Archive | January, 2013

Songs for Sustainability 3

30 Jan

“Oh mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?
My sweet Lord…My sweet Lord…My sweet Lord”

Gotta love Marvin Gaye. Thought of him at the mention of Motown here. Lyrics of his song Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) from the album What’s going on. Maybe we should make that the first “Albums for Sustainability” and that’s from the early 70’s. Wonder what he would write today. Just found reference to a biography Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye by Michael Eric Dyson here. Might make a good read. Just after I finish the one on Laurens van der Post I’ve just picked up.


An Example of Equanimity

29 Jan

Imagine this is your life’s story:

You, of Mexican working class lineage, are born into the early Detroit 40’s in Michigan, USA, a year before the race riots. By the time you hit your 20’s Motown has been founded, Martin Luther King spoke of his Dream, and while Detroit’s having more race riots in the late 60’s you release a low-impact single and follow it with two low-impact albums in the early 70’s. But no grand music career develops. You work in manual labour for the next 20 years, raise your family and dabble a bit in local politics. But no great political career develops. Then, you’re about 56, two chaps from the tip of some wild continent come and tell you that you’re a star in their country. Not only that, but they arrange for you to tour to packed  halls there. Repeatedly. Then elsewhere. And they make a film about the story.

And you, in the film Searching for Sugar Man, you just take the highs and the lows that your life presents you with, with such an equanimity that I am reminded of another of the Vipassana precepts: Remain equanimous, keep a balanced mind in the face of all vicissitudes of life. Remain without craving for pleasant sensations, remain without aversion to unpleasant sensations. Equanimity is purportedly one of the four sublime states of mind taught by the Buddha: Love or Loving-kindness, Compassion,  Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.

If you want to see what Equanimity looks like, watch the man as the story of Rodriguez unfolds in the film. And the film is just great anyway. Much, much more here.


Why the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything lies at the tip of Africa

22 Jan

Give this some Deep Thought: Cape Town lies at an elevation of


metres, says the SA Weather Service and they are the kind of organisation I’d believe.


21 Jan

“The naturalists I know
have brown arms and green thumbs,
and butterflies roost in their beards.
[…] and when they sneeze
they pollinate peaches and plums.”

First stanza from the poem “Naturalists” by Chris Mann, South African poet, playwright and performing singer-songwriter.

Tour de Shanghai

13 Jan

Paris born and based photographer Alain Delorme has a riveting image series called Totems. Delorme chopped and shopped images of migrant workers delivering goods in Shanghai that he collected in the period 2009-2011. The augmented reality arrests you with its very cleaned up presentation of masses of goods stacked on tricycles against a backdrop of changing skylines and city textures. There are surprisingly few people in the photos, which serve to focus attention on the heroic Bicycle Man or Woman.

totems01_kleintotems06_kleinAlain-Delorme-totems_klein(First seen on Feed for the city)

Alain’s work may be somewhat hyperrealistic, but his Totems are not so far off the truth, whether it be in China or anywhere else that you can ride your bicycle, as the following shots show.


Beard to tail, anyone?

12 Jan

There I was just following up a short little mention of a pop-up restaurant in London called Beard to Tail, when I uncovered the biggest foodie-fight around (that’s what it felt like to me anyway) – on the etymology of the word barbecue! Intrigued by visions of animals with beards and managing to think only of goats, I decided to pursue this into the Interwebs. According to various media coverages of the restaurant, it gets it name from the French root of barbecue, i.e. barbe à queue, which literally means beard to tail. It certainly gives added depth to going the whole hog. Buuut, as you will discover, if you too pursue this, that is just one of two major and hotly contested schools of thought on the origins of the word barbecue. The other major school claims its derived from barbacoa, a word attributed to various peoples in the Caribbean (Guyana, Haiti, West Indies, depending on your source) which has something to do with a framework of sticks or a sacred fire, again, depending on your source. Actually, the BBQ explanation I like most of all is Bar,Beer,Cue,(Pig) – from a whiskey bar, a beer hall and a pool establishment which offered whole roasted porkeroos. If you have some time while your mustachioed spare ribs are slow-cooking you can visit a really comprehensive take here.