Friday, November 16, 2007

Roots of Empathy

Last Thursday, my son and I had our Roots of Empathy gig at Strathcona School. It's a great program that hopes to build peaceful and civil societies through the development of empathy.
The idea is that by raising levels of empathy, you will encourage more respectful and caring relationships and reduce levels of bullying and aggression. Their program runs for 9 months, with my son being the 'teacher' at 9 different in class get togethers. I've listened to people bash the public school system, yet do nothing, and this seems like a good program, so I decided to get involved.

Someone asked me to do it when our first child was born, but I was such a mama bear back then. I was wayyyyy too over protective. Now it's fun. The kids in kindergarden are SO cute. They are all so into the baby that it's insane.

And wouldn't you know it, but the littlest E is mugging for the camera and making eyes at the teacher. It definitely leaves us both feeling positive and happy when we leave the school. I'll bet it does the same for that entire class and so on.

I've always felt this 'optimism' associated with kids. I guess it's their potential and the possibility for change that I'm referring to. Makes me glad I had kids!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Kids on GHB: wanna party?

OK, so if you haven't heard, one of the most popular toys of the year has been recalled because of it's links to the "date rape" drug.

Are you freaking' kidding me?

I mean, what are the odds of this occurring?! Could they not find any other contaminant with which to poison our kids? Is lead passe now?

I always wondered about a toy with tiny little dots being around creatures that put everything into their mouths. Two kids that ingested these things slipped into comas. Scary. This was Australia's Toy of the Year!!

Not to overstate the obvious, but remember what it did to Nick Nolte who took this while dating himself?

Monday, November 05, 2007

In Celebration of Mark Szabo

*Disclaimer: I'm not a record reviewer.

Recently, some people I know made an album celebrating the songwriting talents of local curmudgeon and hair farmer Mark Szabo. He's probably one of Vancouver's best kept under wraps songwriter. Did that come out right? And though I hardly ever see him anymore, I still enjoy the odd exchange on the streets of Vancouver.

Speaking musically, I came in around the time of Good Horsey. They were a great 3 piece that continues to inhabit my mind in the form of musical phrases.
Max Lee on drums is always a good thing.

Capozzi Park was next, with "Chocolate Covered Bad Things" and "The Record of Capozzi Park" . I think there were some tapes floating around too. Maybe there still are. It's laid back, and diverse, and cynical, and hopeful, and at this point, I'm looking back in I'm drifting off...
Mark has a great way of capturing life: snapshots, snatches of conversation that transport you to a poignant place in your own history. It's urbane and emotionally universal. Or at least it seems that way to me.

Here's a version of Daytime Emmy with both Mark and Marcie on vocals. This would be ....I dunno when....almost 10 years ago? d'OH!
I'm glad that I've retrieved them from the back of my dusty CD collection which is stored away and unusable.

So all these years later, a project called Heartbreak Scene was started. Their CD is called The Szabo Songbook. I was stoked to see the number of noteworthy folks contributing: Mike Ledwidge(Zumpano), Pete Bourne(where do I start...), Mark Kleiner(Jungle), Dan Bejar( al) to name a few, but not all that appear throughout.
Yes!! I know!!

There were only a couple of tracks that I didn't know, most absorbed through osmosis during blurry, happy times at Ms T's and the Anza club. Back in the salad days of indie rock......there I go again.
The Anza has always been one of my favourite places to quietly, or not so quietly get drunk and observe the mating ritual, or glasses grabbing fist fight, whatever was written into the evening by Fate.
Some day I will know who that was.
So it's no surprise that all this reflection of late has certainly made me stop and take note of the talent that is Mark. Just thought I'd say that.

One of the songs that I didn't recognize on the album is (Some Kind of)Watershed. It can hold it's own in any Pitchfork review I'd say. Don't you agree?
For $10 and with the Canadian Dollar so strong, you really should pick this up!
Franklin Bruno writes a fantastic opener that pretty much sums it all up.
That alone speaks volumes.
Do It!!!!!