Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Is Here!

That familiar chill is in the air . . . glorious autumn colours surround us . . . and it's time for hot chocolate again! The Wheel of the Year is coming around once more to its Samhain endpoint.

Strange pumpkin creatures begin to appear and take up residence among us. They watch and wait for what will come.

The Maiden and the Mother have come and gone, their annual sojourn complete. The sacred time of the Crone is at hand.

Welcome Her!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Good Morning, Judge

Welcome to the single greatest song ever written about the legal system! And it's fun too -- if you love jazzy jive, you'll love this classic song!

                     Good morning, Judge, why d'you look so mean, sir?
                     And, Mr. Judge, what can the charges be?
                     If there's been trouble, I will plead not guilty --
                    It must be someone else, cuz y'know it can't be me!

By some strange twist of dark fate, I happen to know an ungodly number of lawyers and judges, so I'm sending this song out to them. Keep the wheels of justice grinding, everyone!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hymns Old and New -- How to Sing

It is so important that hymns be sung in the proper spirit! Thanks, Riot Kitty, for suggesting that I post this hilarious video by Eddie Izzard about how Christian hymns are typically sung. As always, he's spot on! (Please note: the hymn singing part starts about 0:42, after Jesus gets "tarted up a bit.")

Love it! This video reminds me of the only good thing I learned from the Baptists when I was in a Baptist youth group as a teenager. At my own United Church, the congregation always sang in the quiet, dreary manner described by Eddie Izzard. But at the Baptist church, the minister exhorted the congregation to belt out the hymns as loudly as we could, at the very top of our lungs. It doesn't matter in the least, he said, if you can't carry a tune in a bucket. God doesn't care if anyone can sing or not and neither should we. The important thing is that people walking down the street outside the church should hear the hymns blasting out and be drawn in by the conviction of our singing.

He was wrong about a lot of stuff, that Baptist minister, but he was right about singing out in a full-voiced, unselfconscious way. All voices are worthy in the ears of the Divine and everyone should be encouraged to participate in the joy of devotional singing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stratford Festival

A friend and I (no, it's not what you think) just got back from a few days at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. This summer celebration of theatre has been running for over 60 years, offering an annual playlist of various Shakespearian works, other classic plays, popular musicals and recent offerings by Canadian playwrights. Over the years the Festival has featured a wide array of the best Canadian, British and American actors.

We took in two plays by Shakespeare, both of which were excellent -- the ever-popular King Lear and the much less frequently staged King John. Colm Feore played the title role in King Lear. I've been a big fan of his movie and TV work for years so it was a tremendous thrill to see him live on stage.

[Stephen Ouimette (Fool) and
Colm Feore (Lear)]

Neither of us knew the plot of King John so the play was essentially brand new as we watched (a rare experience with Shakespeare). The always-excellent Tom McCamus played King John as a crazy weirdo with a fundamentally vicious and ruthless nature.

[Graham Abbey (Philip the Bastard) and
Tom McCamus (King John)]

The musical we saw was Crazy for You, an amalgam of various Gershwin hits held together by a ridiculous but funny plot. The dancing and staging were super high energy, to put it mildly. We were exhausted just watching them!

[Josh Franklin (Bobby Child) and
Natalie Daradich (Polly Baker)]

Seana McKenna outdid herself as Mother Courage in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. It's always good to be reminded of the uncomfortable truth that ultimately we are all collaborators in our own oppression.

[Seana McKenna (Mother Courage)]

The only play we didn't think too much of was the Restoration comedy The Beaux' Stratagem. It was way too arch and brittle for my taste but then again, who really cares -- I got to see Colm Feore again, LOL!

[Colm Feore (Archer) and
Mike Shara (Aimwell)]

We both adored Christina, The Girl King about the cross-dressing lesbian Queen of Sweden who lived in the mid-1600s. This recent Canadian play was written in French by the Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and performed in English for the first time at Stratford. It showed how Christina managed to successfully outmanoeuvre the Swedish court and the Lutheran church to become "the most free woman in the world, answerable neither to God nor man." Yay! Go, sistah, go!

[Photo credits: #1, #2 and #4 by David Hou; #3 and #6 by Cylla von Tiedemann; #5 by Michael Cooper; all © Stratford Festival]

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hardcore Hopscotch

Oh, what has happened to the simple, innocent game we all played as children? I guess it's true what they say. The world is a much more dangerous place today.

Friday, September 19, 2014

6th Blogoversary Today!

Well, another blogging year has come and gone. Six years I've been at this now! Holy moly!

The personal computer and the internet have really revolutionized our lives, haven't they? Things sure aren't like they were in the old days . . . .

Things are better now! So much simpler!

And let's be very clear about the role that the internet plays in our lives. Time for a revision to your hierarchy, Maslow!

Of course, there are always those who want to regress back to Ye Olden Days --

But the internet makes it possible to have the world at our fingertips, to connect with like-minded people on a scale never before possible and to see that any quirks we have are in fact shared by many.

Thanks for reading my blog, everyone, especially those of you who have been persevering through my blather for months or years on end! Love ya all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Scotland the Brave

So tomorrow Scotland votes on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or to become an independent country. Debate has raged on both sides of the issue. But now, here's the definitive opinion on this momentous question --

Good luck tomorrow, Scotland, and remember -- vote early and vote often, och aye!