Archive for the ‘What a pong!’ Category

If a blob falls

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

We’re back, somewhat diminished by time and circumstance.

Spread a bit thin, we are. Flattened, you might say: pancaked by the forces of gravity acting upon our viscous selves.

In part, it was the chasm of a full-time job that yawned before us at the end of June. Eyes wide open, in we walked. Now one aspect of us is suddenly coordinating a program teaching sustainable architectural technology here in Toronto. Meanwhile, another aspect has become fatherish for the second time in 14 years, with a projected birth in February. The wife? Nervous. The house? Small. Renovate? Move? The blob meets a dilemma. a sad and lonely shed on the shores of chez allderblobChez(d) Allderblob starts to look attractive: just needs a little insulation, and someone can live in the back yard. But did we say flattened? “There’s more!” (as the TV shills put it): still another aspect is struggling with a project bringing principles of “walkability” to the fore in small towns outside Toronto, working with the organization “WalkON” and (luckily) the deep thinker Paul Young. Also, some part of the blob is stuck to a page in the upcoming “greenTOpia” book, to be published by Coach House Books (a follow-up to two previous “TOpia” books, u- and ar-) in November. Can a blob say no? Perhaps not: a slim blobbish slime is also attached to the upcoming “Walk 21” conference, where it is to lead a “Walkshop” introducing an international audience to notion of invisible cars on the Danforth Peninsula, and a “Bit ‘o blob” ™ is to be found in the October Canadian Architect magazine, appended to a critical review of architects Jack Diamond and Donald Schmidt‘s University of Ontario Institute of Technology campus design.

So for all of us here at the ALLDERBLOB, including that part known as [–ed.], it seems the ground has risen rather suddenly this past summer [I suffer in silence, as usual–ed.].

Many of our older readers will recall the question once poised by Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn: in short, “If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?”

What happens if a blob falls? What if it falls in a forest?


We found ourselves thinking about trees falling a week or so ago, at the edge of the Atlantic on the coast of Maine, where the effects of a forceful windstorm a year ago decimated the centuries-old spruce forests of our family compound on Little Deer Island.

July 18: inconvenient truth strikes little deer click for larger image

We found ourselves confronting the same old questions, discovering the same old answers. We drove there, scraping the belly of our rental car along the backwoods Maine roads at ferocious rates of speed, in order to creep along with the other cars, and pass them or be passed in turn. We found ourselves thinking the same old thoughts about the nature of speed, and the reality of driving. We made up this pong to pass the time:


Plod your foot upon the pedal
Blob your pedal to the metal
Place your hands upon the wheel
Push a thousand pounds of steel!

Push it push it down the road
Leave a trail of burning rubber
Don’t be slow and don’t be cold
Don’t be smart and don’t be clever
Cause you’re driving,
Driving a car

You can drive it very fast
Or you can be the very last
But in your car you are in line
You’re in line all the time!

Push it push it down the road
Leave a trail of burning rubber
Don’t be slow and don’t be cold
Don’t be smart and don’t be clever
Cause you’re driving
Driving a car

When it’s time to fill the tank
Pay the man and tell him thanks!
Then get in line out on the road
In your car you’re getting old.

Push it push it down the road
Leave a trail of burning rubber
Don’t be slow and don’t be cold
Don’t be smart and don’t be clever
Cause you’re driving
Driving a car

Fill up the space upon this earth
Fill up the time for what it’s worth
No one asks you what you think
Just drive the car don’t make a stink

Push it push it down the road
Leave a trail of burning rubber
Don’t be slow and don’t be cold
Don’t be smart and don’t be clever
Cause you’re driving
Driving a car

Get in line!
Get in line!
Get in line!


The Petey Crew Sir Pong

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

The Allderblob undertook a trip of a lifetime to visit the Cambridge School of Weston this past weekend. The occasion? The 30th reunion of the class of 1977, of which we were a part. The result? A pong, shortly forthcoming.

Truth to tell, the reunion itself was a lesson in minimalism, with only six or seven participants from our year in attendance. But what it lacked in number it made up in quality: the poet Jenny Rose; the cartoonist Dan Mazur; and the dancer Marianne Adams made our visit lively. Our wonderful former theatre teacher Robin Wood, to whom we owe the fact that we went into architecture as a profession, showed up for the banquet. At her table were her husband, the Cambridge architect Jeremy Wood, and our former college counselor Bonnie Musinsky. Somewhere during the day we also chatted with Arnold Simmel, class of 1943, who was a former boyfriend of our aunt Isabel. He had a funny story to tell us about our mother, who he recalls bicycled from Harvard village to Belmont and back–a distance of 28 miles each way–in order to work in the Belmont vegetable garden and attend a tea party one summer day back then.

But we were particularly pleased to have the chance to renew our acquaintance with Dan Mazur, whose comic book series “Lummox,” in bookstores across Harvard Square and Topanga Canyon, tells a story that resonates with our own blobbish experiences. Lummox, that great galoot, can’t seem to do anything right. He has no friends, his job stinks, his family spurns him. Everything he does backfires. Then as if by chance things start to turn around for Lummox.

He gets a job he loves, despite his self-doubt. He finds friends who care for him, and maybe even someone who loves him. Things fall his way–and sometimes it’s his clumsiness that makes them fall. He starts to become the architect of his own fate, which surprises everyone–himself included.

Lummox is everyman–like Blobby, he is larger than himself.

We look forward to hearing more from Lummox.

But we promised a pong, and a pong it shall be. Take it away, Blobby:

Pong of a Petey Crew, Sir

P for Petroleum
T for this pong I hum
Cruising down the interstate
Burning gases is my fate

In my PT Cruiser
No one calls me a loser
If they did then I would sue!
For it just would not be true!

I am not a loser,
In my PT Cruiser.
It gets ten clicks to a litre,
It makes me feel like I’m a leader

Not a loser
I’m a leader!
Not a loser
I’m a leader!

P is for Petroleum
T is for this pong I hum
Cruising down the 401
Going till the world is done.

Post to the ALLDERBLOB! No Salesman Will Call UPDATED

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

We want to hear from you. We really do. [although this will come as a surprise to the odd person who tried to register for a login password. A vigilant reader notified us of the “missing link” and we have fixed it. Anyone, not just the spammers, may now register for a password. Go ahead: try it! –ed.]

Here’s how to see your comments added to the trove that we call “Comments on the ALLDERBLOB:”

1. register and/or log in with your name and email address. Do not worry. No salesman will call.

2. post your comment, preferably in english or some similar language. The use of sentences and recognizable grammar will also help.

3. your comment will be screened by our editor. If room permits [ha! who you kiddin? the only reason we screen comments is to avoid spam –ed.] your comment will appear on the post as appropriate.

Thank you for taking the trouble to contact us with your thoughts. It means a lot to us.

GM? MG? What difference does it make?

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Word is, GM [that genetically modified car company –ed.] is entering terminal velocity in its proposed merger with two other car companies, Nissan of Japan and Renault of France. They will call the new car NRGM, pronounced “Energy-mmmm,” with the drawn out sound at the end synchronized, in the upcoming TV commercials, with shots of the thermometer rising, with icebergs calving, with gasoline nozzles humming, and so on. It’s to be quite the endeavour. We at the ALLDERBLOB wish them poorly indeed.

As David Olive of the Toronto Star put it the other day,

The truly astonishing — and very sad fact — about Friday’s news that General Motors Corp., Renault SA and Renault’s affiliate Nissan Motor Co. are contemplating a three-way merger is that Renault and Nissan are prepared to put up just $3 billion (U.S.) for a one-fifth stake in GM.

Which values the entire GM — which once ruled the auto world with its Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac brands — at only $15 billion (all figures U.S.), or slightly less than the $16.6 billion that Johnson & Johnson just paid Pfizer Inc. for its Listerine, Rolaids, Visine eyedrops and other prosaic household staples.

It’s no coincidence that Pfizer, famous for its “Viagra” [say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink –ed.] would be brought up in this discussion. No pun intended [see also below –ed.]

Of course, the news has already been greeted with happiness at the stock exchange [where bad news for employees always brings glee –ed.]. General Motors stock, which was slumping, has clawed its way back up a peg. And good old Kirk Kerkorian, whose withered parts have been sallow indeed of late, has a renewed bounce in his step.

\"Captain\" Kirk Kerkorian demonstrates a hummer “Captain” Kirk?

As top GM shareholder, Kerkorian is in a position to call some shots: and the bow he’s aiming to put a hole in is GM’s own: Let the bloodletting begin!

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, where GM has just closed a car plant (shot in the upcoming commercial: SOUND OVER: “MMMMMM” as we SEE: laid-off workers streaming out the factory gates), a new baby corporation is to be born [borne, that is, i.e. on the backs of the people –ed.]. It’s the child of proud parents Nanjing Auto Giant (NAG) of China, and England’s own MG [which has been modified genetically –ed.].

The giant Chinese NAG has bought itself some tax credits and more than a few local politicians in exchange for about 500 “jobs,” in a transparent attempt to cash in on the balding domes of aging boomers around the world. Word is they will use the same droopy old actors they hire for the erectile disfunction commercials: in one they pop the top of the pill bottle, in the other they pop the top of the convertible MG.

But you know how it is at the ALLDERBLOB: whether it’s genetically modified or modified genetically, we have a pong for every occasion:

When China NAGs,
The world goes Uh-oh
And folks in OK
Start feeling so-so
To know their kids
Will eat next week
Cause the lowest bids
On the “new” MG
Have at last come through
And gasoline energy
With coal-fired ‘lectricity
And a tax-free economy
Mean short-term prosperity
And that’s good,
Good enough for me.

CUT TO: little MG endlessly circling the mall parking lot, looking for a space. SOUND OVER: “mmmmmmm.” ZOOM IN: Skeleton in driver’s seat, with an erection.

but seriously: is my bald spot showing?

Mercedes Benz: nothing special, in fact.

Friday, June 9th, 2006

It’s been a while since we gratuitously insulted a large swath of the consuming public based solely on the sort of car they drive. But the need has been building within us, the seething resentment, the hurt and anger.

In the key of G then:


You drive a Mercedes Benz
Because you haven’t any friends
Who can tell you what you are
Based on your make and type of car

To see your Mercedes Benz
You need a special kind of lens
That tells you what you are to be
And helps you see what others see

With all the money that you spend
Here is the message that you send:

I don’t care about the world
It doesn’t matter what I kill
It doesn’t matter if I steal
Or that my kids can’t walk to school

It’s your car that does you wrong
From your car you get this pong

Some say Mercedes rhymes with money
Some say my plaint is kind of funny
In point of fact they’re all dead wrong
Every car gives off the pong

Mercedes, Ford and GM too
Hyundai, Honda, Subaru
In point of fact you buy a car
And with it too the pong of fear:

Cause every car is much the same
All the cars deserve the blame:

I don’t care about the world
It doesn’t matter what I kill
It doesn’t matter if I steal
Or that my kids can’t walk to school

It’s your car that does you wrong
From your car you get this pong

So in your Merdre-cedes Benz
Your need for space is so intense
Your need for speed a blinding lie
Your ears immune to pongs I cry

But what I’m trying here to say
Is that your car like others may
Fit a mould society
Has formed for you
without pity

Cause every car is much the same
All the cars deserve the blame
It’s your car that does you wrong
From your car you get this pong

Mother’s Day and Advertising Agencies

Sunday, May 14th, 2006

In 1858, Anna Reeve Jarvis organized Mother’s Work Days in West Virginia. Her immediate goal was to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” proposed an annual Mother’s Day for Peace.

Think those are noble causes? We agree. But the same crafty amoralists who stoke the global warming engine of automobile sales have long had their hooks in “Mother’s Day.” Today, it’s enough for the Steven Harpers and George W. Bushes of this world to buy mom a flower or take her out to dinner. That lets them off the hook for another 364 days of warmongering. That excuses them to peel another dollar out of daycare or child nutrition programs.

We present this pong on Mother’s Day as a reminder of how insidious those “artists with nothing to say” can be. Never forget, the same ad agency that GM has relied on since 1914, the Campbell-Ewald company, was a prime recipient of $US 194 million in secret p.r. funding to bolster the U.S. President’s image. Don’t trust them. Don’t believe them.

As Ruth Rosen (professor in Davis California) writes,

In 1913, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day. By then, the growing consumer culture had successfully redefined women as consumers for their families. Politicians and businessmen eagerly enbraced the idea of celebrating the private sacrifices made by individual mothers. As the Florists’ Review, the industry’s trade jounal, bluntly put it, “This was a holiday that could be exploited.”

The new advertising industry quickly taught Americans how to honour their mothers – by buying flowers. Outraged by florists who were selling carnations for the exorbitant price of $1 apiece, Anna Jarvis’ daughter undertook a campaign against those who “would undermine Mother’s Day with their greed.” But she fought a losing battle. Within a few years, the Florists’ Reviewtriumphantly announced that it was “Miss Jarvis who was completely squelched.”

Since then, Mother’s Day has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry. Americans may revere the idea of motherhood and love their own mothers, but not all mothers. Poor, unemployed mothers may enjoy flowers, but they also need child care, job training, health care, a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave. Working mothers may enjoy breakfast in bed, but they also need the kind of governmental assistance provided by every other industrialized society.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies
[emphasis mine –ed.]. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of

Julia Ward Howe


Friday, April 21st, 2006

Two bicycle riders were killed yesterday here in Toronto.

Two dead in Toronto

Two people on bicycles were killed by trucks here in Toronto

Two dead in Toronto

One was hit by a truck on Avenue Road in the morning

A male cyclist; a dump truck; both going South.

The truck turned right across the cyclist’s path

Two dead in Toronto

The other was hit that evening around dusk

It was the evening of the day the cyclist was killed on Avenue Road.

The second cyclist died at the intersection of Keele and Finch

This time the cyclist was female and the truck

A tractor trailer; the truck turned and it was the trailer:

The trailer rolled over the cyclist. She was killed.

Two dead in Toronto.

Two dead in Toronto,

And it’s only April.

Expand the carfree spaces in the city! Demand the Toronto Coroner’s call, for large trucks to be fitted with wheel guards, be enacted!

GM Encourages diddling among the general public: advertising: it’s not just for artists anymore

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

It’s come to the attention of the ALLDERBLOB that GM [yes, that genetically modified car company –ed.] encourages the old “heave-ho” on a website especially set up for the frustrated car pornographer among us.

We first heard about this through Antonia Zerbisias, our colleague at the Toronto Star [who you kiddin’? –ed.] who alluded cryptically to it here.

So, could it be true that in all our rants and complaints about the pernicious effect of the automobile advertisement on society that we are secretly longing for our own chance in the spotlight? Are we, like so many of those “artists who have nothing to say” just waiting for our chance to mumble on a national stage? Is it music we want? Is it flashy images that we can put our own words to? Is it a text editor that can’t talk back?

Well, GM is giving it us.

What will we do with the opportunity? Will we break the back of the evildoer? Will we destroy the corporation that has done so much to destroy this planet?

Or will we just snap our fingers along with the catchy tunes, our eyes glazed over in priapic ecstacy?

You be the judge.

Better, you be the jury, if you get what we mean [a wink is as good as a nod, say no more, say no more –ed.].

Here’s our version of the GM Tahoe–and here’s the one Zerbisias passed along (look now, by morn it may be gone…). But don’t stop at looking. Looking’s nothing. You gotta feel the rush yourself. You gotta make your own ad.

After all, there’s nothing like the quick frisson of pleasure that making a car ad can give you, to get the blood racing.

Vote with your feet

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest polling place. Better yet, ride your bicycle.

Vote for the party which will support alternatives to the automobile, not the one whose transportation policy has road and highway construction as its centrepiece. And not the one Buzz Hargrove, Canadian Auto Workers president, has embraced.

Vote for the candidate who will speak truth to power on the subject of an expanded airport at the heart of Toronto, not the one who shrugs his shoulders and refuses to take a stand if it means political cronies may suffer.

Vote for the candidate who understands how the leg turns the crank, the crank pulls the chain, and the chain turns the wheel, with “one wheel drive” as the optimal form of transportation.

And on your way to vote, here’s a Pong you can hum (and we mean “hum” in the Newfoundland dialect, as in “What a hum”):

I got me a great big stinking automobile
I got me a great big stinking automobile

I got me a car and it’s riding on four wheels
I got me a car and it’s riding on four wheels

I got me a car and I’m ready to make a deal.

Oh I’m a politician
Yes a politician.
I can’t spell or read
but I know what you need
cuz I’m a politician.
Yeah I’m a politician

Thanks and apologies to Afterbirth of the Cool [Which is what you ought to be reading instead of this drivel, whether it’s because you’re looking for insight into Canadian politics, or because you like music. –Ed.]

Silver Buggy, No Punch-backs

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

The Pong of cars rises to greet us at every turn.

Today the stench rose most distinctly from a certain silver-painted job in front of the Bedford Street entrance to the St. George subway station here in Toronto.

You drive a beetle
It makes you feeble

And “Phony Beetle-mania
Has bitten the dust.”

You drive a car!
You drive a car!
You drive a car!
You drive a car!

You drive a car
You say you must

You have a choice though
to let it rust.

Ride a bike!
Take a bus!
Take the subway, or
Take a hike