My friend Dave shared this. I’m saving it for myself here.

 

My sister said it very well: A very good reflection on unequivocal support of Israel. It is legitimate to support, as well as to criticize, both Israel and Palestine. “Black and white is almost always easier than grey, but grey is very often where anything resembling the truth happens to be found.”

 

Bruce CockburnUse Me While You Can

In case you haven’t realized, Bruce Cockburn is a legend; take a good listen to the lyrics.

There’s a black and white crow 
on the back of a two-toned sheep 
in a field of broken yellow stalks 
below looming cliffs. 

High above the plains 
little grey houses blend 
with giant jagged boulders 
and pale weathered stumps. 

Life in the ghost of the bush.

Wind whips the acacias and strange forked palms
That cluster around the water hole

Suddenly, out of the blowing sand
A milk-white camel appears.

Turbaned rider, blue robe billowing,
bounces with the shambling trot; 
wears a sword and a rifle on his back, 
and hanging from his neck, a transistor radio…

You blink and like ghosts, they’re gone

Under the wan disc of sand-masked sun
A woman grins - spits expertly 
Into the path of a struggling black beetle 
Six feet away
Hoists her water bucket onto her head
And strides off up the trail…

Sun a steel ball glowing
Behind endless blowing sand
Sun a steel ball glowing
Dust of fallen empires slowly flowing through my hands
Use me while you can

Pearl held in black fingers
Is the moon behind dry trees
Pearl held in black fingers
Bird inside the rib cage is beating to be free
Use me while you can

I’ve had breakfast in New Orleans
Dinner in Timbuktu
I’ve lived as a stranger in my own house, too
Dark hand waves in lamplight
Cowrie shell patterns change
And nothing will be the same again

Bullet in a sandstorm
Looking for a place to land
Bullet in a sandstorm
Full heart beats an empty one
In the deck they dealt to man
Use me while you can

Pick up a copy of the album, Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner In Timbuktu, online at iTunes or True North Records

 

Bruce CockburnWhen You Give It Away

Another great by Bruce Cockburn; take a good listen to the lyrics.

Slid out of my dreams like a baby out of the nurse’s hands
Onto the hard floor of day
I’d been wearing OJ’s gloves and I couldn’t get them off
It was too early but I couldn’t sleep
Showered and dressed, stepped out into the heat
The parrot things on the porch next door
Announced my arrival on Chartres Street
With their finest rendition of squealing brakes

Down in Kaldi’s café the newspaper headlines promised new revelations
Concerning Prince Charles’ Amex account
A morose young man in old-tim Austrian drag 
Stares past his long mustache at the ground
And last night’s punks and fetish kids 
All tattoos and metal bits
And in the other corner (wearing the white trunks)
Today’s tourists already sweating

Deep in the city of the saints and fools
Pearls before pigs and dung become jewels
I sit down with tigers, I sit down with lambs
None of them know who exactly I am

     I’ve got this thing in my heart
     I must give you today
     It only lives when you
     Give it away

Languid mandalla of the ceiling fan
Teases the air like a slow stroking hand
Study the faces, study the cards
Study the shadow creeping over the yard

     I’ve got this thing in my heart
     I must give you today
     It only lives when you 
     Give it away

Trouble with the nations, trouble with relations
Where you going to go to find illumination?
Too much to carry, too much to let go
Time goes fast - learning goes slow

     But I’ve got this thing in my heart
     I must give you today
     It only lives when you 
     Give it away

Pick up a copy of the album, Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner In Timbuktu, online at iTunes or True North Records

 

Bruce CockburnIsn’t That What Friends Are For?

As one of my dad’s favourite musicians, I’ve heard a lot of Cockburn throughout my childhood, especially on road trips across Canada to visit family on the west coast. Recently, I’ve gained an appreciation for his poetry and I’m excited to see him play at the Markham Jazz Festival on August 15th!

Heavy northern autumn sky
Mist-hung forest — Dark spruce, bright maple —
And the great lake rolling forever to the narrow gray beach

I look west along the red road of the frail sun
Where it hovers between shelf of cloud and spiky trees,
Receding shore;

The world is full of seasons; of anguish, of laughter
And it comes to mind to write you this:

Nothing is sure
Nothing is pure
And no matter who we think we are
Everyone gets his chance to be nothing

Love’s supposed to heal, but it breaks my heart to feel
The pain in your voice —
But you know, it’s all going somewhere
And I would crush my heart and throw it in the street
If I could pay for your choice

Isn’t that what friends are for?
Isn’t that what friends are for?

We’re the insect life of paradise:
Crawl across leaf or among towering blades of grass
Glimpse only sometimes the amazing breadth of heaven

You’re as loved as you were
Before the strangeness swept through
Our bodies, our houses, our streets —
When we could speak without codes
And light swirled around like
Wind-blown petals,
Our feet

I’ve been scraping little shavings off my ration of light
And I’ve formed it into a ball, and each time I pack a it more onto it
I make a bowl of my hands and I scoop it from its secret cache
Under a loose board in the floor
And I blow across it and I send it to you
Against those moments when
The darkness blows under your door

Isn’t that what friends are for?
Isn’t that what friends are for?
Isn’t that what friends are for? 

Pick up a copy of the album, Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner In Timbuktu, online at iTunes or True North Records

 

“Far-sightedness is not equated with a vision defect, but with the ability to anticipate the future and respond to it creatively, and with vision, and moral imagination, to think beyond immediate self interest towards a more enlightened and inclusive self interest that recognizes the rights of others in future generations.”

— Dr. Nathan Funk (on human interest as it relates to the World Order perspective on conflict and violence).

 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the art of customization. It’s not for the sake of being different, it’s about creating a personality. Perhaps, this is the reason why I resonate with the culture of café racers.

The beauty of customization for me is in building new relationships with old technology. If you can build a relationship between person and object, the user becomes invested in the history and future of that object which creates an impetus to fix it when broken rather than replacing it with a newer “shinier” version. And the fix is likely to be a re-use or re-tooling of old parts from the junk yard or classifieds. It’s a form of unconsumption.

Another reason for customization is that too many people ascribe value based on cost. It’s difficult not to in our society! In value engineering, value is the ratio of function to cost; increase value by decreasing cost, or by increasing functionality. In café, I get the sense that this is very much the ethos; is if you can build it or improve it yourself, you will, or you’ll try to learn.