Wednesday, October 22, 2014

jihad in Ottawa?

It's 1.30 on Wednesday afternoon in a horrible new world in Canada. Nobody knows anything except there was shooting on Parliament Hill and people are dead and the CBC is going nuts.

Canada has thrown its lot in with the United States in bombing small angry nations in the Middle East, and angry, disaffected young men, even in our once-peaceful nation, have an angry new cause. We will all suffer as a result, and Stephen Harper will triumph. That's all I can think as I hear of this hideous tragedy - that it plays right into the paranoid, evil hands of Stephen Harper.

I had a cab driver yesterday, a grey-haired man from the Caribbean who said another driver, a Muslim, told him that he agreed with ISIS because it is only following the Koran. The driver said, "I said to him, that book tells you to kill and maim in the name of your god and you READ that book? You believe in that book? What kind of human being are you?"

He looked at me in the mirror. "I hate religion now, all of them," he said wearily. "Destroying lives all over the world with false promises to stupid people."

They say that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. So let's take a hard look at the success rate of bombing and invading Islamic nations.

Sad. Seriously depressing.

Luckily, for the first time in days, there's a bit of sun in the sky. I have found a patch shining into my bedroom and pulled a chair over to sit in it. No matter how bad things get, there's delight in a patch of sun.

PS Great op-ed in support of John Tory in the Star today - by Zanana Akande, "past president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and a former NDP MPP and cabinet minister." If Zanana Akande likes him, then I can too. My mind is finally made up.

A French Ph.D. in Beatles

A dreadful night, the cold moved into my face, couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep. Feeling 100 years old today. But - there's coffee, there's a delicious dinner in the fridge made for me by my son, there are all kinds of interesting things on the internet and in the newspaper and there's a library book of essays by A. L. Kennedy, a wonderful Scottish writer. I will go back to bed and moon about. Life goes on.

Just received this from dear friend Lynn in France, the program of an extremely serious academic conference on the Beatles: the Beatles and the British Left, the birth of youth culture in England, the recording studio, progressive rock - those are the only ones among these abstruse topics that I understand. How I'd love to be there, surrounded by those rare creatures, stern French academics and Beatlemaniacs in one.

Lynn writes, "How wonderful that The Beatles are the topic for the concours national of the Grandes Ecoles prep schools ( the most prestigious post-baccalaureat schools in France)."


Programme de la journée
9h15 : accueil
9h30 : présentation de la journée d'études / concert
9h45 : Bertrand Lemonnier (Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Paris), Les Beatles : un objet d’histoire ?
10h25 : Jeremy Tranmer (Université de Lorraine), Beatles for Sale ? Les Beatles et la gauche britannique
11h05 : Pause
11h20 : Sarah Pickard (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Les Beatles et la naissance de la culture des jeunes en Grande-Bretagne
12h00 : Moreno Andreatta (IRCAM-CNRS-UPMC), Hey Maths ! Modèles formels et computationnels au service des Beatles
12h40 : Discussion et pause déjeuner ; première session de concert
11h45-14h45, dans la cour du bâtiment 1ers cycles : 944, paysage sonore de Michel Bertier autour de Revolution 9
14h00 : Guillaume Gilles (Université Paris VIII), Les reprises des Beatles et la naissance d’un style
14h40 : Matthieu Thibault (Université d’Évry-Val-d’Essonne), L’utilisation du studio d’enregistrement dans Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
15h20 : Pause
15h35 : Christophe Pirenne (Université de Liège), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band comme pierre angulaire du rock progressif
16h15 : Olivier Julien (Université Paris-Sorbonne), The Long and Winding Road : entre musique produite et « simples chansons de rock ’n’ roll », la période studio des Beatles
17h15 : Conclusion de la journée
17h30 : seconde session de concert
Be there or be square. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NYT: Toronto on a bender

A very good NYT op-ed piece by Stephen Marche about our upcoming election and the spectacle of Tory and Ford, who "have indulged in the uniquely charmless rhetoric of rich white men calling each other privileged." 

What to vote what to vote? I said I'd vote Tory, largely to defeat the swinish Ford but also because Olivia has been such a disappointment. She simply does not have what it takes. And yet she still speaks to where my heart is. Confusion.

What I want to do when I grow up

Monday, October 20, 2014

Macca is live tweeting today

Beth Kaplan,
Your Tweet got favorited!
 Beth Kaplan
Beth Kaplan
Paul, my new memoir's about fantasies of you during a lonely year in Paris in 1964. Would love to send it.
12:26 PM - 20 Oct 14