Archive for June, 2009


June 30, 2009

I am Henry VIII I am, Henry VIII I am, I am.

Herman’s Hermits (covering an old British Dance Hall song)

I’m Henry VII I Am

This relatively obscure song is my way of saying sorry folks! I’ve been away camping for several days, and without internet a little bit longer.  Thus The Alder Fork has taken a bit of vacation.  The new album is now available in hard copy form through my store.  It is also available directly from me, if you are interested.  I think the album art alone is worth the ten bucks, and the music is the icing on the cake.  Pretty soon it will pop up on iTunes and the circle will be complete, so to speak.

My recent post on HIV was pretty popular so I suspect I will write more on related topics in the near future.  It is fascinating to delve into recent history and witness how the unknown continues to confound and scare our species.  There are certainly other examples, but none as clear cut as the AIDS epidemic.  Some people still believe you can get it from casual contact, even though it has been clearly established that it isn’t possible.

Of Epidemic Proportions

June 24, 2009

Being a bit laid up with this cold has somehow caused me to investigate disease epidemics.  from Spanish flu to Ebola to AIDS most of my day has been spent reading.  If you are interested in the way a modern epidemic affected North American society I recommend the CBC’s digital archives.  They have a fascinating section on AIDS.  As someone who grew up after AIDS was discovered, it is hard for me to fully understand the panic that took place in the 1980’s.  It was only on generation ago that people were afraid of AIDS patients, and acted with a great deal of homophobia.  It took the cases of straight women, celebrities, and young children to bring some sanity to the public discourse around AIDS.

It is also interesting that the earliest cases were likely the result of HIV infection that had taken place years earlier, which further complicated the search for a cause.

Would the same reaction happen today?  SARS had some similar characteristics, at least in terms of public fear, but it was not associated with an already marginalized group of people.  A connection can be made to the case of a serial killer murdering prostitutes in B.C., in the sense that the problem was largely overlooked because of the group involved.  Perhaps our society is not as evolved as it might be, but didn’t we already know that. In fact, I think it’s safe to argue that many of the reactions of commentators like jerry Falwell would be echoed today.  It is easy to find religious leaders who condemn homosexuality and believe that its practitioners should be punished.  I have always found this line of thinking preposterous in an ethical system that promotes love of the other.  Falwell’s argument that God loves people and punishes sin, could work in theory, but falls apart in practice.  To be fair, I don’t believe that God punishes anyone, since the sufferings of life are random.  But more importantly I don’t believe there is anything wrong with homosexuality.  I don’t have a large theological or philosophical argument.  I just have a feeling in my heart, and a thought in my head, that love between two people, even if it is consummated homosexually, is always legitimate.

But I am way off point now.  If a disease demonstrating the same baffling circumstances as AIDS arose today, the internet and 24 hour media would likely create an even larger panic with much more misinformation. H1N1 certainly proved that.  People may be more skeptical in light of the large number of media induced scares we’ve experienced in recent years.  Perhaps we won’t take it serious enough.  Watch some of the CBC archive material, if you weren’t around, you will be shocked and amazed.

Over The Top

June 22, 2009

Sometimes being stuck on the couch sick can be a good thing.  I happened across a film that I’d never heard of today.  It’s likely that many people do know about this movie since it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. 2006’s Days of Glory tells one of the mostly unknown stories of WWII, that of the Algerian and Tunisian soldiers who fought in the French army.  In Canada we are accustomed to hearing about our own army, and the British colonial troops from Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Newfoundland. The movie plays on the themes of racism both at the time and in modern day France.  Although Canada is not free from racism, it is not nearly has overt as that in Europe.  That is likely related to the multicultural history of Canada. Regardless the film was quite good, even if it was lean on battle action.

This movie is another reminder that there is the potential to make hundreds of WWII movies without covering all of the interesting angles.  There was so much going on for the 5 or so years of the war, and the decade leading up to it that studios could put out one a month for years.  Each one would probably have several “I bet you didn’t know that” moments.

Check out the movie if you get the chance, it’s worth a watch.

Music Music Music

June 19, 2009

Hi fans of The Alder Fork.  If you’ve had a chance to check out my new album on Amie Street, I’d be ever so grateful if you could sign up for an account (or log into your existing one) and “rec” a song or two. It would really help spread the word about the music. It’s especially helpful if you say things like, this song reminds me of so an so.  That’d be fantastic. Just follow this link and you are all set.

As of right now you can also listen to and request the entire album on New Music Canada.

On another note the album will be hitting iTunes very shortly, so if that’s your preferred musical supplier you will be able to get it there very soon. An announcement will appear here when that happens.  The hard copies of the disc will also be available in the next few days.

As always I very much appreciate your support of my endeavours!

A Mind Trip

June 19, 2009

I was searching through some draft posts and I came across this random bit of thinking.

Have you ever thought about life in another person’s head?  For example, you might be far too shy to walk up to someone in a grocery store and ask them out, yet people do it all the time.  You may be afraid to haggle over a price, but all over the world people do it regularly. Contemplating different ways of thinking is really a fascinating exercise. There are the very positive types of people who are hoplessly optimistic, or completely naive.  I can’t imagine what life would be like for someone who doesn’t notice and analyze each interaction and response he/she encounters.

I Awake To Muddy Streets

June 17, 2009

There’s no compromise you see, in the battle of you and me

The Alder Fork

Great Lakes

Another exciting day here at The Alder Fork.  When I apologized for my absenteeism I used a new album as my excuse.  Well the album is officially done today!  I will be putting out a podcast in a day or so with a lot of the music from the disc. In the meantime you can get it through Amiestreet, buy a physical copy at my Etsy store (you will also find my book there), or wait a couple of weeks and get it on iTunes.  Thanks go to Elle, Dave, Heather, and Matt for their ears and assistance with the album.

Marching Marching

June 15, 2009

Face the monsters bring them to tears it’s all you need to hear.

Laura Smith

I Spy A Monster

A new episode of the podcast is up. As always it is available over there –>. My special guest is Laura Smith who is currently touring across Canada in support of her recent album Sea of Stars. If you get a chance to check her out in Toronto at C’est What on Wednesday at 10pm or Cabin on Thursday at midnight, you won’t regret it.  For more information about Laura check out her site.

Compelling Questions

June 14, 2009

The Perimiter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, hosts a series of public lectures. Most of these show up on television in some form or another, usually on Rogers TV.  The TVO program Big Ideas has also shown at least one of these lectures. I caught William Phillips talking about Time and Einstein in the 21st Century.  Phillips works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, apparently helping to design more reliable atomic clocks.  The most fascinating part of this presentation is the idea that the understanding of accurate time is entwined with the atom.  Phillips does a fantastic job of explaining how atomic clocks work, and the various scientific principles behind them.  He also touches on the implications for quantam physics and quantam computing.  But it is the reality that every atom of a similar type resonates to the same beat no matter where it is in the universe that is compelling.

Religious leaders and philosophers from a number of traditions have speculated and ultimately taught that every item in the universe is inextricably linked. Many North American native communities view the entire planet as an interconnected web of animate and inanimate objects.  There has been speculation that atoms of a similar type are somehow conencted to one another, though to my knowledge no proof has been found.  Given the variety and variability of the objects they form, the smallest blocks in what we see has reality are amazingly uniform. There are probably a number of possible conclusions that flow from this understanding, from belief in a deity to gratefulness for a random confluence of events that have created something where there might otherwise be nothing.  In my view, it’s not that science somehow justifies any kind of spiritual or ideological belief, but that it inspires amazement and curiosity that really matters.  The atomic clock may not unlock the deep mysteries of the universe, but it will keep people asking the questions in new and imaginative ways for generations. Enjoy the lecture.

Guess who’s back?

June 10, 2009


This is the best television related news in years.  The recent DVD movies have shown that the writers and cast of Futurama still have a lot of fun left in them.  Here’s to many new seasons!

I Wish You Would

June 9, 2009

I come to you with humblest apologies for the silence falling over the blog these last couple of days. I have been working feverishly on a couple of projects, school assignments, and life.  Finding time to come up with witty and unique contact has been more of a challenge.  The same applies to the podcast, though I am also contemplating the direction of that exercise.

There’s only one way I’d like to say I’m sorry:

While you’re at it visit Anna Begins, probably the best Counting Crows fansite around.