Dick Cavett meets Salvador Dali

(i put this post together after watching a clip of Salvador Dali on Dick Cavett’s old talk show. Other guests on the show that night were Lillian Gish and Satchel Paige. If you decide to watch the video, i suggest watching it at 0.25 speed.)

sometimes your spine turns into a gummi snake, and your wristwatch a soft-boiled egg
you find it impossible to bleed, but your eyes weep strands of spaghetti

you realize you forgot to pick up the kids from school after your parents left you stranded
they had a few pogo sticks to test drive, and you refused to be in the same time zone

rain begins to fall, and your park bench begins to devour you,
it melts like tissue paper with every drop of rain

a ring of daisies sings a song about their favourite praying mantis,
and ice cream cones on trampolines sell frozen cyclists

the sun coughs and backfires as it goes down, and your hair follicles sing the national anthem
a long line of attorneys in religious rock-climbing gear refuse to comment as they parade by(e)

ChatGPT answers your burning Rock and Roll questions!

In this blog post I will have ChatGPT answer some age-old questions poised by rock and roll. I’ll ask IT about songs by The Beatles, The Who, The Clash, The Police, and others.

Why do an AI-powered interview?

Well, I’ve always enjoyed longform interviews, be it the PBS variety of everything from Firing Line to Amanpour & Company, Later with Bob Costas, The Larry King Show (radio version), and even print. Spin and Rolling Stone used to have fantastic interviews back in the day. Hunter Thompson, PJ O’Rourke, William Greider and yes, Kim Gordon all did remarkable work. North of the border, Nardwuar continues to do amazing work.

These days, though, it seems harder and harder to find interviews of any real substance. So I asked ChatGPT for help putting together an interview of significance, and the AI technology agreed. Below is an edited version of those conversations.

Who are you? – The Who

I am ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. I am designed to understand and respond to natural language input from users, providing information, answering questions, and carrying on conversations on a wide range of topics.

Keith Moon and Pete Townshend of The Who

Does ChatGPT like rock and roll?

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or emotions, including liking or disliking a particular genre of music like rock and roll. However, I have knowledge and information about rock and roll, its history, its impact on culture, and other related topics. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything related to rock and roll, feel free to ask me!

What are you trying to pull? – Les Nessman, WKRP news

As an AI language model, I am not trying to pull anything. I exist solely to provide helpful and informative responses to your questions to the best of my abilities based on my training and knowledge. If there is a specific question or concern you have, please feel free to ask and I will do my best to assist you.

Les Nessman, WKRP News

If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be? – Barbara Walters

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or feelings, but I can provide you with some information on different types of trees that might help you decide which one you would be if you were a tree.

Some people might choose a majestic oak tree as they are known for their strength and longevity, and have a deep-rooted presence. Others may choose a willow tree as they represent flexibility and resilience. Birch trees are often associated with new beginnings, growth, and purity, and may appeal to someone starting a new chapter in their life. A maple tree could be a popular choice for those who value diversity and adaptation, as they come in many varieties and can survive in different climates. Additionally, a redwood tree might represent a sense of awe-inspiring beauty and natural wonder to some.

Ultimately, the choice of tree would depend on an individual’s personal values, beliefs, and personality traits.

If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone care? – Bruce Cockburn

Whether anyone cares if a tree falls in the forest is subjective and depends on the individual’s perspective. From a scientific standpoint, a falling tree may have ecological significance as it could impact the forest’s ecosystem and the organisms that live within it. The sound of a falling tree also produces vibrations in the air, which can be detected by animals such as birds, insects, and other forest dwellers.

However, if there are no humans around to observe or hear the falling tree, it is unlikely that anyone would care in the sense of having an emotional response to the event. The idea behind this philosophical question is to explore the nature of reality and the relationship between perception and existence.

Bruce Cockburn

What’s the furor about the Führer? – Rough Trade

“The Fuhrer” is a German term meaning “leader,” which was famously used to refer to Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany during World War II. The term is associated with Hitler’s authoritarian rule, political ideology, and actions, which included the persecution and murder of millions of people, including Jews, Romani, homosexuals, people with disabilities, and others deemed “undesirable” by the Nazi regime.

The phrase “What’s the furor about the Fuhrer?” might be interpreted as an attempt at wordplay, as “furor” sounds similar to “Fuhrer.” However, it is important to remember the serious and tragic historical context associated with the term “Fuhrer.”

Is Elvis Everywhere? – Mojo Nixon

The phrase “Elvis is everywhere” is a popular expression that is often used in popular culture to describe the enduring popularity and influence of Elvis Presley, the legendary American singer and actor. This expression is meant to convey the idea that Elvis Presley’s legacy and cultural impact are ubiquitous and can be found everywhere in American popular culture.

While Elvis Presley’s music, movies, and image continue to be popular and influential, it is not accurate to say that he is literally “everywhere.” However, his influence can be seen in many aspects of contemporary popular culture, and his music continues to be celebrated by millions of fans around the world.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, has puzzled philosophers, scientists, and ordinary people for centuries. From a biological perspective, the answer is that the egg came first. This is because the process of evolution involves gradual changes in the genetic makeup of a species over time, resulting in new variations that can give rise to new species.

In the case of chickens, scientists believe that the first chicken would have hatched from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken. Over time, genetic mutations and changes would have accumulated in the bird’s genetic code, resulting in a bird that we would now recognize as a chicken. So, in this sense, the egg came first.

However, the question can also be seen as a philosophical or metaphysical one, and the answer may depend on one’s beliefs about the origins of life and the universe. From a theological or creationist perspective, the answer might be that the chicken came first, as it was created by a divine being. Ultimately, the answer to this question may depend on one’s perspective and beliefs.

Should I stay or should I go? – The Clash

The decision to stay or go ultimately depends on your personal circumstances and the specific situation you are facing. It can be a difficult decision to make, and it’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits of each option before making a choice.

If you are facing a decision about whether to stay in a particular situation or leave, it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions to help clarify your thoughts and feelings. For example, you could ask yourself:

  • What are the pros and cons of staying versus leaving?
  • What are my personal values and priorities, and how do they factor into this decision?
  • What would happen if I stay versus if I go, and how would these outcomes affect me and those around me?
  • What support do I have available to me if I choose to stay or go?

Ultimately, the decision to stay or go is a personal one that should be based on your own unique circumstances and values. It may be helpful to seek the advice of trusted friends, family members, or professionals if you are struggling to make a decision or need additional support.

David Byrne advised me to not worry about the government. Was he right?

David Byrne, the musician and artist, is known for his thought-provoking lyrics and perspectives on various issues. In his song “Don’t Worry About the Government,” he encourages listeners not to worry excessively about the government and instead focus on their own lives and relationships.

While this perspective can be valuable in avoiding unnecessary stress and anxiety, it’s also important to stay informed about government actions and policies that can have a significant impact on society. It’s about finding a balance between being aware and engaged, and not letting worries consume your life. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how much attention and energy you want to give to politics and government affairs.

David Byrne

What does The Police song De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da mean?

The Police song “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” was written by Sting and it’s believed to be a commentary on the power of language and how it can both bring people together and drive them apart.

In the song, the phrase “de do do do, de da da da” represents the meaningless chatter and superficial conversations that people often engage in. The lyrics suggest that people rely too heavily on these empty phrases to communicate, rather than taking the time to truly understand one another.

Sting has stated that the song is a critique of the use of language to manipulate and control people. The phrase “de do do do, de da da da” is used as a kind of mindless chant, suggesting that people can be easily influenced and led by repetitive phrases and empty slogans.

Overall, the song seems to be a commentary on the ways in which language can both unite and divide us, and a call to deeper, more meaningful communication between people.

Does The Beatlessong Come Together have any real meaning?

The Beatles’ song “Come Together” was written by John Lennon and is known for its unique and cryptic lyrics. The song is open to interpretation and there have been many theories over the years about what it might mean.

One popular theory is that the song is a political statement, with the lyrics referencing various figures from the counterculture of the 1960s. For example, the opening line “Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly” is believed to refer to Timothy Leary, a psychologist and prominent figure in the psychedelic movement.

Other interpretations suggest that the song is about unity and coming together as a community, with lyrics such as “One and one and one is three” suggesting that people can be stronger together than they are alone.

Despite the various interpretations, Lennon himself once stated that the song was simply “gobbledygook” and that he was just trying to create a catchy song without any specific meaning.

Ultimately, the true meaning of “Come Together” may be open to interpretation and may depend on the individual listener’s perspective.

ChatGPT writes a blog post based on a LinkedIn post

Like many people, I am fascinated by ChatGPT. It entertains and amazes me. It* also inspires me and saves a LOT of time.

For fun, I asked it* to write a blog post based on the LinkedIn post that can be seen above. The blog post that ChatGPT created is below. I hope some people enjoy it.

Don’t be afraid of ChatGPT –
play with it, learn what it can do

Living creatures of all sorts learn through playing. Fun and having a sense of humour are essential for our well-being. They are generally regarded as pretty good medicine and seldom need a spoonful of sugar to help them go down. They are coping mechanisms. Having fun and laughing can enhance productivity. They can also be catalysts for breakthroughs, and their side effects are hardly ever lethal.

Don’t believe me? Check out these Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy resources:

That is why I highly recommend playing with ChatGPT. It is a tool. Use it and have fun with it. Learn about what it can and can not do. As the 32nd President of the United States encouraged: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

*ChatGPT hasn’t declared pronouns yet, so please accept my apologies if I am using the wrong one here.

This is what i asked ChatGPT:

ChatGPT’s blog post

As a writer, Google is an essential tool that I use every day. It’s my go-to resource for anything from finding synonyms to checking my grammar. However, I must admit that my Google search history can sometimes be a little strange, and it’s not uncommon for me to get sidetracked by interesting articles or topics that catch my eye. In this blog post, I’ll take you on a journey through my recent Google search history and share some insights into the things I’ve been looking up.

“Synonym of leverage”

When writing, it’s important to avoid repetition and keep your language varied and engaging. That’s why I recently found myself searching for a synonym for the word “leverage.” After all, if I use the same word too many times, my writing can become monotonous and lose its impact. Some synonyms for leverage include “influence,” “advantage,” and “power.”

“Is it onto or on to?”

One of the trickier aspects of writing is figuring out when to use “onto” versus “on to.” While they might seem interchangeable, there is a subtle difference in meaning between the two. “Onto” generally indicates movement or physical contact, while “on to” refers to a transition or continuation. For example, you might say “I climbed onto the roof,” but “I moved on to the next chapter.”

“Antonym of stellar”

Sometimes when writing, I find myself struggling to think of the perfect word to convey the exact meaning I’m looking for. That’s why I recently searched for the antonym of “stellar.” While I might have used “mediocre” or “average” in the past, I was looking for something a little more precise. After a quick search, I discovered that “terrestrial” is often used as an antonym for “stellar” when referring to astronomy or space-related topics.

“Keyboard shortcut for em dash”

As a writer, I often use em dashes to indicate a sudden change in thought or an interruption in dialogue. However, constantly having to insert the em dash using the “insert symbol” function can be time-consuming. That’s why I recently looked up the keyboard shortcut for an em dash, which is “Option + Shift + -” on a Mac and “Alt + 0151” on a PC.

“Preposition vs. conjunction”

While I consider myself a proficient writer, there are still some grammar rules that trip me up from time to time. Recently, I found myself questioning the difference between prepositions and conjunctions. While both types of words connect phrases or clauses, prepositions are used to indicate a relationship between a noun or pronoun and other elements in a sentence, while conjunctions connect clauses or phrases of equal importance.

In conclusion, as a writer, I rely heavily on Google as a tool to improve my writing and ensure that my language is varied, precise, and engaging. Whether I’m searching for a synonym or antonym, trying to figure out a grammar rule or keyboard shortcut, or simply looking to learn something new, Google is always there to help me improve my writing skills.

Detroit: Jan 1, 2023

I spent New Year’s weekend in Detroit, hanging out with very dear and very old friends. We took in Electric Six at The Magic Bag in Ferndale, something I had done several times before. The last time was at least a decade ago, before covid. It was also before Detroit’s latest renaissance.

On January 1, I found myself right downtown with a few hours to kill before catching a train across the river in Canada. Being New Year’s Day, it was quiet. It was also unseasonably warm and very foggy. All these elements factored in to make it an Immersive Detroit experience.

I also had a belly full of American Coney to burn off, so I decided to explore the newly created playground at Woodward and Jefferson.

The new Motown Sound?

It has a rock climbing feature and several stainless steel instruments with mallets attached. I sampled them, created a few notes, and dreamed of a few kids playing here, taking their first steps toward becoming Motown’s next music geniuses.

The Fist is right there too. Here’s a pic with the RenCen in the background, showing how foggy it was that day. At this point the fog had begun to lift a bit! It was a gift from Sports Illustrated to the people of Detroit and The Detroit Institute of Arts. It symbolizes Joe Louis’ fight against Jim Crow (segregation) laws, and points to Canada for a reason.

Hart Plaza

Hart Plaza is right across the street, so I took a deep dive and explored a lovely park that I had been by countless times but never really explored. It was an excellent decision.

The park is part of Detroit Riverwalk, regarded by many as the best in America. The Detroit River has always attracted me. When I lived in Windsor, I used to take a break from my life and sit on a bench near it. It always brought solace. This visit was like old times.

The Gateway to Freedom

The picture at the top of this post is of monument erected to recognize the Underground Railroad. It is entitled The Gateway to Freedom, and it really struck an emotional chord with me. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the fog, maybe being New Year’s Day, or maybe it was because I was leaving friends who I don’t see nearly often enough. Who knows.

Here I was, enjoying a soulful little piece of The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave, a place I have been visiting for 35 years, and there is a monument to those who sought freedom across the river, in my country.

These days, the most prominent feature of the Windsor skyline while standing on the Michigan side of the Detroit River is a giant red CASINO sign, which you can see in the top left of the photo at the top. <insert your own joke/witticism here>

The “Edmund Fitzgerald church”

On this day, the tiny icebergs flowing south down the Detroit River struck the metal buoy and made it sound like a bell ever so often. The icebergs seemed to be enjoying themselves by doing so, a bit like kids riding bumper cars.

A couple of hundred yards east was the Mariners’ Church. Years ago, a different bell “chimed 29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald”1.

Bonus Pic: Michigan Avenue in Dearborn

I had the pleasure of driving along this street a few times on this trip. A few establishments had their building covered with a “blanket of lights”. Here’s just one of many.

1 Lyric from Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The song made it to #1 in Canada and nearly did the same in the US.

A Painting by Asa Letourneau

Recently I was approached by acclaimed Australian artist Asa Letourneau. He asked me to share my thoughts on the painting above. I’m always anxious to open my mind and let the words flow, so naturally, I obliged.

I think it could be an anti-science statement, and I applaud that. Being anti-science is a bold move, and art ought to be bold.

Some may think The Twilight Zone or even those Twister movies, but that is far too simple an interpretation.

I see a bull in the middle of a vortex. It is being pulled into what could be a black hole, except in the case the massive anti-matter, super-gravity body is yellow and red. An anti-noir hole, perhaps.

Where are the black scientists?

The use of white space can be seen as a middle finger salute to science. Either that or a way of saying science is far too white. The original Nutty Professor, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, Einstein, Dr. Strangelove, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Frank N. Furter… …all of ’em white men, with their whiteness serving as the frame and context for how they see the world, and for which they create science.

Now, if you are thinking “Enough of this Whitey on the Moon, stuff!”, check out this historic clip of Venus Flytrap teaching a young brother about the inner workings of atoms.

Also, it certainly needs to be noted that the Mythbusters were 20% female and 20% people of colour, and they did that way before “equality and inclusion” were an unwritten rule.

Is it really an anti-science painting?

But let’s return to my assertion that this could be seen as an anti-science painting. You have a bull in the middle of a “black hole”. I suspect a great artist such as Asa Letourneau is making the bold statement that “black holes are bullshit”.

It is a bold statement, and it is harsh. It is also done with subtlety, and that is the intriguing part. Instead of being crude and putting a #2 emoji inside the black hole, the artist here went with the source of that merde, the bull itself.


Street Art on Queen Street

I bookended the long weekend of August 2022 with visits to Toronto’s Queen Street. On Friday night I hung out on the east side, and on holiday Monday I was on the Queen West. Queen Street runs all the way across Toronto, from “Roncy” in the west to Victoria Park over in Scarborough.

Queen Street is around 14km / 9 miles long and encompasses countless neighbourhoods and demographics. It is divided in the middle, more or less, by (Neil) Yonge Street. Yonge St. is a bit like Woodward Avenue in Detroit, or Broadway in New York City.

By sheer coincidence I was at or around 500 Queen Street both east and west, a distance of 3.5 km / 2.2 miles. So this post is just a very small piece of the yummy pizza that is Queen Street.

Queen Street in Toronto

Friday night arrives without a suitcase

I made plans with an old friend I don’t see nearly often enough to check out a suspenseful and thrilling new band called Dean and the Koontz on Friday night. However, due to “supply chain issues” the performance was cancelled. My feelings on the no-go for Dean et al incorporated elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire.

As fine Canadians we simply partook of a few beverages on the patio at a fine establishment called Dominion Pub and Kitchen. It is a fine establishment, be sure to pay it a visit if you are in that magical hood. Here’s how it looked to my eyes, or at least to my phone’s eye on that evening.

Queen Street East, Toronto

These pics are taken around Queen and Sumach, Toronto’s Corktown. It seems to have withstood the onslaught of the condo pandemic, for now, so check it out while you can. Here’s The Magic Building:

And just up the street there is this. Apparently a particularly disgruntled Toronto Maple Leafs fan went out of their way to let Leafs Nation know just how disgruntled they are.

Meanwhile, back under Yonge Street

I saw this wonderful bit of vandalism on the subway platform while waiting for my train. The kids are still alright!

A vast improvement, no?

Monday, Monday (bah-da bah-da-da-da)

I HATE holiday Mondays, I mean, REALLY hate them. I’d rather work on a Monday than have it off, that is how much I hate holiday Mondays. But I’ve had more than my fill of being cooped up, so I decided to ‘xplore s’more.

Graffiti Alley was calling my name, and the weather was dee-lovely ~ 27.3C / 81F, and not too humid. I decided to go west to check out some street art:

Oh wait, that is The Peterboro in Detroit, a bit too far west for this post!
Once upon a time “Queen Street West” was exceptionally cool

Graffiti Alley is just south of Queen Street, and once upon a time “Queen Street West” was exceptionally cool. A bit like Greenwich Village, I suppose. Nowadays it ain’t, but there are still very good reasons for visiting. Graffiti Alley is one, of course, but even before venturing down the unlikely tourist attraction, there is great stuff to check out.

Please allow me to serve these appetizers to ease your grey matter into a full visual assault:

Does it get cooler than this?

These two were taken just north of Queen Street, both kinda helping to make up the perimeter of a parking lot.

NO DUMPING, and if you listen to Max Webster, “No cigarettes, no matches”

So about this Alley you speak of…

A condo being cool?

A nearly completed condo bordering the alley has been pre-emptive and had their service entrance painted so that it is consistent with the hood. This gives a decent idea of how immersive Graffiti Alley an be.

Couple of clowns.

Black and white

Hey, you forgot something!

Hopefully they reschedule that Dean and the Koontz show

I’ll be there like words on a page! In the meantime, here’s what the sky looks like when you are waiting for a northbound streetcar at Spadina and Queen. Notice the corporate pollution and government sanctioned art that is actually quite cool.

Until next time, Happy Gawking.

Major League Barkley (MLB)

The Toronto Blue Jays are so bad right now that it is safe to say that they probably caused a nationwide internet outage on Friday July 8, 2022. I live in Toronto, so I follow Toronto sports teams. I have no choice.

I do not suffer Stockholm Syndrome, so I find the current Jays’ dismay to be quite entertaining.

Let me explain:

The company that owns them owns the media, Canada’s equivalent of the FCC, and just about every national politician of import. As a Canadian, giving money to that massively powerful company is on par with breathing. So long as I am alive, I will be doing it. And being alive is a relative term these days.

Charlie Watts was unavailable so we got…

And as far as the Toronto Blue Jays themselves, I think they have lost 22 of their last 20 games played. That’s not a typo: this over-hyped team has found a way to lose more games than they play. There’s a plaque ready to be hung in Cooperstown.

“I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!”

On the day of this writing, the Jays fired their manager, Charlie Montoyo. Montoyo seems like a great guy, and allegedly had bongo drums in his office. That’s pretty cool, but I’m not so sure that being a percussionist for The Rolling Stones was ever a transferrable skill for managing a “professional” sports team.

Exhume Billy Martin?

Chatting with my amigo in the aftermath, I said that the immensely talented players who make up the Blue Jays need a harsh hand, a drill instructor of sorts. My kneejerk reaction was to exhume Billy Martin, but I’m not sure that that technology exists yet, no matter the miracles that ABBA is working over in Europe.

Billy and Mr. October.

Charles Barkley should be the next skip of the Jays!

I have no idea if Montoyo was ever called Chuck, but thinking of his replacement, and thinking of Billy, my analytics kicked in and I had the idea that Sir Charles himself, Charles Barkley should be the next skip of the Jays.

John Lennon reminded us all to imagine, so just imagine Coach Barkley:

  • Imagine 50 thousand people all losing their mind by Chuck simply walking out of the dugout
  • Imagine Barkley arguing a call with the home plate ump
  • Imagine the post-game press conferences
  • Imagine the fun

If you are lacking for imagination (the internet age seems to have that effect on people), let me rough sketch a picture:

Prior to a game, Barkley “gets into it” with a mascot. Words, and perhaps more, are exchanged, and Sir Charles must find a new kingdom to rule over for the next 9 innings.

Birds gonna be birds.

The post-game press conference:

Canadian media flunkie: “Charles, a video has emerged on twitter that seems to clarify what you said to the mascot. Do you recall saying:

“Hey, get off my baselines. Did I say you could be on my baselines? Who you think you are being on my field?”

Sir Charles: “I dunno, the bird was disrespecting me. There’s no place in the game for things like that. I worked too hard to get here to let something like that happen.”

Bring it on, Toronto. Major League Barkley!

Anyone else would be turrible.

Painting with John: Preparation

In a normal year, baseball players would be reporting to spring training right about now. It’s a magical time of year, and I’ve always dreamed about heading down to Lakeland, Florida to see Detroit Tigers legends such as Mort Crim, Bill Bonds, and “the MFIC1 up close and in-person. Just typing these words has the beautiful voice of Ernie Harwell floating around in my mind.

This year’s spring training probably won’t happen. World Wars and Covid didn’t cause the cancelation of an MLB baseball season, but it’s relatively common for labor strife to do so.

Spring Training with John

However, Painting with John Season 2 WILL premier on February 18, so I will turn my attention there.

Many Canadians are likely reading this while doing their stretching, limbering up before heading out to shovel another two or three feet of snow from their driveway. It’s quite similar to the annual workouts that baseball players engage in. The difference is that Spring Training is about 6 weeks, and a Canadian winter is about 6 months.

Spring training for Painting with John is not mandatory, but it is a good idea. Season 1 episodes were only around 20 minutes long, but they are rich and dense viewing. One episode equates to enough thought-provoking material for 3 or 4 university-level lectures.

To get into shape for Season 2 of Painting with John, I have decided to rewatch all of Season 1 again.

Below are my thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1.

In episode one of season one of Painting with John, there’s an image of a sunset. John Lurie asks us to write a poem about it as if we are all Leonard Cohen. Earlier in the episode, Lurie was brave enough to say that “Bob Ross was wrong. Not everyone can paint.” But here he is thinking we are all wordsmiths.

Well, Mr. Lounge Lizard. I’m gonna prove to you and everyone reading this that I am no poet:

There’s a bomb in the sky, the beach has sand
Sunsets are a brand, the laughter is canned
My writing is dung, just like the words sung by Neil young
Go ahead and set you stupid sun, I’m gonna have some fun
Tiananmen Square is where the Red army marches
Sunsets use the same colors as the Golden Arches

my terrible sunset poem

I suppose we’ve all been brainwashed into believing sunsets are beautiful. In other words, Sunsets© have created a strong brand. But they’re not beautiful. Sunsets are the end. The end of the day. We should not get all lovey-dovey when we see them. We should vote against them or vote thumbs down or something.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan (the good one)

Hunter S. Thompson vs. The Moon

One of Ralph Steadman’s paintings of Hunter S. Thompson

I recall reading Hunter Thompson describing being wiped out, outdoors with a sword, swinging a katana at the moon. The big glowing rock in the sky had seriously wounded Dr. Gonzo, and it would have to pay. The lone swordfighter, terrestrially bound, fighting a heavenly body.

“You son of a bitch! How dare you come out here and mock me, all of us, every goddamn night!”

Something Hunter S. Thompson might have written

The sun mocks us on an even grander scale than the moon. It knows we are nothing without it. The great explosion in the sky, the great big bomb in the sky is holding four aces, and has a couple more up it’s sleeve. Every night is more or less a nuclear winter. We ought to hate sunsets.

Each one is a recreation of the Doors song The End, only on a galactic level. But branding made us believe that sunsets are beautiful, even romantic.

The Olympics Don’t Impress Detroit Much

After the episode of Painting with John finished, I scanned through the channels. The snowboarders were on again, getting Big Air at The Olympics. Nuclear cooling towers were prominent in the background. Where there’s smoke there is fire, and where there are cooling towers there is a nuclear explosion, a little sun.

The entire spectacle looked like a version of Detroit at its nadir, only for spoiled rich white kids instead of Black people with soul. Years ago, Dick Valentine sang matter-of-factly “they can’t kill Detroit”. The Big Dick was right, and he was right to sing it matter-of-factly, too.

The whole thing made me envision Hunter in the great outdoors doing battle with an Olympic flag. Instead of a Samurai sword, he had a set of Ginsu Steak Knives he bought from an infomercial, along with Voice of Chunk.

Dope, Greed, and Corruption or Faster, Higher, Stronger?

Instead of the pernicious moon, the Olympic flag rages in the sky. It’s rings signify Dope, Greed, and Corruption instead of Faster, Higher, Stronger. Hunter is our man taking on the hypocrisy, all alone, but representing the 99%.

That’s enough training for one evening. I’ll probably head to bed and fall asleep watching Repo Man, a movie about the bomb, a sunset, The End. Or is it…

Tomorrow’s Training:

Tomorrow’s training shall include reading On Photography by Susan Sontag, with special emphasis placed on the chapter The Image-World.

1 “Years later, in 1973, Detroit would elect its first African-American mayor, Coleman Young, who ran a campaign on social justice and black power. He famously kept a placard on his desk that read “M.F.I.C.” — short for “Motherfucker in charge.” He even once greeted reporters from Hawaii by saying, “Aloha, motherfuckers!” Young went on to serve five terms.” https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/detroit-and-the-word-motherfucker-a-brief-history/Content?oid=19249813

*Featured image is Stanza looking at a picture of himself painted by Mark Seabrook. Bottom image is a drawing by David Byrne.

11 Freedom Convoy Stories You May Have Missed

Before we get started please allow me to give thanks to David Letterman and The Onion for inspiration. Also, it might be a good idea to listen to Gridlock by Electric Six while catching up on “the news”. Stay Safe.

11 Michigan Governor Offers Free Red Wings Tickets to Any Truckers Who Leave the Protest Peacefully

“Somebody’s got to be the adult in the room.”

Governor Whitmer explained: “If there’s one thing Canadians can’t resist, it’s hockey. It’s their catnip. They’re building a bridge linking Ontario and Michigan and naming it after a hockey player. Heck, the Leafs are even in town on the 26th.”

10 Dave Grohl Offers to Drive Trucks During Protests

“When I found out that the amount of goods crossing the border daily here was the same as my net worth, I HAD to do something,” says the omnipresent drummer, famous for being in corporate rock outfits such as Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

“I’m always ready to pick up a shift when someone calls in sick,” said the drummer. “Kurt would have been here too”.

A Blu-ray, vinyl, expanded box set, action figure, and more collectibles are in the works.
It remains unclear as to whether Dave Grohl or Justin Trudeau has nicer hair.

9 US Congress Applauds Truckers

“They’re still moving trucks across the Ambassador Bridge at warp speed, compared how much we get done,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. “And let me be perfectly clear, I have nicer hair than Justin Trudeau.”

“I’m twice the Prime Minister’s age and still have better hair.”

8 Netflix Plans “B. J. And the Bear” Reboot, Auditions Chimpanzees

Insiders say Justin Trudeau is the frontrunner to assume the lead role of B.J., made famous by TV heartthrob Greg Evigan (seen above with beloved “Bear”.)

“It will be good to get behind the wheel of a Kenworth and show Trump how it is done.” said the Prime Minister. It remains unclear as to whether the actor or the actor has nicer hair.

7 Bills Coach Admires Truckers’ Ability to “Stop Forward Progress”

Buffalo Bills' Coach Sean McDermott
“Josh Allen definitely has better hair than Justin Trudeau.” – Sean McDermott

“We couldn’t shut down the Chiefs for 12 seconds. These guys have shut down the border for days” said Bills Coach Sean McDermott.

The Coach went on to say “I haven’t seen this sort of domination since Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain days.”

6 Bigfoot Sightings Now More Common than Trudeau Sightings

Ape-like creature or Prime Minister?

It remains unclear as to whether Sasquatch or Canada’s Prime Minister has nicer hair.

5 Biden Tells Canada to “Knock it off with the Malarkey”

“Here’s 20 bucks to go away, Canada.”

4 Trucker Earns Bachelor of Science Degree During Border Blockade

Refusing to sit idly by while trucks around him idle, a trucker has completed his BSc while simultaneously participating in the Freedom Convoy.

The multitasker explained: “I just want something to fall back on in case shutting down the economy so we can get back to work doesn’t pan out.”

“It’s like having a spare tire, eh? You hope you never need it, but you are glad you have it when you do. Besides, I don’t have the right hair or last name to be Prime Minister.”

3 Bell Stands by Let’s Talk Initiative Despite PM’s Refusal to Do the Same

“Let’s talk business and food.” – Neil Hamburger

2 Trudeau Set to Unveil New Convoy Tax, Citing Science Table

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again championed the legislation, known formerly as Bill 401. “Science has shown us that the only way to end these disruptions is by putting a price on protests.”

1 World Has Second Thoughts about “Needing More Canada”

RE: Writer Perry King sees Toronto through community sports

The following is a kneejerk response to an article I recently read. The article’s purpose was to promote a book written by a local author, which is great. It also triggered me in a good way, which is also great. I’ve checked the ebook out of Toronto Public Library and maybe I will post again after I finish reading it.

It sounds like the book looks at where public money goes in terms of funding infrastructure for sports, and that old white money gets funding, while others do not. Hockey arenas get built, but basketball courts and cricket pitches get neglected.

From what I gather, the focus of the book is that sports can build communities, improve economic opportunities, and basically be a force for good. It’s like funding the arts: it is a good investment.

Anyway, thanks certainly go out to Perry King for writing the book in the first place. It’s called Rebound, and is available from Coach House Books.

Here’s my pre-read rant/response to the article.

Stop gun violence? Maybe “bribe” hoods by saying “turn in 50 handguns, and we’ll build a new basketball court”.

The Pan Am Games cost Ontario $2.5 Billion1. I am sure they were “sold” to the public with false claims of building the infrastructure discussed in the article (and housing!), but what they amounted to was a very expensive traffic jam.

The infrastructure highlight from that amounts to a hiking trail that was a pet project of Kathleen Wynne. Miss Wynne earmarked $2.5 million for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails.

How many basketball courts could have been built with $2.5 Billion, or even $2.5 million for that matter?

And if we’re going to be discussing billions of dollars, Toronto, and building communities, surely Rogers must be brought into the discussion.

Rogers is based in Toronto, and generally reports profits of about $1 Billion/quarter.2 So they’ve got some serious stakes in the game.

Rogers infamously paid $5.232 billion for the rights to point cameras at millionaires sitting on a bench and spitting on ice. Surely a Toronto-based company with that sort of spare change can, and should, “give back to the community by giving back to the community”.3

And let’s not forget that Rogers bought what was formerly known as SkyDome for less than nickels on the dollar. Literally. The dome was financed mostly through public money and cost around $570 million to build, but Rogers picked it up for about $25 million.

In effect, Rogers was given over half a Billion dollars in corporate welfare when they “purchased” SkyDome. How many basketball courts could that kind of money build?

For perspective, Rogers also owns the Blue Jays, and currently pays their center fielder $29 million/year or so.4 I suspect you could cover the outfield of Rogers Centre with $29 million worth of basketballs quite easily.

And just imagine what $29 million could do for an “at-risk neighbourhood”, especially when you consider that the federal government thinks investing $1 million will revitalize Little Jamaica!5

Also consider that the current mayor of Toronto has a very long and cozy relationship with Rogers. As a matter of fact, Toronto’s mayor is currently still on the Rogers’ payroll and apparently takes home a cool $100K/year while sitting as mayor. That’s in addition to the nearly $200K/year or so in public money that he receives as mayor.6

Toronto’s current mayor was infamously accused of taking a day off of his duties as mayor to referee a very public family dispute within the Rogers family.7 Something tells me that “building basketball courts” rarely appears on his “to-do list”.

This is the sort of think I expect to read about in Rebound. Let me dive in and get back to you…

(Author photo by Jalani Morgan)

1 https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/audit-reveals-pan-am-games-were-342m-over-budget-but-ontario-still-paid-5m-in-performance-bonuses

2 https://investors.rogers.com/financials/financial-reports/

3 this is a Jello Biafra quote. i thought it was from his spoken word piece entitled Rob Now, Pay Later but i was wrong. Regardless, the words for Rob Now, Pay Later are worth repeating here:
“Some day even the experts will figure out that crime is not caused by rap music, or even my music!, but by a power structure of self-absorbed property owners so brain dead and stupid they won’t even see that if you’re too damn greedy to pay taxes for schools and services, they’re not going to be any good anymore! And that uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future work force. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!

4 https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/toronto-blue-jays/payroll/

5 https://dailyhive.com/toronto/toronto-neighbourhood-revitalization-little-jamaica-eglinton

6 https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-tory-made-almost-700k-from-rogers-while-mayor-talk-about-an-optics-problem

7 https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/martha-rogers-calls-out-john-tory-over-claim-rogers-dispute-only-occupies-spare-time-1.5641226