Snail Races

...where even the winners are slow and slimy. It's all a matter of degrees, really. Reality based since 1692.

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Location: Upper Canada

Friday, November 05, 2010

in which I resume

...ahh, that's better. Now, where was I?

So, I built a little boat this summer... what all did y'all get up to?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

languagehat tows the line

Amusing comment thread here, regarding eggcorns, malaprops and how people so often get it wrong speaking and writing.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Jackson Browne redux

Crooks and Liars has a video updating Lives in the Balance by the aforementioned Jackson Browne.

He was played on NPR and the CBC in my recent experience. I haven't heard him get so much positive response in a long time... the times, they are a changin', eh?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rockschool with Professor Lightfoot

The estimable Bobby Lightfoot is conducting a master class on making music. I have been enjoying his recordings for the last few months, and often find myself thumbing the little joystick forward past Al Green and the O-Jays to hear Bobby's (and his big bro's) stylings.

I found my copy of ROCKSCHOOL 2 mixed in with the vinyl when I rescued that box from 15 years of neglect in the basement. As with most of the albums, it doesn't hold up all that well 20 years on. (I certainly am not holding up much better after these past 20 years, but that's for a different post.) The black and white photos of the luminaries of post-disco pre-grunge popular music are depressing, not least because both the Commodores and Van Halen are cited as exemplary of anything other than suckfulness. Fortunately, there appears to be no mention of Grand Funk RR.

The quantum leap from the technology of that day (I had never heard of the Prophet 5 or the Yellow Magic Orchestra) to the marvels of GarageBand and podcasting is remarkable.

Bobby should write a book updating this volume. Maybe he has Herbie Hancock's phone number? There could even be a PBS series in it, although some of the graphics may need to be vetted by legal and standards at CPB. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 28, 2006

not a stupid girl at all

pink live from youtube, singing for our dear leader.

go watch, powerful stuff.

friday musical selections

An Easy Winter - Bobby Lightfoot
Ooh, Girl - The Chi-lites
Planet Smashers - Surfing in Tofino
Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
Dear Mr President - Pink
Let's Stay Together - Al Green and Bobby L, back to back
Love and Happiness - Al Green
The Worst That Could Happen - Brooklyn Bridge
Love (Can Make You Happy) - Mercy
Spill the Wine - War

Monday, April 17, 2006

Late For The Sky

Neddie steps outside the social convention of inquiring after one another's well being by way of casual greeting, but realizes there is always a point where you can have too much information. Dada factor chartreuse (middling).

Reading along, I instantly thought of Jackson Browne. Late For The Sky (1974) was in heavy rotation on the dorm-room turntable, and I think I remember having an 8-track of it for a while as well. Maudlin, I know, but still with me after 30 years. And a cover inspired by Magritte. So it has that goin' for it.

Back then, I thought this was weary, cynical and worldwise, but the kids today have blown past that post and aren't looking back.


Everyone I've ever known has wished me well
Anyway that's how it seems, it's hard to tell
Maybe people only ask you how you're doing
'Cause that's easier than letting on how little they could care
But when you know that you've got a real friend somewhere
Suddenly all the others are so much easier to bear

Now to see things clear it's hard enough I know
While you're waiting for reality to show
Without dreaming of the perfect love
And holding it so far above
That if you stumbled onto someone real, you'd never know
(You'd never know)
You could be with somebody who is lonely too
(Sometimes it doesn't show)
He might be trying to get across to you
(Words can be so slow)
When your own emptiness is all that's getting through
There comes a point when you're not sure why you're still talking
I passed that point long ago
(Long ago)
Now I'm so tired of all this circling
And all these glimpses of the end
(You know it's useless to pretend)
That's all the voices say:
"You'll go right on circling
Until you've found some kind of friend"

I saw you through the laughter and the noise
You were talking with the soldiers and the boys
While they scuffled for your weary smiles
I thought of all the empty miles
And the years that I've spent looking for your eyes
(Looking for your eyes)
And now I'm sitting here wondering what to say
(That you might recognize)
Afraid that all these words might scare you away
(And break through the disguise)
No one ever talks about their feelings anyway
Without dressing them in dreams and laughter
I guess it's just too painful otherwise

It's like you're standing in the window
Of a house nobody lives in
And I'm sitting in a car across the way
(Let's just say)
It's an early model Chevrolet
(Let's just say)
It's a warm and windy day
You go and pack your sorrow
The trash man comes tomorrow
Leave it at the curb and we'll just roll away


Saturday, April 08, 2006

in our time

BBC Radio 4 has a great discussion program called In Our Time. The miracle that is podcasting has allowed me to enjoy discussions of 17th Century Print Culture, the Abassid Caliphate, and the Royal Society at my leisure, pausing when interrupted, going back to repeat a tricky exposition, and actually engaging with the presented topic even more than is possible while listening to the radio.

Taking even greater control of the technology, yesterday I broke down and bought a USB TV tuner and video capture card. Installed it on the rec room machine this morning, and I will now be able to see Lost even if I am busy on Wednesday. Expect to see random screen shots of mundane televisual moments posted here soon.

And thanks to Neddie and Bobby for their musical stylings. I have finally figured out how to save the mp3 files I was only streaming prior to this week, so I will be burning some of their stuff to push on people as we move into this summer's social scene, proving my theoretical, if not applied, hipness.

New wireless card this week, too, so I am back to recliner-and-loungewear blogging.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

post-friday protest song

Neddie relays Julia's suggestion that we all post up a favorite protest song. As memes go, not bad. Here's a favorite of mine. Click the link and read some of the commentary about the song.

Bruce Cockburn - If I Had A Rocket Launcher

Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay

I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate

On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation -- or some less humane fate
Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate

I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a bitch would die

Friday, March 24, 2006

food of my people II

Wikipedia grows ever more indispensible, as it provides this concise entry on the Brown Bobby Doughnut Machine. A junior model now sits on the dinette table at my mum Alta's house, having been passed down from my father's mother Alta. That's right, his mom was an Alta and he married an Alta. I suppose, to be fair, the name was in the top 200 or so when they both were born, but still notable, I always thought...

Anyway, these triangular cake doughnuts were a prominent highlight of any visit to Grandmother Alta's apartment on Armour Blvd in Kansas City in the early Sixties. Growing up and inhaling the hot product with a glass of cold creamy milk that was delivered in bottles to the back porch of her 4th floor apartment - memories don't come much more vivid than those for me. The process consisted of mixing (at least) a double bowl of batter, and then baking them much like waffles, six at a time, for just a few minutes per batch, watching for the steaming to almost disappear before lifting the lid and popping them out. It almost always took several batches of six before the number on the cooling rack broke double figures, but after a couple of hours of sitting in the kitchen, there would be enough of a pile to wrap and put in an old Christmas tin to send home with us.

I have only recently become aware of the entrepreneurial aspect of owning a Brown Bobby. I don't know how she came to have it, alas, and I wish I had heard the story from her directly, but informed by Dad's genealogical research and the info about how Brown Bobby was marketed, I can imagine that a woman such as herself, twice divorced before 30 and with two young boys, would have been keenly interested in the idea of a home business. I wonder how it worked out for and her sisters.

I used to think of Grandmother (explicitly not Grandma) Alta as a Mary Tyler Moore-esque career woman, as she worked well into her seventies as an ambulance dispatcher at a hospital. Tallish, slim, and brunette, she wore the same polyester fashions that Mary could have worn, or maybe Rhoda, even though she turned 70 in 1973, as she travelled the world through her retirement.

Since Bobby Lightfoot liked it so much, here is a flashback to a holiday visit from 1957, with Grandmother and me.

Haven't looked lately, but there has been a lively market for the machines among collectors and I wouldn't be surprised if it was worth Cdn$1,000.00. Staggering, really.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

what I did on the weekend

bought some mason stains from a studio downtown that is downsizing and moving. Seeing the nice stuff Dave had on the shelves there inspired me, so I stole a few hours of time from getting ready for Mont Tremblant to make what you see here.

Still crude, as always, but it is therapeutic for me.

fresh ware Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 10, 2006

feral swine dining

this post from amuse bouche was too good not to note. a proper reverence for the old ways that the ancestors would appreciate.


Playing with the MP3 thingy has gotten me to haul out some of the old stuff from back in the day. One of the best afternoons I ever spent was as a roadie for Doug and the Slugs, a Vancouver band with several CanCon radio hits, when they played a Thursday afternoon gig at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, 1982ish. Interesting guys, interesting space. Arthur Erickson designed the campus atop Burnaby Mountain, with a prominent quadrangle raised on stilts allowing for open spaces below. There was a study/lunch area with tables, a stainless bar for sandwich or bottled beer service.

Glass all around, horrible acoustics. Lots of beer, though, and sunshine, rare in the lower mainland.

Doug Bennett died last year. Sucker could write a song Bobby L would be proud of.

"Tropical Rainstorm"

Two city savages were running from the rain, and
Seeking shelter in the bamboo-curtained room
Their clothes were drying on the back of wicker chairs
While lazing out the afternoon

We're nothing more than friends gone seperate ways
No longer on parallel lines
You've run the reasons for doing what was done
I can't deny that they're as good as mine

Oh, I remember conversations on my roof
So whiskey-fueled they had us howling at the stars
While laughing at the dark we finally closed the night
As reckless as we closed those bars

Oh, I could tell you from the coolness of my room
Of bonds broken and repaired
Forgotten points we made before passing out
Or carried drunkenly down those stairs, and

Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland
Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland

Now in the end you're just some poster on my wall
And passing by I can't afford the time that you steal
You heard your master call and finally turned to home
Back to what you think is real

Oh, I heard the small-craft warnings long before they came
Oh the gales were blowing for days
Clearing the pathway of the branches from the storm
I realized that you had made your place

Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland
Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland

From "Cognac & Bologna"

Friday, March 03, 2006

protest songs?

These all actually came up in the first fiteen or so after shuffling the ITunes library. I deleted the most embarrassing and/or holiday tunes, and found myself left with a list that jumps up in your grill and demands a snarky and/or political frame for current affairs as viewed nearing the end of the Winter Of Our Discontent.

Quiet Riot - Buddy Rich & His Orchestra
The Trouble With Normal - Bruce Cockburn
September 15th - Pat Metheny
Lies - Stan Rogers
Thanks - James Gang
Green Grass and High Tides - Outlaws
Les Allumeuses - Hugo Lapointe
She's Not There - Zombies
Rock Steady - Remy Shand
Welcome to Hell - Sum 41

I may have to update this later with commentary on some of those titles. And I didn't even include People See Through You.

Mr. Death - Bonus Bobby Lightfoot Track

Friday, February 17, 2006

les chansons de vendredi

  1. Celery Stalks at Midnight - Will Bradley
  2. Oh, Atlanta - Little Feat
  3. Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw
  4. So What - Miles Davis
  5. 5 Will Get You 6 - Blue Rodeo
  6. Jet Propelled Papa - not sure
  7. New Song - Bobby Lightfoot (ok, not random, but I've listened about 15 times this week)
  8. The Way I Feel - Remy Shand
  9. Miss Missouri - Count Basie
  10. Everything is Broken - Bob Dylan

I hope Maelle Ricker is ok.

Friday, February 10, 2006

silly hockey jersey

Man vs. Clown is one blog I've been meaning to mention. tres amusent.

this picture of the silliest hockey jersey at least since the strike ended is worth a post, not to mention the dig at p. roy in the comments.

friday again?

has it been another week already?

this is what I would be listening to if i had time.

celebrate - rare earth
funk 49 - james gang
midwives dance - tanglefoot
northwest passage - stan rogers
canadian railroad trilogy - gordon lightfoot (bobby's da)
goldberg variations - glenn gould
whammer jammer - j. geils band
canterbury tales - bbc podcast in our time
all along the watchtower - brewer and shipley
louisiana - randy newman

but i don't even have time for the olympics, alas.