Archive for July, 2023

Out and about today

God bless this mighty spirit

The first time I saw Sinéad O’Connor I was with my friend Joseph at his Buffalo apartment, watching the Grammy Awards on television. After she was done, we just kind of looked at each other, stunned. I wondered, “Is that even allowed?” – my way of acknowledging that I had just experienced something brand new to me, and something truly important.

Even the memory of her singing this song … still stops me in my tracks.

Glionna from Italy

My friend John Glionna has been spending the summer in his ancestors’ home town in Italy, working on a book about the people there. One of the joys of this writer is the way he lets us see rough drafts of the book’s chapters emerge on his terrific blog. His “Pomarica Journal” is dazzling, vivid with the voices of others and with Glionna’s profound friendliness (and a customary goof or two). His photographs are really terrific, too.

(I’ve asked John to create a dedicated photo-gallery on his website. We’ll see what happens!)

My favourite Trotskyists are back strong

The folk at The International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) have been publishing two of my favourite radical periodicals, The Worker’s Vanguard and The Spartacist, for decades. I have probably learned more per sentence from these publications than from any other.

The organization’s output slowed to a drip during the pandemic, and I feared that the generations that had kept it going for so long were leaving or dying off; indeed, obituaries were filling the Vanguard. What in fact was happening was not a demise, though, but a debate. These Trotskyists were arguing among themselves about covid lockdowns and governmental restrictions on large gatherings, both of which they originally supported. A growing faction, however, began to see these lockdowns and restrictions as impediments to protest and communist organizing, impediments that undermined class consciousness and supported capitalist exploitation. The growing faction was victorious.

And the group started publishing its erudite propaganda again, at its former, prolific rate. Pick up their publications at your favourite radical bookstore! The Workers Vanguard is still just fifty cents.

Save the mural

Blank grey wall or … marvellous art – decisions!

Vancouver is one of my great loves, but it disappoints me again and again.

June 27:

Learning or remembering?

My “Usage Tip of the Day” from the great Bryan Garner:

I would like to say I already knew this one. It is pretty to think so, at any rate.

My partner gave me Bryan Garner’s Modern English Usage for Christmas (it’s terrific, and right beside me as I type).

Four-alarm fire

My Twitter widget seems to be down. Twitter ended WordPress “auto-sharing” a couple of months ago; this new loss is an even bigger drag. I want my homepage to be rich and welcoming.

Happy 4th of July

My son, Miles, sent me this link.

Happy Canada Day

Design by the late Kwakwaka’wakw artist Curtis Wilson.