Help the victims of a bomb that did not exist

You may recall the times I've mentioned or been around the new Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum, which is not far away from me. A couple days ago, it was the site of a strange and stupid incident that has been in the news here ever since.

A student at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) put some batteries and circuitry in a little wooden box, left it inside the crystal not far from the entrance, then took off and youtubed footage of that action saying the box was not a bomb. Needless to say, someone eventually spotted it and everyone went nuts, bringing out cops and the bomb squad and dogs and whatnot, and the ROM closed pretty much for the night until they got it all sorted. Not surprisngly, the guy came out for a couple interviews saying this whole thing was an art project about recontextualization and stuff. (Note I'm not offering links to any of this, because he's gotten enough of the attention he was going for already.)

Now, usually I would be amused by something like this: some smart-ass, faux-pretentious kid making our authority figures freak out unecessarily. So why am I being all uppity about this incident? Well, that night, the ROM was hosting a huge fundraiser for CANFAR, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, one of those deals where rich people and corporations shell out tons of money to be there and tons more when they're there and where dozens of amazing volunteers give their time to help make it run well. This wacky little misadventure caused that event to be cancelled, basically taking away a good chunk of CANFAR's budget for the year.

Artist-boy says he had no idea about that event (nice research, dude - it was hardly an underground thing), and is sorry it was cancelled. Yeah, well, doesn't quite make up for the thousands of dollars lost that could've gone toward research, taking care of sick people, and helping with education that could prevent more deaths.

So this morning, I went over to the CANFAR site and donated 50 bucks, which is about all I can spare with no new money of my own coming in right now. I probably should have been donating to these guys for a while anyway, but this thing kind of kicked my ass that fewer rich people were going to be doing it for me at the moment. I think at least in North America, the general public doesn't think much about this issue/cause anymore except regarding Africa, but HIV/AIDS has not gone away anywhere, and the not-thinking-much provides a potential breeding ground for it. (Maybe artist-boy will fold this attention-raising into his "recontextualization" and look good from it, but whatever.)

So if you have a chance, please go to the CANFAR site, find out a little more about them, click the "donate now" button and give what you can. And of course, remember World AIDS Day is tomorrow.


Description 47 - Remembrance Day

Back in Ohio for U.S. Thanksgiving, I give thanks for Canadian soldiers past and present, and try to explain what the deal is with those red plastic flowers on our coats. Also features a tiny dog wrapped in a towel and guys in fluffy hats!

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Associated links
Remembrance Day @ wikipedia
CBC News In Depth on Vimy Ridge
The Royal Canadian Legion explains the poppy pin
LibriVox reads "In Flanders Fields"
The Suez Crisis and peacekeeping
Kandahar Journal from the National Post
CBC Kandahar Dispatches blog
Torontoist on Remembrance and Public Commemoration

The guy who spoke after Toronto Mayor David Miller at the ceremony was Dr. Ron N. Nickle, Padre (that's kind of like a chaplain) for the Toronto Fire Services. For a benediction, it was pretty strongly-worded concerning religion's relation to war, with the hope we will never feel our way is the only way. Pretty cool.

A few things in the ceremony I had to edit out for time. Shortly after the two minutes of silence at 11am, there was a fly-by of old warplanes, where one plane veered off to the side out of formation to honour those who have fallen. Soon after, we all sang O Canada, and near the end of the ceremony, it seems more people sang God Save the Queen (which I don't know how to sing without doing "my country tis of thee...").

And somewhere in the middle was the laying of the wreaths, where it seems every bloody group in this town laid a wreath - public services, reps from every consulate, unions, different sections of unions, and seemingly every little sub-group of every ethnic group and interest. It took forever. Okay, so it's great all these groups saw fit to honour our soldiers and their loved ones, but I had to wonder if there was something a bit political about it, i.e. "oh, if that group is laying a wreath, surely we must." I wondered if some of those groups could have just gotten together on some of those wreaths, maybe it would have demonstrated a little more of a sense of community that could contribute to some more peace in this world.

But y'know, that may be just me being cynical.


The Kevin Hilliard Retrospective

This is pretty much appropos of nothing, but I just got a myspace bulletin from my friend Kevin, who you may remember from Description 07 and Description 15.

Hey Massive Kevin Hilliard Fan,
You probably wont believe me but an awesome college radio station in Phoenix, AZ is doing a 2 hour 'Kevin Hilliard The Man & His Music' retrospective this Thursday, 2PM-4PM Arizona time (4-6 ET?). Which tracks from the Grace Babies 'Lure' record will they play? You'll just have to tune in to find out. www.theblaze1260.com. Gee, I hope I get SOCAN money for this.


He can make up some pretty cool stuff, but I don't think he's the right kinda crazy to make this up.

(Note to Blogger: I wish you'd quite screwing up my line separation after a blockquote. Grr.)

So what would such a retrospective entail? Well, Kev played drums and bass in the Grace Babies, who made two albums: Lure while still in Halifax and Frequency with Moe after moving to Toronto. Before breaking up, they snuck in another single, my favourite GB song "Wish On It," which can be found on a popguru compilation. I'd love to put some GB on the podcast, but many of the songs I'd like to include, like my fave, were at least co-written by lead singer Damian Dunphy, and I don't see him around much and don't have the balls to ask him when I do.

Then, of course, the Kevster started his own band with fellow Grace Baby (and award-winning Rivoli bartender) Chris Loane, the mighty National Anthem, who also did two CDs, Sing Along If You Know the Words and Radio On. You've heard tracks from those records on Description 02, Description 13 and Description 38 (the Music episode). On and off and on and off, he's played bass alongside Barry Walsh in Galore, who I also played on that Music episode, as well as Description 07 and Description 20. And for the last while, he's been clapping up a storm with his landlord Thom in Small Sins (previously The Ladies and Gentlemen), who are now touring to promote the new CD. They're actually on a label and stuff, so my chances of getting that on the show are slim. Oh, aaannnnnd when not touring, he's recently been playing with The Holy Fields, who've already been on a couple podcasts, so I'm guessing it's just a matter of time.

Only after looking over all this do I realize just how much this bastard's been doing for more than 10 years. So yeah, let those weird kids in the desert give the boy his props. And if you liked any of that music - and the video below - you might want to check it out.