I like magazines. On the weekend, we took advantage of a Saturday morning with pocket change to troop down to the Market area to get supplies. There is a great newspaper and magazine shop on King Street East right behind the Town Hall called The Towne Crier which has, among other things, The New York Times the morning it is published - a treat for a Maritimer used to at least late afternoon appearance in Halifax, God knows when in PEI. I have a rotation of mags I buy once or twice a year rather than subscribe to and one of them is Wired. Usually a voyeristic look into IT toys and issues like this which I touch on more or less tangentially through my work or study. I was quite shocked in the June 2003 issue to find what I can only call a shattered belief sytem for all to see splayed out entrails and all.
Aside from all the run-of-the-mill "surprises" about what has not been found in Iraq, what happened to all those virtually identical Saddams? I thought the place was rotten with them. If they found one, how would they know it wasn't Saddam? If they found one, wouldn't somebody squeal thinking they got the real one?
Or have they secretly rounded them all up and have a building somewhere with 157 identical guys in it. Wouldn't that be weird to guard? Would you say "good morning" to someone when you couldn't be sure that you hadn't said it to the guy already?
While I think writing on a weblog about others who do so is possibly the lamest thing I might do on a Sunday morning, I have to say that Ian Williams is on fire. His recent use of photos, his generous sharing of both personal political opinion and his prescriptions for meds on top of his daily writing routine are all something I admire.
I write here to write. Ross said to me it exposes something about a need for attention and he may well be right. There is also, however, something about the exercise of writing in itself. For me, Ian makes that something work.
The Webby Awards were awarded yesterday out of San Fran and CBC Radio 3 has won the Broadband category. You have to have broadband to get this service in both senses of the word "get". There is a lot coming at you in both sound and vision. Peter has called CBC Radio 3 and certain other CBC sites insanity developed in an "overblown, graphically intensive, non-standard, closed, proprietary fashion as to render the resources essentially useless."
I was delayed on my drive to work this morning by a parade of soldiers in battle fatigue marching up Princess Street past Market Square here in Kingston. D-Day ceremonies. It reminded me that when I was a kid in the early 70's, Dad's church in the Annapolis Valley still had WWI vets. In Scotland I would visit my great-uncle John Dobie who had delayed shell shock from his time in the trenches. I have a postcard photo of him in his battle kit from 1917. Later, when I was in highschool, the D-Day vets were my buddies older uncles all in their late 50's having a Ten Penny waiting for their burgers to be ready on a Saturday afternoon on the deck. Now - 59 years after that day - they are in their early 80's and fewer and farther between.
Dad once told me about meeting a guy in a nursing home in Dartmouth in the late 80's who was Nova Scotia Highlander in Normandy. [I think of him as Buddy MacDonald as over 37% of all Nova Scotia Highlanders were actually called Buddy MacDonald.] On the first day after Juno Beach, the lads who Hitler apparently referred to as "the Ladies from Hell" had advanced so far against the SS that they were told to halt to let the rest of the Allies catch up. His position was actually dug in beside the Germans line and he could see that the Germans troops were in their mid-teens. The officers were beating them with rifle butts to keep them to hold where there were. The beatings got worse and worse over 24 hours. Buddy couldn't handle it so when a particularly nasty and very high ranking officer showed up and threatened the cowering kids in grey, Buddy put a bullet in his temple. The German line collapsed and the Allies advanced. Reminds me who won the war. The Buddies and Ivans and Tommies and GIs. Think of one if you see one.
That's about all the Nederlands I can recall. Probably spelled all wrong. No...I can also recall weerserwachting: TV weather report. Don't forget all the w's are v's and you have to to hork when you hit the "ch".
It was '86. It was spring and I worked in the burbs of Amsterdam. Just me, my bike and all the cheese I could eat. Why do I share? Because if it weren't for the classy millions who make democracy work on a little more than a bog, we wouldn't have such a nice clock.
My buddy Jonny Archibald, MD sent me this picture he had found via the ISH today. In around 1986 or so Jon painted my Dad a picture of the same boat, The Doric, described on the postcard as twin screwed, in its later life as a frozen meat ship sailing out of Halifax harbour on a return run to the Argentine or the UK. That painting still hangs on the wall in Dad's den.
During its earlier White Star days in the 1930's, my father and his parents took a trip from Scotland to Portugal on the Doric. My father's father, the fine-named Archie McLeod, was a salesman for a high-end steering equipment manufacturing yard in Greenock, moving up an economic notch from his brothers, uncles and own father, the riveters, who worked on the south side of the Clyde between the wars and before. I think he would have been making a family holiday out of a sales trip to the Portuguese navy. Many corvettes in the North Atlantic used gear supplied through a sale by Archie. At the cottage there is a picture of the three of them smiling and standing in front of a palm tree lined Portuguese avenue happy but pasty even in black and white.
Having written this I realize that my father would advise you that I have each of the facts herein somewhat wrong to various degrees. Despite this, I would retort, it is the truth nonetheless.
Some of the best writing I have ever read on the web is that of A.A. Gill, the restaurant reviewer in the Style section of the Sunday Times of London. I had stopped reading it for the last few years due to the paper's use of a survey blocking immediate access to their site. I found him again today without the required layer of personal data extraction. Gill's most recent review contains the following passage:
A good cheese trolley was driven by an authentically Japanese-ish person. Now there’s no reason why a Japanese shouldn’t be allowed to drive French curds without supervision, except that the Japanese think fermented milk is more disgusting than licking hospital sheets.
[I am going to find my saved copy of the text of his article on being "heterogay" from the late 1990's and link to it here later.] Later. I have found it and I am renewed.
If I were a prefix these days, it seems I would want to be meta-. It is everywhere. Every writer wants to use it, every nouns wants to be near it. Trouble is I really don't know what it means when it shows up much of the time. It is one of words and aspects to language that you drift past like the names of characters in an Dostoyevsky novel - familiar enough, get the idea that its important....but just don't ask any questions, ok?
I read the following in an article in the May 26th New Yorker magazine about the troubles which are facing the New York Times over its failure to notice that one of its reporters was a better writer in fiction than non-fiction:
...when the Times makes a mistake - a big mistake, a ghastly mistake, a mistake that seems to compromise the soul of its mission - that's not just news. It's meta-news.
What does this mean? Is the point that it is news about new like metalanguage is language about language; a collection of newsiness like metabolism is about the collection of bodily functions; or a piece about the essence of news like metaphysics. Being a made up word, it is none of them. Without something approximating neat definition, meta- may become cliche and, soon thereafter...well, think "information superhighway." Just this year's mega-.
A suggestion in clarity from Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia - some. As in:
Guhd Lahd, tha's some news about that writer at the New Yahrk Toymes friggin' up.The beauty of some over meta- is that it can be properly an intensifier and an amalgamator. Both meta- and mega-. As in "some jeesley news..." and some "some friggin' jeesley news." Some goooud.