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maybe a tiny step forward…

How marijuana became legal – before they’re going to be able to make cannabis legal, they’re going to have to seriously consider giving it a more scientific name: “pot” and “marijuana” are not going to cut it if you’re going to be able to go down to the drug store and buy it without a prescription. there’s still just too much stigma placed on those words to make it anything other than political suicide.

which is still illegal, by the way…

Continue reading maybe a tiny step forward…

so…

there has been a lot of kerfuffle recently about two things that aren’t necessarily related in the obvious sense, but basically come down to the same thing, when you think about it. the first is universal health care or the lack thereof, and the other one is gay marriage.

the declaration of independance says that all <citizens of the united states> men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

i’ve always wondered about the part that says “among these…” because usually people say that it doesn’t guarantee you anything other than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that’s beside the point.

the first right mentioned is “life”, but what does that mean, really? if you’re alive, you don’t have any choice in the matter, but technically, anyway, if you try to kill yourself you can be arrested for the crime of attempted suicide, so it’s obvious that the government has an interest in keeping those people who are currently alive in a living state. but if you’re sick, that’s when the kerfuffle starts. these days, if you’re one of those many americans who don’t have health insurance, there’s the very strong possibility that you will die, and there’s nothing that the government will do to stop it. on the other hand, if you are taken to a hospital with a life-threatening illness, the probability that you’ll get emergency treatment is very high, even if you’re not a citizen.

i see a dichotomy here: the republicretins are all up in arms because obama’s public health care plan would potentially provide medical treatment for illegal aliens, and potentially determine when a critically ill patient is no longer eligible for treatment.

but currently, if a critically ill patient is taken to a hospital, they’ll get treatment whether they are a citizen or not. if one of the rights guaranteed by the declaration of independance is a right to life, then what would the government gain by having “death panels” to determine when a certain patient is no longer eligible for health care?

but the republicretins rail on as if it were the end of the world when obama suggests that providing health care for everyone is something that should be seriously considered. crazy people… malfunctioning people… 8/

and the gay marriage thing… fine. if you don’t like homosexuals getting married, then don’t marry a homosexual. by all means, don’t deny that they exist, or are immoral (that’s where “liberty” comes in to play). don’t equate them with pedophiles or other “deviants” – what does that word, “deviant” mean anyway? is the republican assemblyman from california, who is married with two children, and who was an outspoken supporter for proposition 8, but recently revealed to the world over a microphone that he didn’t know was turned on, that he was having an extramarital affair (in rather graphic terms) more or less a “deviant” than the gay couple down the street who have been together for 25 years, are good neighbours and keep to themselves? by the way, the republican assemblyman, mike duvall, has since resigned, but he is steadfastly refusing to admit that he was carrying on an extramarital affair… my guess is that he will admit it sooner or later, but claim the forgiveness of jeezis for his transgression.

it would seem to me that the declaration guarantees the right of any citizen to do whatever the hell he damn well pleases as long as it doesn’t kill someone or cause a riot. the declaration of independance guarantees the right for homosexuals to get married, regardless of what the neighbours might think. as long as they’re – what’s the right term? “monogamous” isn’t right for gay males… “monoandrous”? – faithful to each other and don’t go out and rape people, whatever it’s called, they have as much right to get married as a man and a woman.

it’s not a matter of “redefining” marriage, because, ultimately, marriage is a religious insitution before anything else, and, as we all know, mixing religion and matters of state is strictly prohibited by the same constitution that defines our rights. but if two gay people want to make a commitment to each other, there are certain rights that marriage provides, which are denied to people who are not married, which is not fair to gay people, who currently are prohibited from getting married. there has to be a way to provide those rights to all people, regardless of their sexuality.

much as i hate to use this phrase, i wish that the republicretins would simply get over it, because we are going to have public health care, and we are going to allow gay marriage…

or there will be riots…

which are what the constitution does not protect.

Continue reading so…

in honour of my having received my CD of Organ2/ASLSP by John Cage

information reprinted from another of my web sites

I have been a musician for most of my life. Throughout my life, I have heard references to many famous musicians, some of whom have had a great deal of effect on my life, both as a musician and as a human being. One of the most profound effects my life has experienced is that which originated with the great artist, musician and composer, John Cage.

He was first introduced to me as a composer of “unusual” music. I have always been interested in the out-of-the-ordinary, and when I encountered a piece of music for the Prepared Piano, a John Cage invention, I knew I had found a kindered spirit. His unorthodox use of chance, creating music by rolling dice or following mathematical formulae, or even determining notes in a score by using star charts as an indicator inspired my own, interesting (many would say bizarre) unorthodox experiments. John Cage also had the honor of being able to study with the great serial composer Arnold Schönberg, who is another of my favourite composers, especially for his oratorio Pierrot Lunaire. One of my favourite characteristics of Pierrot Lunaire, outside of the music itself, of course, is the fact that when I was in high school, and I played it on my stereo, it would give my mother a headache. John Cage, himself, gave quite a bit of insight into his unorthodox way of thinking, and, by extension, his unorthodox music and artwork in his “Autobiographical Statement”, which first appeared in print in the Southwest Review in 1991.

Later in my life, I attended the Cornish School, where John Cage worked, and performed in the tiny performance hall which had been the original reason he invented the prepared piano, and it felt to me like I was following in the steps of someone I respected very much. At that time, I was also composing a lot of music using various numeric and geometric techniques. Somewhat later, during my first year at Fairhaven College, I performed Cage’s famous piano piece called 4’33” – which is, basically, four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, in three movements which are delineated by the performer opening and closing the cover of the piano keyboard. There is a web-based rendition of this famous piece of music, which is performed in one movement, sans piano. Oddly enough, my rendition of 4’33” was performed on an old, upright piano which, only moments before the start of my performance, I had managed to knock over on its back (I had to have about 6 other people help me lift it back upright again), and the keyboard had completely locked, so if I had had to play notes, I would not have been able to do so.

In 2001, I read of another performance of music by John Cage which I found to be particularly inspiring, which is a performance of an adaptation of Cage’s piece for piano called “As Slow As Possible”. In the small town of Halberstatd, Germany, in an old, abandoned church-turned-pig-farm-turned-performance-hall, an organ is being constructed for the performance of a piece called “Organ2 – ASLSP” (movement 5 of which can be heard here), which, when complete, will be the longest musical performance in human history, taking 639 years to finish. The performance started on 5 September, 2001, and for the first 17 months the only sound was silence, punctuated by the wheezing of the solar-powered organ bellows. The first three actual notes of the performance began on 3 February, 2003, another note was added in July of 2004 and another note was added in July of 2005. According to what I have read, an intermission is planned in 2319.

I have always had a lot of respect for people who make their living doing unconventional things. I have tried very hard to be one of those people, because it has become evident to me that the people doing unconventional things in their lives are among the only people in existence who are having even the slightest bit of fun that isn’t heavily influenced, and in most cases totally controlled by someone else. John Cage has always been a powerful influence in my life because of his ability to be unconventional and extremely successful at the same time.

“cult” = “christian”

It’s easy to spot signs of a cult – okay, let’s look at this from a bigger point of view: are not “christians” characterised by claiming that they, and they alone, have the truth about “god”, and dismissing other religions as wrong or misguided? and what about “god” giving their founders a new revelation that “corrects” the “errors” of others”? what about the differences between eastern and western orthodox catholics and methodists, or presbyterians and jehovah’s witnesses? what about the war over whether to perform the sign of the cross with two or three fingers? do they not add other authorities (like billy graham) to whatever canon they work under and secretly substitute their own teachings for things with which they disagree? what is it, if not in the message that “the only way… is through faith and trust in Christ” that makes “christianity anything different than the “cults” that he is warning against?

the fact that i can easily find “christianity” in this article that is supposed to be about “cults” should be warning to any “christian” who might be reading this, that even in such notable and presumably “christian” personalities as billy graham there is enough hypocrisy and lust for money that we should all be extremely careful about what we take as “The Gospel Truth” when it comes to making a personal decision like what one’s spiritual path should be.

if you’re really concerned about whether or not a group may be a “cult”, i would recommend evaluating it with the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.

Continue reading “cult” = “christian”

it’s worse than you ever imagined…

When they took the fourth amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment,
     I was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the first amendment,
     and I can say nothing about it.

Officials cite broad power for president in memos

Continue reading it’s worse than you ever imagined…