Sunday, May 31, 2009

an unopen letter

Dear sirs,

recent events have considered in the recentness
of the actions that have undertaken been having had been
inconsequentially still and quiet
and emphatically silent and humble
and retroactively unmade and not even considered

and still the peace that fights against this war
is ever outshined in this daylight
like a moonbeam at high noon across the arctic sky

terrible to see that it has come to this
in all my days of glory and menace and thrift
it was never expected (by me at least)
be will shall if can might perhaps and always

upper and righter forever instead
pass this on to the next generation who will be

yours in experience,

Photomerge experiment

Drongo Barbie


Your paralysis was contagious

I smiled
and you


black pupils
black holes

As if to say
you can't turn back time

at least not right now

It was never quiet
and you can't
turn on silence

and then

your eyes
rolled back
into your head

I called for help
but I was stopped

by the way
you just lay there

Barely breathing
never laughing


when you
were just

That's how
we wanted
you to stay

I really
don't know

you can't

It's just because
those machines
are keeping
you alive

They are

are cleaning
a space

a tiny

for your soul
to stay in

close the doors
shut the windows
prepare syringes

shut your eyes

Everyone always wonders
what it's like to be free

Mother earth could swallow you
so please
just let it be

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Detail of James's Fire Painting

Han van Meegeren

I'd like to direct your attention to another piece in the New York Times by Errol Morris. This is on art forgery, and promises to be the first in a seven-part series.

From the article: "what makes a work of art great? Is it the signature of (or attribution to) an acknowledged master? Is it just a name? Or is it a name implying a provenance? With a photograph we may be interested in the photographer but also in what the photograph is of. With a painting this is often turned around, we may be interested in what the painting is of, but we are primarily interested in the question: who made it? Who held a brush to canvas and painted it?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sam Maloof, dies at 93

Interesting designer of handmade furniture.

There's a great story about him, at one point he wanted to make his wife some furniture but couldn't afford any new materials, so he decided to use old crates and discarded wood, he might be one of the pioneers of recycling when it comes to furniture making. Another interesting point about Maloof, was he also resisted having his stuff mass produced, prefering to make all his product by hand.

Monday, May 25, 2009


A monk told Joshu, "I have just entered this monastery. I beg you to teach me." Joshu asked, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?" The monk replied, "I have." "Then," said Joshu, "Go and wash your bowl."
At that moment the monk was enlightened.

Mumon's Comment:
Joshu opened his mouth, showed his gall-bladder (true mind) and the depth of his heart. If this monk did not really listen to and grasp the truth, he indeed mistook the bell for a pitcher.

He made it so simple and clear,
It might take a long time to catch the point,
If one realizes that it's stupid to search for fire with a lantern light,
The rice would not take so long to be done.

May 22- June 2 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate) - CASE 1. JOSHU'S DOG

A monk asked Joshu, "Has the dog the Buddha nature?"
Joshu replied, "Mu"

Mumon's Comment:
For the pursuit of Zen, you must pass through the barriers (gates) set up by the Zen masters. To attain his mysterious awareness one must completely uproot all the normal workings of one's mind. If you do not pass through the barriers, nor uproot the normal workings of your mind, whatever you do and whatever you think is a tangle of ghost. Now what are the barriers? This one word "Mu" is the sole barrier. This is why it is called the Gateless Gate of Zen. The one who passes through this barrier shall meet with Joshu face to face and also see with the same eyes, hear with the same ears and walk together in the long train of the patriarchs. Wouldn't that be pleasant?

Would you like to pass through this barrier? Then concentrate your whole body, with its 360 bones and joints, and 84,000 hair follicles, into this question of what "Mu" is; day and night, without ceasing, hold it before you. It is neither nothingness, nor its relative "not" of "is" and "is not." It must be like gulping a hot iron ball that you can neither swallow nor spit out.

Then, all the useless knowledge you have diligently learned till now is thrown away. As a fruit ripening in season, your internality and externality spontaneously become one. As with a mute man who had had a dream, you know it for sure and yet cannot say it. Indeed your ego-shell suddenly is crushed, you can shake heaven and earth. Just as with getting ahold of a great sword of a general, when you meet Buddha you will kill Buddha. A master of Zen? You will kill him, too. As you stand on the brink of life and death, you are absolutely free. You can enter any world as if it were your own playground. How do you concentrate on this Mu? Pour every ounce of your entire energy into it and do not give up, then a torch of truth will illuminate the entire universe.

Has a dog the Buddha nature?
This is a matter of life and death.
If you wonder whether a dog has it or not,
You certainly lose your body and life!

Lhasa De Sela - Who By Fire

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Elvis Presley Blues

Gillian Welch, lyrics from "Elvis Presley Blues", from her epic 2001 album Time (the Revelator).

well he took it all out of black and white grabbing one and the other hand and he held on tight and he shook it like a hurricaine, he shook it like to make it rain, he shook it like a holy roller baby with his soul at stake with his soul at stake. Soul at stake.

I was thinkin' that night about Elvis, day that he died, day that he died,
well he shook it and it rang like silver he shook it and he shined like gold, he shook it and it beat that stream drill baby well bless my soul, and it beat that steam drill well-uh-bless-my-soul, what's wrong with me?

I was thinkin' that night about Elvis, day that he died, day that he died,
just a country boy who combed his hair and put on the shirt his mother made and he went on the air and he shook it like a chorus girl he shook it like a Harlem Queen he shook it like a midnight rambler like you never seen like you never seen.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

In honour of our traveling C-Dog:

Gotan Project, "Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)", off the album "La Revancha del Tango".

Argentinian neo-tango music, with electronic mixing and looping, but still authentic to the traditions. Just listen to the crazy accordian.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A wise and pleasant discourse on Facebook

dear mr cracker--

it's my birthday, so f**k you and your master's degree. If you don't email me back i'm going to come all the way to winnipeg just to spray warm beer on you, right there on your front lawn, and to hurl insults about your manhood and about the quality of your meta-socio analysis. Shamed in front of all the neighbors. It will be glorious.

I'm going to begin with Joyce, then move onto Willie Shakespeare, and then using the Bible and Beowulf and the Kalivlah I shall dismantle your various and tragically erroneous world-views.

Wow. That is the best trash talk EVER. I'm serious. Don't try to top it.

I DO in fact bite my thumb sir.

Whether i bite it towards you or not, the law must decide.



reply from Kristian Enright
19 mai, à 21:31

Wolfboy, your perpetual stink has climbed upon the air like an abuse, and this, like some perverse cologne, is the best thing about you.

I am surprised you had time to not pay attention to the women jumping out of cakes that you payed with your rip off Al Purdy impressions, and that you have learned to use words larger than those which correspond to a dismal wit that Oscar Wilde would call molecular,

and bite your thumb all you want: protesting being human are you?

please-- you are a mannequin in a Giant Tiger window, with your false finger stuck permanently up your nose, probably the only thing that held your interest up until maturity or shall we say precocious senility?

How is your zit popping connect the dots epic going?
Oh, really? you accidentally burst your own head?
Ha! well, at least no brain matter was lost! you probably think that
brain matter is what constitutes a hat!

screw you.

Happy Birthday,
Love Kristian

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19

"The idea of people hearing about punk rock and saying "How do I become a punk?" and then trying to imitate other so-called punks was absurd. The correct question to ask is, "How do I express myself?" If you do that right, you're a punk, whether you mean to be or not."

-Tim Smith of the Adverts

I think if you replace "punk" with "artist", he's nailed the ethos a lot of us have.

Or, just keep punk in there b/c we're so bad-ass.

It's my birthday. I'm thirty-freaking-seven, and I feel great about that. Also born on this day: Malcolm X, Pete Townsend, Peter Mayhew (aka Chewbacca).

I just had a great visit in TO with some AlfA peeps and Olivia.

Cemetery in Buenos Aires

Sunday, May 17, 2009

James/Sippi with Charcoal

Sita Sings the Blues

Check this movie out... there are ten segments available on youtube (it's over an hour long), and you can also download the full version at the author's website from the 'Watch It' link. I recommend the 640x360 XVid version - it's substantially smaller than the others, and burns onto a cd/dvd easily to play in most dvd players - looks great on my tv. The author has made the movie available for free - here are her words, from the website:

"You don't need my permission to copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix Sita Sings the Blues. Conventional wisdom urges me to demand payment for every use of the film, but then how would people without money get to see it? How widely would the film be disseminated if it were limited by permission and fees? Control offers a false sense of security. The only real security I have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom."

Colonia, Uruguay

Friday, May 15, 2009

Les Lavigueur

image from

This picture shows the Lavigueur family, who lived not far from where I live now.

In 1986, they won what was then the largest lottery jackpot in Canadian history, $8 million dollars.

Pictured, left to right, are: Yve, who later wrote a book about their story, which was turned into a popular 6-part series on Quebec TV; Sylvie, who opened a hair salon with her money, and has mostly avoided the public eye; Jean-Guy, the father; William Murphy; and Jean-Marie Daudelin, aka Oncle Sourire, Jean-Guy's brother-in-law who helped raise the children after their mother (his sister) died of heart failure two years before the lottery win.

Not pictured are Michel, the youngest child; and Louise, the youngest daughter, who was living with her boyfriend and was not in contact with the family at the time of the lotto win.

Their story became part of Quebec pop culture for a number of reasons:

--The family was relatively poor and the father, Jean-Guy, who was illiterate, had been unemployed for a year after working for 36 years in a bedding factory. (The media falsely reported, and it was therefore widely believed, that he had always been on social assistance.)

--Jean-Guy lost the winning ticket two days before the draw, and it was found by an unemployed Anglophone from Vancouver, named William Murphy. As the Lavigeurs picked their numbers at random, they had no idea they had won. Murphy, after realizing he had the winning ticket, used the ID in the wallet he had found, tracked down the family, and gave them the ticket. The family chose to share the prize with him, dividing it equally between him and the five family members who had bought the ticket.

(Amazingly, he came to the door half-drunk at 11 pm, and since he spoke no French, Yve, the oldest son, who spoke no English, chased him away with a baseball bat, having no idea what he was saying and assuming he was a random crazy person. He returned again the next day and spoke with Jean-Guy, and was able to explain that the family had won the lottery.)

--The youngest daughter, Louise, 18 at the time, sued the family for a share of the winnings, under pressure from her boyfriend, who was 37, and a small-time drug dealer.
The case was reported in minute detail in the Quebec media.

From the win onwards, their lives were of endless interest to the QC media, including writers and photographers from Le Journal (Mtl's version of the Sun) who followed them around 24/7. They were depicted satirically in TV shows, comic strips, movies, and every deed (and misdeed) was reported regularly in the papers and on TV. The general (and not very true) impression was that they were little more than ignorant rednecks who had accidentally struck it rich.

the aftermath:

--Louise died at age 22, in 1991, of heart failure, from a condition that affected many of the women in their family (two sisters had predeceased her in infancy from the same condition).
--Oncle Sourire died in 1995 from complications due to weight problems.
--Jean-Guy, who in 1996 sold the mansion the family had bought, and who moved back to a small apartment in his old neighbourhood, died in 2000 from emphysema.
--Michel, who was married and had two children, took his own life in 2004 (the media reported this may have been due to criminal investigations relating to the arrest of several high-profile Hells Angels)
--Yve and Sylvie have mostly avoided the public eye. In 2000, two weeks before his father's death, Yve published a book titled Les Lavigueur: Leur Véritable Histoire. The TV series, which came out in 2008, was a somewhat fictionalized version of his book, and Yve collaborated with the producers and directors of the show.

In short (unlike this post), this story is an incredible and heartbreaking Canadian tragedy, as brilliant and convoluted as anything the ancient Greeks ever came up with.
It is now generally agreed that the family, despite their typical problems, despite their relative poverty, and despite Jean-Guy's recent unemployment, was exceptionally tight-knight and loving, and that the problems associated with their lottery win (and the media attention that came with it) more or less destroyed them--personally, and as a unit.

A writer in Le Devoir said, when the TV series came out, that it was a story that no self-respecting fiction writer would ever have even tried to create, since it seemed too incredible to have been real.

I just finished watching the TV series yesterday, and ben collis osti mon tabernac it has given me a lot to think about.

(Also, and mostly unrelated, perhaps, I just read over Sept-Dec 2006, and the volume and quality of work we've generated on here in our 4581 posts is nothing short of incredible. I hope we're all proud of this blog, b/c we should be.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Search for the right band...

Hello Labelites!

Krystal and I are searching for a band to play at our wedding on September 4th, 2009.

The wedding ceremony and reception will be at Fort Gibraltar here in Winnipeg.

We're looking for a band that is professional, has a sense of humor and can provide a foot-stompin' good time for the 130 guests that'll be there. We want the band to play original songs but not be afraid to take requests or play a few predetermined favorites for us. The style we're looking for is counrty/folk/blues-ish, but we're open to considering anyone who is serious about performing.

As many of you are well connected with the music scene here in Winnipeg, suggestions would be very helpful.


A man on the ground...

Man, this place is amazing. Makes Montreal even look provincial.

F'n ALfA, finish your books, your dissertations, write your poetry, paint your thoughts! Let's travel the world letting people know how brilliant we are.

I've learned that Latin American culture is fundamentally one of intellectuals. You wouldn't believe it, there's people singing opera and giving philosophy lectures on the street, and people stop to listen, and they're not tourists!


Yesterday I sat at an outdoor cafe and listened to a lecture on Sartre and how he influenced the Argentine mind, I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

He actually said that if the jew hadn't ever existed, the anti-semite would have invented him!

He also said that philosophy should not be kept in the academy, and that it must be brought to the populace, hence the outdoor lectures.

He also said that all idealism was digestive philosophy, and that his philosophy was purgative! Ha!

He also said that man is only alienated because he is free. Alienation is a luxury!

The West will die! The West will die!

Who knew that we would preside over the decline of modern civilisation, eh? Who knew? I almost want to cry, oh wait, yet another beautiful tanned young women passing by to lift my spirits.

This is ALfA on the ground, reporting...

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Gertrude

The composition is not there, it is going to be there and we are here. This is some time ago for us naturally...Nothing changes from generation to generation except the things seen and that makes a composition.
(Stein, 1926 in Composition as Explanation)

She also says this in the same essay, which I'm trying to connect to her idea of continuous present.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gertrude Stein on art outlaws

" Those who are creating the modern composition authentically are naturally only of importance when they are dead...For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts...The characteristic quality of a classic is that it is beautiful...of course it is wonderfully beautiful, only when it is still a thing irritating annoying stimulating then all quality of beauty is denied to it. Of course it is beatuiful but first all beauty is denied and then all the beauty of it is accepted. If everyone were not so indolent they would realize that beauty is beauty even when it is irritating and stimulating not only when it is accepted and classic. (Stein, 1926 in Composition as Explanation)

Portrait of Henri Malaison, mon grandpere

Laser Art by Macri & Culleton

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Does Your TV Watch You?

So, in George Orwell's famous novel "1984", Big Brother installed two-way televisions in everyone's homes, televisions which by law (and by lack of user-controls) had to be left on at all times.

Now, have we brought Orwell's predictions to life? Have we invited surveillance into our homes via our newer, better TV's, or, for that matter, our newer, better computers?

I read an article a while back in the New York Times where the author said that, thanks to iPhones, cell phones, wifi, the replacement of analog televsions with digital, the use of debit and credit cards, and the electronic tagging of kids to prevent abductions, we've willingly, as a population, acquiesced to at least the potential for 24-hour surveillance.

In effect, the author said, we've given the "powers that be" a dream scenario-- one in which they are able to track our every movement, every penny we spend, and every word we say-- without them having to lift a finger. That's not to say they *do* track every movement... but that they can, should they choose to, and with great ease.

Is this paranoid? Hasn't history shown that all power is eventually abused? Should we be afraid?

Anyway, I gotta go watch hockey on my new giant plasma screen. It fills a whole WALL! Seriously! A whole WALL!!! WOOOOOOO!

(Image of Trinity from