Classic Crommunist: Divine Mercy – An Allegory

My band is debuting our new drummer tonight, and we were getting ready for the show. As a result, I had no time or energy to write something new today. However, I’ve been looking for an excuse to re-post the following story, which I think is among my better pieces of work. Once again, I dabble in fiction for illustrative purposes. Hope you enjoy!

Gary woke with no memory of what had happened. Slowly, fighting the urge to retch, he opened his eyes. He immediately regretted doing so, as daggers of light from a single exposed overhead lightbulb pierced through his half-lidded vision and ignited the cobwebs in his head. Raising a hand to block the offending rays, Gary became aware that he was lying naked on a hard concrete floor in a bare room. A grim-looking man with unfamiliar features stood by a solid-looking metal door. Seeing that Gary was awake, the man grunted, heaved the door open, and walked into the hallway outside, letting the door slam behind him.

“Hello?” Gary called querulously. There was no answer. Staggering to his feet, Gary steadied himself against the cold concrete wall and shook his head, trying to dispel the last of his confusion. He lurched toward the door on unsteady feet and wrenched on the knob, to no avail. Gary slammed his open palm against the door and heard a dull boom sound that was quickly absorbed into the walls and high ceiling. “Hello!” he called again “Let me out of here!”

His hand slapped the door again, eliciting the same sound and lack of response from anyone who might be listening. Gary tugged against the knob again then, his small reserve of energy spent, slumped back to the floor. Frantically, he searched his memory hoping to reveal some clue of where he was, how he had arrived there, and who or what he might have offended to deserve such treatment. Suddenly, the door  made a sharp *click* and the knob turned. Gary scrambled to his feet and backed away from the door, imagining that he might be able to make a dash through the portal once whoever was on the other side opened it. [Read more...]

Failure to shuffle, bow, and scrape: the fatal consequences

I used to trust police. I used to think that ‘to protect and serve’ was a motto that was uttered more or less free of irony. In other words, I used to be a blinkered fool (which is not to say that I am not still – just less so about this). One of the first albums I ever bought was Public Enemy’s classic Apocalypse ’91: The Enemy Strikes Black. I nearly wore that casette out listening to it over and over again. Before I knew anything about hip-hop music, before I knew about any music really besides classical and whatever my parents listened to, I knew the lyrics to ‘Get The Fuck Outta Dodge':

Even then, I didn’t really absorb the full implication of what Chuck D was talking about: racial profiling and abuse of power by law enforcement. It didn’t filter through. After all, I was brought up to have a very different understanding of the relationship between civilians and police. Police were there to catch bad guys, to protect regular folks like me, and were who you called when you needed help. And maybe that’s true for some people, but I’m not so naive anymore to think that it’s the case for everyone.

It certainly wasn’t the case for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.: [Read more...]

Kiva project: fourth loan – who to pick?

Hello Cromrades,

Once again, the windfall of cash from your traffic has come in, so it’s time for you to help me spend our money on a Kiva microloan (or two). Go to Kiva.org and pick out your favourite project. Leave a link in the comments, and at week’s end I’ll sift through them and pick the best two.

For the month of October, we made $46.38, and loaned $50.
For the month of November, we made $65.81, and loaned $50.
For the month of December, we made $44.76, and loaned $50.
For the month of January, we made $58.59.

Total amount loaned so far: $150
Total loan funds repaid: $5.00
Fund balance: $66.66

I’m going to Kelowna!

I talk about CFI Vancouver often enough, since I am a volunteer (at least as much as my schedule will allow). What my Van-centricity may have obscured is the fact that there is an active CFI branch in the interior of British Columbia. Unlike Vancouver, which is besotted with a brand of woo-ishness that is more self-injurious than dangerous to others, CFI Okanagan’s umbra is spread over communities where religion (the aggressive, angry kind) runs more or less unchecked.

Thus, it is into this maelstrom of unrestrained non-skepticality that I find myself vaulting with abandon this coming April:

The poster for the 'All About Vaccines' event

That’s right, I’m returning to my childhood stomping grounds, as I’ve been invited by CFI-Okanagan to act as “celebrity”* moderator for a panel of people who actually know what they’re talking about. My job titles will include “introducing the panelist” and “shutting up” and “pointing to people in the audience so they know when it’s their turn to ask a question”. Gruelling stuff!

If you live within easy driving distance of Kelowna and are interested in learning more about vaccines, or you just want to see my shutting up skills in person, come check it out! There are rumours of a party happening on the Saturday night – if you want details you should check out the CFI-Okanagan Facebook page.

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*Said with the rollingest eyes ever

Geraldo Rivera has a point

Right now you’re probably thinking “April Fool’s is over, dude”. I mean this in earnest: Geraldo Rivera was not completely wrong when he said that wearing a hooded sweatshirt contributed to Trayvon Martin’s murder. His thesis, that Trayvon therefore shares in some of the blame for choosing to wear a hoodie, is completely fucking wrong, but you really can’t expect someone who works for Fox News to make more than one cogent and/or accurate point in a single sitting.

I did my graduate degree at one of Canada’s most well-regarded institutions – whether or not it deserves its reputation is very much an open question, but we’ll let others delve into that. I mention it only to say that while I was there, I bought a zippered hoodie (the most versatile garment in the world, especially in spring/fall when dressing in layers is a life-saver) with the school logo emblazoned in large font on the front. The other day, I needed to run to the grocery store around the corner, so I threw on my hoodie. On my way out of the store, I noticed that it had begun to drizzle so I flipped up my hood to keep the rain off of my face.

As I bounded up the stairs to the front of my building, I caught my reflection in the glass doors and was caught momentarily off guard – I looked pretty intimidating. Despite the large block letters of the school on the front, and… y’know… the fact that it was my own reflection, even I was startled for a moment. I can certainly understand how someone might mistake my hands-in-pockets, hood-up stance as being reflective of some kind of ill intent, but I was just trying to stay dry. So was Trayvon. In fact, our missions were more or less the same. We are only separated by a few years, about 120 lbs, and a national border (and he’s quite a bit darker than I am, which is far from meaningless). [Read more...]

Sad news – farewell to the Lousy Canuck

It pains me deeply to announce that, after nearly a year with Freethought Blogs, Jason Thibeault (a.k.a. The Lousy Canuck) will be leaving the site for greener pastures at the beginning of next week. Over the course of a long and protracted discussion in the back channel, Jason has expressed his feeling that his voice has been ‘crowded out’ by the addition of myself and Natalie Reed. Despite our repeated assurances that Jason’s voice was a vital and welcome contribution to the conversation here at FTB, he feels that we’re saturated the market for Canadian content, and that he’d rather put his efforts into speaking to a new audience.

Obviously we will miss Jason, but we also respect his decision to leave and pursue his own work.

Go get his take on his departure here. More below the fold. [Read more...]