Jan 24 2016

On Oddness, or the Saving Grace of Glasgow

Ivor Cutler ~ I’m Happy

Scotch Odds, 1

Ivor Cutler has a gift – so says Billy Connolly – for capturing the dreich of Scotland, the dismal gray skies and the relentless, miserable wet that “seeps into you like a rumor.” It holds you in its clammy grip as closely indoors as out.

I did two years in the lowland dreich. As a young man from western Canada, who’d shrugged off one Russian Winter already (although the wind off the Gulf of Finland that carves through Leningrad in February does have its teeth), I felt Winter in Glasgow would hold no terrors, but I was wrong. After two months of the long daily trudge across Kelvingrove Park to the University, drizzle accumulating on my scalp and trickling down my back, and then back to an allegedly heated student flat, always coated in an icy film, I took to my bed and stayed there for a while. I wasn’t deathly ill, just wretchedly so, hacking, oozing and shaking.

I missed many Russian language classes and had to make my apologies to the instructor, a stern, thickly-accented Russian archetype with the unlikely name of Tatiana Frisby. She nodded with an expression of earnestness, but not of sympathy. She was always pleased to find a reason to get you to agree that life was shit. “Yiss,” she said, “everyone who comes to Glasgow gets this sickness. And then…
…they get the psychological depression.” She was right about that too.

Continue reading


Nov 13 2015

WRPK in New Albertastan, ep. 3

derek-fildebrandt

WRPK in New Albertastan

A pair of lovable know-nothing zealots engage in hilarious hijinks as they battle creeping socialism and corporate welfare in the prairie heartland.

Episode 3: Santa’s Government Claws

Scene: WRP HQ

Brian sits at a desk working through a stack of Christmas cards. Derek walks up.

Derek: Signing Christmas cards for the members, are you boss?

Brian: That’s right.

Derek: and you’re… …um.

Brian: Putting a big black X on Santa’s face before they get sent out. That’s right. Because why? Because Santa’s a socialist, that’s why. This whole picking who’s naughty and nice thing, that’s big government pick winners and losers. And picking winners and losers is…?

Derek: …is for free markets to decide.

Brian: That’s right too. Markets and only markets.

Derek: You know how you were telling me to worry about the optics…

Brian: Yeah?

Derek: And you know how you were saying we should boycott Notley’s secret Santa for the Leg?

Brian: Yeah?

Derek: Well the optic might not be so good if we don’t give anything. So how about we give out just a card with this in it? (Hands Brian a slip of paper)

Brian: (reading) “The WRP invites you to join in its boycott of socialist Santa. Christmas is for Christ, not creeping communism.” Hey that’s good, Derek, poetic, even.

Derek: Thanks, boss.

Brian: And you’re right about the optics. We don’t wanna seem heartless. Don’t get me wrong, Scrooge was right about a lot of things, but hey, bad optics. (Grabs his stack of Christmas cards) Tighten your belt, Derek, we got a party to crash.

Scene: Derek stands gloomily near people in festive spirits. Brian walks up.

Brian: That was weird. She winked at me.

Derek: Winked at you? That is weird, boss. Whose name did you draw?

Brian: (glances at a slip of paper) Oh, that is kinda funny. I got your name. Ha ha. (Hands Derek an envelope) “The WRP invites you to join in its boycott of socialist Santa. Christmas is for Christ, not creeping communism.” Ha ha. Who did you get?

Derek: Well, that is funny, boss, cuz I got your name. (Tries to hand Brian an envelope) “The WRP invites YOU to…

Brian: (scowling) I know what the card says, Derek. Shut up!

11150661_10153178598575861_8645459427212641574_n


Nov 13 2015

WRPK in New Albertastan, ep. 2

derek-fildebrandt

WRPK in New Albertastan

A pair of lovable know-nothing zealots engage in hilarious hijinks as they battle creeping socialism and corporate welfare in the prairie heartland.

Episode 2: Jaws of Life/Jaws of Debt

Scene: Vehicle interior at night

Brian: (Driving. Thumps the wheel angrily) This is taking forever! Damn Notley and her highway improvements!

Derek: Easy boss, I just bought this baby.

Brian: Sorry Derek, wouldn’t want to hurt your Hummer. But you know why I hate highways? It’s big government telling ya this is the way ya gotta go. Ya wanna get from Bonnyville to Cold Lake? Big government says ya gotta take the 28.

Derek: We could’a taken the 41 through LaCorey…

Brian: (glares) Do you mind, Derek? I’m philosophizing. See, when we settled this land, covered wagons crossing the prairie could go anyway they wanted. Sure you could follow the trail, but an enterprising guy could just blaze his own trail if he wanted, maybe even find a better one.

Derek: Totally agreed, boss. Off-road capability is essential to entrepreneurial spirit. It’s like you always say, boss…

Brian and Derek: Never trust a guy who doesn’t own a Ski-doo.

Brian: Hey, this new baby of yours got off-road capability?

Derek: You betcha! And a power winch.

Brian: Tighten yer belt, Derek, we’re blazing our own trail all the way to Cold Lake!

Derek: (Out the window) So long, suckers. Enjoy your little Notley-jam!

Thump, thump, bang.

State-mandated airbags deploy.

A professional and efficient EMT team, funded by Alberta Healthcare arrives and extricates our heroes.

No WRP officials were harmed in the writing of this sketch.

11150661_10153178598575861_8645459427212641574_n


Nov 13 2015

WRPK in New Albertastan, ep. 1

derek-fildebrandt

WRPK in New Albertastan

A pair of lovable know-nothing zealots engage in hilarious hijinks as they battle creeping socialism and corporate welfare in the prairie heartland.

Episode 1: A Pair of Ducks

Scene: WRP HQ

Derek: (sitting at a computer station) I hate this.

Brian: (walking by) This what?

Derek: This Twitter thing, these people keep yelling at me.

Brian: (looks over Derek’s shoulder) Wow, that’s a lotta frowny faces.

Derek: Yeah, frowny face, frowny face, frowny face. And this guy keeps posting the same thing over and over, and look at all the retweets! “WRP bad for economy. They don’t get the paradox of thrift.”

Brian: (puzzled) The pair of docks… …thrift?

Derek: Yeah, apparently we don’t got it, and it’s a big deal, says Mr Smarty Pants on Twitter.

Brian: (grabbing his coat) Tighten yer belt Derek, were going to the Value Village.

Derek: You think they have one there?

Brian: Let’s hope they have two. I don’t wanna be driving around all day. (As they exit) Do you know how to get frowny faces? We gotta start using those.

Derek: I’ll get the tech guy on it, boss.

11150661_10153178598575861_8645459427212641574_n


Jan 24 2014

The Tall Tale of an Alternative Burns Supper

American Quack is proud to present the following reprint of Buster Friendless’ historical and anthropological study of Scottish culinary practice in honor of Robert Burns Day. We are keenly aware that many readers are eager for a further installment on the research project of Dr. Anne B. Thermopolis and will resume this coverage in the next issue.

THE TALL TALE OF AN ALTERNATIVE BURN’S SUPPER

There were none but Scotsmen present at the event in question so we cannot claim to have a reliable account of what went on, but, according to at least one scurvy Caledonian, it began with a general malaise that settled on the city of Glasgow. A restless dissatisfaction held the entire population in its grip. Blandly and blindly, the people went through their daily routines, stopping at the chip shop for breakfast, lunch, tea, and after-last-call snacks. They ordered haddock, cod, blood sausage, haggii, scotch pies, pork pies, and pizza slices, all of them rolled in batter, deep fried, and served with thick, jaundiced, fat-soaked chips. And though their bellies were filled as usual and their unkempt Highland whiskers well-oiled in the process, something was missing. Continue reading


Nov 9 2013

Zero shopping days til Great October

Whoops, Great October whizzed right by with nary a mention. Have a great belated GO, everyone and enjoy the New New Model Red Army Choir as they lay down some lucky. h/t Jackie Hutter

(According to the comments, these are Ministry of the Interior uniforms)

There are, now, 261 shopping days to Great October.

Original Post

And what are you doing to mark the 93rd anniversary of the Great October Revolution? Readers interested in Canada’s role in the Russian Revolution and Civil War might want to peruse the on-line exhibition Canada’s Siberian Expedition, bearing in mind our participation in the seizing and holding Russia’s arctic ports of Murmansk and Archangelsk also.

Here, we offer a series of videos, beginning with Lenin in repose:

Continue reading


Nov 10 2012

Remembrance Day 11-11-12

The Last Long Mile

written by Charles Hart and Shannon Four, 1918

Why the Poppy?

A writer first made the connection between the poppy and battlefield deaths during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, remarking that fields that were barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. Continue reading


Oct 28 2011

No Means No 2011 (and 1994)

Here, out west, it’s hunting season, and typically that means that NoMeansNO should be passing through the territory. I take a gander at the band Web site and see that, yes indeed, the best Canadian band ever set off on a countrywide peregrination just yesterday.

See them while you can, fellow sapiens, for the season will come when that wizened trio gaze out onto the vastness of the Hardcore Logo circuit and judge it no country for old men. That’ll be a sad day for Punk Rock, implacably sad like the end of the Selfish Giant (which reminds me not to pogo so much this time; this is no country for old knees).

We don't quit on a tour poster just cuz it's got a little wear and tear

 

Mr. Wrong chats with some Slovene hipsters

And for your further edification, here is an old short story/review I wrote about seeing the band on their Mr. Happy tour (93/94).


Apr 3 2011

The Devil You Know (TDYKn) – Chapter 1.1

Dedicated to Ian Thatcher, Trotsky scholar and my office-mate who got this story started when he said, and here I paraphrase; Nationalism is terrible, internationalism is even worse. Parochialism – that’s the thing!

Also to Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, from whose Besy (The Devils or The Possessed) I have thieved liberally.

Believe everything you hear. Nothing is too impossibly bad.

Balzac

On the Morning of the First Murder

The whine of the radio followed Evil Jim as he sauntered from his van up the access ramp toward the Trans-Canada highway. He reached the highway proper and made his way along the shoulder against the flow of such traffic as there was an hour before the first sign of dawn. He wore a faded denim jacket under an armless shirt in lumberjack plaid. His right hand gripped a small paint can and thin brush, a rickety step-ladder creaked and rattled in his left. Kicking an unrecognizable dead furry thing out of his path, he set the ladder down into shallow divots in the earth just off the highway shoulder, and clambered up to the face of a road sign. “Next Exit  Moose Flats, All Services  4 Kilometers” it read. With a sure and steady hand, Evil Jim drew a slash above the 4, then a 1 above the slash. The patch over which he had painted was substantially thicker than the rest of the sign, layer upon layer of old paint, revision, correction, revision, correction. Just how far was it to Moose Flats? A mere point two five kilometers, for the moment.

Job done, Evil Jim strolled back the way he had come, chortling. That was another easy fifty the mayor owed him. He swung the open paint can to the beat of his strides, then wheeled it full-circle over his head. From somewhere in the misty past, the strange word ‘centrifugal’ came into his mind and he felt all the more pleased with himself for the recollection of it. As he approached the off-ramp Jim spied a near-mirror image of himself coming the other way – same shaggy appearance, same wiry frame and ambling cocky gait, the same implements in hand. The image saluted him with a paint brush and called, “How’s it hanging, Evil Jim?”

“Hangs straight down but it drips a little, Gator Bob.” Evil Jim’s voice remained flat with a slight ironic curl, a studied manner of speech rendered less effective by the fact that his nasal passages whistled at each sibilant, an effect of cartilage displaced by one of an uncounted number of blows to the face. Pulling the paint brush out of the can, Evil Jim flicked the excess reflective white into the off-road gloom, and then tapped the handle on the rim of the can. “It’s all good,” he concluded. “Good good good.”

Continue reading


Mar 23 2011

“Geoff”

 

“Geoff” is some sort of Viking affectation. Guys who spell their name with a “Geoff” think they have some sort of blanch when it comes to Yid-bashing a la carte. The whole thing – and I have yet to see this happen – invariably devolves into a total tabloid Rasta of Jamaican dick-swinging proportions. Till you tiddle in your trousers, pressed by a fear of the men’s room and preferring to be derided for a Piss-in-Boots. I think you know what I am saying (with a non-verbal wink). The hole does not bare fruit enough for me, and that is horde won booty. Know doubt.

 

 

Sorry, I was channeling a disconcert of beatnik Jazz. It has passed, though not entirely. Where was I?


Page 1 of 912345...Last »