Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stolen Wings

City of angels
where people speak
but make no sound,
conscience chides them
slaps them hard -
they laugh
and pour another.
Voices cry,
in numbers growing,
deaf ears
preoccupied with owning the stars
ignore the light within.
No remorse...
No regrets...
not even a handout...
they take flight
on stolen wings.

Paul Kimball

Thought du jour - 19 October 2011

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mac Tonnies

Two years ago, on October 18, 2009, Mac Tonnies passed away at the age of 34. Mac was one of my two or three closest friends, a kindred spirit, and a collaborator on a number of projects that were in development (and one, a play called Doing Time, that had been finished and staged in Halifax, and then Boulder, Colorado, a year before he died).

A favourite memory that I haven't related before: when Mac was here in November, 2007, for the run of Doing Time, we went out for a drink with the cast after one of the performances. The actors bailed on us after maybe an hour, so Mac and I had a couple more drinks, which was out of character for him (but not for me, so he gamely played along), and then we went for a walkabout around Halifax. We eventually made our way down to the waterfront, where we found a perch on one of the piers, and stared out at the harbour, with the buoy lights bouncing up and down on top of the restive black water. It was cold, and the wind whistled past us, almost like a song, as we sat there for five or six minutes. Neither of us said a single word - we just took all of it in. Then I looked at him, and while I could spend an hour sitting on a pier staring at the night (and have, many times), I figured maybe he had had enough. "Want to head back?" I asked. He shook his head, just a bit, and said, "No. This is perfect." And so we remained at the end of the pier, for another forty-five minutes or so, intermittently breaking the comfortable silence of friends to talk about the state of our love lives (or what passed for them at the time).

I haven't been quite the same since he passed away. I still wander down to that pier every now and then, look out at the blackness of the night, and when the wind plays, I can hear Mac's "song" again. The notes might not be there anymore, at least not in the same way, but I can still feel the rhythm, and hear the melody.

I always will.

Paul Kimball

Thought du jour - 18 October 2011

"He watched a bus pass, oval windows cataract-blank. He found a gutted telephone booth and dialed up the girl's address on his watch. He was surprised how close he was, and how far he had come, simply by wandering, committing himself to the anarchy of the pavement." - Mac Tonnies

From a story fragment he posted at his blog on January 26, 2009.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chum Per Hour - episode 4

Episode 4 of the ongoing web series Chum Per Hour, featuring my friend Christina Cuffari.

Paul Kimball

Thought du jour - 16 October 2011

"Ultimately, I wonder if we really want free will. Is it worth the effort? Considering how accustomed we’ve become to a numbed, automated existence, the phenomenon of consciousness could be on the brink of fading out." - Mac Tonnies

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Skeptics, Debunkers and Believers

Mac Tonnies on skepticism, disbelief and belief.
Cults, governments, advertisers, religions, schools, and the news media have an abiding interest in infecting you with their beliefs. If you're not vigilantly skeptical, it’s all too easy to succumb. The moment you do, you trap yourself in a given “reality tunnel”. The Earth of the early 21st century is a deceiving, perilous place, and we may ultimately pay for the luxury of our zealously guarded tunnel realities with our own extinction. Wrench your mind out of its routines. Eviscerate your most cherished notions, leaving “belief” severed and twitching on the dissection tray where it belongs. And the invisible fog begins to part; the idiot chatter of our collective human television channel (all ads, all day) fades to a whisper somewhere in the distance.
Read his entire essay here.

Paul Kimball

Thought du jour - 15 October 2011

"Intelligence is not a phenomenon. It's an information-impregnated pattern, as reproducible in its own way as a photocopy or the unruly lines that divide a shag carpeting. There is no reason my self-pattern cannot be synthesized, reconstituted, modified, relayed through space in the form of modulated radio waves or laser pulses, hacked, distributed as freeware to denizens of some future Internet, or uploaded to artificial bodies that may or may not resemble my present meatware incarnation. Electronic communications activists proclaim that 'information wants to be free.' So do I." - Mac Tonnies

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thought du jour - 13 October 2011

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thought du jour - 12 October 2011

"Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life." - William Faulkner

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photo Journal - haystack creatures

Every October, Hennigars Farmer's Market in Wolfville, Nove Scotia, invites these strange haystack creatures to camp out in the yard next door, much to the delight of children and the amusement of their parents, and people like me with a camera. 

Paul Kimball

Thought du jour - 11 October 2011

"The individual who ultimately survives is the one who allows an open (but good-naturedly skeptical) mind and sense of humour to buoy them up. Those who can't or won't tune into the 'and / or' brainwave will be left in uneasy confusion not just on anomalies, but also the unsure path humanity seems to be hurtling down faster every year." - Greg Bishop

Currently reading... 1776

Long overdue - currently reading 1776 by historian David McCullough.

Currently on p. 80, and as with all of McCullough's books, 1776 is engaging from the very beginning, as he seemlessly meshes the broad sweep of events with the little details of the time.

"New England men were also averse to washing their own clothes, considering that women's work. The British included women in their army - wives and other so-called camp followers, some of whom were prostitutes - who did the washing, but that was not the way with the New Englanders." (p. 31)

All too often we read of generals, and strategies, and great battles (and those are all here, of course), but what brings history alive are the stories of everyone involved. McCullough is a master at what has become known as "popular history" - which is really, after all, our history.

Paul Kimball

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thought du jour - 10 October 2011

"I foresee a future in which memories - real and simulated - are routinely swapped between consenting (and not-so-consenting) parties. What will this do to the concept of empathy? Will we become more or less 'human'?" - Mac Tonnies

Chum Per Hour - episode 3

Given that it was released on Thanksgiving weekend, it seems fitting that the title for episode 3 of Chum Per Hour, the new web series featuring my friend Christina Cuffari, should be titled "Meatlovers".


Paul Kimball


It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and yesterday I popped over to my parents' place for dinner. It looked something like this...

My plate.

The turkey.

The dressing that my mom cooked in the turkey.

The dressing that my mom cooked apart from the turkey.

Sunset from my parents' back patio.

Great weather, great food, great company - all in all, a perfect day.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thought du jour - 9 October 2011

Mac Tonnies created this version of a photo of him speaking at the 2006 New Frontiers Symposium to sum up the gist of his presentation that day, and his philosophy about humanity and our future in general.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thought du jour - 8 October, 2011

"You're no longer surfing the Web; the Web is surfing you, scouring your mind for new and better footholds." - Mac Tonnies