Archive for June, 2011


This is about as cross as I ever get with a student: “Make sure your emails are grammatically correct. For instance, begin sentences with capital letters, and end them with periods. In addition, the first person singular pronoun is spelled ‘I’ rather than ‘i,’ and my name is spelled ‘Bob’ rather than ‘bob.’ Finally, days of the week are capitalized, and contractions like ‘haven’t’ have apostrophes.”

Dismay in Vancouver

I would rather have had both of my legs broken than to have witnessed what happened last night in the city that is the love of my life.

“It’s Just Too Difficult to Make an Honest Buck!”

And “times have changed and Netflixx sux [sic].” So says the sign in the window at Independent Flixx, the very cool video store on Denman Street near Vancouver’s English Bay. I love the brilliant odd ducks who ran that place.

Twitter Head

Brian Solis: “Twitter has evolved into a human seismograph that channels the pulse of business, politics, entertainment, news, and culture into the mobile phones and PCs and defines of our connected society. … Twitter shouldn’t work, but it does. What started as a hybrid public messaging service meets social network, is now a flourishing information network where people connect and disconnect based on interests and fleeting moments of intellectual, sophomoric and parallel intimacy.”

I watched the Canucks defeat the Bruins 1-0 last night on CBC-TV, but didn’t join the tens of thousands of fans down on Georgia Street in celebration afterwards, though. My windows were open, as was the door to my balcony, to let the raw sound into my home. A #Canucks twitter-feed brought in the happy voices.

Radio Head

While putting together “Not Necessarily the New Age,” back in the late 1980s, I was able to indulge my long-time interest in American “fringe” micro-cultures and corresponded with zealous believers of all types, political and religious and scientific (pseudo- and otherwise). I also listened to a lot of out-there radio programs that you don’t get up here in Canada. I liked listening to them even if I didn’t sometimes like what I was hearing. They made for “interesting company.” I was even a fan of Rush Limbaugh early on, when his stirring stemwinders could pick me up no matter what they were about. (His rhetorical skills coarsened once Bill Clinton got elected, and I find Limbaugh unlistenable today.) My favourite conspiracy theorist was Dave Emory, whose radio program “One Step Beyond” would mesmerize and baffle me to equal degrees as it wove together the Third Reich, Watergate, JFK’s assassination, bin Laden’s alleged connection with the Bush family, and the double-murder trial of OJ Simpson into a single tapestry of  … what, I am not sure … that went on and on. Although I travel in different circles these days, in terms of whom I read and what I listen to on the radio, to me it feels strangely great that a fellow like Emory, who regaled me back in the day, is still around.

“Fresh Air”

Terry Gross got her start at my alma mater, SUNY-Buffalo, working at the university's radio station, WBFO, in the early 1970s

National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” has long been my favourite radio program. The host’s friendly urbanity and curiosity always charm me, making me think, until the spell wears off, that the world is a little bit better than it really is. I’m delighted that she has a Tumblr blog, with links to current and past interviews. Terry Gross’s interview with PJ Harvey last February was one of this year’s true highlights for me. (Here‘s a link to her old radio station, WBFO, where you can also listen to podcasts of “Fresh Air.”)

“Bullshit Fields”

My buddy Jonathan Mayhew is going to town on this topic.