Wednesday, 13 May 2015



Of Dandelions and the YouTube Vortex


A comedian whose name I’ve long forgotten once joked that squirrels were just rats with good P.R. Here in Edmonton there’s a new spin on the bright yellow dandelion. It’s no longer considered a weed. Not because it’s a pretty little thing but because it’s impossible to eradicate. Time is a magician. It erodes barriers and opens avenues to different modes of surrender: ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,’ hence the end of Prohibition, and in our day, the cessation of former United States President Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs.’ So the bane of our manicured lawns has been upgraded to flower status and already becoming a key ingredient in hipster foodie salads.


I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to kill dandelions. I spray them. I dig them up. I decapitate them. If their heads manage to mature into those elegant little domes of grey spores, I fry them with a butane barbecue starter. And I wonder about dandelions. Do they possess some type of trickster collective consciousness? It seems to me that once I’ve mortally wounded one, ten more have sprouted behind me during the few seconds my back was turned.


The insanely enormous volume of videos available and always increasing on YouTube reminds me of dandelions. It’s a site best avoided because you can’t watch just one. Sunday evening Ann pocket dialed her younger son who was road tripping in California with his brother and a close friend of theirs. The boys were nearing the end of an intense biathlon, an afternoon Angels baseball game followed by a Ducks playoff game. There was a lubricated joke about going to Disneyland after the hockey overtime. And because there is a song for everything I thought of ‘Dizz Knee Land’ by Dada, a deceptively jaunty jingle about a dark subject, ‘Hitched a ride on a monkey’s back/Headed west into the black/I’m going to Disneyland,’ which I’d not heard in a decade. God help me, I searched the song on YouTube.


After Dada I played another one hit wonder, The Flys’ ‘Got You (Where I Want You).’ I then checked in with Bobby Bloom in ‘Montego Bay’ and then departed old Durham town trying to whistle along with Roger Whittaker. Tony Joe White and Johnny Cash dueted on ‘Polk Salad Annie.’ Then Elvis did it black belt dojo style from Vegas, still svelte in a white, spangled jumpsuit. The Foo Fighters backed Tony Joe on a full blown awesome rave up electric version. Chomp! Chomp! Because ‘music is the doctor’ I sought out the Doobie Brothers and then did the rock with Tim Curry. Since Curry does such a great send up of Mick, I next pulled up a vintage clip of the Stones performing ‘Loving Cup’ from a German television show. I backtracked to the ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ war paint promo film and then leapt ahead to ‘Gimme Shelter’ from the Ed Sullivan Show.  I was reminded that Cinderella’s ‘Shelter Me’ pretty much recycles Keith’s riff from ‘Soul Survivor,’ a derivative goodie. I was in hair metal territory now, a dodgy place. Even though I think Motley Crue are icky, tattooed Petri dishes of aggressively replicating viruses, I love ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).’

Ann poked her head around the door jamb and said something. I turned the speakers’ volume down and said, ‘Sorry?’ She said, ‘I’m going to bed now. You can stay up all night and watch videos if you want.’ I said, ‘I won’t be long.’ She said, ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ I’d just found Joe Cocker and John Belushi doing ‘Feelin’ Alright’ on Saturday Night Live. ‘Wait! Before you go, you’ve got to see this.’ I looked up. Ann was gone. I suppose I was too. I roused myself and opened another beer because it’s impossible to have just the one.


  1. A man after my own heart! I hear ya, loud and clear.

    1. Hey. Was thinking about you last week & laughing; been a long time. Hope you're well.

  2. Things are fantastic! I've been following you for quite some time now, and this is the first time my comments seemed to get posted. ?? Funny thing. You could change three letters in your last paragraph and it would be identical to life here. Change Ann to Kim. I'm sure they would really be able to relate! Going back many posts,.... I hope your turntable is doing well. I'm sure it's well looked after and cared for! I'll bet you're sorry you gave me all those original Stones albums aren't you?! Say hi to TP! I hope he's doing great as well. The Stones albums are still in pristine condition. We should work out a plan of some sorts to get them back to you. I too, have been online with my Visa card in hand thinking..... Shit. Why not!!! It could very well be the last time! Unfortunately cooler heads prevailed.....

    1. No regrets - they went to a good home. Anyway, I bought the remasters. Of course I did.