Julescosby's Blog

Post the First: To Blog or not to Blog

Posted by julescosby on August 11, 2009

Anyone would have trouble coining a phrase that as of today has over 600 million Google hits.  Nevertheless, my title remains a salient question to be asked by any budding writer in the 21st century, or one just catching up to the end of the 20th.

I remember the first time I was introduced to the phrase ‘weblog’ in undergrad.  It was by an English student who was on top of all things technological, something I hadn’t managed to do since public school.   Since then, I’ve always toyed with the idea but could never get around to doing it.  It certainly wasn’t for lack of time.  Looking back, if I’d only blocked Freetetris.org from my computer, I’m sure I would be king among bloggers by now.  Come to think of it, if I’d only blocked Tetris three or four years ago, I’d probably have a degree in chemical engineering or theoretical physics.

It will be said by the luddites that the internet only fragments opinion.  What it actually does is increase the potential for a diverse set of opinions to reach an audience.  To be sure, there will be falsehood and slander, all of the joys that come with opinions or beliefs.  But proportionally speaking, there is no less crap on the internet than has been bound into book, or put onto the silver screen.

(Although if it is crap you’re after, here’s a link to my friend Remi’s site.)

From an epistemological point of view, we are not going to reach a desirable objectivity by relying on large, privately-owned and increasingly centralized news corporations, any more than we are by listening to state sponsored media.  The age of the Imperial Encyclopaedia has long since past.

Having evolved to become a radically potent force in media, blogs are just about the only semblance of democracy we have in our so-called ‘democratic’ society.  We see the power of the internet, the blog and the ubiquitous camera recently on such disparate places as the streets of Tehran, as well as the town hall meetings of Main Street, USA.

Let us not fear, stifle, or deny the marketplace of ideas.  Let us embrace this democratic technology as one of the few potent weapons in our arsenal against dogma, superstition and illegitimate authority.

We’re in this together, kids.  I’ll get back to writing…after this quick game of Tetris.

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Just Gimme Some Tooth

Posted by julescosby on November 4, 2011

Friends: I need your help.

You see, in a few days one of John Lennon’s teeth will be up for auction in London.  And I want it.  No I need it.

I need it because I lead an incredibly pathetic, empty life.  Over the years I’ve tried many things to mask the colossal void that lurks within: sex, drugs, religion all were non-starters.   In my darkest hours, I’ve resorted to blogging, but even this rather narcissistic form of mass communication (yes, by “mass” I mean 10 of my closest friends – 9 if you count Tim’s accidental refreshing of the page) isn’t enough to make up for my sorry shell of an existence.  I thought that nothing could lift me from the bowels of mediocrity: until now.

You see, I will never write “A Day in the Life” or “Happiness is a Warm Gun”.  I will never receive an Order of the British Empire, only to give it back in protest of policies of Empire.  I will never collaborate with David Bowie, or fight the US Immigration Department (and win).  I will never possess the gift of turning righteous anger toward social injustice into beautiful art. 

No, possessing the molar that once chewed on Mean Mr. Mustard and Strawberry Fields Forever is the only thing that will bring any sort of meaning to this utter waste of carbon standing before you.

You may say I’m a dreamer.  Yes, it’s true.  Only, my dream consists of owning a small 40 year-old piece of a dead man’s body.  And though John once called for “no possessions”, I’m sure this is the type of possession that he would gladly endorse.

So please, send your donation to me via Paypal, and help bring clarity and purpose to my pitiable, wretched existence. 

Wait, what’s this? You say that Yoko has kept some of John’s stool in the freezer all these years?

Friends, I need your help…

(With special thanks to Thesaurus.com)

Can't buy me tooth...oh wait.

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From Toronto With Love

Posted by julescosby on August 8, 2011

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A2

27 June, 2010

Dear Messrs. Harper, Flaherty et. al.

Just a quick letter from your old pal Toronto to thank you for G20 Spa Package you sent me this weekend.

Ripping all of those pesky little trees out of my downtown core was the best Brazilian wax I’ve ever received.  And all those extra police boots – and hooves – on the ground amounted to a Shiatsu massage fit for the gods! Sure, the low-flying helicopters were a bit of a nuisance at first, but it is the summer after all, and as Canadians we’ve all got to get used to insects buzzing around, right?

The weight-loss part of the program wasn’t easy.  But the toxic flush that the G20 enema provided sure cleaned out my system.  With so many people out of the city, I’m feeling lean and mean like never before!

At first I wasn’t sure if I could accept your gift.  Some of my friends thought that in a recessionary age, superfluous expenditures were in principle anathema to the official line of prudence and austerity.  But we all know – you guys probably more than anyone – just how much things like principles can get in the way of daily life.

Really, I can’t tell you just how stressful it is being a democratic space.  And between you and me, making the bulk of the money in the country is devastatingly tiring work, and it’s nice to have a little break once in a blue moon.  Those irksome tourists – armed with their damned dollars – really get on one’s nerves after a while, so thanks for the reprieve.

Look guys, I know we haven’t always saw eye-to-eye with each other.  When your government was scrambling to give objective, apolitical stimulus money around the country, your pit bull John Baird told me to scram (Well, maybe the metaphor was a little more colourful than that).  Despite that, I just want you to let you know what a smash-up job you’re doing, and I’m not just talking about smashing up kid’s heads!

Thank you.  One billion thank yous! Come the next federal election, your kindness will certainly not be forgotten.

Never change.




Posted in government, law, news | Leave a Comment »

The True Meaning of “Whoops!”

Posted by julescosby on November 15, 2010

Let’s momentarily give the floor to our old friend Adam Richards, who recounts for us an unforgettable “I can’t believe I said that” moment from his past.  -JC

There was a book event for kids at work this week.  No one came.  Not really the end of the world, but a co-worker had put some time and thought into, and so I thought I would make an attempt to derive some benefit from this non-event before she tore it all down.  She had set up a Truth or Dare game for the kiddies, and when she asked me to play, I didn’t hesitate to agree.

“Truth” I said, never once having been afraid of it.

“What was the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said?” she asked, reading the card she had made probably no less than an hour ago.

You see folks, I open this cakehole quite a bit, and more often than not, something stupid comes out of it.  But before she’d finished asking the question, the episode was more or less fully-loaded in my memory, and my brain was already processing the images.  Once a few customers that were hanging around had left, this is what I told her:

The year was 2004.  I was in my first year of university, living in residence.  I wasn’t incredibly social that year.  Instead, I spent most of my time with a girl who would I would grow to love, but only as she simultaneously grew to hate me.  Thanks, universe.

We smoked a lot of pot that year.  Sometimes we’d smoke in her room, but usually we’d make the trip outside to a little paradise that the stoners carved out between two of the residences.

This is the way it would work: we would take the elevator (I always suggested the stairs, because really, how hard is it to go DOWN the stairs?), prop the basement door open, enjoy a smoke, and then do it all in reverse.  Not rocket science here, folks.

Now, the basement wasn’t only for tokers skipping outside; there were also two laundry rooms.  As we would catch the elevator up from the basement, we would inevitably run into someone entering it on the main floor.  Thus, my go-to joke was always to make a stupid, random laundry comment for sake of the new person.  It usually broke the ice, because we obviously reeked of dope, which can make some people uncomfortable.  At the very least it was good for a few yuks.

I don’t remember that the circumstances of this particular day deviated all that much from the norm.  It was me, her, and maybe a mutual friend or two.  There was the trip down, the propping of the door, the smoke, and then the return.

What was different was the crowd that appeared on the elevator as we hit the main floor.  They were all black guys; we were all white.  But, whatever.  They could have been purple for all that any of us cared.  We were “progressive”, after all.  And so of course as the door closed I didn’t skip a beat going right into my usual shtick, expressing the first random laundry-related thing that came to mind.  But what was it that I said? Well, I’ll never forget it as long as I live:

“My grandma always told me never to mix the colours with the whites.”



I said that.  I really said that.  We rode up to the 7th floor where she lived, but it might as well have been the 107th.  I stood so incredibly still, trying so damned hard to be invisible.  When the door opened I jetted out like air escaping from a pressurized spaceship into the great chaotic vacuum that lies beyond.

Eventually the University put a fire alarm on the door downstairs to keep the smokers from propping it open.  That decision was probably for the best, because I NEVER want anyone else to go through that moment as I once did.

And if any of those guys from the elevator are reading: I am SO sorry.  No, SO sorry.

Adam Richards, circa 2004. Giddy-up.

Posted in friends, personal | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

All Giller, No Filler

Posted by julescosby on November 13, 2010

Hey there folks, long time.

Let’s not dwell too much on the peculiar correlation between paycheques in one’s pocket and their lack of blog activity.  Rather, let’s focus on something of interest to those of us in who find ourselves part of the book world.  As many of you know, The Giller Prize was announced this week, and it’s proven to be an interesting few days for bibliophiles.

The Giller Prize is named for former Toronto Star literary editor Doris Giller.  In its 17-year history, it has been criticized for essentially being a Toronto club, with a revolving door of Hogtown judges and contenders.  This year, however, the committee looked east, far past the DVP to Nova Scotia.  The $50,000 prize went to Johanna Skibsrud for her Vietnam-themed The Sentimentalists.

On a side note, let’s all just accept that we’re going to struggle with her name.  It’s just so comical when stuffy, serious literary types try to ram it through so fast so you don’t know that they don’t know how to say it.  It’s okay, guys.  Just like it’s okay that you can’t say Roibos (seriously though, you haven’t Googled this yet? “ROY-BOSS”).

Menacing monikers and poor pronunciation aside, what followed in the aftermath of the Giller is something that might not a very Merry Christmas for Ms. Skibsrud make.

The gist of the problem is that the publisher of The Sentimentalists, Gaspereau Press, doesn’t fit particularly well into the mold of the modern book industry.  They have a unique system of production, one that emphasizes artisanal quality over industrial quantity.  And it is because of that lack of capacity for mass-runs that this book is in demand.  DE-mand.  Canada’s large retailers – one of which, it should be known, puts food on my table – are scrambling to find a way to convince Gaspereau to ramp up production so that Skibsrud’s name appears under every book-lover’s Christmas tree this year – and, of course, that the receipts appear in their bank accounts.

To be clear, however, it’s not that Gaspereau is outright refusing to publish more books, as some people have been lamenting.  It’s that they are trying to find a way to produce more books without cashing in on their principles, without bowing before the Leviathan that is the status quo of book publishing.

It’s easy to see the problem from the point of view of the retailer.  Our jobs depend not on a steady stream of titles throughout the year, but through massive tsunamis (aren’t you glad that word has entrenched itself in the English language?) like The Girl Who Yadda’d the Yadda Yadda or anything with Dan Brown’s name on it.  That The Sentimentalists will probably not make it to shelves in any sort of meaningfully quantifiable way before 25 December means that it is relegated to the trickle, and could very well be soon forgotten by the terribly impatient book-buying public.

I had intended to go into greater depth about art under capitalism, but that’s another story for another time.  For now, it’s a question of a publisher sticking to a principle, one that flies against the face of the way books are typically produced and sold in our society.  For Gaspereau’s view, I strongly suggest that you listen to their interview with Q’s Jian Gomeshi on CBC Radio from a few days back.  But there are those that still believe that they are unfairly treating Skibsrud, damming the stream of money that should rightfully flow to her by damning the system that would provide the moola.  But that’s not entirely fair, because despite this being a less-than-ideal situation, this is not their fault.

To illustrate my point, imagine a situation where every day on your way to work you buy a bag of peanuts and a lottery ticket with the numbers 1-2-3-4-5.  One day, however, you realize that you only have enough money to purchase one of the two, so you must choose.  You feel a slight rumbling in your tummy, so you opt for the peanuts.  The next day you realize that the winning numbers were 1-2-3-4-5.  You would have won hands down, but you didn’t buy a ticket.  No one would expect that you deserved the winnings from that ticket, and no one would fault the convenience store for not providing the award.

Please understand that I am not denigrating this woman’s accolades, or trying too hard to compare what was doubtless hours upon hours of grueling work to the chance of a lottery ticket.  My point is merely that this is not the fault of a publisher with an axe to grind.  And though I don’t believe we should venerate him, he has a very good point when he reminds naysayers that he published her in the first place.

The opportunity cost for Johanna Skibsrud will be enormous.  But she made that choice.  As a consolation, she gets the afformentioned $50,000.  And she will still sell a tonne of books, just maybe not a shit-tonne.

Still, kudos to Gaspereau for sticking to their guns, despite the wads of cash that have doubtless been waved in their faces over the past week.

There is a silver lining in all of this: The Sentimentalists is available in e-book form.  If you really want to read it, and you probably should if it’s as good as the Giller panel has made it out to be, you can do so electronically.  This means basically that nothing will be produced but 1s and 0s, and everyone from author to publisher to retailer will pocket some of the sticker price. Otherwise, sit back, chill out and wait for your copy.

Besides, you’ll still need to buy Christmas presents next year, right?

Famed Printing Press-inventor and perennial time-traveller Johannes Gutenberg, upon hearing of the Giller contoversy on his most recent arrival in the 21st century was quoted as saying: "Oh Mann, das ist ja mal Scheiße!, roughly "Oh man, that is shit times!"

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Friends at crossroads over comical picture

Posted by julescosby on May 25, 2010

After stumbling across a hilarious picture, friends of local ham Greg Garon have a decision to make.  The exact origins of the picture are unknown, but the consensus among the friends is that it is still gut-bustingly priceless and that it has to be edited somehow to make it more enjoyable.

However, the friends, who met in university and have bonded over the years through beers, women, and various hybrid-golf games, were left collectively scratching their heads after Maurie Dungeon came across the picture on his hard drive in the process of looking for his resume.

In the picture, Garon, a film buff who doesn’t believe in ‘inside voices’, wears glasses, a gaping jaw and a glazed-over look.  It is his not his typical ‘life of the party’ shot, but the intrinsic value of the image is readily apparent.

The decision-making process spans two cities.  Through Facebook, e-mail and Skype, longtime associate Ike Bornes has been able to join the discussion.  “It’s a great picture”, said Bornes, who took a break from the rigours of a Graduate degree in Philosophy to comment.  “Just look at it!”

While the friends cannot agree on how to use it, there is a solid consensus that something must be done.  One friend suggested putting it somewhere on the evolutionary chain, but that idea was shot down because the picture is not shot in profile.  The fact that The Simpsons had already marketed a similar product it wasn’t lost on the group, but did not seem to be a concern.

Other iconic images such as the moon landing, President Bush, or even Marilyn Monroe standing above the windy subway grate were considered as inspiration, but ultimately rejected in turn.

An agreement in principle was reached to do a composite of many different images using the same face.  But then the compatriots were back to square one in that they had to decide on which images to use.

“It’s not as if we don’t know how to do it,” said friend Jim ‘JJ’ Jeonard.  “We’ve all got at least basic photo editing software on our computers.”

Indeed, the amusing demeanour of Garon, who could not be reached for comment, has lent itself to parodied pictures in the past.  Adds Dungeon, “I’ve never seen the guy take a normal picture.  I don’t know how he’s ever going to get a passport.”

At press time, the group was feverishly scanning through the online Onion archives, hoping to find some additional inspiration.

A side-splitter to be sure. But what now?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Blow Overblown

Posted by julescosby on May 17, 2010

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Children’s author snorts coke!”

I can’t stand news is made over drug-use by creative people.  Recently, Robert Munsch, author of such perennial favourites as Mortimer, A Promise is a Promise, and the tear-jerking Love You Forever, has found his name splattered all across the news, unfavourably placed beside the word ‘cocaine’.

Art, whether it’s to be found in the form of an oil painting or in a children’s book, is fundamentally what it always has been: a poēsis, a bringing-forward of something new into the world.  The individual – or in some cases the group – is the carrier of that novelty.  Some people can do this effortlessly; most people cannot.  To force a new artistic truth is to do just that, to force something, and it can take an awful lot of exertion and a terrible toll on the individual psyche in the process.

For this reason, we shouldn’t be surprised that some of the most creative people that this big ol’ dysfunctional family we call humanity has ever produced have used drugs in the creative process.

To elaborate: take as an example another member of the creative class, Aldous Huxley.  On the one hand, Huxley warns us about overmedicating ourselves, as we can see in Brave New World, but he was also an advocate of drug-use as a means to overcome the given state of perception.

From a scientific point of view, perception is strictly a quality of the individual.  But does anyone serious doubt that the social-historical framework in which the individual perceives has nothing to do with perception? The sun has always risen in the East, and set in the West.  It has always appeared roughly the same size as the moon.  But today, the words ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ are mere metaphors, and we know that the moon is a grain of salt to the Sun.

In any given society, there is an order of the sensible that precedes the individual.  It’s not rational; it’s not necessary; it just is. Creative people can see past the given state of affairs and they can force new truths despite of it.

Of course, there are people – creative and not – who take drugs too far, just as there are people who drink too much, or those who eat too much.  There are problems in the world, but the problems aren’t caused by the drugs themselves.

Often in the drug debate the Harm Principle is appealed to.  If someone’s drug use is seriously causing harm to others, then there is a problem.  However, the reverse rarely applies: if someone’s drug use is benefiting people, then there is a net benefit and hardly a problem at all.

So Robert Munsch and Steven Page snort coke,
So John Lennon shot smack,
So Bill Clinton smoked weed (but naturally didn’t inhale),
So Freud partook of the morphine,
So Socrates was taking something wacky at Delphi,


I’m not saying drugs are the answer: For most of society, they aren’t.  In a perfect world, we would see drugs not as a problem, nor as a solution.  Until that world arrives, when it comes to the drug-use of the creative class, let’s try to keep our noses out of their noses.

"If you don't inhale, how the hell you gonna get HIGH?"

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Onion readers eagerly await Gulf oil spill satire

Posted by julescosby on May 2, 2010

All around the globe, loyal readers of The Onion are patiently waiting for the venerable satirical organization to release content based on last week’s massive oil spill in the southern United States.  This spill, currently an estimated 9000 square kilometres, has been all but absent from the organization’s normally hawkish sights.

On the street, locals were expressing their concerns at the lack of speedy satire.  “Can’t they do something about how people are already talking about breaking the Exxon-Valdez record?” wondered Adam MacLeod, a long-time Onion subscriber.  “That seems like it would be kinda funny, you know, in such a competitive society.”

“What about Drill baby, drill?”, asked another fan who wished to remain anonymous, referring to former Alaskan governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s prescription for the future of American energy policy.  “I heard that they’re pretending she’d never said that.”

Indeed Sarah Palin, through her preferred medium of Facebook, has already amended her now famous campaign assertion to emphasize “Drill here, drill now”, which seems like it would be low-lying fruit for such a publication as The Onion.

A source from within the organization has confirmed that since the disaster, several editorial meetings have taken place at the NYC headquarters.  One suggestion that was on the table was using the popular Onion video format to create a Beverly Hillbillies spoof.  Another similar idea would see a harking back to an old episode of NBC’s Saved by the Bell entitled “Pipe Dreams”, where the students of Bayside High discover oil on the school’s property only to become hubristically blinded by greed.

Both ideas, however, proved to be dead in the water.

Satellite footage of the oil spill that has not yet appeared in The Onion

In actual fact, it’s not as if there has been zero content dedicated to the Gulf disaster by The Onion.  The popular “American Voices” daily segment, which showcases brief commentaries of the latest news underneath pictures of regular-looking people, had one edition titled “Oil Slick May Hit Coast This Weekend”.  But even its usually quirky and punchy format was only able to make quick references to ecosystems, gas stations, and God’s hatred of homosexuals.

“It was funny,” added MacLeod.  “But not laugh-out-loud funny.”

The confusion and desperation caused by the lack of Onion content has much more far-reaching effects than simply individual readers.  Experts are now warning about the negative effects of the economy at large.  Economists and organizational gurus have long since know about The Onion effect in the modern workplace: while eluding precise quantification, some have estimated that the time wasted by employees browsing The Onion website, which boasts several different types of media, amounts to billions of dollars drained annually from the global economy.  This figure, however large, has long been seen as acceptable.  Within the past week, however, the time that employees spend constantly refreshing their computer screens in the hope that new content has been posted.  If this trend continues, economists fear an economic drain somewhere in the trillions.

Other popular satirical institutions in America, such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, have already delved head-first into the comedic aspect of the spill, but Joe Randazzo, the current editor of The Onion suggested to his readers that they might be waiting longer than expected.

“The devastation to local ecosystems, as well as some maritime economies on the Gulf Coast is just tragic”, he stated.  “It’s really difficult for our staff writers to comprehend, let alone mock.”

“Truth is,” he added.  “This just really isn’t funny.”

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Posted by julescosby on April 12, 2010

I saw Lou the other day.  First time in a few years.

Lou was once one of the Fitness Consultants at the hyper-absurd mirror-palooza they call a gym where I go.  When I started there a few years back, they forced me to take this ‘consulting’ session, despite the fact that I had been working out regularly for several years.  Lou wasn’t a particularly tall man, but he was solid as a rock.  Maybe it’s a good thing that they didn’t have exercise as we know it in post-Revolutionary France.  History might have turned out very differently if Napoleon had the option of building his wee body.

Let’s just say that Lou and I didn’t exactly hit it off.  He was a stereotypical high pressure salesman; I was a stereotypical smart ass.

  • To break the ice, he told me a little bit about himself.  He had recently gone back to school – he was probably around 30 – to take psychology.  He wanted to understand human nature.
  • To break the ice, I told him that I was a vegetarian, and that my only interest in going to the gym was fighting entropy.  I told him I felt that the construct of ‘human nature’ was tenuous at best, destructive at worst.

He didn’t pay much attention to my attempt to get a philosophical discussion going.  He wanted to focus on the vegetarianism, which to him was anathema to fitness.

Lou: “See bro, your body is like a truck.”

JC: “Woah, woah, woah, a truck? Slow down professor!”

Lou: “You have to put the gas into the truck in order to make the truck go.”

And in a moment of pure smartassery, JC: “What about ethanol? You know, because I’m a vegetarian.”

Lou: [pause] “Your body’s a lot like a wall, bro.”

There were a few other analogies he offered to the body over the course of the discussion.  I think ultimately his point was that you have to put in good ingredients into your body to get the results you want.  Except no, that can’t be right, because he didn’t care about the results I wanted, he cared about the results he wanted.

As part of the consulting session, Lou had to take a look at what I had been eating for the past few days.  I was living with my ex-girlfriend, a vegan, at the time.  That didn’t make me vegan, but it definitely had an impact on my dietary choices.  He tried to tell me that soy is bad for me, based on a study (which he could not produce for me).  The hardest part for me was trying to convince him that there is no soy in a chickpea.

But what frustrated me the most, aside from the fact that I had to be there to begin with, was the fact that this guy was a living, breathing confabulation of bodybuilding with health/fitness.  It’s a completely fallacious comparison because they are not one and the same.  Eating a giant chicken breast every day for lunch does not make you healthy.  It might make you buff, but what about the hormones they pump into the chicken to give them ridiculously large breasts? You think those hormones just disappear in the production process, Lou?

Anyway Lou, just to let you know: I’m still not eating meat; I’m still not bulking up; I still don’t listen to salespeople who simultaneously tell me not to believe everything I hear, and then try to bypass my skepticism with some fallacious nonsense.  You’re probably a few years into that psych degree by now.  Hope you’ve figured out human nature, although between you and me, you had a pretty solid grasp on it before.

All the best, bro.  Hope that truck is running fine.

Nasty, brutish and short.

Posted in health, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Qui veut la fin veut l’Absurde

Posted by julescosby on April 11, 2010

Before we get too far, first you have to watch this video.

I saw this on television as we were leaving a Yorkville bar the other night. And I couldn’t look away. A later internet search showed me that I wasn’t initially hallucinating; that it’s already been watched by several thousand people, and commented on by just about as many.

When I was young I remember my father, after a hysterical hurricane of laughter, wondering how comedians ‘came up with this stuff’. I said it then and I’ll say it again: Dad, it’s all out there. They just have to pay attention to the absurdity that dances around us each and every day.

I have often said that the Absurd is made up of a precise mingling of chance, will, and entropy. Now we can add to this mix the Shake Weight.

One could almost imagine the first meeting between the manufacturer and the advertiser: “You want us to sell…what?” Personally, I find it hard to believe that even die-hard, cuthroat capitalists would fail to see the humour at play. However, maybe they genuinely missed the boat on this one, like when the former Canadian PC party merged with the Western reformers to create the Canadian Reform Alliance Party (CRAP).

Whatever their intentions, the producers of the commercial may have a point: in the age of Michelle Obama, if a woman wants to be fashionably trendy, she’d better damned well have arms to show. And let’s face it folks, the ends often do justify the means, even if the means consist of holding a throbbing phallic device up in front of your face for 20 minutes a day.

So does this product represent social satire, showing us the bizarre lengths that we go to remain fit in a world that seems hell-bent on making us all fat? Or is this just another drop in the sea of Absurdity, unaware of both its immanent singularity and the sea as totality?

I’m still reeling from an irony-induced hangover from living on Queen West, and so my perspective on the matter is still a little biased. I’ll leave it up to you to judge. As for me, summer’s almost here, and I’ve got to get toned. So if anybody needs me I’ll be in the bathroom with my brand new Shake Weight.

Knock first, please.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Tetrosexual

Posted by julescosby on April 8, 2010

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god!


Since the days of Fred Flintstone, men have always wondered what exactly it means to be a man.  But despite what some would have us believe, from the Neolithic through to the Renaissance of Shakespeare, there has never been a strict or eternal definition of manliness.  It is as malleable as Michael Jackson’s face, or the policy of the Liberal Party of Canada.

More recently, the turn of the current millennium brought us new concepts of man.  First came the Metrosexual, a prime example of life imitating art.  Or at least life imitating campy television shows featuring homosexual men giving makeovers to slobs.  Next, fast forward a few years to the age of Mad Men, and the Don Drapers of the world became known as the Retrosexuals.

But now, because the times simply cannot change fast enough, a new category of man is emerging from both the fabulous kitsch and the booze-soaked, women-bashing styles of yesterday.  This new man has been dubbed the Tetrosexual.

A Tetrosexual

The Tetrosexual is noted for his ability to choose the video game Tetris over anything else that life has to offer.  Work? No thanks.  Vacation? I’m fine here, thanks.  Sex? Puh-LEASE.

Aesthetically, the Tetrosexual might appear in bold magentas or cyans, or simple reds and blues.  In some post-Soviet countries, different shades of gray are the norm.  And while the Metrosexual may indulge his love for Lady Gaga, and the Retrosexual has an affinity for the crooners of his granddaddy’s day, the Tetrosexual listens primarily to a canned MIDI soundtrack of pseudo-Russian songs.

The ubiquity of Tetris made the cause of this phenomenon easy to overlook.  But a group of young men made this heavily addictive game, a relic of the Soviet Union, into a lifestyle choice.  Once manly virtues like strength or courage have been replaced by the ability to take on one of seven predetermined shapes.  And whereas once the yoga fad made men desire flexibility, physical fitness is now understood as the ability to rotate at strictly 90 degree angles.

Some have observed that the Tetrosexual is not merely a cultural phenomenon, but one which crosses over into the political sphere as well.  Tyler Shipley, political scientist at York University in Toronto argues that the recent American Health Care debate was not won through fear or intimidation, nor by the oft-decried but equally-as-oft-required backroom deals by technocratic oligarchs.  Rather, he argues, “the American health care debate was won by the widespread recognition that in life there are constants and there are uncertainties.  Pieces will always fall, and they will always fall faster.”

“You never know which piece will fall next,” he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with a Tetronimo, a growing demographic of the American population.

In an age such as ours, Andy Warhol’s famous fifteen minutes has been condensed into a meagre fifteen seconds.  As such, it is difficult to see how long this latest trend will last.  Some have tried to compare the Tetrosexual to the emergence roughly a decade ago of the Petrosexual, a young uneducated worker who moved to Alberta to make big money on the oil field, only to spend it all on cocaine and hookers.  However, once the boom ended, the coke vanished and the boys moved home, the concept of Petrosexual was deemed as empty as American oil wells.

We know that boys will always be boys, but what about our men? Unlike boys, they will feel the need to define themselves, to negate the fact that they are as Hamlet and others have noted, dust.  Now they may do this four blocks at a time.

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