The Canadian Club

{November 10, 2009}   Modern Love

Andy Capp

I don’t know about you, but I think Andy Capp herein provides conclusive evidence that technology is ruining modern love.  Indeed how can you not hate your wife, if you can’t escape her for a few moments at the local pub?

Well, Dave, I’ve gotta hand it to ya:  Your last post provides much food for thought.

To coin a rhetorical flourish to which I was first introduced at our old intellectual stomping grounds, since MY GIRLFRIEND and I both approach physiognomy through a Language and Literacy frame of reference, we spend most of our time thinking about the authenticity of technology-mediated languages and their potential contribution to developing literacy and L2 proficiency.


Russ's first girlfriend... finally.

As a result, we pretty obsessively experiment with Facebook and texting as forms of flirtation and PDA.  So far, these experiments have yielded a fairly significant amount of second-hand barf and neglect for basic responsibilities: in other words, quite an old-fashioned courtship that may not have been possible without written and multimedia supports.  So, yes, I agree with you, Dave, and further feel the need to mention that David Brooks gets much more credit for being interesting than he merits.

I don’t think we can leave this issue there, however, and I would further like to use this occasion of my shamefaced and overdue return to the blog, to raise the question of Facebook PDA.  I know you have an interesting theory on this somehow being — at least, in established couples — in inverse relationship to connubial bliss.  But, more generally, when, if ever, is Facebook PDA acceptable?  And what limits would you set on such a new practice?  We need your advice on this, Dave.

NDLR:  I have no idea what’s going on in this video, but, I frackin’ love this joint.

{October 24, 2009}   Kudos


Kudos, Dave! Kudos, Russ’s Mom!  Good points all round!  Especially that one about Brendan Fraser being in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra — and I thought it was subversive genius because of this guy

In any case, I have to run to — as they say — “Pick up Mrs. Horner.”  I’ll check back with y’all in the PM.

{October 22, 2009}   It’s safe alright!

Nothing wrong with a little heart attack.

By the way, what’s up with Luann?  Does she really listen to Metallica?  Is she trying to turn us all into Maoists, too?


UPDATE:  Et tu, Nate! The librul propaganda on our comics pages continues…
Big Nate

{October 20, 2009}   The remix

While I’m here, not reading Flaubert… and after leaving you in the lurch yesterday, I thought I might take on the task of starting us off with some questions today — saving, of course, your meditations on Betty Draper and Pixie Princesses for a broader Mad Men discussion…

First off, what do you make of this?  Having maintained a blissful contrarianism by being the only person I know who doesn’t even pretend to listen to NPR, I had no idea that there was a controversy brewing over the extent to which the things that NPR listeners think is cool actually suck.  Yet, this seems rather like a parody of a conversation you’d have with that guy you live with:

NPR is fond of rockers like Living Colour (R), BLK JKS (F)—black performers with the good sense to embrace a musical style associated with whites. (The 1970s power-trio Death qualifies for an improbable [D,O,R] on account of the untimely demise of two of its members.) NPR is fascinated by black musicians with sensational human-interest back stories and physical handicaps, like “Song of the Day” honorees Staff Benda Bilili (F), “a group of paraplegic street musicians who entertain from their base near the … zoological gardens” in Kinshasa, Congo.

However, this makes me feel even better about all those conversations I wasn’t able to have with my co-workers in DC.

Yesterday, you brought up the question of talking about staying fit.  Another scourge of Facebook is cuisine posts: status updates that either discuss a recent culinary experience in a restaurant that is out of most people’s price ranges or, more frequently, about what that person has just cooked.  This is often aggravated by the inclusion of photos of said dish.


Now, we both like to spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen — so what should be considered acceptable guidelines for discussing things culinary?

Finally, what’s up with Andy Capp?  Is the woman being sarcastic here?  Because it seem to me that the whole reason James Bond has never settled down is because he really would be like Andy Capp once all hitched up.
Andy Capp

{October 18, 2009}   The English Beat rule

TwoToneWell, Dave, no surprises here. After careful review of the entirety of the lyrics, it does indeed seem to be about a guy with a wandering eye.  To think that all these years, while identifying and savoring the simple beauty of specific lines (for example, “rings but none on that finger” and “words like conviction can turn into a sentence”) that capture concrete sentiments, I had never once put everything together into this narrative of frustrated infidelity. It figures, though.  Along with Pete Shelley, I think the Roger and Wakeling team have always had a knack for combining swell melodies with polished yet unassuming words that unearth rich emotional truths (e.g. “I’m in love again. This time’s true I’m sure.“). And somehow, I was always under the impression that Tenderness was just a variation on the theme of the self-deprecating and timorous romantic so aptly described in Too Nice to Talk To.

While, earlier in the day, I may have disagreed with you about whether or not Tenderness (from 1984) is the greatest single in history — I would have offered up this or that as evidence to the contrary — I think the fact that it has been stuck in my mind since it first came out clearly persuades me to align with your opinion.  And that is without even mentioning the hard and fast English Beat ruleEverything anybody from the English Beat was ever involved in is flawless.

Although… what’s with Dave Wakeling touring as the English Beat these days?

As for your concern about the lyrics from Tenderness on your Facebook profile, I think there’s a good argument for great lyrics to be taken on their own without having to assume their context… Just to prove the point, I have now revised my Facebook profile to include lyrics from The English Beat’s “auto-erotic” song Hit It:

And, frankly, I don’t find it embarrassing at all.

Speaking of embarrassing, what’s up with Andy Capp becoming a beer snob all of a sudden?!?
Andy Capp

I couldn't make it at Police Academy so now I have to go camping with this frickin' robot.

I couldn't make it at Police Academy so now I have to go camping with this frickin' robot.

Funny you should mention the jogging/blogging connection, Dave. Last night, I actually went running for the first time in about two weeks (and I’m not even trying to impress chicks).  Oddly enough, I found again yesterday that I work better, not only while running but, as with my last blogging experience, while blogging.  I think there’s something about replacing distracted and unfocused time during which one might read Matthew Yglesias or — more often — look up music videos on Youtube, with time that one is actually trying to gather and compose one’s thoughts around said music videos.  This then carries over into the rest of my work.

So, it’s very much the same experience of head-clearing that you get while running (sorry, Dave, guys just don’t “jog”).  The key is, I guess, not spending three hours on any single blog post.

Now, as for your questions of the day, since it seems you have posed them in order of reverse difficulty, I will seek to answer them in reverse order.

First off, OMDG!  You don’t know — but probably can guess — how many times I have wanted to post this song to FB!  I had it stuck in my head several times this past week already, including last night.  I think its evocation predates Glee, but it makes sense that Glee would have now exacerbated its tenacity.  All I can say is “Kudos” to you, Dave, for having found the single most extraordinary Youtube video of Break my Stride.  Mustache and unitards alike will be spinning in my head for the foreseeable future.  And, obviously, the answer to your question (4) is “NO, you will never get this song out of your head!” However, I do not think the brain destroying is necessarily Glee-induced…

Actually, I was just asking myself yesterday:  Should I let my mother know about this blog?  She was one of the most loyal readers of my past blogging effort, if not always the most civil of commenters — Unlike you, though, I am not FB friends with my mother, so I would have to go out of my way to tell her about this blog, and I am not quite sure if I am ready to do that.  But, yes, “Your mama!” is indeed reading this blog already (3).  The question is, when will Ty get with the program?!?

So, I told you yesterday, that I was potential going to live the principle of “WTF-ever” by catching some gay performance art.  I was actually kind of looking forward to being appalled by people in tight-fitting clothes making obscure jerky movements that often would involve their hands chopping the air, swirls, and heads tilting to the side in a kind of Lobdellian tour de force.  However, that is not what Dead Boys delivered.

This was (2), in fact, a straight-up (no pun intended ha ha) musical vaguely inspired by the hanging of homosexuals in Iran — although this inspiration only emerged within the last fifteen minutes of something that seemed overlong, although, apparently, it was in keeping with its theme of “awakening.”  Still, I never want to hear another musical number that contains lyrics such as “performing gender”, “post-structural feminism” and “Foucault” I shit-my-pants you not!  What ended up happening was a series of vignettes centered around a gay performance artist and his hippy-medium landlord that culminated with a psychic channeling that led to a stirring denouement where it was revealed that our hero could in fact have political consciousness AND the dishy Asian saxophone player.  Oh, and a couple of BDSM scenes were thrown in to thicken the broth.  If this seems a bit muddled to you, believe me, it was much worse for people who were actually there.

You will probably say, “Russ, that sounds like totally not your thing.  What were you doing there?”  Well, that’s a valid question.  All I can say is that a classmate of mine was performing in the piece, and, you know, I’m the kind of guy that when someone tells me, “I’m doing this musical-thingy, you should come see it” or, “I’m writing this awesome blog, you should read it.”  Well, I DELIVER THE GOODS.  I SHOW MY SUPPORT. I GET WITH THE PROGRAM.  I guess these are rare qualities these days.  (By the way, this does not hold for reading poetry, sorry…)

Still, the major tragedy is that currently, in Berkeley, there is a musical called Dead Boys as well as a rock opera staging of — get the barf bag — Green Day’s American Idiot, but there is NO ROCK OPERA BASED ON THE MUSIC OF THE DEAD BOYS.  I’m thinking I need to find a crew that will help me remedy this problem.

Finally, I don’t know about you, but I only ever consult Cakewrecks when I need a lil’ pick me up.  But, now that they have a book deal, I think (1) we should boycott the site until we get ours.  Further, being a high school poseur, I think that’s a completely valid question.
Big Nate
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling an eerie sense of empathy with Big Nate, right now.

{October 16, 2009}   you said it was for a show

And what a show it was, Dave!  Anything that ends with barf obviously cannot be a hoax (1).  Have you ever faked barfing, Dave?  Did he otherwise gag himself — were it with a spoon? I don’t think so.  That looks like honest to G_d’s truth to me, Dave.

None of that says, of course, that this isn’t a publicity stunt.  Or stupid.  It is clearly both.  Fortunately, I was down in the basement printing stuff when this whole thing went down, so my first exposure to Balloon Boy was in its more lyrical, vaguely distressed overtones:

I mean, whatever the merits of the situation, we’ll always have the metaphor.

As for the principle of “Whatever” (2) — I was thinking of maybe blowing off the whole morning to blog, half-assing the afternoon, and, then, maybe catching some gay performance art tonite.  Also, I could always just Shit My Pants and write about it on Facebook for good measure.  On second thought…

Yes yes yes.  All of our friends will read this (3).  They may even think less of us after reading — as if that were even possible.

So… What’s up with Andy Capp today?

Andy Capp

I mean, the misogyny is right about where it should be — although I think Andy usually directs his hatred of women more towards individuals — his wife or mother-in-law, for example — than articulates it as a general frame of reference for dealing with the world.  What I find really problematic is the insertion of the figure of a marriage counselor into the Fish ‘n’ Chips, Bangers ‘n’ Mash swinging lillipudlian universe of the strip.  At once, it seems to be mugging to a therapy-starved American readership and hardly plausible that whatshername could drag Andy into counseling…

et cetera