Friday, May 6, 2016

Two cranes walking

Sandhill cranes at Burnaby Lake: up and over!

Magical encounter: sandhill cranes at Burnaby Lake

Found, lost, and found

This spring was Paradise rediscovered: we stumbled on a place we found years ago, then lost. Then found again. It's a wildlife magnet called Piper Spit on Burnaby Lake, with a boardwalk, a huge expanse of warm shallow water, marshland for nesting, and birds.

I find birds restful and spiritually soothing. Their song seems to pour balm on the rawness in my soul. We used to have tons of them in the backyard: jays, juncos, chickadees, wrens, thrushes and nuthatches, even the odd flicker. We're not sure why they're not hanging around any more, unless it's the cat staring out the window at them. But Bentley didn't seem to scare them last year.

When we stumbled on this place again, I had a feeling I've experienced only a couple of times in my life: that I had found a sort of heaven on earth. The birds here are so tame that they walk up to you (no doubt because they've been human-fed, a practice I don't believe in, though it leads to some amazing close encounters.) Every time we go there, we see new species. I'm also posting video of our incredible encounter with two magnificent sandhill cranes. For some reason, red-winged blackbirds love the place, and I had my hand less than two inches away from one of them. Now I'm tempted to try to get one of them to eat out of my hand, which I know I shouldn't.

I need this. I always feel frazzled in my brain somewhere, and often feel I can't really express myself on this blog, so I result to satire and silliness. I hate the wildfires in Fort McMurray, I fear that we are next, and am sure we at least contributed to causing it with our brutality to nature. I feel completely powerless, and the homilies on Facebook and the "hey, get involved" exhortations ring hollow.

So I have this.

I have this, which was there all along, but we somehow never knew about it. Except that we did! We went there once, years and years ago. Then the area was closed by construction and we got distracted and never went back.

Do things happen at the right time? No, they don't. Humans impose that idea on reality, to reassure themselves that (a) we are in charge of everything, and/or (b) the Universe wraps itself around our own particular whims.

None of this is true.

But I have Piper Spit, and I have just begun to explore it. I get that strange heaven-feeling I've had maybe twice before in my life. It's an enchantment that lies very close to the source of life.

HOLY SHIT! It's those Pentecostal guys - IN 3D!

Hey, y'all! It's Friday, so I thought I'd post something idiotic that I made last night. 

A few years ago, somebody came up with a Revolutionary New Idea for gifs: 3D! Basically, the figure stands there moving minutely back and forth while the background shifts slightly, and to be honest, my Grandma Smith's old stereoscope gave me a better 3D image than this.

Then came the NEW, IMPROVED 3D gif. This is being touted as a revolution in giffery, but I don't see it. I hate those white lines, for one thing. This is almost as bad as the "improved" MP4 gif with sound. Imagine a 3-second, irrelevant sound bite repeating over, and over, and over again. What people don't seem to realize is that you can watch a repeating image ad infinitum, but chunks of nonsensical sound are about as pleasant to listen to as a parrot on speed. Anyway, those lines just don't seem to do it for me, but the other night, lost in yet another late night YouTube labyrinth, I discovered. . . 


These are every bit as primitive, and wobble back and forth just as stupidly, with lots of distortion. Distortion is what I live for. These gifs were taken from a 21-part (no kidding - each video running for half an hour) denouncement or annunciation of the Toronto Blessing, also called Holy Laughter. I've explored this phenomenon in past posts, as expressed by Kenneth Hagin and many other equally idiotic types. But as much as this gospel of lunacy has its proponents, it also has many (MANY) detractors who seem to believe that laughing and rolling around on the floor is demonic.

I think this is Kenneth Copeland, or maybe it's someone else - I think they're all interchangeable. Most of this video was shot in the mid-'90s (how I love mid-'90s video in all its flickering, grainy glory!), but the commentator, while debunking these Pentecostal practices as demonic, keeps on freezing the frame. Well, ALMOST freezing the frame. This is as frozen (speaking of!) as a frame got back then. I can't reproduce the sound here, thank God, but the debunker kept running the "speaking in tongues" (a lot of nonsensical blather) slower and slower to make out words like, "I love Satan!" "Fuck you!" and "I buried Paul!" I'm surprised he didn't play any of it backwards. Hey, The Donna Reed Show would sound demonic if you slowed it down that much.

The guy on the right is supposedly responsible for all this hell-on-earth: Rodney Howard Browne. He comes from South Africa, which is suspicious in itself, isn't it? All that voodoo. One day in the mid-'90s he showed up at the airport church in Toronto and unleashed all this rolling-on-the-floor mayhem, and soon it caught on, contagious, like some ludicrous brain-suspending religious disease.

Uhm. The freeze-frame portions of these (21!) videos were rather limited, focused mainly on the evangelists themselves. But this has got to be the strangest manifestation of the Holy Ghost I've seen.

I'm really not sure what's going on here. Dirty little secrets? Manifestations of Satan? Sweet nothings?

This one isn't quite as 3D as the others, but it gets the feeling across. This is one of the more sedate manifestations of the Toronto Blessing.

Can't you just see the Holy Ghost shining forth in this dude? . . . You can't? YOU just try making yourself appear and disappear like that.

This Toronto Blessing thing has apparently made a much-more-modest comeback, after being fiercely denounced as demonic by Christian conservatives for years and years. It has now been "rebranded" and given a new spin as Catch the Fire.  There are slickly-produced videos with testimonials from fresh-faced, attractive individuals who have been paid to insist how this loony laugh-fest (now, presumably, somewhat toned-down) has changed their lives. Someone has been hired to give all this a much more sanitary spin.

But I'm not buying it. It's all the work of the Devil. In 3D.