Category Archives: Lifestyle

Passing of Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy was a wordsmith, he possessed common sense, and he wasn’t beholden to other’s opinions and this is why I stood up and took notice whenever he spoke or penned an editorial. I also admire people who actually reach for the best words in order to express a point. His expression was the antipathy of those now so compelled to use the word “fcuk” in every grammatical form because they have been too lazy delve into the depths of the English language. Rex Murphy put context and pragmatism toward thought. He had capacity to empathise in every direction while articulating the best route forward cognizant that we can’t be everything to all people all of the time. Rex had instinct in knowing how not to go too far in presenting a position so that the audience had room to conceive for themselves. Rex coaxed you toward the dictionary because your English teacher may not have been as illustrious.

There was also a mystical kind of delivery because he operated with an intention to provoke. Satire was to be expected and the monotony of tone was purposeful so that he could catch you when the hyperbole went over your head. His thoughtfulness was etched throughout his piece in such a way that even the ardent with entrenched beliefs couldn’t help but be jostled.  

Without the likes of Rex Murphy…we can and will descend to gutter like politics showcased south of our border.   

Oscar Lopez Story

It was disappointing to read about Juno award winning guitarist Oscar Lopez tonight (Oscar Lopez Story) in reference to his struggles to make living. He says he is not alone. Every living soul who has ever downloaded an album of his on Napster for free may want to pay him a visit at his car where he sleeps and chip in for a deposit on his next apartment. He has published 12 albums and is a “lively” performer. He’s become a casualty of the dysfunctional music industry and it’s a shame.

For some reason, you ascribe more value to the UFC and Mr. Beast than to a night on the town gettin’ down with your special someone. If you can get something for free because of an apparent immunity from prosecution…you take it irrespective of the longer term impact. You are hedonist to the detriment of a long term thriving culture. You have little persistence in focus in deriving art’s value due to haphazardness in seeking instant gratification. You lack appreciation for the work and practice deployed in order to present you with a meaningful experience with art. Finally, you lack empathy for the casualties flooding your society in concert (ironic pun) with your indifference.

Sled Island Viability In Calgary

The Calgary Sled Island summer festival is having challenges with cash flow and it may need changes in order to survive. Its sustainability has benefitted from COVID relief funding which has now dried up. It will need to look hard at costs within an environment where disposable income has been reduced because of inflation and consumer debt levels are high. Folks still need to deploy entertainment dollars but they need certainty that they are getting value for money. Should the event decide to continue to recruit acts from outside the city, costs will remain high. If the event refuses to turn down the volume, people will be annoyed and won’t come. Hard decisions are required during tough economic times. Unfortunately, management teams which heed the needs of vendors / artists over the interests of consumer group will fail. 

When attending a strong performance last summer at the United Church downtown, there was a hiccup in the setup and it was lucky they had a seasoned veteran sound man on board in order to facilitate the setup change given a band which showed up in numbers beyond which was expected.

The management team should also be acute to genres out of favour and communicate better with respect to the style and track record of artists anticipated to take the stage. 

Private sponsors may be will to show up and participate with cash but sponsorship must be honoured in such a way that shows benefit other than a company logo on a website.   

Are We Becoming A Different Species?

Are we becoming a different species? This is the question pondered by relationship expert Esther Perel. She does so in the context of the impact of technology on interpersonal relations. The question seems ridiculous but when we delve deeper into the changing behavioural habits of mankind, perhaps there is food for thought.

Let’s look to the brain and its wiring. What do we know? Physicians / scholars have identified compartments of the brain associated with functions such as reasoning, emotion, sensory stimulation, and motor control. Yet, the intricacies of neural pathways and the manifestation of behaviours arising from neural impulses are less understood. You can bet that scholars in the field are disappointed that more of a behavioural baseline was not established prior the proliferation of personal computing devices. Such a baseline would have obviously aided new studies in examining change.

Particular behavioural characteristic which interests me in the context of the headline are “empathy”, and “awareness”. That is, any change in a person’s acuity. I postulate that technological utility as it reduces interpersonal time may produce reductions in such traits but could any such reduction make us less human? In other words, can the influence of technology change brain chemistry to the point that we can ultimately label ourselves differently? Notice that I haven’t yet referenced the relatively new acronym, AI, and you all know what this is by now. 

Is brain chemistry interconnected with spirit and soul? If so, could our spiritual selves now be encumbered of expression through neural blocks produced by technology?

When postulating the question, Perel had the human experience in mind related to our physicality through touch and sex. She claimed that we can live without sex but we cannot live without touch. Who here has been tasked with selling off a grandmother’s dining room table but there are few buyers because families are now not large enough to need one? Unquestionably, we have grown apart and the divorce rate exemplifies such. We are less tolerant of foibles and less committed to relationships. In carving out our personal freedom through intolerance, we’ve become isolated and judgmental. A crassness has been infused within our psyche perhaps due to a powerlessness we now feel through the degradation of community supports.

With a few paragraphs of reflection to temper the ridiculousness, I suppose a study could incite yet more curiosity. 

Burning Man Debacle

You’re all thinking it so I’ll say it. There was a burning man debacle. It’s not the best of ideas to be camping with 70,000 compadres in the middle of the desert in an effort to appear kindred to a “counter culture” espousing the dichotomy of self-reliance and community while building art and posing for social media inspired images.

We’ll see if the enlightened brethren will be 2023 compliant in its mantra of “leaving no trace” when waterworks have been down for two days.

I’m reminded of the soccer stampedes costing lives and the spiritual escapades exhausting the unfit, and the spectators crushed at the stages of oversold concert venues. Despite the earnestness of desire to fulfill a cause or celebration, i’m reminded of the weakness in judgment within man’s condition. There is this bias in refuting or downplaying risk for experience as if the experience in and of itself is necessary for the edification of the being.

Like juveniles adamant to enshrine members through hazing, an art workshop cult asks naive campers to commune in the desert for a week thereby risking tax payer dollars and state assets to potentially secure their rescue.