No, we never really, fully know one another.

Even the closest of family, friends, co-workers, and others.
We only see and know the outside, exterior, or behavioral aspects–that which we can experience, even intuitively, as much as we do and can.
And our inner experiences and selves are always deeper, more nuanced, and layered than an outsider can ever experience even when they try, successfully, to ‘walk in our shoes’ to some degree.
In that sense, we never truly and fully know what’s inside another person, where they really come from as far as they are concerned. There are always limits, which create a fundamental alienation and separation between us all.

For example, do you really know how I felt that cold winter afternoon at age 5 when I was playing outside in the snow, an old tenant at my grandmother’s house growling as his health declined and they did not want my youthful self making any noise inside? How could you possibly know that I was thinking of watching Howdy Doody on the second black-and-white tv I had ever known as I played in the snow building caves and forts? That I was imagining, even then, what it would be like to be watching Howdy Doody if I myself was dying on a couch in the house?

Our past and current experiences are specifically detailed with one thought, feeling, image, or impression often leading to another swiftly and automatically. Exactly how would you know any of the above inside experience unless I recorded and shared it, and unless you had access to this blog and had the time to read it? And then, even if you read it and sort of understood and identified with it, you would only have an incredibly transitory, momentary, small fragment of who the author is or has been.

You could spend a lifetime trying to read my blog and getting closer to me, and even then you would not fully and completely know who I am, what I have been, and the totality of my life experience and background. In this fact, major limits and limitations built in from the get-go.

Which takes me back to ’60s psychotherapist R.D. Laing’s work in The Politics of Experience, in the process of discussing mental illness or the everyday experience of people and the limits of their relationships. The old classic song “You Don’t Know Me” also readily comes to mind as a basic relevant, related truth.

Well, obviously we could take a lifetime trying to fathom the essence of one other person we’re close to and never touch bottom or fully succeed. But what about our own lives? Don’t we have some obligation to know ourselves better as our own time slips away?

My own approach, finally, has been to follow Socrates’ “Know thyself” and Montaigne’s purpose to write about himself since he knew himself better than anyone else. My mission of the past 30 years on the side anyway has been to plumb my own depths and explore my own consciousness to better understand consciousness in the lives of people and to study something I have a better chance of realizing than ‘plumbing’ the lives of the many others could or ever would yield.

And I still, incidentally, study others also at the same time as I have notably done on this blog of great people, their lives, and their works. I have an abiding interest in genius, creativity, and imagination: the processes, contexts, and choices of others to fulfill themselves, to follow their bliss, to overcome obstacles, challenges, and limiting contexts to fully be themselves, to realize their otherwise unfulfilled potentials, and to express themselves and visions as fully as possible.

But if I was to boil it all down to one word or idea as to what is essential, necessary, and fulfilling in life, I would say consciousness, still. ‘It’ all begins and ends with consciousness and as many awarenesses, epiphanies, and valuable life insights one can garner in the space of living. What and how much one fully knows, comprehends, and appreciates, finally.


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Poe, Corman, and Price

The American International Series directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price (*unless otherwise indicated):

1960 The Fall of the House of Usher

1961 The Pit and the Pendulum

1961 Tales of Terror

1962 The Raven

1962 The Premature Burial (*starred Ray Milland)

1963 The Haunted Palace

1963 The Comedy of Terrors

1963 The Masque of the Red Death

1964 The Tomb of Ligeia

1964 The City under the Sea (*directed by Jacques Tourneur)

1968 The Oblong Box (* directed by Gordon Hessler)

These American International movies have been released on DVD as follows:

(N.B. Tower of London was not a Poe)

 

 

(An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe was not directed by Corman)

(The Comedy of Terrors was not a Poe and was directed by Jacques Tourneur)

 

(Corman directed many other movies including Little Shop of Horrors, Frankenstein Unbound, The Trip, The Wild Angels, and The Fast and the Furious.)

(Vincent Price was a famous American actor who often appeared in strange or horror movies. His credits include: The House of the Seven Gables, House of Wax, The Fly, Twice-Told Tales, Witchfinder General, Theatre of Blood, Madhouse, Edward Scissorhands, and The Whales of August.)

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“Ah, but I was so much older then,

I’m younger than that now.”
–Bob Dylan, “My Back Pages”

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Halloween Classic Book & Movie

A mentally sensitive woman comes with three others to stay in a house with a haunted reputation. Is the woman mentally disturbed or is she psychic? Is the house haunted or is the protagonist just imagining it? Is there a fated relationship between the house and the woman? Shirley Jackson’s best novel offers many possibilities and is a genuinely frightening, disturbing read. (I taught it in English 13 when I started teaching in Grand Centre/Cold Lake, Alberta in 1972. It was on the curriculum then.) Highly recommended novel.

Director Robert Wise made an excellent close, suspenseful adaptation of the original book. It was shot in black and white cinematography and makes outstanding use of atmosphere, darkness, camera angles, and sound effects. The cast is perfect with Julie Harris as Eleanor, Claire Bloom as cynical Theo, Richard Johnson as the ‘cool’ objective scientist, and Russ Tamblyn as the skeptical young playboy. Highly recommended classic film.

We visited Jackson’s house in a university town North Bennington, Vermont in the early 1990s, where her husband taught.

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Ravi Shankar: Even his tutorials

were transcendent trips and soul-clearing workouts. I listened to this with negative capability at 5 a.m., and experienced inner peace and blissful tiredness by the end. You also learn the basics of sitar music along the way as he periodically narrates. Highly recommended.

*The album mentioned can be found on YouTube under Ravi Shankar-The Sounds of India (1958) Part 1 & 2.

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Other than non-vaxxing medical exemptions,

ornery non-vaxxers don’t care about themselves, their friends, families, and children and are personally prepared to risk or spread serious illness, hospitalization or death.

Vaxxers, on the other hand, respect the rights of others to live safely and have the common sense and respect for facts and science to get the vaccines for their own personal health and survival.

One route extends and exacerbates the pandemic; the other route is more hopeful that the pandemic will one day end if people will get vaccinated for the society and the greater good of all.

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Murray’s Last Run

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bannatyne School No. 1549 (360 Wallasey Street,  Winnipeg)

(ye olde Bannatyne School with kids at the top of the front steps.)

In grade 5, Mrs. Shaw’s class was studying Canadian history and she initiated a virtual run from Winnipeg to Vancouver. If you wished–on recess, before class, and at noon-hour, you could run laps around the school field. I recall that 4 laps equalled a mile and our progress was recorded on a large map. (I think we got as far as the Rockies before the year ended. Later that summer, I would take my first train trip to the coast lapping up those last real miles to the coast.)

Murray was a quiet guy and kept to himself, but still waters ran deep. He really got into the run and ran further than any of the rest of us. One noon-hour in the rain, students were congregated at the top of the steps of the old Bannatyne School (now long gone). From there, we were amazed by Murray who, beyond our understanding and appreciation, ran around the field by himself in the rain chalking up something like 17-20 laps before returning to the school steps where he collapsed breathless as the bell ran and we closed in around him as he whispered how many miles he had run for the class.

In another time, he and I had once been very close and we played hockey in his dusty basement with sawhorses for goals. We shared 45s and I played him oldies like “Alley Oop” and “Mission Bell”. Our last venture was to attend a symphony concert downtown on Easter break. We were to meet at the bus stop, but he didn’t show up. Somehow we had gotten our signals confused, so I went by myself. Things were never the same after that.

Today I thought of him again and found his obituary online from 2018. He was a nice, quiet guy and his adult life as described here sounds the Murray I used to know. I’m glad he was able to find as much happiness in his life as he later did after the tragic passing of his mother…
………………………………………..

MURRAY ….. It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our brother, Murray, on February 21, 2018 at the age of 68 in his home….Born in Winnipeg on May 28, 1949, Murray later moved to Glenboro, Manitoba where he owned and operated the town bakery for many years, making wonderful bread and amazing cakes and pastries. In recent years he lived in Brandon, Manitoba. Murray loved nature, being outdoors and taking long rides in the country. He was an avid football and hockey fan. Some of his other interests were dogs, bird watching, and cars; having a fantastic memory, he always amazed us with being able to tell us virtually any fact or figure about all of these. He will be remembered as a very compassionate and caring person who would help out anyone. We will always love you, Murray.
……………………………………

And I will miss you, too, Murray, still amazed by your fantastic running ability and happy for you at how you followed your own bliss in your adult years. My regrets are many and would include not tasting your amazing cakes and pastries, not watching another game with you on the tube, and going for a ride together in the country like pals again.

Rest in peace, old friend.

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With many nurses leaving and not

returning to the profession, provincial governments are trying to import more nurses. Quebec is even advertising in several other countries. (I imagine some people will come for the chance of better living conditions and higher salaries. If bonuses are offered, that may help matters.)

In Alberta, fewer nurses will likely mean UCP shuts down beds, wards, and perhaps even hospitals which will lead to more crises. Certainly, Kenney is not likely to offer any kind of bonuses or higher wages for such vital, dangerous work. (Too stoopid again, of course.)

Frankly, the health care system is already broken in this province and given the number of surgery cancellations (5000?), it’s not going to get any better. I would also predict that too many doctors will retire and that nursing home staff will exit, refusing to get Covid shots. Lord, help us all!

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My ‘Son’ Alphonso

Image

or so it seemed a while back when a mysterious envelope turned up on my front step apparently for me. I eventually opened it up to find that some agent 3 hours away thought Alphonso lived here! (One look at me would have revealed the not-so-likelihood.)

Anyway he was suggesting that he would be the best agent to represent the up and coming phenom who was being courted by Europe at the time. The edgy letter also contained flattery and promises.

Then there was a second note which led to me emailing the agent to cease and desist with this craziness. He apologized sheepishly and eventually Alphonso was signed (by someone else I suspect) and went to play in Europe.

Now, of course, he is also a Canadian soccer star from Edmonton, internationally known and worshipped. I have appreciated seeing and hearing my surname all over the media after the Panama defeat thanks to Alphonso, but I’m sticking to my story above.

No, he is not my son. Though we came real close one time, much closer than most people.

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Imagine trolling Queen E, 95,

for using a cane she needs to walk.
No, no one is given any respect anymore, especially eminent personages. There are, no doubt, crazy ‘politically correct’ Canadians out there who would like to pour a can of red paint over her; politics have become that sick.

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