Thursday, July 28, 2005

New York City weirdos

Check out our cool photo-graphs from NYC:


ps. M did all the photoshopediting type stuff.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Check out this excellent organization that sent M to Nicaragua as a volunteer with Los Quinchos a few years back:


Now we periodically donate money to them, and it seems to go a long way. But it feels weird to be this overseas fatcat philanthropator, and I often wish I could do more, right now. I wish I could implement the work. It's hard, distressing, consuming work, and I long for that kind of thing.


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Monday, July 25, 2005

Scowly-faced Scowlathon

Scowly-faced scowlathon
sonofabitch done me wrong
'cause of the colour of my skin
poverty done did me in
Scowl so hard I can't sleep at night
mornin' comes I'm stiff 'n' tight
ready for another fight
fight you fight her fight to win

Fight for justice fight for truth
'cause we're right let's fight for proof
prove you wrong prove you mean
most racist bastard i ever seen

Wait a minute that ain't right
word like 'bastard' sparks dynamite
patriarchal Christian bullshit
throws me into spastic fits
and 'sonofabitch' is cruel to moms
whose ingrate sons drop big bombs

Makes me scowl that much more
and fight for rights of republican whores
see no humour have no fun
feel no gratitude for what's been done
by those before me who got me here
for the very support at which I jeer

Scowly-faced scowlathon
sonofabitch done me wrong

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Gone Campin'

If anyone wants me this weekend I'll be here:

Or someplace like it.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005


meeting this guy is a thrill, one for which i thank M:

spin the wheel!


Friday, July 15, 2005

Warden Norton's Bitch

So cowboy Bernard Ebbers, formerly of WorldCom [with a company name like that, how could they NOT be corrupt?], will rot in the can until death for his involvement in an $11B scam - and have to pay back nearly every penny he has. [Makes me wonder what cowboy George W. Bush's punishment will be for scamming about 20 times that from US taxpayers. "You're always talking about the here-and-after well it don't mean much to me, but for all the men that you condemned, I hope there's some kind of heaven, and there's got to be some kind of hell for you." --Greg Keelor.]

They don't come much more anti-corporate than yours truely, and even I feel tremendous sympothy for this guy, who bawled like a baby, along with his wife, at the sentencing. How does him rotting in jail serve society, or anybody within it? Answer: it gives his victims (well off shareholders who lost bundles from their retirement funds) some satisfaction, ugly vengeance y'all.

My assertion is that the same vengeance could be achieved without completely destroying this poor fallen rodeo star. Throw him on an assembly line pumping out cell phones, circulate his home phone number to every telephone con artist in America, and show him how it feels to be on the receiving end of a billionaire's bravado. Still make him pay back all his assets, but give him a chance to be a mostly honest schmuck like the rest of us. Bar him from ever having a position of any real responsibility or leadership again. He can't hurt anyone now, he's outted for the slimy megalomaniac he is. No need to make him Warden Norton's bitch.


ps. Alternatively, we could collectively and systematically try to move past our vengeful lust.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Question of the Day

Traditionally animist cultures have avoided the trap of creating a massive, consumptive, hierarchical civilization. Is there any hope for non-animist cultures to create sustainable, just, healthy communities?


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Camp Christian


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Here's another clue for you all...

For my birthday I received a subscription to The Walrus in which I learned that Microsoft has spent $2 billion developing X-Box video game technology! [This little factoid was buried in an even more disturbing article about how the Pentagon uses Hollywood to manufacture war consent.]

The X-Box tidbit reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my friend Jug:

Jug: They have this great new ice cream flavour that tastes just like apple pie.
The Bopper: That's dumb.
Jug: Dumb? What are you talking about?! It's BRILL-iant! You don't need the pie anymore.
The Bopper: Think of all the energy and money that went into developing this apple pie cream, that could have been spent on something useful. Say, alleviating poverty.
Jug: Ahhh, come ON!
Jug's unspoken thought bubble: Fuckin' Commie.

I was half-joking with my comment about alleviating poverty. But considering the amount of dollars, human time and energy, and brain-power that go into manufacturing products - products that entertain, products that kill, products that give fizzy taste-bud pleasure - I'm left thinking, yes, it is a Brave New World.

While the poorer 2/3 of humanity suffers from not enough, the rest of us work on such conundrums as how to make ice cream taste like apple pie, or how to graphically simulate the legalized murder of towel-headed assassins for our home computers. Impressive accomplishments sure, but so is bowling a perfect game. The results just aren't worth much when the alien anthropologists come for our post-mortem.


ps. Check out my kittens:

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Why I Don't Read the Wall Street Journal

I recently read a book review in the The Toronto Star - the book was some business guru garbage that neocon publishers love to pump out like they were X-box video games (more on those later). This book recommended reading 10 magazines that you wouldn't normally read to encourage 'out of box thinking'. (Here's a tip: anyone who uses the term 'out-of-box thinking' without little quotation marks, indicating the term's cliche inanity, isn't actually capable of it.)

Serendipitously, an article from the Wall Street Journal, a rag I wouldn't normally read, appeared in my inbox to remind me why I don't read it: Even when such a right-wing claptrap is arguing for something that I myself would argue for (in this case that immigration is not something the US should fear), its arguments are so shallowly rooted in a narrow profit margin view of the world as to leave me feeling guilty for having such an ally. For context, read this

Particularly disturbing is this line: "Immigrants are economic investments with increasing rates of return over time." You almost expect them to follow up with the average worth of immigrants from various regions (5 bucks for Chinese, 4 bucks for Africans, etc.). Way to reduce human beings to 'economic investments' so your vulturous readers will understand, Wall Street Journal!


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Monday, July 11, 2005


This is my friend Leah. This is a funny picture of her from her undergrad days, soon after she won a bigass award and tonnes of recognition for taking on some bigass factory that was going to pave over a beloved wetland near her home. Sometimes M and I drive by that factory, right through its gargantuan shadow, and we always comment on the 17-year-old girl who took it on, who became our good friend, and introduced the two of us.

Here's a poem I wrote about her a few years back, because she's so freakinwickit:

Parallel lives lived entwined entrenchedly
listlessly lying in sprinklers playfully
Eating like meeting a tattooed gourmet
wheeling and stealing into the chalet
Kissing in circles over hummus discussions
of barefooted boxers & blackbooted Russians
Not a thought about purpose or porpoise oppressions
just active in costume protests against our own obsessions

Squeals of closeness and objected assumptions
audible anger over the other's no gumption
Advisories precede rationalizations of the stupid mistakes we made
right before our boldest hearts suffered a barber's fade

The fall that follows falls short under the swallows
There's also beauty in a homeless man's wallow
With the ties of bondage broken too
the lonely freedom descends upon you
And me with the fear of the fate to come
resisting the ever-present urge to run

But fate is just whatever happens to us it's never wrong
Our nature's take us where we belong

Leah recently started her master's degree at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (part of U Toronto), and is leaving an amazing job where she works with kids to bring out the best of them in their art - it's even better than it sounds. We saw their show a few weeks ago - a combination of original artwork, art from found objects, and performance art, that was absolutely stupendous and I wish I had pictures of that for you.

Leah should have been considered for that 'greatest Canadian' CBC schtick. Instead I nominated Tooker Gomber, who is also really great, and who I also wrote a poem about. But, today's blog is for Leah.


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Friday, July 08, 2005

nuthin matters but the week-end

I feel like I'm on the receiving end of this:

This is one of those weekends that just didn't come soon enough, but the good news is, in my calendar it says 'reeeeee-lax!' And that's what I intend to do.



Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Alien Porn

My friend Jeremy is displaying his excellent Alien Porn series at this weekend's Toronto Outdoor Art series. Check it:

Alien Porn



Unsaid Things

With M still away at summer camp, and roommates mostly MIA, I've had a taste of living alone, with kittens [which incidentally have recovered nicely from their first visit to the vet, shots, and anal temperature taking]. I've kept busy though. Monday night it was soccer, where I scored my first goal of the season and finally shook off 5 years of rust. I did see my roommates briefly afterward and shared the story of my glory. They were polite and all, but I didn't get any "hero sex" (to borrow a phrase from Conor).

Last night I went to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith with my friend/ex, Sadie. The movie was good, mindless, fun, with sexy people. S thought she was Angelina Jolie aftwerward. I thought I was Brad Pitt until I looked into the bathroom mirror and saw Elvis Costello looking back (Pump it Up, Baby!).

After the movie we knocked back a couple Creemores and she told me the saddest story about her ex-roommate, who was madly in love with a cyclist, who was crushed by a garbage truck last year. Apparently he was way off the logical route for where he was going - they suspect he was taking a detour to scope out a house he was going to buy for them both, where he planned to build her a workspace. I can't even imagine that kind of loss (touch wood, knock wooden head), where the person all your dreams are built with and around disappears just as you're getting started. [Imagine if Mr. & Mrs. Smith was real, imagine all those folks they wasted, and all the lonely people they left behind. Naw, never mind, don't bother.]

After we got a little buzzed S and I talked about how everyone seems to live lives leaving countless things unsaid, like how her grandmother died and left her a desk, and in the desk was a note saying "I miss you grand-daughter, please visit." But the letter was of course unsent for many years, and she had never actually uttered such words aloud.


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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Long descriptive titles can be really enticing, really, then can, I swear it to GOD's name (the organization, not the ultimate oligarch)


Sunday, July 03, 2005


Just got back from a weekend in Marmora, home of the annual Agricola Luther Summer Church Camp (ALSCC), where M's biological clock goes into annual overdrive. Those kids sure are cute, when they aren't destroying tents, poking each other with sticks, or practicing their gangsta rap vernacular.

Whenever I'm in a place like Marmora, paddling upriver toward town, I wonder "why do I live in Toronto?" Maybe it's just the perfect place for a reformed/grown-up anarchist. Okay, I was never really an anarchist, but I did spray-paint it on the junior high school once. "There's a school of anarchists who believe in utopian fiction," I'm told. I didn't know they had a school. Anarchists are the only folks more naive than I am.

Dystopia's where it's at. What Toronto is perfect for is a civil war. We've got all the signs of neo-apocalypse (you gotta add neo to most things nowadays) - heat waves, blackouts, ethnic factions, resentment toward immigrants, resource (land/housing) shortages, heavy pollution, class factions, and a general enduring sense of bitterness. Maybe like Ronald Wright's romantic scientist if you went 500 years forward here you'd find rubble - clues to an unseen civilization that once was, an Easter Island with the biggest Rapa Nui being a toppled tower with pointed top. If this is the near future I need to get downstream fast. Or maybe north to teach in the Northwest Territories, like my Great Aunt before me.

That crazy river eventually brought us back to camp Christian, and like M I do love those kids. I don't know where she gets the energy for a week with them, even 2 days is exhausting. But they are fun and they have their own kid culture - ruthlessly blunt, sometimes cruel, but other times sweet and gentle, easing into new friendships and all too easily influenced for good or evil. M's influence is oh so positive and beautiful, and she ponders how to make it more so, thinking on the future of social justice. All the ills of society, and all the great wonder of being, is in these kids, as they insult each other with racial genderized slurs, threaten death by heavy gunfire, and make up with a quick hug.

On return home I listened to Vegetarians of Love (VOL), by Bob Geldof. I was inspired to dig out this classic after reading a newspaper article on Live 8, in which the writer paid tribute to Geldof's 'one hit wonder', I Hate Mondays. The article also mentioned that the man was nominated for a nobel peace prize and starred in 'The Wall', the movie. It seems the world is unaware of VOL, which made my brother's top 10 albums of all time list. This album is incredibly deep, transcending politics and waxing deep ecological philosophy, with an immense appreciation of Jane Rule's "lottery win that is life."

Geldof was originally known as an Irish punker, but VOL has a decidely Celtic bent, the catchiness of which almost disguises its depth. But, sample these lyrics if you will [from various songs]:

Never bring me down to earth again
Let me blaze a trail of glory across the sky
Let me traipse across it's golden high
Let me marvel in wonder and unfettered gaze
At the bigness and implausibility of being

Yes stretch out your hands into infinity you human things
Past blind moons and ice cream worlds
You hurl your metal ball of dull intelligence
And show us all our fragile grip

I'm thinking about mortality
I'm thinking it's a cheap price we pay for existence
This is the moment that we come alive
This is the breath and this is the kiss

She stores up ancient souvenirs like ravens with their hoards
It's not the getting old she minds it's the meaningless of being
She thinks about all this while Jean sings about la vie
And accordions and violins take her back in time
When the only explanation was a kiss and love and life

There were tremors in your cheekbones
There was longing in your eyes
But I thought I smelt a nameless fear
Buried in your thighs

Systems of belief well they come and they go babe
The myths we believe in they change from day to day
I believe belief will wrap your brains in chains
So I'm for changing

Desperate deeds were done by men with guns in China
Boys in clean white shirts
Stopped the tanks in their dirt
And the blood they spilled
Just made the white shine brighter
They weren't waiting baby
They were breaking up the chains of pain
They're not slaves they're changing
By breaking up the chains of pain

A brain in chains is just a heart enslaved
Join the chain gang
Break it up

There's a road that's never used
That's never kissed with the hiss of wheel
In your mouth is a rusted brace
That you flash in your junkyard smile
Shine on like a rose at night

So I walked over to Battersea Park
Down by the Sri Chimnoy Mile
Past the Peace Pagoda
It's good
YOu can have a personal religious experience
And get healthy at the same time
Which obviously is important for a busy man like me
Well another moment in life's great adventure
It's no small wonder

It takes you by surprise the places you find yourself in
One minute you're here
Next minute you're there
And then you're gone
If it wasn't for a well placed sense of direction
You could lose your head and simply carry on
Walking back to happiness

It'll start with a whimper it'll end with a bang
It'll leave a big hole where we could have sang

So everyone outside look up at the sky
It's the last time you'll see it so wave it goodbye
You took it for granted you thought it was free
Say goodbye to the leaves the trees and the sea
There's nothing more useless than a car that won't start
But it's even more useless at the end of the world.

Dystopia, baby.


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