Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hymns Old and New -- How Can I Keep from Singing?

Faith, hope and joy in the face of adversity is the theme of the old Quaker hymn How Can I Keep from Singing? It was written in the 1860s and then fell into obscurity, but the hymn enjoyed a popular revival 100 years later when folksinger Pete Seeger recorded it. Seeger omitted or modifed most of its overtly Christian references and popularized it as a protest song against the McCarthy era's anti-communist witch hunts. In the 1990s, Enya recorded a New Age version of it on her album Shepherd Moons and brought it to the attention of a whole new generation.

One of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, David Sereda, has recently posted his beautiful a cappella version of this hymn, which I just love. Here's the audio post, if you'd like to have a listen:

David Sereda's own songs are about gay life, pride, love and survival. I'm sure he intends a similar interpretation for the hymn's lines -- "When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?"

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hymns Old and New -- Intro

[papercraft art by Jodi Harvey-Brown]

As I've mentioned before on this blog, certain Christian hymns and devotional music still resonate strongly with me, despite the fact that I have not been a believing or practising Christian for over 35 years. Part of this is due to fond childhood and cultural memories, but more of it is simply due to loving the beauty and profundity of genuine spiritual expression in music, no matter its source.

My taste in devotional music definitely leans towards the joyous expression of love, hope, gratitude and praise, rather than militant expressions of religious supremacy or grim dirges of punishment for sin. Monty Python's God best summed up the value of those particular songs --

God: What are you doing now?
King Arthur: I’m averting my eyes, oh Lord.
God: Well, don’t. It’s just like those miserable psalms, they’re so depressing. Now knock it off!

So I'm starting a new series of periodic posts highlighting some of my favourite hymns, both old and new. And by "new" hymns, I mean modern songs from contemporary singer/songwriters who express deep spiritual longing and truth in popular music without using explicit Christian imagery. I'm sure I'll throw in a few of my favourite pagan and Goddess songs and chants too.

I've been meaning to do this series for a long time. And now that time is here! But don't worry, I'll still be posting lots of other things too.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Equal Opportunity on the X-Men Movie Set

Oh, and speaking of Hugh Jackman, may I just hark back for a moment to my July 1st Canada Day post?

Fuck yeah, Wolverine!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Don't mess with the lionesses, LOL!

However, even if you DON'T say something offensive about reproductive rights, everyone knows that the Beast Within Women comes out once a month, amiright ladies?

Yes, during that lovely time connected to the sacred cycle of the moon when nothing will appease us but CHOCOLATE . . . .

One of the many blessings of being gay is that I never had to sweat it out concerning birth control or praying that my period would come. You have my sympathy, straight sisters.

And you poor hetero gals also have my sympathy because men are SUCH SCAREDY CATS when it comes to dealing with anything to do with your menstrual periods, aren't they?

So may I just say, ladies, that the big advantage of having a LESBIAN friend in your life is that we are ALL just SO helpful on this or any other related issue!

Yes, indeed. Helpful, that's what we are.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Morning Coffee Kickstarter

Always start your day with a strong cuppa joe and a laugh!

Have a great day, everyone! You're good to go now!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dragged Kicking and Screaming into the 21st Century

I can no longer claim to be the only person in Canada without a cell phone. My luddite days are, if not over, at least seriously on the wane.

Over the past few years, even I have noticed that public pay phones are now practically non-existent. And it's true, for safety reasons, that everyone should have a mobile phone with them in the car in case of a breakdown or emergency. It's just common sense.

So when I got my new apartment, I made the dreaded decision to get a cell phone rather than to put in a "land line." That way two birds can be killed with one stone -- rely on the cell phone at home and take it with me when I go.

Did I get a smart phone? Oh no. Too complex. I got an old-style flip phone. I couldn't get the model pictured below, unfortunately, but I did get the otherwise uncomplicated kind that they typically market to seniors. Go ahead, patronize and/or mock me. I don't care. I'm fine with it.

My phone has no apps. I have no internet plan. You can program people's phone numbers into it, but I have no idea how. I'd like to change the ring tone, but I have no idea how. You get the drift. I consider myself lucky to have figured out how to send and receive calls and check the voicemail.

Having to recharge it every week is a pain in the ass. I'm always scared the phone will crap out just when I need it most.

But does my flip phone make me feel like I'm on Star Trek with my very own communicator? Yes, yes it does. My 9-year-old self's dream has come true a mere 47 years later!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We Can All Join!

You can have classically Grecian looks and long straight hair

Or a big beautiful afro

It's okay if you're short and kinda squatty

Or if people say you're "too intense" and a little scary

Your memory doesn't have to be the greatest

You can come from any religion

And any race

And any dress size

Hell, you can be a big ol' hairy guy, that's fine too

Come join our Wonder Women ranks today!

[Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool does a weekly feature called "Wednesdays with Wonder Woman" and that's where I collected these terrific images over the past year or so. Thanks, Cal, for doing all the leg work to find them from around teh interwebs!]