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Tlaamin Elder’s Beautiful Digital Gift

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In today’s Tyee is an article that I want to quote

“Paul declined to be interviewed for this article, simply because she felt she had already said enough. That’s hard to argue with given how filled the book is with her knowledge. And the wisdom of an Elder is something to be respected, too. Knowing when to start talking and when to stop is a teaching a lot of us could use.”

I had hoped that I had learned that. In so far as this blog is concerned, there is much less new being added as I feel that I have covered the ground I originally intended adequately already. The “Paul” who declined to be interviewed is the author of As I Remember It: Teachings (Ɂəms tɑɁɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder, is Elsie Paul, – which is a book I got from Vancouver Public Library in part because of our trip to the Sunshine Coast. The article is actually about a web site based on the material in that book – go read it to find the link to that!

The other thing that I think also bears your attention right now is “Covid, Twitter, and Critique” which is published in American Anthropologist and deals with what we needed to have been learning from the pandemic.

The anthropologist is Carlo Caduff of King’s College, London who says

“I had not been using Twitter much before the pandemic. During this period, I have turned to it as a kind of public notebook, where I could write down thoughts and then publish them and have a record for myself. The tweets were either orientations, diagnostic, or suggestions for another politics of life.”

“At the beginning of the pandemic there was hardly any political voice, because people were overwhelmed, and then stuck. Many were busy with homeschooling. And then lots of people were scared, so the first responses were either people not saying much, or they were repeating what everyone else was saying, or it was just silence.

Now, I think that has definitely changed. There are more political voices. The views are more diverse. People have gained a better sense of the complexity and the seriousness of the pandemic response and its consequences.”

“The lockdown was presented as if there were no alternatives. And that’s simply not true. First of all, you need to understand the history of the idea of the lockdown. Lockdowns only figured in infectious disease modeling. They were basically a theoretical idea that disease modelers used in simulations: What happens if you do this? What happens if you do that? Can you reduce the number of deaths if you do x, y, z? A complete shutdown was never an option that public health professionals considered in their preparedness plans for a pandemic like this.”

The parallel is the Perfect Competition market – which economists always knew did not exist either but was also a theoretical idea – a simplified abstraction meant to help explain how markets in general would work if viewed without the inescapable complexities of real life. It was never supposed to normative or prescriptive. Unfortunately most politicians never got beyond Economics 101 even if they did study it academically. A bit like putting a new graduate from high school with an A in physics in charge of a nuclear reactor.

I have been keeping a journal during the pandemic but it does not cover anything that can be found in the on line universe. It exists only as some paper notebooks – three so far – written with a fountain pen. Because an archivist that I knew from Facebook said that in the future our electronic ruminations may well not be readable. The technology will certainly have moved on – or maybe be even eliminated – whereas physical marks with permanent ink on good quality acid free paper lasts quite a while in the right circumstances. One thing I do know is that I was completely unaware at the time that lockdowns were only theoretical until now. So we truly are living through an experiment, so maybe my recording first person experience will have value freed from the certainties that seem to infest both social and mainstream media.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 3, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Chicago Cultural Centre

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This massive building on Michigan Avenue across from Millennium Park was formerly the central public library. In 1991 it became the Cultural Center. Over recent visits I must have been past it many times – and noticed swarms of people entering and leaving – but for the first time this trip we went inside, not really prepared for what was there. And it was amazing. “The People’s Palace”


Inside the south entrance the hall and staircase is covered in these mosaics

“Washington Street entrance, lobby, and grand staircase – Arched portal, bronze-framed doors, and a 3-story, vaulted lobby with walls of white Carrara marble and mosaics. The staircase is also of white Carrara marble, set with medallions of green marble from Connemara, Ireland, and intricate mosaics of Favrile glass, stone, and mother of pearl. ” (wiki)


The center has a full program of music, films, lectures and visual arts: there are also tours of the building


There is an old phone box which contains a sort of free electronic juke box


Here is Jelly Roll Morton: Hesitation Blues and the 19263 Black Bottom Stomp (Morton recorded “Black Bottom Stomp” with his Red Hot Peppers in Chicago on September, 15, 1926) both on YouTube


Passage SO-IL (New York City) consisting of a series of portals that envelop a ramp. The installation is made from standard steel studs usually hidden behind a layer of sheetrock and insulation.


Grand Army of the Republic Memorial


The central atrium is not accessible but contains an installation of ladders and swings called “Piranesi Circus” by Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo). “This void space recalls the allegory of G B Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons a series of 18th century etchings depicting foreboding architectural scenes.”


The Preston Bradley Hall


The world’s largest stained glass Tiffany Dome (38 foot diameter)


Google translate fail – only gets two words out of four

ministered faithfully 



I didn’t make a recording of this rehearsal – which was making the best of the acoustics under the dome.



Written by Stephen Rees

October 28, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Posted in architecture, Culture