Archive for the ‘anniversaries’ Category

Swallowed by the A-void: March 17 comes and goes

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Sometimes we at the ALLDERBLOB wish we’d chosen a less-well-entrenched holiday to try to displace than St Patrick’s. It’s one thing to be “bigger than Jesus” (like the Beatles on Dec. 25 1966), it’s quite another to drive out the Saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland on March 17.

Fact is, after several years at the ol’ blobbing machine [trans: “typewriter” –ed.] we’d be hard-pressed to say we’re any closer to our goal.

Doubt us? Have you seen streets in your city closed for the ALLDERBLOB parade? Have bars in your neighbourhood substituted “Alldergrog” for green beer on March 17? Have the coattail-riding hacks (A.K.A. any writer with a parent already established in the industry, by our definition) been driven out of town, like the snakes they are?

No? Well, then.

Fact is, in the face of such utter failure, it’s been hard to keep it up, here at the ol’ blob.

Yes, you heard correctly: the ALLDERBLOB has trouble keeping it up.

Most of you at this point will be tut-tutting and scratching your head and muttering sympathetically about “medical solutions” and “not giving up” and so forth. And yes, we hear you. Fact is, the message box here at the ol’ blob brims with your offers daily: offers for the purchase of Vagina, of Callous, of Leave-it-to, as well as other, more “natural” solutions to our soft-hardedness (we get other messages, too, of course–invitations to purchase drugs like Prosaic and Scenics for example. No one could say the ALLDERBLOB is not a hub of the “new social media.”). But to all of these offers we have been firm: the answer is “no.”

Fact is, we really don’t care anymore. But what’s worse, we don’t care that we don’t care. It really doesn’t bother us that we can’t keep it up at the ol’ blob. Who can keep it up, for Crissakes? Crazy Biker Chick? ARC? Afterbirth of the Cool? No, no and no. Nobody keeps it up anymore. Not like the old days (except that Cranks guy. He’s still pumping it out. How’s he do that? We don’t know).

Oh, we remember the old days. We remember them well. We remember the sunny mornings at the Only Cafe, the cool breezes, the smell of damp and rotting leaves on the walk through Phinn Park. We remember how the traffic lights all stayed green for us, before. We remember writing our name in fresh concrete and thinking that something, at least, would be forever.

The real world, in real time

The real world, in real time

So what happened?

What changed?

Answer? It’s complicated.

For starters, there’s the void. Yes, people died. Surprised? Not us. People have always died, thank god (“Make way for Ducklings,” and all that (and R.I.P. Robert McCloskey)).

So not death, but some other void: the “A-void.” We call it the a-void so alphabetically, it comes first–but it’s first in other ways too. It’s the first questions we won’t answer. Heck, we won’t even pose these particular questions. That’s the first thing we won’t do. The a-void is first on any list of questions anyone wouldn’t want posed. But not only that, but harder, and stranger still, the a-void yawns before any writing project, here at the ALLDERBLOB these days, swallowing all good intentions, if not good ideas, before they can even be voiced.

It’s because of the a-void we can’t keep it up so great around here. The a-void swallows clarity of purpose, and principled stances, and drive, but it’s worse than that. The a-void eats language. Who can speak with any precision in the face of the a-void? Some might say the “a” stands for apathy, but who cares?

We care. We really do. It sucks to care as much as we do, because it just makes the a-void yawn wider, and with greater sullenness. We may have to change the name of the ol’ blob to THE SULLEN YAWN. And we may just do that, if things don’t come around ’round here.

So. The ALLDERBLOB’s another year older. And another year dumber. Our silence measures the victory of the a-void, but we haven’t given up. Not yet anyway.

How to fight back? The best we can muster for now is a list. The following sets into stone and mortar [pixels, to be precise –ed.] our tasks for the year to come (i.e. ALLDERBLOB 5):

1. DESTROY THE REPUTATION OF J.D. SALINGER (this should not be hard, thankfully)
2. APOLOGIZE TO JACK LAKEY (for chrissakes, the guy doesn’t even own a car. Who are we to judge?)
3. SHARE COFFEE AND A FEW LAUGHS OVER “OLD TIMES” WITH CASE OOTES (20 votes? 20 votes is a lot. When did we ever get 20 votes?)
4. APOLOGIZE PROPERLY TO JACOB RICHLER’S NO.1 FAN, “USAgirl” (she likes him, she really likes him. Who are we to judge?)
5. DETERMINE WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE. FIND A PUBLISHER FOR OUR MANUSCRIPT, NOTES TOWARD A LAST NOVEL BY JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE AS EDITED BY WALKER PERCY (help settle the question once and for all: was Toole the “tool” of Percy?) (and, find a buyer for our autographed copy of A Confederacy of Dunces)
6. RE-ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH OUR ARCH-NEMESIS (who for the time being must remain nameless) (you know who you are!) (care to drop a line?)
7. GET A TWO-YEAR-OLD TO START TALKING MORE (you know who you are!)
8. GET A 16-YEAR-OLD TO START TALKING MORE (do you know who you are?)
9. TURN 51, FOR CHRISSAKES (with dignity).

Nine’s good. Not perfect, perhaps. Not a dozen, certainly. But good. Thrice three, as they say. Two cubed plus one. Salinger wrote nine stories; we have nine points. It won’t be long before Salinger’s reputation’s destroyed, at this rate. Won’t be long before the a-void’s vanquished. We’re off to a good start.

ALLDERBLOB approaches 50

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Here at the ALLDERBLOB, we celebrate every day with gusto. But some days we shout about more than others. One such day approaches next week: our 50th birthday.

Yes, the ALLDERBLOB turns 50 on April 22. Yes, the day formerly known as Earth Day.

How will we celebrate? Well, we invite our readers to send their own memories of the special day ahead. What does it mean to turn 50? Who else in history has ever turned 50? What are their accomplishments? Have any of them single-handedly brought GM [that genetically modified automobile company–ed.] to the edge of bankruptcy?

Readers: heed our call! stories may be sent to the ALLDERBLOB at our gmail address (i.e. “allderblob”). The best ones will be published here on a future date, and a waffle at the Only Cafe will be awarded as first prize to one lucky winner.

ALLDERBLOB day: get thee to a dumpster

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

As we near the fourth anniversary of the day formerly known as St Patrick’s day, March 17, we acknowledge with some solemnity that things have been quiet around the ol’ blob lately.

Too quiet.

Our loyal readers (hi mom!) are asking, what is up?

Fact is, we’ve been reflecting lately.

Fact is, we received a letter some time ago that got us thinking. Who’s it from? Let’s just call them “anonymous.” The letter kind of knocked the wind out of us, if you want to know the truth.

We’ll post the letter, but we want you, our loyal readers (hi, casinoblackjack17!) to know we aren’t blue about it. It’s true the letter has us rethinking the whole blob thing, but that’s okay, right? There will always be Facebook.


Anyway, this is what we fished out of the ol’ mailbag a couple months ago. This is what shut us up, and shut us down. Read it for yourself:


You know what? Everything you do is garbage.

I mean this in the nicest way possible. I’m just stating the facts. It’s not just you, either. It’s everyone. Utter crap, what they do. I’m thinking of Yamasaki, the architect. You know, the World Trade Centre in New York? You know, 9/11? Garbage. It all turns to shit in the end. So why bother? Yamasaki should have left well enough alone after he put up that piece of shit, Pruitt Igoe. You know, the poster-child for social engineering gone wrong?

Le Corbusier would be proud

Le Corbusier would be proud

The original Yamasaki building to undergo controlled demolition?

But he should have been embarrassed.

But he should have been embarrassed.

I’m thinking Marcel Duchamp had the right idea. No, not his first idea. That first one was interesting, all right. I mean, it got people thinking: take a piece of crap (or a crapper, as the case may be), turn it upside down and sign someone’s name on it, et voila: it’s art.

R. Mutt wuz here

R. Mutt wuz here

But Marcel’s second idea is the one I’m thinking was right: it may be art, but it’s still garbage. Just play chess.

I can\'t define it, but I know garbage when I see it.

I can't define it, but I know garbage when I see it.

Look, I know you mean well. I know you think you can have an influence on the world, in some small way. I know you like the fact that googlers turn your work up in odd ways, like when the search for “proclaimed March 17” finds your site first, or the way when Jacob Richler’s old classmates look for him they get you ahead of Wikipedia. I know you’re proud of the fact that David Frum and a bicycle are forever linked in your memorable prose.

But that’s just it. It’s not forever. It may not even be memorable. I mean, look at the World Trade Centre. Look at Pruitt Igoe. Forever? What could be more forever than a 110-storey tower or two? But today? It’s all garbage, buried at Fresh Kills or melted down at a Chinese foundry. And your writing is garbage too. Even now, it steams in the dustbin alongside the prose stylings of Jack Lakey and the forgotten antics of Case Ootes.

You will die, and your writing will be shoved into a box somewhere and forgotten. Or more to the point, your heirs will decline to pay your web host service and the switch will be turned.

One day, not even Homer choking Bart (rebranded) will remain [You say that like it’s a bad thing.–ed.].

Never mind, Jake. No offence, but why not just play chess? (Or go, if you have to be a snob about it).

Marcel Duchamp, sit down.

Marcel Duchamp, sit down.

dandyhorse gallops; Obama speaks; Gustav surges: ALLDERBLOB snorts and whinnies

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Last night we participated in the Toronto Cyclist Union’s coming out party, where the new Magazine Dandyhorse was launched. This was the party we were waiting for, the one Mez promised us over a year ago. It was worth the wait. Everyone was there. Even Sally’s mom.

Well, not everyone. Some were home by the hearth, mesmerized by the flickering image of Barack Obama
igniting the 75,000 85,000 spectators who swarmed the Denver Bronco’s football stadium. They all hoped, perhaps, to hear as memorable a speech as the famous “I have a Dream” of Martin Luther King, Jr., given on the same day on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 45 years previous. Obama would have been two years old. He’s younger than that now.

And then there were the folks in New Orleans, on another anniversary–the one where Hurricane Katrina delivered devastation and forced a rather more sordid gathering at a different NFL football stadium. Yesterday they were eyeing the horizon for signs of Tropical Storm Gustav, which threatens to gather force and crash as a hurricane just west of where Katrina made landfall three years back.

Meanwhile, here at the blob of blobs, we’ve grown introspective of late. Googling ourselves, we’ve been. Turns out the majority of our readership is in Kurdistan.

Eh? Guess they liked our post linking Nochiya with the Toronto pedestrian who hexed the face and neck of a driver who came too close to him… Or was it something else?

Regardless, greetings to our Kurdistani fans. Welcome. If we may, allow us a turn of phrase: “Greusome, wa?” and “Djagedennyonya?”

Stay with us as these stories and more bear fruit in the coming days. Dandyhorse gets a rubdown, Obama gets examined, and Gustav does exactly what it wants, regardless of our paltry pecking and scratching down here on the face of the planet.

NIST on WTC7: “The obvious stares you in the face.”

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

You gotta love the optimists of the old school who people the business of issuing “official reports” intended to explain away the weird stuff that everyone knows demonstrates corruption or crookedness at the heart of everything. The latest example of this is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report on the collapse of WTC7 (Building Seven of the World Trade Centre in New York). The collapse happened at around 5:20 pm on Sept. 11, 2001, so the report comes after some seven years of relative silence on the topic.

We’re not sure why they bothered.

But in an AP story authored by Devlin Barrett on the report release, The Toronto Star and Car Advertiser quotes one Dr. Shyam Sunder, the lead NIST investigator: “The reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery.”

Relax, people, they say. It was just a prolonged fire, coupled with a failed sprinkler system, that dropped the 47-storey steel-framed building and all its secret offices into the ground. There was no explosion or controlled demolition, as some have claimed.

Yet questions remain: what was the meaning of the building owner’s claim that “We decided to pull it” in describing the moments leading up to the collapse? Why was the building reported to have collapsed on BBC television some 20 minutes before the event happened? How is it possible that any building could fall so neatly into its own footprint

The real world, in real time

The real world, in real time

unless there was an engineered failure? How could the building have collapsed at “freefall” speed unless the structure was compromised at multiple points simultaneously? What explains the molten steel found in the ruins of the building (six weeks later)?

The Star and Car Advertiser article concludes,

Sunder acknowledged some may still be skeptical, but said, “The science is really behind what we have said,” adding: “The obvious stares you in the face.”

Yes, NIST, questions remain. Some may still be skeptical. What is “obvious” is that the truth is still “out there.”

Who’s a genius?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Chilly Gonzales in Toronto, May 9 2008. St Lawrence Forum (Jane Mallett theatre). Were you there? Everyone wants to know.

We were there. We were the ones hollering “Who’s a genius?” as Sr. Gonzalez climbed up the chair backs to the top of the theatre. He hiked straight toward us, there in the sixth row. What a moment! Who wouldn’t have asked about geniuses at a moment like that? We hollered it at least twice, maybe three times, and Sr. Gonzales paused, his hand on our head, no doubt voguing in his lonely moment of recognition. “Who’s a Genius?” A second later he moved up a couple rows, and as if to prove our conjecture a reality he hoisted himself onto the shoulders of a bald guy, who teetered under his weight for a moment, then as if a miracle had occurred, stood straight and tall–then teetered again so Gonzales correctly climbed down.

But who, or what, is this Chilly Gonzales, you will rightly be asking about now.

In short, he is a mythical confection, created and served to meet the buying public’s demand for sweets. He lives only so long as he can be digested and reconstituted, tasted and smacked over, and for that he has to be on his toes. The public clamours for the next sweet! The public will not be satisfied long with a Ritter’s sport bar of marzipan filling!

So Gonzales, whom we last enjoyed as the warm-up act for the Popeye con Leslie Feist [please check transcription before publication–should that be “pop icon?” –ed.] about a year ago, is back this year with a new record and a new act. This time, he’s got “Gonzpiration,” and his act is the bilingually redundant “Together Ensemble” consisting of Katie Moore, Mocky, Socalled, and Matthew Flowers, among others. You will know them by their orange polyester neckties, their suspenders and (tight) black trousers. Except Katie Moore wore a skirt.

photo by maryam S.

What happened to the sweet, ivory-tinkling Gonzales of a year ago? Did he get bored of the pained artist stance? Evidement, my friends.

“Singing is where the money is,” as Gonzales says. “Singing is a good little racket.”

We heard that smarm-meister Jian Ghomeshi interview Gonzales on the CBC show Q (podcast is here, but you have to skip through some junky interview with that nobody Don McKellar in order to get to the good stuff–Sr. Gonzales is about a third of the way in) a week or so after his show. It was clear Gomeshi had not seen the performance, but he did his best to sound knowledgable. We wish we could have interviewed Gonzales instead. We would have gotten to the heart of the matter: you know, “Who’s a genius?”

Toronto Star and Car Advertiser backs down ALLDERBLOB gleeful

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Each year at this time Iwe open the local car advertiser and news reporter (aka the Toronto Star, “Canada’s largest newspaper”) to be reminded of how little things change at Canada’s largest car advertiser. Oh, they talk a fine talk about fighting climate change, decrying air pollution, defeating the scourge of obesity and related health problems, etc, but when it comes to the car advertisers who pay their salaries, they cave in every time.

Every year at this time, as long as we have been paying attention, the Star has published a feature called “Your First Car.” We have previously likened this to a pusher advocating “your first cigarette” or a gang offering “Your First Murder Weapon.” We have famously [in your own mind at least.–ed.] linked the disappearance of Star geniuses-at-large “Giles Gherson” and “Michael Goldbloom” (not their real names) from the newspaper masthead to our analysis of their “news coverage” in the “Your First Car” advertorial.

This year, bowing to pressure from the ALLDERBLOB, the Star has wisely eliminated the section.

Unfortunately, they rehashed the old bumf, with the same collection of shouted full-page car ads, under the new section, now called “Your New Car.”

Hey, Toronto Star: haven’t you heard? There’s a fine line between clever and stupid. You can’t be singing the praises of Earth day on Tuesday and then Thursday go back to selling cars like it really doesn’t matter. People notice this stuff. Wake up!

Thinking of Tooker Gomberg

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Tooker Gomberg would find our silent treatment a bore. Sorry Tooker. We’re thinking of you today, on and around the anniversary of your disappearance.

Go forth and agitate.