A mish-mash of thoughts and impressions come to mind over the past several days:

— Alan Turing has received a pardon from the Queen for “moral turpitude.” A pardon? Pardon me, but Alan Turing doesn’t need any bloody pardon from anyone. The man was a genius, someone who gave great service to his country. He was not only a brilliant mathamatician but the father of computing and inventor of the machine that broke the Nazi Enigma code in WWII, a feat which some people believe won the war (for my own take on that see my essay on the subject (http://www.amazon.com/Most-Secret-Source-Role-ULTRA-ebook/dp/B00ADE30TQ).

No, Alan, stand proud, you don’t need no pardon from anyone!

— Justin Bieber…. yawn, just go away, will you please? You’ve become the Britney Spears of your generation. If only you weren’t Canadian so you didn’t infect the world’s opinion of our fine country.

— The Sochi Olympics; in a previous post, I mused whether the Olympics were worth the money and resource in this age; with the irresistible target they make for terrorists, that opinion is only growing stronger. I pray for the athletes, their relatives and the specator’s sakes there is somehow no incident related to these games.

— Rob Ford….see comments about la Bieber above but replace Britney Spears with Marion Barry. To paraphrase an axiom, a city gets the mayor it deserves. Toronto the unloved.

— Gillian Flynn…I recently finished two extremely disturbing novels by Madame Flynn. So well written but so soul destoying; after reading them, I felt like scrubbing out my soul with a wire brush… do I applaud her skills or lament the psychological trauma the books inflict? In contrast, I also finished Christopher Moore’s LAMB, comically rich and just as well written. How is that people object to this satire of the Messiah story so much more strongly than Madame Flynn’s rampage through the psyche?

— The Ukraine….deja Orange…my prayers are with you.

The Black Dog

Prompted by a friend’s recent Facebook posting, I decided to link this article up here. It was originally published in the Kingston Whig newspaper on July 29, 2006.

whig Jly 29 2006

The Black Dog

Outside, it is night. Inside, too. The hour of lead. You’re awake, but not happy to be; alive, but not thrilled about that either; dark thoughts swirling around your head, the spool of your wasted life rewinding on a loop, the days creeping over you like a shroud, the urges to die and get better mixed in you like blueberries in a pancake. Everything with the taste of nothing; life a four letter word.

Standing in tar and draped in lead, you feel locked in the cougar’s embrace, forced to carry on with consciousness when all you want to do is throw the off switch and fade to black, overwhelmed by tasks as daunting as matching your socks or organizing your cutlery drawer. Your head doesn’t feel right unless you’re sleeping or drunk, thoughts jumbling around like clothes tossed in a dryer, all things to all men but nothing to yourself. The prospect of living stretches out before you like an unending sentence, a form of torture that envelopes the body, permeating like frostbite through fingers and eating into your soul. You classify yourself as human only because there is no box present to check as “other.”

Happy? Forget it. Other people’s realities are too much; your own, not enough. You’re not living, you’re resisting. You might as well be a clump of salt left over after being spread on the 401. Happy is fatuous, like a helium balloon. Happy belongs to vapid commercials about bland families smiling Crest-white teeth in the suburbs, marveling over a new brand of processed cheese that sprays out of cans. Happy is for other people in other worlds. You, you’re just a mouse on a wheel, with no pleasure coming into the cycle at any point, a barbed wire fence around your feelings, an inner scratching that announces worse is yet to come. The pain never goes away. It just moves around.

The black dog has got you. It crouches in the corner, waiting for you to move. Or lies at the foot of your bed. Growls and will not let you up. You go nowhere alone. It is always by your side. You fool yourself into thinking it has gone away, but there it is, still lurking. You can feel its breath on your neck hairs. Smell it. The spoor is everywhere, sucking the light out of you and wicking the moisture out of your soul; a soul with but one season, stuck in February, a monochrome of leafless trees and shadowy animal tracks and indentations where ice has dripped and melted sinkholes through the snow.

Where you are is stuck in the deep, black chasm of the whirlpool called Depression. Depression kills. It is also treatable. See your doctor. Maybe you think you can live with it, but you can live without it, too. As the Buddhists say, after the cloudy pool of water settles, it becomes clear.

The Olympics

The Sochi Olympics are coming soon, just a matter of a few weeks now. The dedication and training athletes put in is amazing just to qualify for the Games, much less actually win them. It is truly something to admire, the accomplishments these athletes achieve just to reach the competition level.

Having said that, and putting aside the scandals regarding pharmaceutical help and medical cheating, are the modern games worth it anymore? The resources needed to stage the games and provide security in this day and age for a 2- or 3-week event is prodigous. Would the finances and work be better spent on other social needs in the host countries?

I was lucky enough to be living in Vancouver during the last Winter Olympics and the spirit and atmosphere was amazing. I’m not sure, however, if I wouldn’t rather see something more mundane but more worthwhile (food banks? soup kitchens? treatment programs for the East End denizens?) receive the resources. What do you think?

One-Season Sports Wonders

I get it. Anyone who can rise through talent and dedication to play professional sports in any capacity has to be respected. Their accomplishment is one 99% can never reach. Having said that, which athlete below is the ultimate “one-hit wonder,” one who reached dizzying heights, never to rise to the same level again?

(Tim Tebow isn’t on the list because (a) he never really accomplished anything (b) I just don’t like the fucker


A terrible new drug your own parents are taking right now!

“This drug is especially efficient in producing nightmares with hallucinations which may be alarming in their intensity. Another peculiar quality of it is to produce a strange and extremely degree of physical depression. An hour or two after it has been taken a degree of sinking may cease upon the sufferer so that to speak is an effort. By miseries such as these the best years of life may be spoiled.”

— The Regis professor of physics at Cambridge, in, writing about tea in the early 20th century

Happy (???) Year of the Horse redux

I recently came across this web site explaining the fire horse year and thought I’d re-post it here. Might save a few lives


Posted by Kay Honeyman on November 7, 2012 · Leave a Comment
I was already writing about a girl traveling through Angel Island to America when I discovered the year of the Fire Horse.
In much of the Western world, we use a linear measurement for time, the years parading forward into the future. The Chinese use a cycle to measure their years. On the mats in Chinese restaurants it looks like a 12-year cycle built around animals, but these animals are matched with five elements – metal, wood, fire, water, and earth creating 60-year cycles. So you are not just born in the year of the Horse, but in the year of the Earth Horse or Water Horse…or Fire Horse.
Fire Horses are formed from the heat of flames and the wildness of horses making them as dangerous as they are strong-willed. They fight and kick against boundaries, disregarding traditions, valuing blind faith over wisdom and cunning over intelligence. The first part of any Horse’s life is said to be full of ups and downs, but for a Fire Horse, who is destined for extremes, these are even more dramatic. Their bold natures and the heat in their blood bring misery to their families, especially their husbands and fathers. Trying to restrain the will of a Fire Horse girl can cause tragedy, even death.
Fire Horses race through life. They travel often, leaving home at a young age to chase the freedom and independence that feed them. Resourceful and confident, new situations do not intimidate them. This can cause trouble since they are often too confident and curious for their own good.
The male Fire Horse is not considered as dangerous as the female. The same drive and determination that often brings disgrace to Fire Horse women brings distinction to men. It makes them good leaders, quick to make decisions, and gifted at turning a bad situation to their advantage. Fire Horse men are destined to be famous…or infamous.
Fire Horses are full of contradictions. Their pride is paired with a great capacity for kindness. Despite their fierce independence, they need to belong. They are designed for conflict even inside their own skin. This makes it difficult to predict what a Fire Horse will do, especially one that is in love. They may sacrifice everything, but they are just as likely to destroy.
It is hard to predict what a Fire Horse in love will do. Fire Horses are passionate creatures and likely to fall deeply in love. They could break hearts or have their own broken. Whatever happens, they will bounce back wiser, stronger, and willing to risk is all again, after all, a Fire Horse’s life is nothing without adventure, and what bigger adventure is there than love?
Excerpt from The Fire Horse Girl
“In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Fire Horse is a bad year for Horses. All of their worst traits — their tempers, their stubbornness, their selfishness — burn with increased strength. Girls should never be born in the year of the Fire Horse; they are especially dangerous, bringing tragedy to their families. But desperation flowed fast and thick through my mother’s veins. Children did not come easily to her. After four born only to be buried, she ignored the warnings of the zodiac and bore a Fire Horse girl, who was too stubborn to die like the others. Bringing forth something as vicious and powerful as a Fire Horse destroyed my mother. Her last breath mingled with my first. Stories are like that too — deep breaths, one ending so another can begin. One sacrificed so another can survive. We often dwell on the endings of stories, forgetting how they were born, but you must inhale to exhale.”
Jade Moon was born in 1906. Another generation of Fire Horses were born in 1966. The next generation of Fire Horse girls will be born in 2026.