Something

The song is called “Something“.

After quickly searching for a lead sheet for the song as performed in 1996 here by Shirley Bassey on YouTube I decided to significantly modify what I found.

The song was written by George Harrison and appeared on the Beatles’ Abbey Road album released on October 6, 1969. I have just listened to the Beatles’ version and have just made more improvements that appear below in the five chord intro D D C A D (1 beat per chord) and replaced what was an F#m in the first line to a Dmaj7 (DM7) which doesn’t require a bar chord, leads more smoothly to the D7 and the first line can therefore be played D DM7 D7 G, with 4 beats on each chord.

This lead sheet is the result of my listening to Ms. Bassey’s beautiful rendition and making several important corrections to a lead sheet that I found. These were particularly in the two line bridge beginning with “You’re” and enhancements elsewhere based on what I heard in Bassey’s performance. This arrangement is in D and since Ms. Bassey’s performance was in F, guitarists will need a capo on the third fret when playing along.

Hope it helps…

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An Offer to “Help”

One doesn’t need much intelligence to form a picture of how thin the film is between our two “nations” – pesky, sometimes frustrating, Canada and our hugely-important U.S. trading “partner.”

PM Trudeau and Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, “fiddled” like Nero and will now possibly be seen as only having acted after this “offer to help” that, unveiled, might translate as: “If you don’t figure this out fast, we will…” forced them. I can see this crisis, worsened by the lack of a timely response by our above leaders, producing a shift to harsher Canadian governments run by the planet’s all-powerful “zero-point-oh-oh-oh-one-per-cent,” a precious few – mostly foreign – who run the Planet and are much less concerned about the average citizen than about their personal wealth. Hmmm… maybe we already are?

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I also expect that (following the current, fast-growing and sad losses endured by important major industries, innocent farmers and many already struggling trade-dependent business owners) greater capitalist “wins” will, in the long term, be made by the planet’s super-wealthy – who would, with their loved ones, fit inside just one of those trailers currently lined up at Windsor, Ontario or Coutts, Alberta.

Two possible examples of likely winners: the auto industry (in producing new, docile, driverless commercial vehicles and the construction industry in building more routes and mechanisms for goods to flow between the US and whatever remains of us, their neighbours.

And, perhaps the saddest human loss is our inability to appreciate that forcing a trucker, who spends most of the time in his/her cab, to either get vaccinated or fired is, in virtue of its uncertain worth, divisive, harsh and out of proportion to the good that it might do, in view of our lack of understanding of both human nature and the virus. It misses the big picture on which I hope I’ve shed a little light.

A Mild Winter

My youngest daughter’s young pup, “Saint” George, was with us for a few precious days earlier this month and later with her from Christmas Eve until yesterday.

He’s welcome any time.

The above ducks came over to hear him preach. He and my iPad tested my hands this day. The photos below are from a lovely solo walk yesterday. The geese are more plentiful than the ducks this year for some reason…

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On Canadian Hypocrisy – A Limerick

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Recently Canadian Cabinet Minister, Jody Wilson-Reybold, tried to respect the Rule of Law as Attorney-General of Canada in deciding to let the courts continue to prosecute Québec Company SNC Lavelin for paying bribes to land lucrative  Libyan contracts between 2001 and 2011. Shortly after that the Minister was demoted from her tricky dual role of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to Minister of Veterans Affairs by PM Justin Trudeau.

Flashback to the recent, embarrassing and ongoing fiasco in an extradition case requested by our frenetic regime to the south:

Prime Minister Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland repeated over and over and over that Canada is a Rule of Law country after arresting Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018 and holding her for extradition to the USA, where she may be prosecuted. President Trump made remarks that imply that the USA is using this threat of prosecution as a bargaining chip to get a better trade deal with China – all of this at the expense of Canada’s relationship with China and putting at serious risk three Canadians being prosecuted by the Chinese for various crimes. One of these, Robert Schellenberg has been convicted and, since the jailing of Ms Wanzhou, sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

 

Uncle Brother – A Novel

Barbara Lalla’s 2014 novel, Uncle Brother, published by The University of the West Indies Press, is a wise, culturally faithful and very funny tribute to heroism and loving personal sacrifice in family life. This third novel focuses on the subtle and not-so-subtle cultural and historical richness of the people of the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. Her first two novels, Cascade and Arch of Fire, focused on her native Jamaica, where she grew up, studied, and fell in love with a gifted young Trinidadian also at UWI in Mona. Her subsequent decades in Trinidad, where she lives, teaches and writes, have made possible this faithful and brilliant tribute that begins in the 19th century and ends in 2010, a decade into the twenty-first.

The book’s central character of “Nathan” found inspiration in a real person from a bustling rural town in southern Trinidad. Nathan is the fictional main “author” of his family’s story, put together from a treasure trove of notes and documents in English, including one in French and one in Hindi he has written or collected and saved through eight decades. Members of his family and friends also contribute their memories to the story. Both sides of the precocious Nathan’s family came from India in the 19th century when they were brought to Trinidad as indentured labourers after slavery from Africa had been “abolished.” The complexity of feelings produced by this continental uprooting is just one aspect of the history of Trinidad’s people that Lalla presents with great sensitivity and insight.

The scope of the story has enabled talented, perceptive, and poetically memorable reflections on both intensely personal and broader 21st century political issues. It describes the struggles of the folk on a small, multi-cultural, “multi-continental” island to endure a final century of colonial government and later govern themselves during over half a century of self-government after independence from Britain on 1 August, 1962.

One unforgettable example: Nathan’s 12-year-old sister, Judith, who often helped her mother in her “vegetable” garden, asks him about the descriptions of beautiful gardens by great English authors he has given her to read: “How could karaile and pumpkin and all the other things that grew in a garden like Ma’s be pretty?” Nathan soon after took her on a journey to Port of Spain to see the Royal Botanical Gardens. Judith reflects: “It made him still more godlike in my eyes, for although he had not made the garden he had placed me in it however briefly and it in me forever… ”

The story includes playful and often hilarious dialogue in Trinidad “English,” a combination of English and Creole French with the languages of other cultures, like Spanish, Hindi and Amerindian that have interacted over the centuries since Columbus arrived in 1498. A massive 12,000-entry testimony to the seductive pull of Trini-talk is Dictionary of the English Creole of Trinidad and Tobago by Canadian editor Lise Winer who has devoted many years to collecting and referencing a language that makes English itself richer.

This inspiring, captivating story is also a thriller that includes some violence and, toward the end, some vitally important suspense. It is a wonderful, mature tour-de-force by a sophisticated story-teller that combines many laugh-out-loud moments with a complex worldview and a deep understanding of the human psyche.

 

 

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.

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….

Our CBC: A Weapon of Mass Delusion

To The National,
If I needed proof that The National are pure and simple toeing the anti-Assad, anti-Russia line – I certainly got it last night. The White Helmets Acting Company put on their slick multi-million dollar show once more, getting prime coverage in the phoney (since 2013) “WMD-use” assault on Assad.
The CBC presented or ignored other issues in this segment designed to minimize awareness of the deadly, horrific interference committed during the continued, uninvited American presence in Syria.  We all know the consistent history of US-led criminal wars upon many other worldwide regime-change binge targets.
But to my point: I am now convinced in the insincerity  of virtually all CBC TV hosts. There have to be some doubters among you. Most of you are much too smart not to realize what is going on. So isn’t it about time for some resistance from at least some of you who are caving in or playing along with the relentless distraction and dumbing down (yes, you too, Carole MacNeil) of TV viewers to the point that they swallow or obsequiously read/hear what you and all of the international “quality” media are dishing out via the long-familiar, must be tired and jaded, faces on RussiaGate, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq etc.
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This sort of stuff is so bad it has probably been responsible for breaking up some homes, where one partner retches loudly while the other simply keeps swallowing.
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I remember as a pre-teen in the early 1950’s thinking that Russians were sub-human. Working in Britain in the early 1970’s I learned how much contempt the Brits once had for refugees from Eastern Europe. Do we want to go back to that? Seriously?
Perhaps your justification for weaponizing the news comes from a “patriotic” feeling that couch potatoes should be primed with propaganda as preparation for WWIII.
As a grandparent in these times, I can only shudder.