But it must be, so, your Majesty," replied the vizier; "and in order to prove the truth of what I have heard, I pray you to call together all the maids in your palace, and order them to jump over a pit, which must be dug. We'll soon find out whether there is any man there."
The King had the pit dug, and commanded all the maids belonging to the palace to try to jump it. All of them tried, but only one succeeded. That one was found to be a man!
Thus was the Queen satisfied, and the faithful old vizier saved.
Afterwards, as soon as could be, the vizier's son married the old farmer's daughter and a most happy marriage it was.

original text available at:

Sunday, November 18, 2007


this day was colder than most before it, not rising above the freezing point. but in the sun - yes it was warm in the sun - hard to imagine sun on a six below zero day being warm but it truly is.
this evening entry - well it's two poems to support and transport some pictures taken yesterday as the noonday sky changed from form to form, shade to shade and slowly became the late afternoon.

The prayer of the sky 
Is for the increase
Of vastness-light.
The prayer of the moon  
Is for the increase
Of beauty's right.
The prayer of the sun  
Is for the increase  
Of duty's delight.
The prayer of God
Is for the increase
Of Compassion's might.

sri chinmoy

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

rainer maria rilke

feathered oracles

in the morning as i ride to school on my bicycle i open myself for the first couple of kilometres to the views, the sounds, the smells, the tastes in the air and the details of the opening beginning morning. it sets a tone for me, this opening. i make myself available to that part of the world. part of this is to let go of my attachment to my family. i find it difficult to say goodbye to them. the other part is to prepare myself to say hello to my students.

one of the little details of some mornings involves crows. there are very often crows on my ride and they vary in number from one to six and sometimes seven or more. i have thought each time, “oh, i wish i could remember that poem that tells the significance of the number of crows you see”.

they aren’t especially attractive birds and the noise they make has an awful feeling about it. that’s something i can’t explain. why one bird should sound different than another is a given, but why some should carry an emotional weight where others don’t is a mystery to me.

and you see, what’s funny about that - or not as your perspective deems fit - is that (as i mentioned earlier), i have had this idea in my mind that the number of crows determines your fate that day. so i dug around on the net and here’s what i came up with.

first of all i discovered that what i’m thinking about actually has a name: “Or*nith"o*man`cy, n. [Gr. ; , , a bird + divination: cf. F. ornithomancie.]
Divination by means of birds, their flight, etc.”

and i found out this about crows;

• “In areas where crows are indigenous, go out and voice a question. A crow's cry coming from the southeast means an enemy is coming; from the south, a visit from a friend is coming; from the southwest, you will unexpectedly receive wealth.
• Crow feathers are good luck charms for traveling.
• Thousands of divination methods are based on crows' flights and numbers in the East.”

i also came across the poem(s) that i was thinking about but which i had forgotten. here are three versions of the poem:

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own sel'.

One for sorrow,
two for mirth,
three for a wedding,
four for birth,
five for rich,
six for poor,
Seven for a witch,
I can tell you no more.

and this one:

One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret, never to be told...

so those aren’t so bad but i also found this site which i will share with you here. it gives the most comprehensive and detailed - fanatically detailed - accounting of crow behaviour and crow calls and their meaning that i have been able to find.

i’ll leave you to make your own judgements!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


when we first moved into the current location of tgf world headquarters, i was driven to create a couple of paintings. i don't paint with a plan. i haven't got a style or a model against which i paint. i paint what happens. it's only when i am inside a painting that the language of the piece and then the form and colour it takes presents itself. that is usually the most difficult part of painting for me. when i see the solution, the end result, the work of filling in the gaps and connecting the whole together as it wishes or needs to be i almost lose interest. this can be seen in the sketchbooks i have stacked up in a little cupboard that are filled with pieces drafted and sometimes even half coloured or painted but rarely completed. i have become aware of the end and don't want to get there.

these two paintings were unique in that respect because they were very new to me. i had no idea they were coming and so i'll tell you their story. simply, i had access to some sheets of 1/2 inch thick mdf board. mdf is a dense wood product that takes kindly to being cut without splintering, which is really nice if you decide to cut curves into it. i can't remember how i discovered this property for myself but i put it to full advantage in taking my skilsaw and shaping these two pieces. for the first time i was able to cut shapes inside the work as well. the opening allowed me to relate to the work as a more organic looking and feeling process as it was more like it had a body.

i had in my mind the idea of scales or pieces that fit together, flowing through colour so that when i painted i mixed the colour i was painting which became the colour i was "leaving", which in turn became the colour i was moving towards. a single scale then might have dozens of shades inside it as you move your eyes across it. i love this property of colour and it's one of the few reasons i like to visit paint stores - for the displays of colour chips. it's why i still love pencil crayon and marker sets - to allow my eyes to rove over the rows of tiny perfectly pointed dots of colour.

this painting hangs in the stairwell of our home. it's about a metre and a half tall and about two thirds of a metre wide. it has no name although in my memory i think i used the term "deliquescence" to remember the pieces. deliquescence is the phenomenon of a substance absorbing so much moisture from the air that it ultimately dissolves in it to form a solution . . . in typical golden fish fashion i have messed with the concept to suggest a kind of morphing process as a colour absorbs other colours around it and transmutates over a defined space. i would really like to do something that is actually "alive" in the sense that something pixillated can be "alive".

this painting resides in a space under the basement stairs as it hasn't found a home yet. it's about half a metre wide and probably a metre and a quarter long. it did hang for a while in our living room but that was not the right space for it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

the words of one man's thinking

jorge luis borges is considered one of the great writers of the past century. i visited a site recently and came across an excellent set of quotes attributed to him. i have edited the list so that it provides a focus on his perceptions and insights regarding the aesthetic experience and especially on reading and writing.

jorge luis borges quotes from his nonfiction writings

And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.
-- Essay: "A New Refutation of Time," 1946

Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.
-- Essay: "Partial Magic in the Quixote,"

A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
-- Essay: "A Note on (toward) Bernard Shaw"

Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
-- Lecture entitled "The Divine Comedy," 1977

The aesthetic event is something as evident, as immediate, as indefinable as love, the taste of fruit, of water. We feel poetry as we feel the closeness of a woman, or as we feel a mountain or a bay. If we feel it immediately, why dilute it with other words, which no doubt will be weaker than our feelings?
-- Lecture entitled "Poetry," 1977

A writer -- and, I believe, generally all persons -- must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
--From "Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981-1983."

I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities that I have visited, all my ancestors . . . Perhaps I would have liked to be my father, who wrote and had the decency of not publishing. Nothing, nothing, my friend; what I have told you: I am not sure of anything, I know nothing . . . Can you imagine that I not even know the date of my death?
-- Unknown source

Assembled by –Allen B. Ruch
full collection of quotes available at: borges quotes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

across the november fields

my ride home tonight was filled with music playing on a lovely loop in my head and the sky filled with roiling blue grey clouds. rain curtained off some of the more distant clouds in silver sheets and i rode into a fairly steady wind from the north west. there are farmer's fields about a hundred metres from my home so i rode there and took a few pics. none of them are really crisp . . . . the camera i have is doing its best but it's probably gotta go . . . . . . however, here's one picture that i would like to share with you.


rolling stone is carrying a really good interview with cyberpunk author william gibson. gibson, for those of you unfamiliar with either him or the cyberpunk genre, is the author of the instant classic work "neuromancer" which won the hugo award, the nebula award, and the philip k. dick award. the major sci fi award triumvirate. i wasn’t on the selection committees of any of those awards but i would bet that the awards were given not only for the novel itself, but for singlehandedly establishing a genre that broke new ground all on its own. a genre that redefined the world by putting a mirror up to its face and naming all that it saw.
here's the rolling stone link:
rolling stone interview


in neuromancer, the street meets techno, simulataneously bludgeoning the raw edges of the burgeoning computer smarts and the kickass snarl of hackerdom into the reality of street urchins.

neuromancer was gibson’s first novel.

neuromancer blends artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, the concept of multinational corporations quietly acquiring power and becoming the power behind the throne of the traditional nation-state and cyberspace. it is also extremely cool and clever in its painting a picture of the now we live in.

step back from your self and the means by which the outer and inner pieces of that self are described through the alignment of electrons and each of us can now see our life as “somebody’s future”. it’s our now.

gibson’s depictions of cyberspace were so far ahead of their time that they actually defined the thinking of the software and hardware developers working up the new operating systems and hardware.

even now, re-reading neuromancer, it has an otherworldliness about it that is not so much about another place and another time as it is about an insightful depiction of the present.

when i read gibson’s take on this world it feels like when someone says “wow your daughter’s really lovely”. i am flattered and then mystified because i can’t see her physical beauty and personal gifts as clearly as someone who has the benefit of distance.

here's an excerpt from neuromancer:

Chapter 1

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

"It's not like I'm using," Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. "It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency." It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

Ratz was tending bar, h is prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he filled a tray of glasses with draft Kirin. He saw Case and smiled, his teeth a webwork of East European steel and brown decay. Case found a place at the bar, between the unlikely tan on one of Lonny Zone's whores and the crisp naval uniform of a tall African whose cheekbones were ridged with precise rows of tribal scars. "Wage was in here early, with two joeboys," Ratz said, shoving a draft across the bar with his good hand. "Maybe some business with you, Case?"

Case shrugged. The girl to his right giggled and nudged him.

The bartender's smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator, cased in grubby pink plastic. "You are too much the artiste, Herr Case." Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. "You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal."

"Sure," Case said, and sipped his beer. "Somebody's gotta be funny around here. Sure the fuck isn't you."

The whore's giggle went up an octave.

"Isn't you either, sister. So you vanish, okay? Zone, he's a close personal friend of mine."

She looked Case in the eye and made the softest possible spitting sound, her lips barely moving. But she left.

"Jesus," Case said, "what kinda creepjoint you running here? Man can't have a drink?"

"Ha," Ratz said, swabbing the scarred wood with a rag, "Zone shows a percentage. You I let work here for entertainment value."

As Case was picking up his beer, one of those strange instants of silence descended, as though a hundred unrelated conversations had simultaneously arrived at the same pause. Then the whore's giggle rang out, tinged with certain hysteria.

Ratz grunted. "An angel has passed."

"The Chinese," bellowed a drunken Australian, "Chinese bloody invented nerve-splicing. Give me the mainland for a nerve job any day. Fix you right, mate…"

"Now that," Case said to his glass, all his bitterness suddenly rising in him like bile, "that is so much bullshit."

The Japanese had already forgotten more neurosurgery than the Chinese had ever known. The black clinics of Chiba were the cutting edge, whole bodies of technique supplanted monthly, and still they couldn't repair the damage he'd suffered in that Memphis hotel.

A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he'd cut in Night City, and still he'd see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void…The Sprawl was a long strange way home over the Pacific now, and he was no console man, no cyberspace cowboy. Just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he'd cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, his hands clawed into the bedslab, temperfoam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn't there.

"I saw your girl last night," Ratz said, passing Case his second Kirin.

"I don't have one," he said, and drank.

"Miss Linda Lee."

Case shook his head.

"No girl? Nothing? Only biz, friend artiste? Dedication to commerce?" The bartender's small brown eyes were nested deep in wrinkled flesh. "I think I liked you better, with her. You laughed more. Now, some night, you get maybe too artistic; you wind up in the clinic tanks, spare parts."

"You're breaking my heart, Ratz." He finished his beer, paid and left, high narrow shoulders hunched beneath the rainstained khaki nylon of his windbreaker. Threading his way through the Ninsei crowds, he could smell his own stale sweat.

Case was twenty-four. At twenty-two, he'd been a cowboy, a rustler, one of the best in the Sprawl. He'd been trained by the best, by McCoy Pauley and Bobby Quine, legends in the biz. He'd operated on an almost permanent adrenaline high, a byproduct of youth and proficiency, jacked into a custom cyberspace deck hat projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix. A their, he'd worked for other, wealthier thieves, employers who provided the exotic software required to penetrate the bright walls of corporate systems, opening windows into rich fields of data.

He's made the classic mistake, the one he's sworn he'd never make. He stole from his employers. He kept something for himself and tried to move it through a fence in Amsterdam. He still wasn't sure how he'd been discovered, not that it mattered now. He'd expected to die, then but they only smiled. Of course he was welcome, they told him, welcome to the money. And he was going to need it. Because--still smiling--they were going to make sure he never worked again.

They damaged his nervous system with a wartime Russian mycotoxin.

Strapped to a bed in a Memphis hotel, his talent burning out micron by micron, he hallucinated for thirty hours.

The damage was minute, subtle, and utterly effective.

For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall. In the bars he'd frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh.

His total assets were quickly converted to New Yen, a fat sheaf of the old paper currency that circulated endlessly through the closed circuit of the world's black markets like the seashells of the Trobriand islanders. It was difficult to transact legitimate business with cash in the Sprawl; in Japan, it was already illegal.

In Japan, he'd known with a clenched and absolute certainty, he'd find his cure. In Chiba. Either in a registered clinic or in the shadowland of black medicine. Synonymous with implants, nerve-splicing, and microbionics, Chiba was a magnet for the Sprawl's techno-criminal subcultures.

In Chiba, he'd watched his New Yen vanish in a two-month round of examinations and consultations. The men in the black clinics, his last hope, had admired the expertise with which he'd been maimed, and then slowly shaken their heads.

Now he slept in the cheapest coffins, the ones nearest the port, beneath the quartz-halogen floods that lit the docks all night like vast stages; where you couldn't see the lights of Tokyo for the glare of the television sky, not even the towering hologram logo of the Fuji Electric Company, and the Tokyo Bay was a black expanse where gulls wheeled above drifting shoals of white styrofoam. Behind the port lay the city, factory domes dominated by the vast cubes of corporate arcologies. Port and city were divided by a narrow borderland of older streets, an area with no official name. Night City, with Ninsei its heart. By day, the bars down Ninsei were shuttered and featureless, the neon dead, the holograms inert, waiting, under the poisoned silver sky."

if gibson’s writing doesn’t grab you, then read his autobiography. it’s great writing all on its own.

william gibson’s autobiography

william you clever boy! it makes me wanna be a writer when i read your words.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a model for the ethical conduct of a small business

in the event that there is enthusiasm expressed by readers wishing to know more about robert fripp and his music. dgm live is the portal through which it is possible to access and purchase current and archived material by both robert and his band king crimson. the site also provides free downloads of current and archived materials ranging from full concerts of robert's music to "found" pieces dating back over thirty years. files are provided as either mp3 or flac downloads. artwork commonly accompanies the downloads.

go here:
dgm live

dgm live is an extraordinary company. it provides a real and functional model through which it makes a statement about how it is possible to operate within the terms of the marketplace while not being restricted by those terms. the courage and hardwork of the participants and players of music is evident in their commitment and also in the very depth of endeavour embodied in the articulation of their process through the journal of robert fripp himself which is also freely available on the site.

for providers of small scale services or businesses wishing to embrace a model that is ethically accountable dgm provides a degree of clarity by offering the following which is freely available (and with much greater detail) on the dgm site.

DGM Business Aims

May we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse.

The first aim of DGM is to help bring music into the world which would otherwise be unlikely to do so, or under conditions prejudicial to the music and / or musicians.

The second aim of DGM is to operate in the market place, while being free of the values of the market place.

The third aim of DGM is to help the artists and staff of DGM achieve what they wish for themselves.

The fourth aim of DGM is to find its audience.

The fifth aim of DGM is to be a model of ethical business in an industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed.

If a small company, which aims to be true, can succeed in the music industry there is hope for others. We each support each other without necessarily seeing or knowing how this might be, or when it occurs. But on the level where things are true, this is true.

Any business will be successful if it provides its customers with either what they want or what they need. If the public needs what it wants, or wants what it needs, the business will be very successful. In this sense public taste can redirect and reconstitute our business culture. There is hope in this.

The formal view of Crimson Music and DGM is that business practices, although widespread and "common practice", which seek to deprive the creative element of its authority, and artists of the benefit of their work, are short-sighted and immoral.

Any culture whose artists are directed or controlled by commercial interests is in mortal danger. Any artist directed or controlled by commercial interests is in mortal danger. Any artist willingly directed or controlled by commercial interests is not to be trusted.

The history of the music industry is a history of exploitation and theft.

The Ethical Company

Recognisable features of the ethical company involve these attributes:







common decency,

distributive justice.

Recognisable features of a company whose base is ethically challenged are these:


use of threats,

unkindness to employees,

a widespread use of gagging orders,

an inequitable distribution of company income.

A company which:

would rather conduct its business verbally (particularly with regard to disputed issues) instead of committing its views to writing;

commonly resorts to litigation, or employs the frequent threat of such; employs gagging clauses as standard policy;

pays its directors highly disproportionate sums in comparison with its employees;

is suspect and should be avoided wherever possible.

It is a sad commentary on current business and public life that this needs to be written or debated.

transparency + straightforwardness = honesty

accountability + owning-up = responsibility

distributive justice + fairness = equity

common decency = goodwill

The Four Pillars of The Ethical Company





deep grey violet becoming silver blue

the morning sky is a deep grey violet becoming silver blue. it's expected to be a day of rain. but mild. a while back, correspondent vancouver ali sent me a couple of poems written by daniel ladinsky. ladinsky has some volumes out in which he "translates" poetry by sufi poets. for a perspective on this you may wish to read this:

alternately, if you appreciate lovely insightful ecstatic writing and don't need the poem to be certified as authentic or whatever, then read on. the images to support the text are my own taken recently in the backyard here at golden fish world headquarters.

With That Moon Language
Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, 'Love me.'
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language, what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?
~Hafiz,  translated by Daniel Ladinsky
The Way Wings Should
What will our children do in the morning?
Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play, the way wings should?
Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gathered the strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance the wonderful charms of the earth
So that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own?
I know all about the ways of the heart - how it wants to be alive.
Love so needs to love
that it will endure anything, even abuse, just to flicker for a moment.
But the sky's mouth is kind, its song will never hurt you, for I sing those words.
What will our children do in the morning if they do not see us fly?
~Rumi,  translated by Daniel Ladinsky

thanks to vancouver ali for providing the poetry!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

seven moments of reflection

All along this road 
not a single soul – only 
autumn evening comes 

This dark autumn 
old age settles down on me 
like heavy clouds or birds 

The morning glories 
bloom, securing the gate 
in the old fence 

Through frozen rice fields, 
moving slowly on horseback, 
my shadow creeps by 

I'm a wanderer 
so let that be my name – 
the first winter rain 

basho 1644 - 1694

Someone is living there;
smoke leaks through the wall,
in the spring rain.
Lighting one candle
with another candle;
an evening of spring.

buson 1716 - 1783

the images used to support the haiku were obtained from all over the net. my thanks to those uncredited individuals for their lovely work.

Monday, November 12, 2007

transformative benevolence

for my one hundredth posting, i would like to share with you some very beautiful music.

this piece of music is entitled “introductory soundscape” and can be found on a king crimson dvd entitled “eyes wide open”. it allows the viewer and audient several simultaneous experiences.
- the experiencing of the layering effect of the soundscapes as generated through ones man’s plucking and bending of the strings of his guitar and as processed through his rack of effects.
- the opportunity to view the process of creation.
- the opportunity to experience the arrival of music.
- the transformative benevolence of music.

the musician robert fripp surrounded by a few of his tools.

the solar voyager - a set of eventides that allow access to the nether regions of music and sometimes even, the place where music comes from:

finally. i'd like to share an excerpt from a larger piece of music played at the atrium of the world trade centre in new york in november of 2000. robert was artist-in-residence at the wtc for a week back then and delivered a series of concerts. of that time he wrote this in his journal:

Thursday night 30th. November, 2000; 01.05
Chez Brainin, NJ.
I love this space. At lunch equipment problems three times in a row forced me to go in another musical direction to the one intended. I trust when this happens, so I followed where it lead. This evening, I continued in the same direction. Interestingly, I was unable to push the music somewhere else. Technical concerns aside, something was going on.

Tuesday 19th. April, 2005; 09.41
DGM HQ, Wiltshire, England.
In personal remembrance of my professional life, the performances in the Atrium of the World Financial Center have continued to resonate as something of an event. To decline an invitation to re-open the reconstructed Atrium in 2003, while King Crimson was touring, was a matter of deep regret.The privilege of playing music within this remarkable space was balanced by extraordinary demands for photography, autography, filming, recording and forms of personal attention. It seems that, to present much of anything in a public context, is an unlikely undertaking. Nevertheless, I persist.
robert fripp: refraction

affirming. denying. reconciling.
robert fripp. musician.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

riches beneath the surface

a beautiful, bright sunday morning. eight below zero outside and frost on the roofs.

a while ago i posted images of nebulae accompanied by text referring to david bohm who at one point in his writings suggested that the underlying force organizing, sustaining, and binding the universe - or whatever the all of everything is actually called - is love.

i thought it might be nice to go to the other end of the perceived spectrum of our experiencing of the universe. microphotography blends art and science such that our appreciation of the visible takes on a more substantial respect for the incredible beauty of our little world and all the smaller worlds comprising it.

i came across these images:


Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cross section of a
lavender leaf (Lavandula augustifolia). Numerous dense branched
hairs (trichomes) cover the leaf's surface. These have both a protective
function against pests and serve to reduce evaporation from the leaf.
The pale-brown, rounded structure in the lower centre is an oil gland
which produces the plant's aromatic oil. Lavender is a herb which grows
wild in the Mediterranean region, but is farmed all over the world.
Magnification: 590 X.

marigold petal hairs

SEM of the petal from a common marigold plant (Calendula officinalis).
Many white hairs, known as trichomes are seen covering the surface
of the petal. In the upper right area, yellow colored pollen grains can
be seen. These are the male reproductive gametes of the plant.
The petals of marigolds are widely used in herbal remedies. They
contain compounds such as caretinoids, esters and resins which can
be made into teas, creams, oils and ointments to treat wounds and
headaches. Magnification: 180 X.

butterfly scales

Colored Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of scales from the wing
of a peacock butterfly (Inachis o). These scales have an intricate
design and overlap like the tiles on a roof. They allow heat and light
to enter and also help the butterfly to retain warmth. They may also
be very colorful. Magnification: 750 X

all images and text courtesy of:

being an inquisitive sort who is typically dissatisfied with stopping at the surface of matters (no pun intended given the preceeding photographs), i got to thinking about the reading i have done around quantum physics and string theory and lo and behold along comes a quirks and quarks episode that is freely available as an mp3 download or as a podcast accessed through itunes that covers very current thinking around the origins of the universe. this is stuff that occurs in the all of everything and in sub quark territory simultaneously. quirks and quarks is an incredible show in that it accesses knowledgeable people who attempt to make the inaccessible, accessible.

the link for the latest episode which deals with the ideas of several people regarding our pre big bang universe is here:
quirks archives

the podcast link which allows either individual shows or all available shows to be downloaded or even for you to simply subscribe is here: quirks podcast

Saturday, November 10, 2007

the fish woman

well it's saturday morning. bright yellow sun is making its way through the shuttered blinds on the front window and a day spreads before me that includes another running race. this one is called "the dirty duathlon", so named because its participants tend to end up covered in mud and twigs and leaf bits and other natural detritus. i'm one half of a relay team that includes my neighbour matt who will be riding his mountain bike. the race starts with me cracking off 3.8 k along trails that wind up and down and across sir sandford fleming college's property. i run in and tag matt who then takes off and covers 10k as quickly as possible on his bike, and then i force my body to run a further 3.8k, and we greet each other like long lost souls as i cross the finish line. well, that's the plan anyway. i'll let you know how it goes.

i should add that matt has purchased some post race beverages to help speed up the flushing out of the lactic acid in our bodies, so the post may be a little late and/or a little muzzy.

the golden fish r and d team met yesterday and realized that a suitably fishy story hadn't been upped for quite some time and that perhaps readers and viewers alike were wondering what's up? so we've dug up an old chestnut of a story from russia. to accompany the text are two paintings by marc chagall.

"blue fish"


There was a man who lived alone and was poor and destitute. He had no fish nets, nor even a single fish hook. So he went to the merchants, asking for a hook.

The first and the second merchant gruffly refused him. A third one gave him an old hook, without point. He took it and prepared a long fishing-rod for it. Armed with this, he went every day to the sea to angle. He was fishing the whole day long, and caught nothing. The next day likewise he caught nothing. The third day he cast his fishing rod, and could not pull back the line, it was so heavy. "Ah!" thought he, "it must be some large fish." He pulled at it with all his might, and at last he brought to the surface Shérkala, the fish-girl. "What is it?" said he to himself. "Is it my good luck, or is it my bad luck?" He was ready to throw her back into the water; but then he bethought himself, and said, "I am very poor. I can lose nothing by it, let me take her home!"

He took Shérkala home and laid her down in the corner of his house. The next morning he went fishing again. He caught nothing at all; but when he came home, his house looked quite festive. Everything was well cleaned and in good order; a good meal stood ready on the table; but nobody was there, and the Shérkala-Fish lay in the corner just as before.

From that time on everything continued in that manner. He caught no fish; but somebody kept the house in good order, and cooked excellent meals of nothing. When he stayed at home, the dinner would not appear, so that he was obliged to go out every morning.

One day he pretended to depart; but, instead of going away, he lay down on the earth bench close to the window. He lay there very quietly; but after a while he lifted his head and looked through the window. The Shérkala-Fish arose as far as her tail, and then turned into a young pretty girl. She ripped up her own belly and took out fish-roe, which she put into the kettle. Then she swept the floor and put everything in good order. The man suddenly rushed in and caught the fish skin of Shérkala, which lay on the floor. He threw it into the fire, and it was burned.

"What have you done," said the girl. "We lived so happily, and now I must go away." She fell down and melted away into sea water.

The end.

Told by Innocent Korkin, a Russianized Yukaghir man, in the village of Pokhotsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1896.

original text available at:

"time is a river without banks"

Friday, November 9, 2007

what's this?

oh hello! it's friday and the evening is blissfully free of commitments and so i'll share the morning's beginning with you in all it's crystal splendour!
here 'tis:

the ride in was on the cool moist side of recent rides but entirely lovely and even more lovely because of this late evening snowfall covering everything with a thin marshmallow coating! the picture is of the view immediately outside the front door. i woke to this wondrous white scene and (speaking exclusively from a biker's perspective) roads that were wet but not snowy.

anyhow, at the risk of being repetitious, it's friday and that could mean that you'll manage to find yourself twenty uninterrupted minutes. so, perhaps you'd like to plan to spend that time watching a very,very early film (1904) depicting all kinds of steampunkish modernity and newness and especially clever machines and even cleverer plans!
here you are:

guinness domino effect commercial

this advert for guinness was filmed in a remote argentinian village and took several weeks to shoot. apparently several scenes had to be reshot several times. it's a really clever bit of film making. i notice some of the villagers jubilantly hoisting pints at the end. i wonder what they thought of the stuff?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

except in you

i'm running on fumes this week . . . chiselling at the heap of professional and personal commitments and obligations that doesn't get smaller but morphs from day to day in terms of its content. i recognized this in myself when at the beginning of the week i thought "a week off would be really good right about now" and recognized as i thought it that i would use that week to catch up on all the work and household tasks that i'm not keeping up with. inside that mix is a lot less personal time to care for myself than is necessary and so i will be looking at managing my next few days a little differently in order to allow for some "on-the-fly" healing and energizing.

the sun is tucked away this morning behind clouds that are going to choose later on whether to rain or snow.

except in you
my loveliest,
may move may rest
--you bring

(out of dark the
earth) a
procession of
huger than prove
our fears

were hopes:the moon
for you and close
will shy
wings of because;
each why

of star (afloat
on not
quite less than all
of time)
gives you skilful
his flame

so is your heart
of languages
there's none
but well she knows;
and can

perfectly speak
and rainbow mind
and soul
and april)

who younger than
are, the worlds move
in your
(and rest,my love)

e.e. cummings

this image is a tissue paper collage created by jungian analyst dr. edith wallace. edith is connected with the duversity which can be found here:
go here to see the similarly extraordinary work of karen stefano:
go here to find out how its done - and why:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

halls of commerce

on a trip to toronto a couple of years ago, my son dawson and i took a walk around the downtown area. we came across this building and went inside. if my memory serves me correctly, it’s on bay street.

when we entered the building, passing through the ubiquitous revolving doors, i felt as if i had walked into a cathedral. but not the kind of cathedral i am drawn to. rather a static facility brought to life only by the people moving in and through it. a cold inert sort of energy filled the space and it had a decidedly non-spiritual feel to it. but the soaring forms arcing overhead and the choice of colour drew me in to look at it and take pictures. over the intervening time i have come to think of these two images as my “cathedral of pecuniary opportunity” images.

for those of you used to older market halls and railway terminii, these images may evoke memories of such places but on a much grander scale.

it's a brave design if only because there is so much open space. also it has an outlet to the sky through the ceiling which, for those of you who have spent any time in the larger buildings of downtown anywhere, is a rare experience. the choice of colour is unusual, sitting just off the edge of teal.