Friday, December 19, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bad Writing Example #2

People who write for newspapers have a tough job; they have to meet constant pressing deadlines. A lopsided, lackadaisicle blogger like myself can write at his leisure, with pleasure. That said, some of the mistakes and misprints of newpapers are quite humorous, as those who are very familiar with this blog well know. The piece of writing that I'm about to lampoon is a quote, so I can't fault the journalist for it. It's a quote of a television producer, but it includes a typo that renders its horrendousness hyperbolic.


Here it is:

"The feeling is that historical Canadian history isn't what Canadian audiences want. It's important for Canadians to hear our own stories . . . But for now it's never been harder to do historial drama in this country." Kevin DeWalt, producer of "The Englishman's Boy" (The Canadian Press, Metro News, Monday December 3).

First of all, what the hell is "historical history?" Pleonasm anyone? Generally pleonasm is a rhetorical device used for humour, but something tells me he's not trying to be funny. And if that redundancy wasn't enough for you, you have the misspelled adjective "historial" repeated once more in the last sentence of the quote. Phew!

And now for a history of historical history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Love You

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I've had this poem
running around in my gut
for a while.

time, shortened
by needle pricks, waits
for no one

and this poem was
just not ready.

it's about this great
improbable love
i feel for you.

an apple, skin broken,
flesh popping with juice
as teeth joyfully cringe.

an ancient cedar tree,
stuck out of a
limestone cliff face,
something to hold on
to when I fall.

because we all do.

a vase, filling with water,
just before the flowers
sink.

a crocodile's tolerance
of the bird that cleans its teeth.

it hurts to realize how
much i love you.

like a lost meal it hurts.

but it hurts worse to
imagine life without you.

i would have no teeth
for this apple.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

News from CUPE 3903 Picket Lines

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CUPE 3903 Strike 2008 Flashpoints.

The media coverage of this strike has been sorely lopsided so far. While the members of the union have taken culture and media production into their own hands, we know that the large audiences are in the hands of the big media corporations. So far, their coverage has been overwhelmingly biased towards the undergraduate student perspective that argues that the union is blockading their education.

On the newsclip that CityTV aired on November 6 on their website, they interviewed three undergraduate students, Union representative Graham Potts, and Alex Bilyck, York Administration’s Public Relations official. They spoke to no union members (or at least, they did not air the members’ viewpoints) whatsoever, aside from Mr. Potts. Of the three undergraduate students interviewed, one supported the strike, and two opposed the strike. The news clip ended with a fourth year business undergraduate lamenting his four year degree possibly lasting slightly more than four years, attempting to leave the audience with an emotionally charged anti-union stance. This attempt seems to have worked, seeing as over fifty percent of people opposed the strike in a three-pronged online poll that measured support, neutrality, and opposition.

In a Toronto Sun article dated November 7th, Alex Bilyck cited the hourly wage of Teaching Assistants as over $60/hr. While those with external/internal funding packages might approach that rate of compensation, this is by no means the norm or even common. To do a good job at teaching, the preparation and marking time often renders the ten hours a week T.A.s are compensated for unrealistic. Overtime payment is available, but it’s littered with a laborious paper trail that renders it prohibitive. According to my contract, I get compensated $29/hr, so the figure he cited is almost twice what I actually make. Furthermore, he said that the 11% wage increase over three years proposed by the union was unrealistic in these difficult economic times. He said that York offered the union 9.25% over three years, but the offer included cuts to benefits and professional development funds that increase the total compensation rate only 2.3%, which is not indexed to the inflation rate of 3.7%. That means in the end that the affected workers will struggle to make ends meet.

His reference to the economic downturn was a purely rhetorical flourish that totally ignores the fact that times of recession are times of boom for universities because people use the time to upgrade their knowledge and skills to be better prepared for subsequent economic upturns. Additionally, Bilyck is not an economist, and he has no expertise when speaking about the effects of the slumping economy on York’s revenues. Furthermore, history has shown us that the knee-jerk reaction of many people to a recession is to stop spending money. If York skimps on our wages, we have less money to spend, and therefore less money to stimulate other sectors of the economy, leading to a further worsening of the depression.

This transferral of blame for the stoppage from the Administration to the Union rings false on two fronts: it is contract faculty and Teaching Assistants who are largely providing the substative intstruction, and the Administration’s unwillingness to negotiate. While tenured professors lecture in halls that hold hundreds of students, substantial chunks of whom are surfing facebook and other unrelated websites, T.A.s and contract faculty deliver instruction in smaller settings, where learning takes place more effectively. This is not to deride the considerable talents of York tenured professors, but facts are facts. Also, the Administration’s offer of binding arbitration “is the University's way of avoiding negotiating with us. Binding arbitration is appropriate when there are one or two sticky issues holding up a settlement NOT when one party has hardly been negotiating at all” (Quoted from an CUPE 3903 email).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Way to go Obama!

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Good victory speech. Congratulations on your win! I certainly hope that you can be the change that you hope to be.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Artificial Intelligence


Think about it man! Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Artificial Intelligence. I want to get a video feed of that.



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Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Canada and the proverbial head up the ass

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Why is the Canadian public so enamored with mediocrity? After last night’s election results, I have been forced to return to this painfully recurring idea.

First of all, the election produced the lowest turnouts in the history of the country: less than 60% of the eligible voters voted. I guess mediocrity moves in a top-down direction. It spills out from the government and infects the public. If you don’t vote, you don’t deserve to live in a democracy. It’s that simple. So all you non-voters: do the rest of us a favour and move to Zimbabwe. Work is no excuse. There are laws that protect your right to vote. Your employer must give you three consecutive hours when polling stations are open to vote. I’m starting to be attracted to some rather ugly political alternatives because the voting public seems to have its head shoved so far up its ass, it can’t tell whether it’s night or day.

Second of all, how on earth, could you re-elect someone who just frittered away 300 million dollars in difficult economic times to hold an election, the results of which do not substantively change the political situation? Ok, the Bloc lost power in Quebec. The NDP gained seats (a minor victory, but not enough a glimmer of hope to overcome the pessimism ruling my typing fingers right now), and the Conservatives managed to make inroads in Ontario and B.C. and managed to “naturalize” their rule in Canada. Ugh. Gag me with a chainsaw. Seriously, though, the man even broke a parliamentry law he made to call the election too!

Third, it is the very policies that the Conservatives espouse that resulted in the credit crisis. The ideology of greed behind corporate tax cuts is the same ideology of greed that leads people to falsely inflate stock values, which in turn leads to economic crises. They rationalize corporate tax cuts by saying it creates jobs, it stimulates investments. Then why has almost every government that cut corporate taxes incurred a deficit? People lie; history doesn’t. Wake up and smell the history books people! Furthermore, we need more government control of pricing. There are too many people charging far too much for certain goods and services. This would create jobs in the government sector. It would also prevent people from spending too much money on goods they’re being overcharged for, leading to the need to borrow money, which in turns leads to banks lending money they don’t have, another cause of the recent credit crunch.

Lastly, what is the deal with immigrants voting Conservative? Stephen Harper has changed immigration so that it’s more difficult to get in the country than previously. Ask my friend’s husband, who is in Mexico because he can’t get a green card to come to Canada. He’ll tell you all about it. You’re voting and collaborating with a man who didn’t want you here in the first place!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Vote!

Tomorrow is election day here in Canada. Please participate in democracy and vote.
Before you do that, please click on the google links at the bottom of the page. Thank you,
and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Tactics of The Invisible Truth. A Laboratory of Poetry and News.

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So I've been messing around with my blog here, and I've attached an RSS feed, so you can now subscribe to my dazzling posts! I've also arranged to mail ten friends whenever I update my blog, so if any of you mind, then let me know, and I'll take you out of the mix. Information saturation is no joke! I've started embedding links in some of the posts as well, so if you see a word underlined, then that's why!

I've been experimenting a bit with writing poetry about specific trails I follow through the internet, but I've found formatting them a bit of a challenge. Therefore, I haven't posted any of these experiments. If you click the title of this post, it will take you to a site with people who are doing very interesting things with the intersection between the art of film and the art of poetry.

Also, I highly recommend checking out www.blublu.org, and click on the MUTO video link. Absolutely amazing video art. It is one of two videos that really overcame my inherent prejudice against video (even though I occasionally dabble in it too, as you can see). By dabble, I mean use short (less the 30s) clips shot with a mid-range digital camera, edit them together, and add music that I composed to the soundtrack, although one of the other videos in my archive included other artists in the soundtrack.

That's all for now! Until next time my friends!

The Growing Light

video

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pixel-hearted.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Why "Greening" is good for the Economy

Dear Lorne Gunter:

At first, let me pre-emptively forgive you for being named Lorne. I have a certain amount of sympathy for anyone who shares a name with Mr. Green, of some eighties wilderness show fame, you know, the show where they did terrible things to animals in order to make them do exciting things for the cameras. See, the show's name is so memorable I've forgotten it.

But really, in your article "Dion Ex Machina," in The National Post you make the translation "God in the machinery" for the literary device deus ex machina. Where'd you get your degree in literature? Phoenix University? I thought so. It's "God out of the machine," you idiot. I know you've been reading wikipedia lots lately, and you seem to have read the first paragraphs in wikipedia's article about neoclassical grievances with the device as a crutch for an intractable plot problem. But you neglected to consider the effectiveness of the device as used in enduring classics of the theatre, such as oh, say, Euripedes' Medea, which has survived, and been studied and loved since 431 B.C.; The Illiad, one of the cornerstones of Western snivelization; and good ole Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera.

I bet you thought you were clever when you applied this literary device to Stephane Dion's plan to reduce our carbon footprint. It's good that you demanded concrete details. It's bad you think "greening" is just going to cost money, and not generate oodles of wealth. Most economists I know predict that the next booming sector of the economy is the green sector, and they seem sure that it will match or surpass the dotcom boom of the late nineties. Moreover, all those coal-producing and gas burning and nuclear generating technologies you say are already entrenched will cost us far more in the long run than switching to green technologies. What was the cost of Hurricane Katrina again? Oh yeah, don't listen to the majority of scientists who link the greenhouse effect with such storms, they're stupid, right? Duh! Get with the program Mr. Gunter. Green technologies generate wealth; they don't just cost money.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lunch with the Furies

I finished Salman Rushdie’s book Fury a couple weeks ago. I think living in America has ruined one of the greatest writers of our time. Fatwas, the occasional newspaper article aside, Rushdie has fallen into a creative abyss. Sure he can play with language, sure he can wax poetic, but as many have told me, that doesn’t necessarily make for a good novel. It was full of insight about modernity, including a knowing wink at certain postmodern philosophers like Baudrillard but ultimately it failed as a novel.

It lacked a strong story, seeming more like a character study of a retired academic cum a world-famous doll maker. It riffs on the anger simmering below the surface of everyday interactions, but it never moves beyond glibness. In this, it reminded me of Pico Iyer’s The Global Soul. The occasional philisophico-poetic reverie falls flat for a lack of a strong framework to hold it in both books.

There is mystery: is the narrator the mysterious concrete killer who has been serially murdering the women of economic illuminati families, or is it his self-loathing African-American friend Jack? But unfortunately Rushdie failed to make me care that much. This book is eminently readable, but its fragmentation comes off as more lazy than intentional. The narrator is not necessarily fully likeable, which is ok, but his transformation is accomplished through a corny love story, no matter how unusual the pairing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Glass Ceiling

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Poem inspired by the film "The Visitor"

Love is something that happens
to someone else.
Until it happens.
In which case we’re all involved.
The case in which we carry
our wounds –
scabs inside, fresh pus, blood,
plasma without –
breaks the moment we let
love inside
breathe.

Let love breathe, I say.
If it founder in impossibility,
it shows us how to try anyway
so our imps
of base feelings ossify
and only their scars remain.

Briefly, papers fall out of the case
creased, scattering in the wind.

You can chase them.

But if you catch one, look at it closely.

Words, bloodied and paled
on pages too barren for speech.

Signs, showing you the way
to forget. To fulfil promises
without remembering them.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Ba-lance-head

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Elephant Island

Thursday, August 07, 2008

An Homage to India

I have received an increasing number of readers from South Asia. I have long since received hits from Korea, mostly because of my stint of teaching English there. But an increasing number of people in India are visiting my website, and for that I thank them. This is a dedication to my Indian readers, especially those who may or may not be affiliated with the 50 million-strong Communist Party in India.

Please bookmark this page and come back often. I update it about once a week. Also, as usual, I ask that you please visit the sponsors listed at the top and bottom of the page. I put a lot of work into this blog, and these advertisements are a way to get reimbursed (however slightly) for this work. It really doesn't take that much time...

Thank you all.

Friday, August 01, 2008

One Line Missing

It's quiet nights like this, as bumptious
blue lights flicker across curtains suggesting
northern lights, on streets of narrow houses in a row,
with wind disappearing and the smell of sewers
weaving up into air above steel grates; it's quiet
nights like this that remind me of those evenings
of boredom on endless couches in front of televisions,
when hands slip into your
boxer shorts, bedspread allocating
a radius of warmth difficult to resist, and fingers find
the damp curvatures of desire,
torsos wasting away, growing alongside mould
in tv dinner packaging
cluttering the surface of a chestnut coffee table,
under the natter of roommates upstairs gossiping.

Turning on to Bloor, full of drunken celebrants
giggling, arms linked, lights glinting off passing cars,
I avoid the eyes of passers-by, and keep focussed.
This has to be done. It has to end.

Words string themselves together to make sense
of mental decay, of the lead weights attached to our
ankles, attached to each other, fixtures
on each other's walls, sconces hiding burnt-
out light bulbs, words that fill the silence
in which lives the fear that you will be relieved

by the cut line.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Competitive Salary!

So the Goodwill on Roncesvalles is hiring. They are offering a competitive salary. Competitive with what? How on earth can a salary be competitive? Ok, got it. It's the company that is competing with other companies. Right, they're just copying this grammatical idiocy from everyone else. Shouldn't blame them, right? Gotta beat that Sally Anne, you know. For those of you just hopping aboard the S.S. thrift shop, Sally Anne is the Salvation Army. Cuz your soul is in jeopardy, you know, and the poor are mostly fools.

Who really cares if your salary is competitive? The Indiana Pacers are competitive, but they suck. They round out the bottom of the NBA on a regular basis. My question to you, Goodwill, is are you winning? It's a battle for souls out there, and is your will good enough to hunt the top prize? Are you ready to round out your days with right hooks to your St. Vincent de Paul neighbours?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jesus was a Pinko


Monday, July 07, 2008

Death in the Family

when you told me, i was unprepared
knife put down, pared apple rolling
across the counter, falling in the
sink.

she died on a tuesday

somehow the shock wears off enough
for tears to run their runneled
course down my face.

but this was a week later.

you ask me what happened
in that week.
i don't know.

novocaine routine. wake up.
miss breakfast. make coffee.
pee in the toilet. wonder where grief ends.
lie still. don't think too hard. it hurts.
sleep.

finally, fast broken, an apple's skin
parts under my teeth.
it's juice jumps up
into my eye.

my seeing-eye dog whimpers in the corner.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Turtle Soup

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be a Good Cyber Citizen.

And click the google ads at the top and bottom of the page. Thank you, you avatars of divinity.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Happening

I went to see The Happening last night, courtesy of my rockin' dentist Arthur Kamin who gives me a $25 cineplex gift card every time I refer a client to him. Of course, I read the NOW magazine review first, and in hindsight, after having seen the movie, I wonder how in tarnation the reviewer missed the parodic elements of this movie. Not a new concept: this is obvious. It follows close on the heels (run for the hills!) of other apocalypse movies such as Cloverfield, 28 days later, 28 Weeks Later, The Mist, The War of the Worlds, and others. But really, who cares about originality when you can have knowing winks, intentionally flat acting to make you wonder what's the real difference between the zombies and the normals (there's none, really), and overly dramatic music that contrapuntally lambastes the banal repartee.

M. Night Shymalan has crafted an underhanded classic in my opinion. All the "bad aspects" of the film, he has somehow recuperated into a work of subtle parody. The NOW reviewer complained of a lack of story. What apocalypse movie has a "story." It's the end of the world for chrissake. People go crazy. Narrative loses its importance in the face of mere survival. The randomness of the beginning and end of this environmental crisis complements the vagueness of the title. Those that survive, like in 28 days later, have to reform the family unit along non-biological lines. While Shymalan breaks the rules of the apocalypse film by refusing to divulge the true cause of it, among the many explanations given, he favours one with a Janus-faced nature: one of ecological catastrophe, and a flaky, but grand plant response to imminent ecological catastrophe. It is telling that Shymalan opposes this explanation to the government conspiracy theory at the end, as shown on a TV debate between an expert warning of human hubris and a host who sides with the government conspiracy explanation, taking a facile fourth estate position. This is basically a confrontation between current left and right political tendencies. The left urges responsible ecological business practises, while ultimately, any conspiracy theory ends up serving the purposes of the Right, by making the government seem more omnipotent than they actually are.

I give "The Happening" three and a half out of five stars. Even though some people were complaining about it after the movie let out, it made people laugh with both ridiculous banalities and over-the-top gore, and at points it freaked them out. That said, Shymalan should stop trying to be Alfred Hitchcock. He's good, but he'll never live up to the master... Both this movie and The Mist owe a heavy debt to The Birds. Luckily, The Happening comes out on the correct and true side of the political spectrum, whereas The Mist has some disturbing rightest tendencies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here's what others liked about my blog

Here are the top three visited posts on my blog, at least for the last three months. I have provided links in case you're interested. Please bookmark my blog and visit often!

Drum Roll please:

1. http://theinvisibletruth.blogspot.com/2007/06/out-of-control-desire-to-win.html
2. http://theinvisibletruth.blogspot.com/2006/08/small-face-lovely-breast.html
3.. http://theinvisibletruth.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_archive.html

Have a ball!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Penguin Sculpture

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Haiku of Bling

Tarnished silver ring
Reaches ear, tellingly clear
Waiting for its jewel

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Taj Mahal in a Bubble

Monday, May 05, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Word from our Sponsors.

Please be a doll and click the google links. Thanks so much.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dance Part II

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Dance

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Guitar


La Guitar



I am the head held high, the invasion of aspirations to become part of the world, to catch up with its spinning; I will the mysticism of movement, the self-love of grace, the lovesick bliss of moons too subtle to behold; I move not only bodies, but souls, the emotions in them kicking and straining to the sound of fingers sea-sawing across ore dredged up from the earth and stretched into strings that sing into the anti-matter of the universe and draw out its anti. The air holds the memory of each of our positions for a moment before it disappears into the warm sheath of metabolism. I am the pleasure given unto people by the empty body of trees sacrificed to the health of a community, the dark cloud spreading around the head of the player, on which we can dance to remember the reasons we are.

Drawing by Cecile Carriere. Poetry by Trevor Cunnington. Copyright held by author and artist.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Goodbye Winter, It's Been a Blast



I'll never forget you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chance Meeting With An Ex-Boyfriend

Yesterday I saw you
on the street in front of my house.

no nostalgia, no self-pity, no anger,
no way to say circuitous affection.

your eyes are beautiful, but
opaque, blue sky hiding stars.

we both sported our weekend scruff,
wine bottle in my pocket,
friends on your mind.

you may think me solitary
but that's just the headline.

I don't think I fit through
your pupils anymore.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Assassination of Space

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Day Time Stood Still

video