Categories
babbling Domestic Life Life misc Miscellaneous ramblings

Dying my wife's hair

The fun thing about colouring my wife’s hair isn’t about the hair so much, but more about the fact that we can talk and share our feelings more. My work keeps me so busy that I had to find ways to cut down on travel time, which is a barrier to things like exercise and finding further spare time to do things.

This morning (Saturday) I got up, went to work, did some heavy photocoying, which by the afternoon left only 1 hour in the gym before church. So I did that, came to church a bit late, then had a small supper and did my wife’s hair.

I think it is healthy for us to do things like that, since we can share our feelings, talk about things going on over the past week, and so on. It’s a great way to share things with each other. Of course, we both tell jokes also. It’s great.

She chose truffle brown.

Categories
bad art bad artwork Pop Culture

The anaesthetic aesthetic

A while back I was fascinated by the idea that the lack of aesthetic was still an aesthetic. Sterile, no ornamentation, no frills, no distractions. Clean. Pest-free. Anaesthetic is the antithesis of aesthetic. Anaesthetic is the complete avoidance of aesthetics. Anaesthetic guarantees that you will be uncontaminated by life, love and art.

Sometimes I use the term to refer to some of the modern buildings whose facade is ostentatious, slightly tasteless, but ends up being bland and utterly unmemorable. I know some of the new offices and campus buildings downtown that could serve as examples. The kind of architecture that looks expensive and took a lot of manpower and materials to make, but winds up only looking “blah”.

Victorian novels, whose flourishes of expression reveal an underlying suppressed sexuality — a genuine aesthetic, but an anaesthetic one at heart.

I say that because my definition of art ought to celebrate the whole of human experience — sexuality, love, love lost, birth, marriage, hardship, injustice, harmony, discord, and death. There ought not to be subjects that are taboo to write about. To remove such subjects is to sterilize art: to anesthetize it. This doesn’t mean we have to read it; but it does mean that people should be allowed to express themselves fully.

If we agree that art needs such sterilisation, then who would be the first to volunteer to read all of the obscene novels in order to decide if they should be censored? In this undertaking, someone, the censor, is the sacrificial lamb who must allow himself to be debauched by obscene publications so that the rest of us may be uncontaminated by the obscenities therein. But it is probably not just going to be “someone”; it will more likely to be a group.

Who are the people calling themselves Christian, who go through all the pornography, all of the obscene novels, all of the political writings, in order to come out and complain about them? It would seem that they read so much of the stuff, that they constitute the writer’s biggest fan base, and the writer’s cheapest advertising medium.

Categories
Academe internet random thoughts software

Foggy essays

I have a “foggy” essay generator that just did the following, for an essay on folklore:

Of course, the characterization of critically co-optive criteria adds explicit performance contours to the profound meaning of “The Raw and the Cooked”. Conversely, a constant flow of field-collected input ordinates must utilize and be functionally interwoven with Krapp’s Last Tape. Similarly, a primary interrelationship of system and/or subsystem logistics is holistically compounded, in the context of improved subcultural compatibility-testing.

If I handed a whole essay like this in to a prof, I don’t know what I’d get, but it’s likely he’d see through it and just think it was junk, which it is. It has a database of random sentences and catch phrases, and it just weaves them together into a mind-numbing treatise of meaningless drivel. I think George Orwell would have had something to say about it.

Categories
comedy fiction Literary misc Miscellaneous parody quotes Random satire writing

A shaggy dog

I have always been in stitches every time I read Peter Applebome’s imitation Hemingway:


We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was also a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a French restaurant. …

I could not tell the girl about the woman of the tollway, of her milk white BMW and her Jordache smile. There had been a fight. I had punched her boyfriend, who fought the mechanical bulls. Everyone told him, “You ride the bull, senor. You do not fight it.” But he was lean and tough like a bad rib-eye and he fought the bull. And then he fought me. And when we finished there were no winners, just men doing what men must do. …

“Stop the car,” the girl said. There was a look of terrible sadness in her eyes. She knew about the woman of the tollway. I knew not how. I started to speak, but she raised an arm and spoke with a quiet and peace I will never forget.

“I do not ask for whom’s the tollway belle,” she said, “the tollway belle’s for thee.”

The next morning our youth was a memory, and our happiness was a lie. Life is like a bad margarita with good tequila, I thought as I poured whiskey onto my granola and faced a new day.

— Peter Applebome, International Imitation Hemingway Competition
Click here for the unedited version Once there, scroll to the bottom.

Categories
babbling comedy Creative Writing humor parody ramblings writing

Little known books by JK Rowling

Welcome Back, Potter

Harry Potter gets teacher training, graduates, and gets sent back to Hogwarts to teach. He is assigned a classroom of the worst students in the school, referred to as “sweathogs”, or to be more precise, “warthogs”. See what happens with our future witches and warlocks who have emotional and learning problems, who are unable to manage themselves in a regular witchcraft learning environment. Vinnie Barbarino is played by the son of Count Dracula. Soon to become adapted for television as a sitcom.

Categories
Psychology

Positive thinking is a form of denial

I just wanted to make an observation. In the clinical sense, positive thinking is in fact a form of denial. I say “a form of”, since the difference is in who is in control. Denial is, to me the ignoring of certain aspects in your life in order to make life seem as if it is going the way you want. That is the same as positive thinking. The only real difference is — who is in control, and this is important.

I object to the whole dialectic regarding substance abuse, since it is difficult to discuss any use of illicit substances without talking about it as abuse, and about the user as an addict. I don’t use drugs or drink, yet in my lifetime I have twice been approached by people who say I am an alcoholic. These are presumably people with some authority on the matter. It seems that it is a difficult dialectic to avoid, whether you imbibe or not.

For any kind of real denial — and I do believe that such a thing exists (it’s just that it is so over-used) — the person is truly out of control. I know people who are out of control, and whom no one can control. These same people would act as if nothing is wrong, and would keep the game going causing all manner of stress and sadness for everyone around them.

But even they would readily open up and tell their story in their own voice to those who are receptive enough. Those who have not had their ears tainted or eyes blinded by the jargon and paradigms of what passes for “addiction psychology” would hear their voice in the most authentic way, uncorrupted by jargon, uncontaminated by self-help books. You find that many of them want to get some bearings; to get at the heart of their lack of self-control. But they must know their own thoughts; and hear their own voice. They can’t do it if someone is labelling, “treating”, or giving un-wanted advice. Their minds need to settle.

Addiction psychology doesn’t make life easy for the addict; it makes life easy for the psychologist. It gives them a nice battery of terminologies that simplify thought; a collection of predigested ideas and concepts that one can grab for to help ease the containment and control of the patient. Jargon has a tendency to reduce people to generalities, and only aids their dehumanization. Beyond all else, it saves the therapist all the bother of really getting to the heart of the matter, since addiction psychology already provides them with what they feel is an adequate surrogate “heart of the matter”. And that is good enough.

A person who is addicted is out of control. If they are out of control, then what they really need is more control over themselves and their impulses. The AA/Al-Anon programmes advise people to “let go” of all control. I am at a loss as to why they would think that would succeed. The failure of this programme is blamed on the subject who has “fallen off the wagon” again.

My intuition tells me that, because this goes back to the rise of industrialism and the Temperance movement, this could have been motivated by industrialists who would view the heavy drinkers as disgruntled with industrialism, and the counselling to “let go of control” was meant to temper the anger early workers felt at being displaced from their farms and earlier trades which the machines and assembly lines obsoleted. Because regaining control would work against the interest of the capitalists. Since then, that motivation is gone, but in its stead a whole industry is built around “kicking the habit”. And these interests must be respected above the needs of those who they purportedly serve. A better question is “why” do people drink? Interesting answers may be found there that would allow others to really be of help, I believe.

As for positive thinking, it involves an ability to ignore negative things, emphasize positive things, and to see the world as better than it really is. A positive thinker is dealing only with a partial reality. Thus they are happier than they really ought to be, and they work hard to maintain a mental environment where they can work toward goals that would be otherwise impossible had they been more “in touch with reality”. For its ability to result in greater achievement, a greater sense of satisfaction, a greater sense of self-control, and more rewarding relationships, it is difficult to say that positive thinking is a “bad thing”. Indeed, it is the very mentality we all need to survive and to lead rewarding lives.

Positive thinking is not the knee-jerk alteration of negativity that is characteristic of what we popularly know as “denial.” We all face personal problems of one kind or another. This can only be negative if we say to ourselves that there is no way out of these problems. Dealing with these problems result from optimism, in the sense that we would not deal with these problems if we felt that the effort was futile. Contrast this against dealing with our ongoing and challenging problems by pretending they don’t exist. The latter way of dealing with problems arises not out of positive thinking but out of a profound sense of hopelessness. It might work if the problem is not serious, or temporary. But if it lasts any length of time without being dealt with, it becomes crippling.

In those cases, the help we need to give these people should not be formulaic, like the 12-steps program; and the resolution will not be as easy as giving up a bad habit, although that is part of the goal. What causes a person to drink? Underneath that question lies the tangled emotions between family, work, and other pressures, wherein lies some kind of imbalance. Balance must be restored, and this is not an instant solution. It requires heroic self-honesty and an optimism that the problems the person faces are solveable, and that a brighter future lies waiting for those willing to put in the effort to tackle the problems one faces as they really are. I am not sure I see many other ways out.

Categories
Belleville Can con Canada David Bowie music pop music Popular Music trivia

Michael Tarry, "Rosalie", and the Summer of 1973

Rosalie,
Michael Tarry (1973) (Can Con)
Peaked in Canada at #8 in the first week of July

[flv: http://sj.foodsci.info/wp-content/uploads/misc_media/Michael_Tarry_-_Rosalie.flv]

If you check the Canadian charts that week, he was up against some serious competition, which included — all in the same week —
“My Love” by Paul McCartney;
“Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter;
“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters;
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn;
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrisson;
“I’m a Stranger Here” by 5-Man Electrical Band;
“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel;
“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder;
“Cisco Kid” by War;
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie;
“Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed;
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray;
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon;
“Daniel” by Elton John;
“The Farmer’s Song” by Murray McLaughlin;
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple;
“Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce;
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
I could go on. These consist of the hits that to me characterise what the ’70s were about, musically.
Ref: Chart

That’s most of my all-time favourites, all charting in the same week.

Rosalie was one of those songs I heard once in a while and stuck in my head henceforth, and until today I only had a vague idea what the words were. I finally had enough (almost 40 years later), and Googled a lyric snippet and got this (see below). I also know the author finally — Michael Tarry McDermott, born in England but presently residing in Marmora (population 1671), Ontario, a place somewhere between Kingston and Peterborough, just north of Belleville (Google Earth to the rescue!). The name that appears on the single is “Michael Tarry”.


She was a ballet dancer,
with the grace of a dove she would dance up above in the other room.
I would invite her down to tea,
but she never would agree,
she didn’t like my way of doing things;
it’s not her way.

And when the music played,
like arrows in your heart,
bleeding from the start she meant everything.
Make the answer lie within
and your troubles not begin,
can you make it that way for me?

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Of all the things we talked about,
it would never come across,
you would always get so cross and ruin everything.
You know I tried my very best;
when I did I pleased you less,
there’s no use in trying anymore.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.