Posts

Featured post

Free speech and that naked dude at the Tour de France

Image
Bauke Mollema streaked to victory today in Tour de France stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay. He made his move with about 30 km to go, after much of the field had cracked. He was only 100 m or so from the peak. Still, a group of pursuers were only a few hundred metres behind. "Mollema needs a buffer!" said the announcer. I tweeted my thanks immediately.


Both announcers, Matthew Keenan and Robby McEwen, liked the tweet. That was fun. I could have a drink or three with those guys, I think.

I have been told that the Greek word for clever, deinos, also connotes a sense of terrible. Perhaps that is why those who make puns are routinely greeted with the judgment "that was terrible!" To say that Mollema needed a buffer was accurate if, by it, the speaker simply meant a little extra time and distance from his chasers. But it's clever to choose the word buffer, which carries the extra meaning of being naked. It's doubly clever, even cheek…

Archeology

Image
As I stopped to take this pic this morning, the workers standing on the boulevard might have briefly wondered what I was doing. What did I see? What was I looking at?

I stopped because I was once seven years old. And because I was once young enough to play with all that heavy equipment.

Our house at 6704 in the northeast end had a sandbox between the side of the garage and the fence next to the Ramseys. In the sandbox, there was one rule: no throwing sand. And, basically, two scenes or games we'd re-enact again and again. The first was digging for treasure. We'd bury beer and Happy Pop tops in the sand and try to dig out as many as possible with one scoop of a plastic shovel. That got boring after three or four straight hours.

What we never tired of was doing construction work.

With our Tonka toy graders and front end loaders and dump trucks (David across the lane supplied a Johnny West tractor trailer unit we imagined always full of explosive TNT) we dug sand, rearranged it …

The humorous descent of Alexis Vuillermoz

Image
Alexis Vuillermoz is streaming down the side of the Col de la Biche this morning. He is at the head of the race. It is stage 9 of the Tour de France. His front wheel slips slightly in the rain on the road. He keeps his balance. Commentator Robbie McEwen explains the French rider's mountain bike resume has prepared him for the sliding and drifting that happen when courage mixes with a wet descent.

"It's a huge advantage for him," McEwen says.

"When you're used to things getting a little bit loose on you, and staying in control, because it's about staying calm, when it gets loose and you tense up or touch the brakes, that's when you go down. You gotta be able to flow [emphasis not added] with it."

The trickster Vuillermoz is riding a corridor of humor.

The term is from French painter and sculptor and chess player Marcel Duchamp.

"While Dada was a movement of negation and, by the very fact of its negation, turned itself into an appendage of t…

Early morning thoughts while pictures beam in from France

Image
This morning I am in a happy place. It is an intersection. A listening post.

The Tour de France is on TV, and that is a thrill itself. Getting up early on a long weekend Monday to watch the colours of the peloton's men and machines stream and curve through the countryside is time in front of the monitor well spent. I enjoy parades, and bicycles, and TV in the sun.

With a mug of coffee, and a book and a sharpened pencil as the broadcast flows in.


This morning, the book is Trickster Makes The World by Lewis Hyde. The open pages resemble a gravesite I saw embedded into the earth at the Hillcrest cemetery. The shaft of sunlight stares across the printed words. They are worth standing in front of and staring at.
Structures always arise from exclusion. Think, for example, of how one might go about designing a flag. This world has endless color; the palette of greens in field and forest is boundless, as is that of water under changing skies. To make a flag, we select only two or three o…

Black Diamond

Image
A little book found me a few weeks ago in a store in Black Diamond where we had wandered on a trip to Waterton. Somehow, I'd never seen unmediated Waterton. That baffled me.

The book is by Lewis Hyde and it's about the tricksters among us. Like all my favourite books, Trickster Makes The World has delivered the thrill of approaching something new, while also leaving a residue of regret that it has taken me this long to get there. And the sad certainty that I am skimming the surface of this book, and life.

It is by our likes and dislikes Hyde says John Cage says that we isolate ourselves from the wider mind and the big old world. Hyde:
Likes and dislikes are the lapdogs and guard dogs of the ego, busy all the time, panting and barking at the gates of attachment and aversion and thereby narrowing perception and experience.  My thoughts fire this way and that. Likes and dislikes—these are the words of engagement in social media. Lapdogs and guard dogs—Plato's Socrates says s…

On the streets where we live

Image
I saw some things on the streets today. I heard some things, too.

That's Olga signalling a left turn above.  In her impromptu bike network master class, I learned about big green bike boxes and how to safely get across lanes of traffic on the 100 Ave portion of the downtown grid. What I heard: there is a safe place in the city's allocation of space for bicycle commuters.


I saw this dude's shoulder bag and heard him say he thought the new bike lane on 100 Ave was pretty good.



I saw no helmet on this bicycle rider. I saw her smile and heard her say hello as we passed.



"Whoa!" this pedestrian said as he walked on green and watched the car driver turn across his path.


A few blocks later, approaching the traffic signal on the Glenora multi-use path, I saw the green traffic light turn yellow and the yellow turn red, and, as I hummed some old April Wine as I always do when red and yellow seasons change in gear, oh yeah, I  heard the rev of a car engine behind me revea…

We are gathered here

Image
A solemn scene surprised me this afternoon as I took the turn on Ravine Dr. and pointed for the 142 St. bridge. It shook me. It spoke the visual grammar of the ceremony at a graveside.

What I witnessed was the protocol of the aftermath of an automobile collision.

The sky was smeared with mascara grey clouds.

At the head of the procession sat a flatbed truck. It would soon be loaded with the damaged body.



Three people stood on the lawn. They looked up and down, this way and that. They swayed back and forth like metronomes. One held his arms crossed over his chest. Vehicles streamed by on 142 St. The sky sagged. This sudden congress was in no one's plans. 



On the sidewalk, apart from the standing congregation, clad in black jeans and hoodie, holding his hands over his eyes, lay, outstretched, a man consumed by an event that cannot be undone. 
I held my breath and pedalled through.