Hose Me Down, Folks!

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Hose Initiation for Hosers

This quick email to my neighbour sent at 7:45 a.m. today:

Before its first use… this new and “improved” hose recommends that it be extended in the sun for several hours as straight as possible with the pressure turned on at the tap. I have done my best. I assumed you wouldn’t mind it extending 6 feet onto your lawn.
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Why? So that it will kink as little as possible.
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Whatever happened to plain old rubber??
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No… I haven’t gone crazy – yet…
The “architect” of this particular hose probably has…
Wish I’d read the fine print…
I’ll put it away at 2 PM.
Cheers,
Bob
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Defending a Masterpiece

I have noticed over the years a shrinking of the best classics in English and French on Brampton’s library shelves. This has concerned me because I have slowly come to appreciate some of the truly great books and authors in the history of literature.
The most inspiring source of my literary “dabbling” in the past two decades has been Eleanor Wachtel’s amazing literary interviews on CBC Radio in her Sunday afternoon program, Writers and Company. She is, I think, the best literary interviewer on the Planet.
What took me by surprise in May was the shrinking of of the library’s adult French section. This is because I was looking for Madame Bovary in French, as a result of Wachtel’s interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard, the brilliant Norwegian, who described Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as his “favourite book of all time.”
I wanted to borrow the original French version. (I thought I would respect the years Flaubert put in to meticulously completing, in 1857, his first and most famous novel that changed literature forever.)
The librarian could not find the adult French section. I located it by accident in June.
She did check on the computer and said Madame Bovary was not in any of the library branches of this city of over half a million people.
And I’m shocked that Wikipedia’s article on Brampton does not even contain the word, “French.”
I, an anglophone of French/English/Irish descent raised in Montreal, with no “axe” to grind, am saddened to see this, and to find that nowhere in any Brampton’s eight libraries did a version of this first modern novel ever written exist in French.
So I requested it in French and waited until May 23 when it was delivered from the library in Acton, Ontario, population 9500, now amalgamated into the Town of Halton Hills.
French is not my first language and I spent the first three weeks getting through Thierry Laget’s brilliant preface, while listing listing the many words I had to look up. Then I noticed that, having been borrowed from another district, it was not renewable. I brought the book back on its due date and was again helped wonderfully by the person who served me. She renewed it on her own initiative for a week.
The Brampton Library has agreed to add more true classics like this to their shelves.
You can purchase the book and support Toronto’s Librairie Mosaïque  here.
This unique, deep, and shining masterpiece should be widely available across Canada and the world.
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I now own the Thierry Laget paperback edition and will treasure it always.

Will Ontarians NOW Get That FPTP Stinks?

Premier Doug Ford (eeewwww….) can destroy what he wants in Ontario for a minimum of four years, and this tragic development is Ontarians’ (and Canadians’) own fault for being among the very few places on Earth that still use a neanderthal, First Past The Post electoral system.

Now I’m going to gargle and brush my teeth….

Last Year’s Burrs – This Year’s Buds

This morning’s light gave us good birding. We welcomed the male R-B Grosbeak for the first time this year. The Cape Mays were around and a female Yellow Warbler in addition to the plentiful Myrtles. Spotted the male Northern Oriole singing to us high in a maple on our way back for breakfast. A nice start to Mother’s Day with my spotter!

This is the peak of the Spring migration. We hope for hummingbirds at our feeder as they move north and maybe, just maybe,  a pair will stay all summer….

Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Mirrors

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Up close with an iPad, composition can be tricky…

Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition, her first in 20 years, was a quick 30 s  (her concept) in half a dozen small rooms that used mirrors and light to create a startling sense of infinity. This is part of one of the external presentations. I didn’t have much time to compose this, but am happy with the result.

I’ve realized in the past few years that, with experience, composition becomes instinctual. A visual seventh  sense that does not require a processing of all the rules.

 

 

Degrowth: Further Notes from 2014

These are valuable notes that I did not include in my post, La Mouvement Décroissance in October 2014. I had planned to revise and post them later. Here they are, much later.

Many of the ideas I’ll present below are obvious and have been known for decades. If we are to truly share the resources of our finite planet fairly with fellow humans and other living things we must make serious changes now. As Naomi Klein points out in her latest book, This Changes Everything, if we want to avoid the most horrific of futures we need to change what we’re doing fast. The time to dither and debate has disappeared. Klein argues here that the present grow-or-die model of capitalism is simply incompatible with human survival. See my Sept. 15 post on this topic here.

What is relatively new to me is the latest activity of the small, experimental, Degrowth Movement communities that are happily choosing to live very frugally as we must live some day all too soon. They go without many of the luxuries that we take for granted, recognizing that, if everyone on the planet were to consume resources at the rate of the average Canadian, we would need several more Earths immediately. This was pointed out 15 years ago in David Suzuki’s 1999 book, From Naked Ape To Superspecies on page 42. And Richard Branson ain’t gonna get us that far alive, hoes and pitchforks in hand, anytime soon.

Suzuki and his family have been walking the talk for a long time. He lists,  in a gentle, inspirational style at the end of The Sacred Balance, many things that we could do to reduce our human footprint on the Earth.

A simple list of ten ways we can make significant changes is also given here.

 

Footnotes:

Vandana Shiva, The “Seed Lady,” has been protecting India’s indigenous seeds from being patented of for over three decades.  She is a dedicated activist and is involved in the leadership of many organizations around the world dedicated to  biodiversity. Her work opposes the patenting of seeds and the practice of monoculture agriculture in general, preferring the planting of many things (food, herbs, medicinal plants) in natural soil the way Indian farmers have done it for centuries. Read her impressive life story here. Or observe her brilliance in this YouTube video – Part 1 of The Future of Food. Her movement, Navdanya, which she founded in 1991, is many faceted but is best known for the banks of seeds it has saved from extinction. Navdanya means “Nine Crops” – these are the essential sources of India’s food and she is fighting to save them.

Ideas From David Suzuki’s The Sacred Balance: Continue reading “Degrowth: Further Notes from 2014”