No One is Reading This

November 6, 2011

Proust Questionairre

Filed under: Art Matters,Humour,World View — Ninja @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Living in Japan with a freelance, work from home job.

2. What is your greatest fear?

A ninja is afraid of nothing.

3. What do you consider your greatest acheivement?

Building my home.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Impatience

5. Which living person do you most admire?

Tina Fey

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

My computer and other electronic equipment.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Apprehension and anticipation.

8. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Who’s fat ass is that?

9. What is the quality you like most in a woman?

Perceptiveness.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife.

11. Who are your favourite writers?

Proust, Tolkien, Herman Melville, Jeannette Winterson, Anne-Marie MacDonald, Douglas Hofstadter, Yukio Mishima, T.S.Elliot

12. When and where were you the happiest?

Right now.

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Who you calling a fat ass?

14. Where would you like to live?

Japan.

15.  What is your most marked characteristic?

My passion and enthusiasm. Oh wait. Is that two?

16. Who are your heroes in real life?

The Wachowski Brothers, The Coen Brothers, Tina Fey, Marg Delahunty, Special K.

17. How would you like to die?

Reading a book peacefully either in bed or gazing out the window at the autumn leaves.

18. What is your motto?

If what you’re doing is not going to matter in 100 years, don’t worry about it.

 

August 5, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 196 – Pride 2011 – An Interview…or Two

Listen to the show at

Dina Paige explains SIS (Photo by Ninja)

At 1:20am on the morning of Saturday June 28, 1969, police entered a Mafia run gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. It is still located at 51 and 53 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village New York. The police had raided the establishment countless times before to take their payoffs. It appears that the combination of delays getting patrol wagons to the site, police mis-communications, and undoubtedly, a growing sense of frustration with the constant raids, a riot broke out on the street, amid crys of “Gay Power”, against the police. Michael Fader, quoted by David Carter in the book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, explained:

We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration…. Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.   (source: Wikipedia)

This period in American history also coincided with other civil and social movements of the time, including the African-American civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s and the anti-war movement. The riots lasted for the next six days. It stands as a marker and pivotal moment when the gay liberation movement in North America came of age. Since that year, the last weekend of June has been a weekend of choice for Gay Pride parades, the world over. During the 1970s, Toronto had over the years various events to mark gay pride, but in 1981, after the Toronto bathhouse raids by police where 306 men were arrested, Lesbian and Gay Pride day was incorporated and Toronto’s first official celebration occurred on Sunday June 28.

This year the parade – known simply in Toronto now as “Pride” or the “Pride Parade” was held on July 3 during the Canada Day and American July 4th long weekend. The first year since 1981 that Pride Day wasn’t held on the last Sunday of June was in 2010 when the G20 summit literally closed down the Toronto core during the last week of June. Now it seems that between the city and the Pride Committee, the decision stands to hold it on the long weekend in July, a move that barely conceals the money making, tourism, and commercial nature of the week long Pride festivities.

I am not alone in feeling this way among Toronto queers, but we all don’t feel that way either as CP tells me in today’s show recorded during the pride weekend this year. I should apologize to CP because she might actually wished I referred to her as SP. So…sorry about that SP. D’oh. In today’s show I also talk to Dina Paige, a woman who has created the S.I.S. or the Sexuality Identification System. Using different categories, I can chart my level of femaleness, maleness or gender ambiguity that show where on the gender spectrum I define myself. I spend a few minutes talking to her about that. Enjoy the show.
Listen at:

HotFRM 196 (16mb)

July 30, 2011

This Just In: Science Explains Evil – The Media Assures Me So

In the aftermath of the horror that took place in Norway recently, the headline on the Globe and Mail print version today reads:  Can Science Really Explain Evil?   Doesn’t that seem just a bit sarcastic to you?  It did to me.  Let’s have a look at that statement – shall we?   First of all the statement belies an underlying assumption about science as an authority that makes you sit up and ask challengingly, “Yeah? Can they?”  Note that I did not write it. I wrote they. That is because here is another assumption:  That science represents a group of people rather than a system of knowledge.  Now let’s imagine that I am ultra-religious.  Or even a little bit religious. Or even religious in a tiny way ; in a way that has been unexamined, say the type of faith you have in a belief that you have never bothered to question. Like Christmas: good; Ramadan: makes me feel funny and uncomfortable.  In this case the belief is:  There is a group of people called scientists that arrogantly believe they can solve the mystery of life, the universe and everything (to turn a phrase).  Oh and by the way these stuck up geeks think I caused global warming.   This ingrained belief in the truth of what a scientist really is leads me to the next question:  If science can’t explain evil, what can?  What is the next choice?  Oh!  Maybe faith?  Maybe religion?  It doesn’t matter. The question is the hook that makes you buy the paper.   If you’re a skeptic like me, the last thing you want to do is fork out the coin.  Instead I went to the internet version and read the associated article.  Nowhere in the article is there any implication or certainty that science has the answer to this pseudo-authoritative question.  I’ll repeat it again – just in case you forgot : Can Science Really Explain Evil?  Who said science ever did?   There is only discussion of neuroscience and psychology.   In fact one of the more banal statements that is made in the article is that the scientist, who is representing the complexity of this question, reveals that empathy is on a spectrum and that “The spectrum approach reminds us that none of us are angels and none of [us] is the devil [sic] …”  Well.  Thank you so much for that gem of wisdom. Now I understand everything.   You may be wondering as I did, why there is no mention of that other discipline that explores the problems of our day known as philosophy.   Oh, but in the article, there is.  It is explained that the scientist’s “…investigations are more practical than philosophical”.   It seems to me – call me a little out of it – that neuroscience and psychology, being rather young disciplines, ought not to have been called upon to explain the question of acts as disturbing and vile as the recent events in Norway.   Philosophy is wanting because, well, it’s difficult to distill and present the difficult concepts to a layperson – especially when, as a writer, you are trying to make deadline to keep the paper afloat in these times of yellow journalism.  And anyway – philosophy is way beyond what most of us can handle in the age of quick sounds-bites and headlines delivered to our already overflowing inboxes.

Was the media ever anything more than yellow journalism?   That’s a good question to ask too.  And mostly I want all of us to ask a lot of questions.

December 20, 2010

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 189 – PodCursing Meetup



Listen to the show :

Vachon Cakes Associated with Quebecois

When the Scarborough Dude shows up, you can bet that the conversation will not be safe for work and the podcaster meetup in December was no exception.  We start out discussing C words, the W and T word, J word, D word and F word. We then effortlessly move onto the discussion of violence – domestic and workplace.  Talking out of my ass, I refer to bill 184, but what I really meant was bill 168. This bill came into affect on June 15 2010 and amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act specifically with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace. Bill 184 is an act to amend the floral emblem act – not remotely related to workplace harassment or violence. I for one come away less closer than I expected to a working definition of psychological versus physical violence.

So you are forewarned. Don’t play it full blast at your cube or within ear’s reach of your mother or nana.

Political issues discussed: Nanny State, Treason, The FLQ crisis, Pierre LaPorte, and Julian Assange.   Fictional heros mentioned: Lisbeth Salander. Deserts mentioned in a pejorative way : May West, the uniquely Canadian fluffy cake snack, not the film and entertainment sex symbol of the early 20th century.
Podcasters present:  ValerieThe Dude, The Dude Again with Brent, Closet Geek (Brent)


Listen to the show:

November 28, 2010

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 188 – Coffee with Tyffanie

Beer Chicken

On a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon in November, Ninja calls Tyffanie Morgan (of Breakfast With Tyffanie). She hails from Kingston, Canada, has been a host of the Kingston’s Gender Bender community radio show, and speaks from time to time on social media.

While Ninja sips her delicious coffee, they discuss the subtleties of cooking beer can chicken on the grill, gardening, yard vermin, gender bending, musicals, queer politics, have the requisite meta-talk about podcasting, social media and Podcasters across Borders. There may or may not spoilers in this show about Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. She didn’t specify which kind of beer she used for her chicken. Broadway Shows mentioned: Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Classic Canadian Plays mentioned: Hosanna. Canadian small towns mentioned: Picton. Iconic Gay Music mentioned: Madonna, ABBA, Disco Podcamps mentioned: Podcasters Across BordersPodcamp Toronto

Other Links

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/cuirette

http://www.rabble.ca/

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Hosanna by Michel Tremblay

Tyffanie's Podcast (when she posts)

Listen to the show at:

 

September 1, 2009

The Search for Comfort is Not the Same as the Search for God

religion-dm-500-789995

Hellbound Alleee of Mondo Diablo fame gets it right on the nose.  There is no rhyme nor reason to the world and this life.  There doesn’t have to be.  But that is not the subject of this post.   I am responding to her episode number 195 of Mondo Diablo where a believer says that the number one question of non-believers is “Why is there evil if there is a god?”.  Of course it’s the number one question that non-believers asks because the answer, that normally involves how god gave us free will to test our faith, is incomprehensible. It simply does not answer the question.   This whole business of free will and its relationship to evil begs the question of god,  as Alleee points out in Mondo Diablo #195 :    “What, indeed, do we need god for if we have free will”, she asks.  What exactly would be the point?

The whole question of a free will and the fallen world is very foreign to all other non-christian religions because no other religion has this concept of original sin.   Why bother to create an Adam and Eve if they’re going to disappoint you and once they’ve disappointed you why not just destroy the world and all its sinners and start over?  Oh sorry.  Is that what is supposed to happen with the coming of the apocalypse and Armageddon?  One might argue that the ways of the superior being are not understandable to us.   Then why bother at all believing?  If his ways are not penetrable, then why should I waste one moment on it?  I’ll tell you why:  because there are only about 1.5 billion of us in the world who are self described non-believers in a god and the rest believe in one (or many), much to the  puzzlement of non-believers, who spend a considerable amount of time defending ourselves against this offense to our sensibilities called “belief in a god and all that it means.”

Alleee hits another one right on the sweet spot in that episode.  I have to say it again because I love it:  “The search for comfort is not the same as the search for god.”   These are indeed and importantly two very different things.  A god is a very terrible thing to believe in.  A “bubba meisis” as my mother would say, “an old wive’s tale”, a scary monster thing to tell your children to keep them in line.   And then we tell them that it’s ok to believe in the scary monster because they’ll be rewarded when they die by some other fabrication called heaven or resurrection or rebirth as a brahmin, or with virgins in an afterlife that they can rape with abandon.

On the other hand I would like very much to remind Alleee how she got here –  Her wonderful show Mondo Diablo, that I have been enjoying for 4 years wouldn’t even exist if it were not for someone’s belief in god.  How’s that for a slap in the face?

hellbound_alleee

July 19, 2009

50 Things About Me That No One Will Ever Read

Filed under: Humour,World View — Ninja @ 1:15 am

1. What time did you get up this morning
7:00am

2. How do you like your steak?
Medium Rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Uchôten Hoteru

4. What is your favorite TV show?
30 Rock

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Japan

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Low Carb/High Protein Breakfast Bar and 250ml of soy milk

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Japanese

8. What foods do you dislike?
Cooked carrots

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Sushi Bar

10. Favorite dressing?
balsamic vinegar

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
mazda

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Loose Cotton Lounge Wear

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
New York

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full
1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire?
Gay Retirement Home

16. Favorite time of day?
Just Before Sunset

17. Where were you born?
Toronto

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Bronco Bucking

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
I don’t know what this means.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
Blah I don’t know what this means.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
Any one who reads this and that will be about 0.

22. Bird watcher?
No.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Night.

24. Pets?
No.

25. Any new and exciting news that you’d like to share?
Big Screen TV

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
Courier de Bois.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
My baby brother coming home from the hospital

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
Cat

29. Are you married?
Yes.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Of Course.

31. Been in a car accident?
Yes.

32. Any pet peeves?
Mendacity

33. Favorite pizza topping?
Tomato Sauce

34. Favorite Flower?
Portulaca

35. Favorite ice cream?
Vanilla

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Wendy’s

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?
I lost count

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Some spammer

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Any Computer Store

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
No.

41. Like your job?
Yes.

42. Broccoli?
Yes.

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Japan

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Special K.

45. What are you listening to right now?
The wind.

46. What is your favorite color?
Green

47. How many tattoos do you have?
One temporary tattoo of a mummy that the neighbour’s daughter just gave me.

48.How many are you tagging for this quiz?
None

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
21:00.

50. Coffee Drinker?
Yes.

April 4, 2009

Famous Seduction Line

Filed under: Humour,World View — Ninja @ 2:06 am
Tags: , , , , ,
love-is-messy-sean-moroney

Love is messy by Sean Moroney

“…love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything…We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people… and die”  What Ronny said to Loretta in Moonstruck to get her into bed.  It worked.

March 3, 2009

Am I Just a Bag of Chemicals?

Well?  What if I am just a bag of chemicals?  I like to think I am something more.   Something more than water and empty space sloshing around inside an elastic container responding electrically to everything.  Suppose my consciousness and identity are just that.  Rapid electric firing of neurons that fool the body into believing it is more than the sum of its parts.   I open my mouth and sound comes out – so what you understand it.   You’re just the same kind of lifeless bag of sloshing chemicals that I am that gets the noise.

Yes I can buy it on a certain level that my so called awareness identity and very strong sense of self is just the chemicals telling me so.  Then I have about as much consciousness as Marvin the Robot and almost as depressed.

marvin_the_robot

I'm So Depressed

November 11, 2008

Neuro-Bio Gems from Jonah Lehrer

Filed under: Art Matters,World View — Ninja @ 3:19 am

pillar8-thought-and-art-vitruvian-man-leonardo-da-vinci

I give Proust was a Neuroscientist an 8 out of 10 for its ability to provoke thought in me and allow me to contemplate on my own assumptions about creativity, genius and the mind/body split.    If I ask you to visualize someone who is creative and/or brilliant what sort of person do you think about?  Special K thinks of Leonardo Da Vinci.   I think of some young mathematician.  Often I think of some young person who burns out his or her flame brilliantly and quickly – like Rimbaud, Michael Jackson, or Boy George.  Athletes often fall into this category.  Their talents are external.  They are so obviously dependent on the ability of their bodies to perform according to a range of activity that is almost never available to our aging shells.

In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks writes about a forty-two year old man who after he was struck by lightening, becomes a musical prodigy.  Sacks loves to write about people who, at various points in their lives, because of neurological changes, develop talents previously unknown to them.  In Proust was a Neuroscientist, Lehrer instead focuses on established artists who reveal neuroscience through their art.  He explores where the body ends and mind begins and vice versa.  He asks what it means to be aware and conscious as human beings.   Personally, I tend to think that we are just a random collection of protein.  And that there is no distinction between the mind and the body.  My mind is in my toes and heart as much as it is in my brain. My brain is simply where the electronics gather to interpret.    About our experience inside ourselves, Virgina Woolf said: “We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself “.   And in reponse to this process, Leher is comfortable asserting that “…only the artist [is] able to describe reality as it [is] actually experienced”. Here are some of the other ways that Lehrer describes that same experience:

…the mind is not a place: it’s a process.

The self is simply…the story we tell ourselves about our experiences.

Reality is not out there waiting to be witnessed; reality is made by the mind.

When it comes to the drama of feelings, our flesh is its stage.

proust-par-je-blanche

Marcel Proust

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