The Goon Show

When people talk about a uniquely surreal style of British comedy, most probably view Monty Python as the originators, but it’s just as fair to say that Python are really the inheritors of a style originated by The Goon Show. It was one of the most popular radio shows in Britain from 1951-1960, indeed, simply speaking, it was one of the most influential series of any kind, in any medium, in history. Continue reading The Goon Show

Reagan the Gringo

Two songs again today, both by left-wing self-professed revolutionary artists, both critiques of U.S. government policy with a particular focus on the Reagan years, one from an international and one from a domestic perspective. The fact that one is hardcore hip-hop and the other is deceptively calm bluegrass doesn’t change that they’re both saying much the same thing. As I’ve said previously, I find a lot in common between country and rap, so it shouldn’t be surprising.

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Stupid things I have done on wheels – 1980s-2017

The early years

I grew up in rural Western Quebec, in an 19th-Century wooden farmhouse on top of a large hill. Below us to the East were nothing but cows, a gently rotting barn at the bottom of the hill, a sand quarry, and a provincial park across the highway; to the West were the outskirts of a village of less than a thousand people. Continue reading Stupid things I have done on wheels – 1980s-2017


I have no idea if China pays Zephon to pretend to be a former officer in the American Navy who grew up in Wyoming, of German ancestry, or whether he is patriotic enough that doing so is its own reward. I don’t know what sex he is, or even if he is actually multiple people, but I refer to him as a man, to fit with his cover story. Continue reading Zephon

Getting Hitched: Vancouver – June-August 2015

Three years ago we moved from Vancouver to Toronto, and because we were broke and because I am apparently clinically insane, we decided the way to do it was to drive our minivan across the country, pulling the largest U-Haul trailer it could handle. Continue reading Getting Hitched: Vancouver – June-August 2015

Culture and Snacks

Until I moved to Japan, it had simply never occurred to me that sweet food was something that people could avoid liking. I thought that Dances With Wolves (a film I hate), where the white saviour Kevin Costner makes friends with the Sioux by giving them a bag of sugar, was simply portraying an unchangeable genetic fact about homo sapiens: we like sucrose, and can’t help liking it.

Continue reading Culture and Snacks