Uncertainty can often
blur your surroundings.
The map is always there,
the lines signify the path
you need to follow.
You simply have to find
It is all in your hands.
© 2017 j.g. lewis
original content and images ©j.g. lewis
A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .
There is very little that can be said about Eric Clapton that hasn’t already been said; except I saw him last night.
I’ve been listening to the musician, in all stages of his career, over the past five decades and he has been around even longer than that.
Through the years I’ve grown to appreciate Clapton more as a performer, recording artist, and as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but I’ve never seen him live; until last night.
He was everything (and more) that I expected, playing selections from his lengthy career, and paying homage not only the blues artists who have influenced him but also to friends no longer with us.
Clapton and his band kicked of the Toronto concert with a cover of The Band’s The Shape I’m in, a fitting tribute to his longtime Canadian friend Robbie Robertson. Then, later, a tune he once recorded with Tina Turner: Tearing Us Apart.
The show was filled with both popular hits and selections you could tell he felt like playing. With a catalogue like Clapton’s there could have been even more hits, but he did what he had to do.
At age 79, Clapton’s seemingly effortless prowess on electric and acoustic guitar was both mature and effective. There were a lot of “wow” moments.
It was quite an evening.
What else can I say?
I'm like a pencil;
Still I write.
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.
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What is so offensive about clothing that celebrates the season?
I am familiar with the trend over past years to mock seasonal sweaters; it is often included in the banter of shock-rock disc jockeys and morning show hosts looking for laughs, or the rants of unoriginal stand-up comedians filling allotted time at comedy clubs across the country. And, yes, it is supposedly in jest, but at the heart of it all is the need to poke fun at a clothing style, and ultimately at those who choose to wear the garments, past or present.
It has become humour of the lowest common denominator; jokes that go past what people wear, to attacking what many people consider the most wonderful time of the year.
Adorning a seasonal sweater is a personal choice, like any article of clothing we may (or may not) wear. Some, in fact many, people enjoy bringing out certain sweaters to celebrate the season. It is their way of brightening the days and weeks of the holiday season. To these people, the season is not ugly; the sweaters are not ugly.
But ridicule? That is ugly.
My mother used to wear seasonal sweaters. This was in the ‘70s, and I was wearing ultra-wide flare jeans and sky-high platform shoes. Was it ugly, or simply the fashion of the times?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is ugliness. Beauty is subjective, so when clothing is a matter of mass production, the “ugly” sweater one person may select could be something totally delightful to another.
Five years ago I watched a mother with her teenage special-needs daughter sorting through the racks of sweaters in a department store. Overly bright, and obviously seasonal, these sweaters were adorned appliqués of snowmen, candy canes, Christmas stockings, and all those familiar festive images. The pair was searching for matching sweaters with blinking lights, and they were laughing, giggling, and enjoying a mother/daughter moment.
I realized, as I watched the glowing smile on the daughter’s face, that these “ugly Christmas sweaters” were anything but unattractive, unpleasant, or morally revolting. These sweaters were totally special, and exactly what they were looking for.
So what, in the eyes of some people, makes these sweaters ugly?
This is the time of year people chose to decks their halls with boughs, bells, garland, and fake snow. Coloured lights on houses and trees light up neighborhoods. Is wearing a sweater that highlights the season really all that different? Yes, some of the sweaters are somewhat garish, (certainly not my style), but why should I be critical, especially this time of year.
Why call these sweaters “ugly”? Why not call them “festive”, as what they display, and what they represent, coordinates so well with everything else that surrounds us in this overly-commercialized time of the year.
There are office parties and ‘Ugly Sweater Days’ at local businesses. Do the people who plan these events not consider how these actions may be interpreted by others? Why risk offending a customer? What about those coworkers who fear wearing a favourite sweater for fear of ridicule, gossip, and back talk at the office?
Is there really a place in our workplace for degrading or demeaning people for what they wear? Do we honestly need to have a day to make fun of personal taste? Along with food and shelter, clothing is considered a basic need; is it something to be attacked?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. . . I have told – and laughed at – my unfair share of tasteless (even racist) jokes. I am not innocent, nor am I politically correct, prudish, or proper. I enjoy sarcasm, humour and comedy (especially dark), and believe laughter can, and will, lighten up a moment. But laughter at the expense of others? I think not.
We already live with enough “ugly” in this world. The drastic effects of climate change starving polar bears: that’s ugly. A self-obsessed, self-confessed pussy-grabbing president who flirts with nuclear war between tweets and tantrums: that’s ugly. The fact there are people in our communities who cannot put food on the table, or have no place to call home. . . that’s really ugly.
A soft, colourful sweater that offers a smile, and warmth to a society that has growing cold, is anything but ugly.
©2017 j.g. lewis