Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Royal Wedding, Canadian Elections: as boring as the NHL playoffs


Rant for aujourd'hui: I rarely watch television (thanks to Jim Marrs and friends). Unfortunately for me tonight, I was sucked into watching a few periods of an NHL playoff hockey game. Some moments were rather exciting I must admit. However, if one takes a few steps back to observe what is really going on, one has to be objective and honest with oneself and admit that the plays and the sportscasters' comments have not changed over the last 20 or more years. Nothing but the same repertoire of predictable play making and knee-jerk cliché commentary on the part of the CBC broadcasters who have been holding on to their jobs as long as Bruno Gerussi was parked on the infamous Beachcombers TV series ("Toronto la marde" my father used to say). Only now. the players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever. But, gone are the days of the beautifully crafted plays and artistry. It's all about strength, force and - I hate this one - "working hard in the corners". It's Spartan and military in nature. And, quite frankly, boring la plattus (i.e. fucking boring and unimaginative!). Double unfortunately, the local CBC station was airing commercials during the game for the royal family wedding. I will not try to delve too much into this subject for lack of time and bandwidth. Suffice to say, that any reference to or existence even in this day of age to the concept of a monarchy is beyond comprehension. I don't like the idea of any monarchy. It presumes that there are subjects, therefore little people who live, toil and serve under a monarchy. I thought we were over with that sort of nonsense. But alas, I guess not. An old friend of mine (may he rest in peace), would spit on his TV screen in reaction to commercials for royal weddings and such. He was way more Québecois than I am. Some folks still don't like the idea of living in a colonial system. But, it seems some people just lap it all up, take it up the scoobies, love it and want more monarchy. They absolutely love the idea of having wealthy 'royal' people occupy - although more symbolically - an important and present role in their communal lives. Newsflash: the royal wedding is a fairy tale event and serves as just another form of distract-shon, as apparently billions will be viewing this garbage on the 'ol tele. I know for one that I won't! These and a plethora of other mainstream media events serve to distance and distract the 'loyal subjects' from those other nasty realities that happen to be going on (and have been for a while) . Do I need to name some. I guess so: the BP oil disaster (what happened to that?), the Japanese nuke disasters (who cares now, right?), Lybia (same old boring shit, right?), and on and on. I'll spare you. Geez, I haven't even mentioned the recent Canadian federal election campaign: boring la plattus exponential 10. While we're on that subject (briefly), politicians are simply another form of 'monarchy-lite'. Except that loyal subjects 'elect' virtual unknowns in temporary positions of so-called 'power' every now and again in this illusory circus known as 'democracy'.
Comme on dit icitte: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même esti de marde!"

Pierre Duranleau aka Cafargo (no longer contributing to this site)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Schwartz,The Main, and the Canadiens Cargo Cult

 It's hockey playoff time again, and a chance to indulge in a little harmless tribalism.
must be Sunday at 630 am
Montreal's rabid hockey fanaticism has reared it's ugly head once again, with battalions of
flag tipped automobiles leading the charge. 
 Across town, tourists and followers line up dutifully
waiting with baited breath for their opportunity to take part in a Montreal culinary 
tradition, the eating of a Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich.
 The tradition of queuing for smoked meat does not go back much further than the
mid-nineteen nineties, when the popularity of this restaurant began to mutate
into a an experience more resembling a 'rite of passage', meanwhile, directly
across the street sits it's sister deli 'The Main'. catering to their small but faithful
mocking those in line
clientele, who seem oblivious to all the pomp and circumstance associated with that 'hipper'
deli on the east side of boulevard St.Laurent. 
Schwartz has been celebrated in film and music, in a painful attempt to foster a sense of 
'culture' in an otherwise bleak and vacuous North American wasteland. 
The Main humbly goes about it's daily business of selling the tastiest rival sandwich
to Schwartz's, with little fanfare and NO lineups!
I'm not writing this to trash Schwartz, it's a great sandwich, and an interesting experience.
But when hunger calls, and I'm walking up St.Lawrence street looking for a good meal to 
'chow down' on, the choice is obvious.
To eat at Schwartz usually means at least a half hour wait, standing outside, then a five minute
wait standing inside, and then a ten to fifteen minute wait sitting inside, crowded shoulder
to shoulder with other patrons, while your chair clatters and bangs into the one behind you
as you get up to let the people sitting next to wall OUT!
And they usually leave you a nice present
while you wait for your meal to arrive, entering a reasonable doubt in the form of some
discarded smoked meat fat, a half eaten pickle, and a crumpled serviette.
    A meal at The Main requires no waiting period whatsoever, you simply walk in, and 
within a minute or two the waitress takes your order, as you receive your meal usually
within five minutes.
  The sandwich is almost always delicious, less expensive, and you are back out on the
street making your first belches often before those you saw lining up at Schwartz's have 
even entered their restaurant.
  But once inside, the faithful are treated to a wall display decorated with testimonials,
favourable write ups, and autographed pictures of Schwartz's most famous celebrity clientele.
It has all the icons and artwork, of a 21st century food cult religion, it even has it's holy eucharist
in the form of a 'medium fat' on rye, but this city had a similar tradition with Ben's Deli, which
fell to the whims of hungry developers,capricious politicians, and an indifferent public.
What was once considered to be a sacred and untouchable piece of our city's culture
has been proven to be little more than a transient phenomena.
In the end, the difference between the two sandwiches is a 'coin toss', so the decision of where to eat
becomes a choice between hunger, and following the 'cool crowd'... and I know where I
stand on that issue.
Now that I'm on the topic of 'Montreal Culture', let's get back to the Habs and their recent
transformation of status from simply a 'legendary hockey franchise' to that of a  pseudo-religious
the 'good ol' days'
cargo cult. because let's face it…that's what they are.
Like the cargo cults of the south pacific, who would attempt to pattern
themselves on the routines of American soldiers at the conclusion of
the second world war, the Canadiens organization have turned the
'Bell Centre' into a 21st century cathedral devoted to the worship hockey.
 Larger than life size statues of former great players dominate the
exterior courtyard for all to admire, as the devoted fans of 'Les Habitants'
walk over plaques honouring great ones with bordered bricks embedded
with the names of the Canadiens wealthiest patrons on their way to splurge
at the 'Habs Zone' and pay very expensive tithes . (sound familiar?)
I suppose, with the demise of the once mighty and influential catholic church, Montrealer's are looking
for new ways to give their lives meaning, while satiating a need for tribalist pride, but what really is the
Habs legacy?
They've won twenty-four Stanley Cups, half of which were won when there were only  six, count 'em -S I X-
teams in the league.
They haven't won a cup in almost a generation (18 years) and have won only two in
the past thirty-two seasons. There are many people who want to believe that the
Montreal Canadiens are hockey's version of Manchester United or the NewYork Yankees,
and many of those people surely must work in the Habs marketing department.
The sad thing is, many fans actually believe their team is a source of great recognition
for their city, which it is, when you compare them to that 'sack of shit team' Torontonians have
been forced to endure. 
   Don't get me wrong, the Habs have been an entertaining franchise and a source of tribal
bonding for Montrealers, especially since the demise of our beloved Expos,
  But in the mid nineteen nineties, the Montreal Canadiens began to become mythologized
at a similar time and in a similar way as Schwartz's.
Perhaps there was a sense among influential Montrealers that the Habs and Schwartz's
were long standing Montreal traditions which needed to be vaulted to an even higher realm in
the public's consciousness then they already were?
The Canadiens, and Schwartz's, have always been popular, but not with the same 
self-conscious reverence they are adorned with today. 
    Contributing editor to the 'Abyss', Pierre Duranleau, often cites his father Moe's own 
words when he reminds us that there was a time in the 1940's when they had difficulty
unloading discounted Habs tickets at local drugstores.
When LaFleur and Gainey, Lemaire and Robinson were dominating all NHL opponents,
there was an equal euphoria for the young Expos, and our powerhouse CFL team the
  The popularity of the three major sports have ebbed and flowed throughout our city's history.
Montrealer's take great pride in being the first city to accept and welcome a negro ballplayer
when the late Jackie Robinson broke into Major League Baseball with the Montreal Royals
years before 'blacks' would get their chance to play alongside 'whites' in the big leagues.
The decision to experiment with a 'black ball player' was that of Brooklyn Dodgers G.M.
Branch Ricky, an American, and Montreal just happened to be in the right place at the right
So the chest pounding continues to this day, as the franchise does far more to promote
it's history through clever marketing and promotional merchandise, than by doing what's
necessary to bring a Stanley Cup contender back to the city.
They go through all the tribalist motions of a cargo cult hoping to recreate the past by mocking it,
while neglecting the true magical formula which brought all that great hockey to this lonely patch 
of tundra we call Montreal.
                                                                                  Dirty CT    April 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From G.I. Joe to G.I. Gurdjieff (or Barbie and Ken meet Antarctic Penguins)

In this corner: Barbie and Ken

It is this bloggers opinion that Barbie was one of the most spiritually subversive consumer items of the last fifty years. 
The plastic princess, along with her life partner, a 'manchild' named 'Ken', together wreaked havoc on the consciousness and spiritual development of a good portion of young women of my generation.
   This spiritual de-evolution created a paradigm which encouraged an endless conveyer belt of material wants and needs and perpetual consumption, in addition to an imbalance in the glorification of exterior beauty.
   And she chose the right guy too, a eunuch with plastic hair and permanent smile, thus never needing to be burdened with troublesome children.
 Then maybe it was because Barbie had no use for the sex act itself, as she too had been denied by her makers at Mattel the dignity of human genitalia, or perhaps she was the one 'strapping it on', I can only guess, and don't care to explore this possibility any further.
  Don't get me wrong,I'm not gender bashing here, the girls, and perhaps even some 'boys', enjoyed the make believe games only a 'Barbie-Doll' could realise.
   We guys were programmed via a close knit fraternity of eunuchs named 'G.I. Joe'. Fortunately, their influence didn't turn me into a half savage who finds it acceptable to 'solve' problems using violent methods instead of ones intellect. Today, 35 years on, I prefer the methods of G.I. Gurdjieff to those of G.I. Joe.
     Enter the penguins, Antarctic inhabitants, and loveable stars of that wonderful movie 'March Of The Penguins'. 
 Tough life for that species, it's pretty cold down there, even in the summer, but the winters would make my inner penguin want to say "you know what?…is it really all worth it?". We humans are one of the few species that is actually capable of having fun, and we do it often despite the difficult situations that surround us. But these penguins…come on…Get a life!
and in this corner...
How did he get dragged into all of this?
    Back to Barbie now, and her pernicious influence on the consciousness of the western female, like some plastic toy version of kiddy crack cocaine, her mere presence would be enough to torment and mould the minds and souls of many a young girl incapable of resisting her hypnotic influence, all the while sending them wrong messages concerning the superficial components of being an 'adult'.
   As the ultimate 'material girl', Barbie, with the eunuch Ken in tow, were the Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker of the toy doll world, and in the 1960's became an ominous harbinger for our 21st century spiritually bankrupt dystopia.
    Hey, and let's not forget 'Skipper', Barbie's little sister. She was simply an avatar for the young girl playing with  Barbie. She represented all the hopes of a young girls aspirations to be  Just - Like-  Barbie! 
I often wonder if the name 'Barbie' was chosen, by some twisted mind in marketing, to pay homage to the 'Butcher of Lyon' Klaus Barbie?
     Back now to the penguins, and don't worry I'm gonna tie this all in nicely, I hope!  The penguins keep eating shivering and procreating, and spend a good portion of their cold winters in complete darkness, and the greater part of their summer up all night without enough darkness to get a good nights sleep. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the penguins, Barbie and Ken have become the template for an unobtainable vision of material happiness.
aaah, look at the little penguins, so sweet!
 The penguins exist in a climate too hostile for most life on this planet, yet have somehow endured and even thrive for millions of years. Barbie and her under equipped 'Toy Boy Toy' will be lucky to endure another twenty years, and the model they present as an ideal of modern adulthood is unlikely to endure past this decade.

Dirty CT  April 2011                         -Watch Here To Learn The Truth
                                                                          About Barbie

Monday, April 4, 2011

Exodus, Revisited

  It's spring, and this time of year reminds us of a great period in biblical history known as Exodus, that book in the Old Testament where a certain 'Moses' delivered the Israelites out of bondage and into a new life in the promised land.
His faith was stronger than his fear.

  Moses had help though, in this case from God, who did the good service of parting a particularly nasty stretch of the Red Sea, just enough, so Mr.Moses and his brethren could flee the oppression of the Pharaoh, and seek emancipation in the promised land.

Imagine for a moment if Moses had tried a different approach. Imagine for a moment what would have happened if Moses had decided to use the newly parted Red Seas as a political bargaining chip, in order to lobby for better living conditions within the Egyptian empire.

King Ramses, impressed by the parted Sea, certainly would have been eager to negotiate new terms for the Israelites, since the alternative would have been to see the bulk of his cheap labour force slip out the back door courtesy of some divine miracle.
The Pharaoh would have been eager to negotiate with Moses, and would probably have made a reasonable offer, considering the alternative was to lose the entire lot.

  Moses was wise for recognizing that this miracle was a God given opportunity to sever the chord, and begin fresh, in a new land. If Moses had chosen to negotiate with the Pharaoh, he probably would have found the Pharaoh to be uncharacteristically magnanimous while hammering out the terms of their new arrangement. However, the Pharaoh's genial nature would have soon soured a few moments after the parted waters of the Red Sea were to un-part.

  Soooo… good for you Moses! Thanks to your wisdom we have a legend that continues to inspire the religious and non-religious to this day. We see how your faith in divine providence, or simple opportunism, depending on your perspective, can lead to great change and a hope for a better life.   
                                                                                                                                                                    Dirty CT     April 2011