Wednesday 30 July 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 28 July 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 25 July 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 23 July 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 21 July 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 18 July 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 16 July 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!]

Monday 14 July 2014

Buddha Beads

I've been thinking a lot lately about an old wooden Buddha statue that I saw in Japan a couple of years ago when My Rare One and I were there. It was at the Itsukushima Shrine on the southern island of Miyajima -- you know, the shrine with the famous red torii gate out in the water.

Anyway, there was this very old hand-carved wooden Buddha statue sitting in front of a little side temple adjacent to the main shrine. The wood was absolutely as smooth as glass from people rubbing their hands all over the statue for umpteen years, presumably for luck or in supplication to the Buddha.

The Buddha's wrists were adorned with several sets of prayer bead bracelets, perhaps from people whose entreaties had been answered or whose luck had changed. Or maybe just from those who wanted to honour the Enlightened One, I don't know.

I love little ritual gestures like this which arise spontaneously and uncommanded from people's deepest hearts.

[All photos © Debra She Who Seeks, April 2012]

Friday 11 July 2014

And Speaking of Mormons

They do, though, have that rather unfortunate and annoying habit, don't they, of coming to the front door to try to convert us. Sometimes, however, they get more than they bargained for . . . .

[by doodleigh]

Hahahahahahahaha, love it! Wait, what? The Mighty God of Thunder needs reading glasses?

And don't ask why Thor and Loki are in bed together. They're consenting adults, you know.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Why I Like Mormons

I never met a Mormon until I moved to Alberta. In the late 1800s when polygamy was outlawed in Utah, 3200 Mormons moved north to this province. They were fruitful and multiplied and now Alberta has 50,000 of them (but they're no longer polygamous).

I've worked with a few Mormon men over the years and at first, I was worried that they would give me grief because I'm openly lesbian. I was prepared to fight if I had to. But what I found surprised me. Yes, they were indeed very conservative. But they were so right-wing, they actually embraced that odd Libertarian form of social tolerance. If they regarded me as being on the gay fast-track to eternal flames, they very nicely kept that opinion to themselves. And best of all, most of them had delightfully good senses of humour, so we got along just fine. I quite like all the Mormons I've met!

I did, however, profoundly shock one young Mormon guy, although not with my sexual orientation. I deliberately told him, oh so very seriously, that what Alberta needs is a good NDP (left-wing) government. The look of horror on his face, LOL! It was naughty of me to tease the poor little bugger that way, I know, but I just couldn't resist.

Monday 7 July 2014

Those Bloody Royals

My recent blog hiatus meant that I also missed Victoria Day in May, which is the time when I traditionally poke fun at the Royal Family, past and/or present. Oh well, better late than never . . . .

It's nice to see that the up-and-coming generation of Royals are proving to be as big a source of fun as their parents were.

Never thought of this next scenario but he's got a point, doesn't he?

And now we have little Prince George being raised to carry on the Royal tradition.

The Queen is smiling quietly to herself in this next photo because she knows that her forebears INVENTED the Game of Thrones. Those fictional royal houses are a bunch of pussies compared to the Normans, the Plantagenets, the Tudors, the Stuarts, the Hanoverians and yes, even the Windsors.

See? What did I tell you?

Friday 4 July 2014

The Glorious Fourth

Hello, Americans! Canada and the USA have been good friends forever (not counting your unsuccessful invasion attempts during the War of 1812) so we Canadians would like to wish you all a Happy Independence Day, eh?

We like you so much we're throwing you a party! Guess what? We made you a pizza -- mmm, bacon. And not Canadian back bacon either. Real American bacon.

And we baked you an awesome cake for dessert too!

We even laid in a supply of American beer, just because it's your special day.

So what time is it, America? No, it's not Miller Time. It's . . .

And sho, old buddy, old pal, *hic* to cap off the feshtivities, may we just shay: