Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congratulations and thanks to these companies

The anti-piracy legislation before the USA government at the moment will greatly reduce access to information on the internet.

"These bills could prevent you participating online again ....a 'consumption only' internet is starting to look like the goal of these bills."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A small but important dilemna

I've known M for about 20 years - although not very well.  So that not having seen her for years was not unusual.  I can't remember how or why we met, or how we made any kind of connection: mutual acquaintances possibly, or  just random.
She was around my age group, and I knew that she was an adopted child of a family with some social prominence.
"I was cherished," she said.  "Cherished".   A wonderful childhood memory.
She was warm and chatty and artistic: 2 items together were 2 items together, she said:  but 3 created a whole different entity.  Puting 3 together, you needed to watch what you were creating.  She painted pleasant and skilled watercolours.
 I don't think she would have known anything of my background, because she liked to talk, not question,  and she liked to socialise in groups, (which I don't).   She visited me here, and was always welcome to visit me here: but that hadn't happened for a long time.
Her adult life, I gather, had not really been very happy.   Her husband was not simpatico, and she clung to the social group that she felt she belonged to - and why not? - altho her husband didn't fit in, and finances made this increasingly desperate in the decades since her husband's death.  This from others, not from her.
I asked a mutual friend about her a month or 2 ago, and she said that she had moved to some kind of seniors' centre.
Today, in the online newspaper, there is notice of her funeral. 
My particular dilemna is that I have a copy of Khalil Gibran that M lent me. 
It had been given to her by her beloved daughter, who committed suicide as a very young woman/girl.
What do I do with it?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The perils of being an early adopter

I don't know how I came across Hypochondria Jones blog from 2005

But I thought it was sad and funny, and would like to read more of her.   I regretted that most of the few responses seemed to be from sleazes. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Surprise! Things change.

The waters of Nakhodka Port were the black of death, non life, Styx, some anti-life force, when I first saw them.  The water rippled sluggishly, weighted down with oil and rubbish and jetsam.  An arc of settlement around the harbour showed faded peeling pastel stucco, as the revolution, or Stalin, proscribed in its destructive path across eastern Russia.
What changes this to the photo above, which I would once have thought to be a fanciful dream?
Relinquishing fear?
Capiltalism seeing and exploiting an opportunity?
Ecological enlightenment?
All of the above?
None of the above: just the force of history?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I watched "The Bear Man of Kamchatka" last night.  I slightly envy, but mostly admire, people like Charlie Russell who have forged themselves such admirable lives.
Once, in a Moscow restaurant, a man tried to convey, with astonishment, to his - say 11 year old - son, that I came from somewhere as exotic as Australia.  He and his son came from somewhere as banal as Kamchatka.  (Irony alert - we were both agog).  At that time I was adept at illustrating my provenance by drawing a kangaroo.
3 or 4 of us had made a group. Jules was a NZedder in his 70s, well heeled.   Jules took us to a Russian nightclub. At the hotel desk he asked for a cab. "What?" said the receptionist.  "A cab!  A cab!" said Jules.  Her face closed and turned away.  "We don't have those in Russia," she said.   "Taxi", said I.  "Oh yes, " said she.  And there it was.
The nightclub was a fairly disspiriting affair.  Rows of healthy, unsophisticated,  glum looking girls dancing  in high heels and socks, who occasionally twirled so that their skirts rose to display the awful Russian underwear.
We didn't look for a cab/taxi back to the hotel: caught a bus or a tram - I forget which - and got off when we felt it was about right.
We walked to the corner, turned it, and there before us was the splendour of the cobbled Red Square, with the excessively gorgeous St Basil's cathedral illuminated in its centre.  On our right was the  grim structure of the Kremlin.  The clock struck midnight, and we saw the mechanistic changing of the guards at Lenin's tomb.

Going to Europe later was something of an anticlimax.  Well, a disappointment, by and large, although I enjoyed myself and learned a lot, largely through the Americans I met who befriended me everywhere, talked, argued, informed and. among other things, took me to "Hair", to stay with them at a Cambridge college and to take brass rubbings. Why am I not more generous to Americans when I have enjoyed them so much?   On the other hand there were these handsome, healthy, well built young men, oozing with privilege, who would  accost one outside American Express offices,  confidently asking for handouts, as if entitled.  They are probably all bankers now.  The other side.

Taxi, police, beer... close to universal words in my experience,

My father was...yes, we have long generations in my Canadian logging camps in the 1920s.  He had photos  - my niece should have them now, but perhaps she has mislaid them - of twin grizzly cubs who used to turn up each day to be fed porridge by the men.  Their mother lurked watchfully in the trees.  So, Charlie has not been alone, or even the forerunner in knowing that grizzly does not necessarily mean "grizzly". It's about time we stopped all the killing, don't you think?