Archive for July, 2015


I will be taking a leave of absence from my home website until Labour Day or thereabouts, to reflect, to rest my verbal brain, and to ‘deep clean’ and reorganize my old and silly sensorium. I am sending happy vibes to you.


… in Vancouver.

I *always* found the maintenance of green lawns to be a waste of time.  (The use of fertilizers made them especially displeasing, aesthetically, to the nose, and, environmentally, to the world.)

Now there is just no excuse. Don’t water your lawn. Don’t have a lawn.

“I’ve had some time to think about you”

“How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead?” sings Patty Griffin in “Long Ride Home.”  I love that line.  No personal pronouns.

The Muse

I’m not a great creative individual by any stretch, but I do respect my muse and do *not* screw with it.

My friend kat passed along this letter by musician Nick Cave, which he wrote to MTV in 1996, in which he explained that his muse was “not a horse.”

My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature. She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

Clarinetist Sidney Bechet called his marvelous memoir “Treat It Gentle.” The “it” wasn’t his instrument, or his or another person’s heart (oh, he was rough with those!); it was his muse, the mysterious source of his musical invention. That book scared the shit out of me. I know exactly what Cave means, above.

The respect vice pays to virtue

Liberals loathe the political Right’s hypocrisy and unfairness. Conservatives loathe the Left’s immorality and weakness. The groups’ estimations of their own qualities, though, are less precise.

The question of “hypocrisy” is particularly interesting. La Rochefoucauld noted that “hypocrisy is the respect vice pays to virtue.” One can’t be a hypocrite without recognizing that virtue – that morality – exists. This recognition it itself makes hypocrites superior (in their minds) even to decent, noble liberals who discount “morality” as dogmatic and unrealistic. Think of fundamentalist Christians who think that belief in Jesus is the sole criterion to enter heaven; one’s behaviour is beside the point. So, to the Right hypocrisy is a good thing, though they don’t say so.

American University Education

My students rightfully complain about their debt. They are better off than their American brothers and sisters, though. From Eschaton:

[H]ow do you expect people to start their careers with a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and then save for a downpayment, and then save for retirement. This is unpossible even with high paying jobs, which most people don’t have. It’s true that the magic of compound interest works really well if you start saving at age 21 and continue until retirement, but it’s also true that it’s stupid to save if investment returns are lower than the interest rates on the absurd amount of debt that you were supposed to rack up to enter civilized life. Really no one should go into this much debt to go to college, but The Kids Today don’t even have the option of cheap public universities like The Kids In My Day did. They’re cheaper then private schools, but not by much. …

Those who mock The Kids Today enrage me. Us olds had access to cheap public universities and we took that away from them. Also, too, gave them a shitty job market. Still let’s laugh about their beards and their tattoos and their ipods and their hippity hop and how lazy they are! Silly Kids Today. So lazy. Such silly interests. And all that debt! So irresponsible.