Silence not over, but ebbing

It has been over two years since I’ve uploaded an actual blog post, or in truth put much of anything out into the world, apart from a few modest poems. Many factors come into it, not least the all-eclipsing pandemic slump. But my retreat from public commentary actually predated COVID, and came from the increasingly pervasive feeling that there is way, way, way too much opining, asserting, spilling, shouting, yapping, accusing, and just plain talking going on in the world — too much for me to feel comfortable adding to the noise, the confusion, the fast eroding sense of meaning. I figured the most useful contribution I could make to the cacophony was silence: not adding a peep, not even my own (I like to think) sensible thoughts and observations.

This was an adjunct to something else: a longtime use of the lower case in writing my name as greg blee. That evolved, in a nutshell, from a long-ago collision with Buddhist thought, and its questioning of both the egoic self and the importance of our personal stories, its assertion that those things are not who we really are. So a diminution of the proper name seemed to make sense, and I held onto that (as part of my story?) until a year or so ago.

At that point, something else came to the fore: that the cosmos has gone to an awful lot of trouble to create each of us, to craft each of a multitude of individual beings from amoeba to sparrow to human, in one-of-a-kind fashion. The world is full of unique individuals (though we usually only accord individuality to ourselves and maybe our pets). But it took billions of years to create, atom by atom, the raw materials that now form … us. Aeons more spent in evolution, building up the complexity of ourselves and the stunningly complex natural environment that brought us about, shaped us, and keeps us both alive and evolving further.

Greg Blee, Individual

That degree of patience and effort to create not just me but a bazillion other absolute individuals ought to be acknowledged, I thought, and celebrated. One small step was the re-upper-casing of my name to Greg Blee, a year or so ago. Another is the revival of this blog, where, for better or worse, I can toss my thoughts about the world out into the heaving maelstrom that is the Internet.

I still have a strong dose of Why bother, anything I put out will be immediately swamped in the raging info-storm. That used to be a complete showstopper. It’s still a disincentive, but now it’s counterbalanced by a sense that this is what we are supposed to do as functioning human beings — engage with the world. No matter how useless or hopeless it might seem to us, it’s part of being alive. And we never really know what butterfly effect our words and actions might have, do we?

So my silence is, if not entirely over, at least somewhat diminished. I’ve got a few things to say about the-world-according-to-me, and I’ll be tossing them up here in coming weeks. And as with everything these days … we’ll see what happens.

The Law of Compounding Delay

Here, for your edification, is an observation from a lifetime of procrastination. In a phrase, it’s an unintended consequence of not getting onto things promptly. (Guilty!)

This unfortunate dynamic has played itself out many times in my life, and continues to do so. On uncounted occasions, when i put something off — five hours or five minutes doesn’t seem to make much difference — once i finally start, i find myself further delayed by some unforeseen circumstance. Continue reading “The Law of Compounding Delay”

On opinions and the holding thereof

With the recent municipal election (in which i did not run), i began to feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. With Tuesday’s swearing-in of the new council, and the official end of my own council term, the unweighting is complete. Continue reading “On opinions and the holding thereof”

Permissive tax exemption

Property tax revenue is the main source of income for the district: It’s what we use to pave roads, replace pipes, build infrastructure, run programs, and pay staff to do all of the above.

People tend to dislike paying taxes, but they usually enjoy the benefits of having paid taxes. Council tries to keep taxes as low as possible, consistent with staying on top of things like infrastructure maintenance and keeping the district running. Previous councils arguably haven’t kept up with demand, which translated into this council’s 8% tax increases in 2015 and 2016 (dropping to 2% for the rest of the five-year budget).

So here’s a tax issue i’ve been wrestling with: permissive tax exemptions. That’s when council decides to exempt certain properties from the property tax that every landowner pays to the district each year, because those properties are perceived to offer a benefit to the community at large. Continue reading “Permissive tax exemption”


From Wikipedia:

Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century[1] to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—voluntary poverty. A wealthy and privileged, even aristocratic, bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as the haute bohème[2] (“high bohemians”).[3]

The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, gypsy neighborhoods. Bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who had reached Western Europe via Bohemia.[4]

[Full article]