Human Affairs

WRPK in New Albertastan

by on November 13, 2015


WRPK in New Albertastan

A pair of lovable know-nothing zealots engage in hilarious hijinks as they battle creeping socialism and corporate welfare in the prairie heartland.

Episode 1: A Pair of Ducks

Scene: WRP HQ

Derek: (sitting at a computer station) I hate this.

Brian: (walking by) This what?

Derek: This Twitter thing, these people keep yelling at me.

Brian: (looks over Derek’s shoulder) Wow, that’s a lotta frowny faces.…
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Elvis Costello on Margaret Thatcher

by on November 4, 2015

Reposted apropos of, oh… I don’t know.

Her life’s work long since accomplished, and her ideological legacy our present, it seems the octogenarian biological life form of Margaret Thatcher (unable to attend the Royal Wedding) may not be long for this world. While her death is unlikely to be met by orgiastic throngs of gleeful, flag-waving patriots, many will not be sad to see her go …
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The (Brief) History Of A Dangerous Idea

by on September 10, 2015

BlythFind yourself a comfy chair and strap in tight. The g-force may be a little unpleasant as you reach escape velocity, but it’s worth the initial struggle to get up to speed with a man who speaks with the force and spittle of a Glasgow gale. Mark Blyth has been doing the rounds on the interview circuit promoting his book Austerity: the history of a dangerous idea. He recently …
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The True Meaning Of Zappadan

by on December 4, 2014

It’s December 4! Blessed be your Zappadan!

For the uninitiated, Frank Zappa’s birthday is December 21, but he shuffled off this mortal coil on December 4, leaving a seventeen day period of transition between the two for his disciples to bridge in any way that they could. Zealots to the last, they opted to use this period  to celebrate Frank Zappa’s life, work and persnickety genius. This is sort …
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Our Laurence Miall ~ Blind Spot

by on September 26, 2014


We are delighted to announce that regular Paltry contributor, Laurence Miall has produced his first novel, Blind Spot which came out on Newest Press last month. In Edmonton to launch the book, he stopped by CJSR FM88 for a chat on the Ipso Factory. The interview begins at the 0:05:18 mark but I recommend letting Robbie Fulks’ Night Accident provide the introduction. The song hits the right mood and, …
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Dangerous Blather: Frida Ghitlis at CNN on Ukraine

by on March 20, 2014

Crossposted from my “Russia and the World Blog” at

Some of the US mainstream press coverage of the Ukrainian crisis has been relatively good, such as Fareed Zakaria’s commentary.  A lot more is garbage.  Today’s “most ignorant blather” award goes to Frida Ghitis, who has a front page headline on CNN right now.   Ghitis presents the crisis as the beginning of “a new Cold War,” opines that Ukraine should …
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What Were The Earliest Vibrators Like?

by on February 3, 2014

They were steam-powered, coal-fired, belt-driven and studded with vibratodes as Rachel Maines, technology historian and author of The Technology of Orgasm explains. I thank her for introducing me to the term “vibratode,” and to the phrase “hedonizing technology.” She gives an eye-opening account of the social, medical and technological history of self-pleasure, replete with self-deceptions, hypocrisies and rooftop Chattanoogas.

But in any case, there’s the connection with hydrotherapy and

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Geoff Berner ~ Festival Man

by on January 30, 2014


Travel in the entertaining company of a man made of equal parts bullshit and inspiration, in what is ultimately a twisted panegyric to the power of strange music to change people from the inside out.

At turns funny and strangely sobering, this “found memoir” is a picaresque tale of inspired, heroic deceit, incompetence, and – just possibly – triumph. Follow the flailing escapades of maverick music manager Campbell Ouiniette at

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10.2 x 10: Interview with comedian, author, activist Charles Demers

by on January 17, 2014

I am delighted to bring you the second edition of our Paltry Sapien interview series, 10×10, this time with the multi-talented Charles Demers.

When I was about 18 I got a tattoo of Charlie Chaplin down the length of my right bicep. There’s probably no ‘meeting-of-worlds’ that I’ve spent more time thinking about than I have the space where politics meets comedy.

1)    You wear three distinct hats as comedian,
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You Are Here, and Now

by on December 31, 2013

The Orloj Astrolabe

More than just your average timepiece, the Old Town Clock of Prague, or Orloj, can tell you what time it is and what date. It also tells you what the heavens should look like from where it stands. It tells you what time to expect sun rise and set, what lunar phase the moon should appear in, and even which Zodiacal sign is in ascendence. Elsewhere on …
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Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions (1942)

by on December 31, 2013

Change socks… Don’t get lonesome… Dream good… Wake up and fight. (Yes, these are his doodles, too)

Originally posted, Dec. 31, 2011…
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Merry Christmas (On Acid)

by on December 24, 2013

If you are dreaming of a brown Christmas, this post is for you. First, a Christmas card from Cyriak, none of his usual fractal madness, just a fairly standard-issue nightmare Noel. Nevertheless, we bid you view with caution.

Second, a seasonal song originally from Radio Free Vestibule, a loon trio from Montreal now going by the more wield-friendly the Vestibules.

Christmas on Acid

And now that …
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