Friday 28 Oct 2016

Report Card for JT
Bob Stark

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)
French critic, journalist, and novelist.

A few weeks ago, when I consulted my Free Will Astrology forecast for the upcoming week, it read, in part, "Many of the atoms that compose your flesh and blood were not part of your body 12 months ago. That's because every year, 98 percent of you is replaced. Old cells are constantly dying, giving way to new cells that are made from the air, food and water you ingest.”

Well, all that and probably the political bluster one must endure on a regular basis, but more on that subject in a minute. Thankfully, one presumes that the remaining 2% of me is still me. Am I the man I used to be, say, this time last year? Sure I am, with a few minor adjustments to the waistband and time spent on the john.

Am I the man I used to be ....

Two per cent seems hardly substantive enough to give one constancy of 'character.’ As I opined in a song, "Life's living learning who we are is who we've always been.” I'm still the "scared little skinny kid," of my teenage years, albeit with greyer hair.

Maybe then the "I" of "me" is made of an equal and substantial amount of immeasurable and/or invisible material, like 'dark energy.’ Maybe the 2% is located in brain areas that hold memories and thus drive the human bus, as it were, when it takes on new passengers; some little Nero-inspired or Napoleonic mass of cells and neurons who keep totalitarian order over the 98% of new cells than invade us every year.

Maybe "I'm" hidden away in my genes, some protean socialist protein-manufactured horde operating at the sub-molecular level, cleverly dispersed throughout my entire human anatomy, avoiding detection and change. I'm everywhere but nowhere, like Noah surviving the flood.

Well, maybe my consulted astrology expert is a nut-bar. What about religious sources re the cosmological mystery of who we are and the issue of 'change'?

The Buddhists believe that all is temporary, transitory. Nothing lasts, not even the 2% one supposes: hair today, bald tomorrow.

Alas, they can be a rather glum, somber, no-fun-loving severely under-clothed gang of obsessive-compulsive dirt sweepers who believe all life is suffering. One must strive to get off the wheel of life by continually curbing all desires while flinging oneself through several reincarnations, aka 'changes,' gaining ever greater insight and enlightenment till one is nothing at all, or as the Buddhist once said to the hot dog vendor, "Make me one with everything.” Nirvana. "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” I am the cosmic walrus, goo goo g'joob. Surely history shows that most of us prefer making everything one with us. In any case, it seems like a lot of work and change for achieving 'nothing,' and with no television.

Okay, at least give me the more lively Hindus with their multitude of colourful magical gods and the Kama Sutra. After all, sex is not suffering! Maybe having to deal in the morning with the dolt ya just slept with is, but, as pianist and sarcastic wit, Oscar Levant, once opined, "Sex is just nature's way of saying 'Hi.” Who among us hasn't felt the mystical wonderful sense of complete loss of worldly cares and contact, and have even shouted something equivalent to 'Nirvana' in the moment of final ecstasy. Better than gripping a broom handle and sweeping dust, right? If the astrologist is correct, anyone involved in a long-term relationship is committing serial monogamy, sleeping with a new and different person every year! As usual, I digress.

Alas, if 98 per cent of "me" changes every year, isn't that enough suffering and reincarnation to handle in this lifetime! If I drink from a different water source, how would my cells or atoms change? If I travel and breathe in air from a different location on the planet, like maybe down in a mine shaft in Virginia, will I morph into a Tea Party supporter?

Will a steady diet of only steak tartre make me rabid?

What about the food I eat? If I switch from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to a steady diet of only eating steak tartare, will I become a rabid, foaming at the mouth, leather shoe salesperson? Let me take comfort oh yee playful gods in 'plus ca change, plus la meme chose'!

Well, in that regard, upon paying for his luncheon treat, the Buddhist waited and then asked the vendor for his change. The vendor smiled and said "Change, my friend, comes from within.”

There's already enough going on around me with which to deal. I'm certainly not going to sit here and try counting the cell changes taking place within me, from now until next year. I'll go mad and die in Bedlam!

Alas, although I still have my mental sanitary napkins let me pontificate more on ole Jean-Baptiste's witty bon mots, as they relate to politics. In that sense, might I propose that while you can lead a sheep to water but ya can't pull the wool over its eyes! 'Plus la change....etc ' bien sur, for sure, monsieur.

To wit: my honeymoon with "Sunny Ways" is not entirely over, given there is still the distinct possibility of better air to breathe; fresher, hopefully, cleaner, water to drink, especially for native reserves, and, maybe, even more organic, less GMO food to eat.

Alas, I am distraught to read the news that the Crown Prince has signed-off on the arms deal with the House of Saud, fashioned during the campaign by the Cons. Haven't enough heads been sliced off enough body trunks, in Saudi Arabia! WTF?

Has anybody heard of any significant changes proposed or enacted for Bill C51? When exactly will those six pathetic planes stop bombing in Syria, risking the death of innocent civilians? How is the discussion or consultation, et al, concerning TPP Agreement going? Were we all asleep after too much turkey over the holidays?

Never mind Donald Trump, we have put up our own Wall, erected in Saskatchewan, by the name of Brad.

T'is true, that in the early mornings of the sunny ways revolution, he suddenly sounded like an out-of-touch old fossil; will he broker a Canadian climate change deal, with regulatory teeth, will it have fewer molars than gums?

I hate to be a post-election 'party pooper,' raining on the Sussex Drive 'Sunny Ways' Parade, but may I be forgiven for singing that old Who chestnut, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"?

An arms deal with the Saudis! That’s not very bright, sunny boy. If there be 'change', so be it, but let it be 'Real Change.’

Heck, JT, you were born on Christmas Day! Show us a miracle or two. Throw the moneychangers out of the temple.

In Canada, "Better is always possible" Justin.

Keep up the fair work.


Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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