Friday, October 12, 2012

Vera Bouchard - auteure/illustratrice

My interview with Vera Bouchard, children's auhor/illustrator, is now up.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Brian Fawcett

My interview with Brian Fawcett is now up at my new site.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bernard Anton - poete, professeur, écrivain ( Plaidoyer pour la Terre et les Vivants)

My interview with Quebecois poet, professor, writer Bernard Anton is up at my new site. It's in French; I'll be doing an English translation later.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tripping With My Wife - Tokyo Arrival [two]

The second part of my video about our 2010 trip to Tokyo is now up at YouTube:

If you're interested in a detour, you can also link to it exactly the same way by going to my new site:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Business Army - One (YouTube)

The YouTube fermentation process has completed its yeasty cycle; I can now link to the upload of THE BUSINESS ARMY which is also below. However, this version has substantially clearer visuals.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Business Army - one

This is a rather shaky Google upload of the video I made around one of my screenplay-novels; I just uploaded it to YouTube as well and think the quality there is better; I'll try again when the connection between this site and that has its chance to ferment, or whatever it is computers do between just-fresh uploading and accessibility.

I'm posting it now because of the attention Dinesh D'Sousa's crockumentary 2016 Obama's America is receiving. By coincidence, I noticed D'Sousa's book yesterday while with my wife in the Kyobo bookstore in Kyoungbukkong. (This was a day before a wire story about the book caused a stir -- in other words, I knew nothing about the title.)

One thing that is striking about how the discourse is being framed is the degree to which this documentary is being compared to other American political documentaries that allegedly exist in opposition to what D'Sousa is doing (those other docs being leftist, this one being rightist). The discourse can be then seen as one of ideological conflict -- which, of course, exists. But it seems to me there is another way to see what D'Sousa's film serves as a symbol of, and that is as part of a historical tradition that I don't think Farhenheit 911 and An Inconvenient Truth partake of.

In a sense, any progressive president (and arguably Obama barely ranks on that metric) is a "problem" not because of what he does but what he (or she) might do: The challenge becomes one of pre-emptive containment, not criticism of de facto policy.

There is a parallel here -- and, in my opinion, a strong one -- between this kind of speculative/oppositional discourse and the kind of rhetoric Franklin Roosevelt was confronted with when he was elected. He was "an enemy to his class", someone who did not "run true to form", someone too "ill" to be president ... more to the point, he was a Red, and his policies (viewed at the time by Stalin as a clever means of maintaining a capitalist system the Soviets themselves thought was ripe for collapse) were depicted as crypto-radical. Roosevelt's radicalism primarily lay in the future....

Tripping with my Wife

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Steven Beattie on the Giller longlist:

 this year’s jury, made up of Irish author Roddy Doyle, American author Gary Shteyngart, and Canadian author Anna Porter, has chosen a baker’s dozen made up of first-timers, genre writers, and previously overlooked names. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

"Too much risk"

Desmond Tutu on the haste to invade Iraq:

Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Business Army - audio

An audio excerpt from THE BUSINESS ARMY is now up at my new site.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thad McIlroy

My interview with Thad McIlroy of The Future of Publishing is now up at my new site.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Heather Birrell

My interview with short story writer Heather Birrell is now up at my new site.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

My interview with novelist Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is now up at my new site.

Monday, July 09, 2012

New post

 I have a new post at my new site. The subject, in case you're wondering, is the vagaries of weather rather than the vagaries of books....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Goin' viral

It seems that someone has hacked into this site. The logo is now, ah, modified. God knows what else has been monkeyed around with.

Until I figure out how to fix this problem (am still trying to wish it away), you might check out CBT's new incarnation at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wm. Blake

1825 Portrait by John Linnell    William Blake

I'm currently working on a paper on Blake, and came across the above portrait of him by John Linnell -- an 18th C. contemporary of Blake's I'd never heard of. It's a very fine piece of work, and not the only sketch Linnell did of him. (For another of the ones I found, go here.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Plastic Millennium

A kind of an intro thingie to my mega-project, PLASTIC MILLENNIUM

Peter Darbyshire

An excerpt from a long interview I did with Peter Darbyshire is now up at my new site.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The new issue of Eclectica is now online. I have a poem in it, entitled "Baram 1." More on this magazine later.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Truth Marathon

Another excerpt from my screenplay-novel TRUTH MARATHON is now up at my new site.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Your Internet at Work

Invisible Man, The

Start Reading Novel  | List of Chapters | Supplementary Links

Novel Title:Invisible Man, The  (click here) 

Scan to Start Reading
Summary:First published in 1952, Invisible Man revealed the pain of a black man's existence in a white world. It was shocking then, but remains important literature today. It is the story of a young man's journey--through the Deep South to the streets of Harlem, through events and experiences that range from tortured to macabre. As he moves through time, he learns about the black world, the white world, and a world of his own. His passage is a frightening but at the same time enlightening pilgrimage, for the Invisible Man and for all of us.
(Source: Library Thing )
Author:Wells, H. G. (view author links)
Word Count:49,634
Reading Level:6.90 (view readability test)
Age:12 to 13
Grade Levels:7 to 12+
Year of Pub:1897  (View on Timeline)
See eTexts with the Same:  Author | Grade | Subject

Friday, March 30, 2012

Upcoming - Gavin Grant interview update

One of the interviews at this site that's proved especially popular is the one I did with Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press. Grant recently updated the interview, and I'm going to post it at my new site when I get a few technical glitches worked out. Look forward to it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

National Libraries in comparison

Nigel Beale has an interesting ongoing series comparing the national libraries of various countries with the National Library and Archives in Ottawa. He makes a compelling argument that the library in Ottawa could do more to promote books and reading; you can follow the series here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Contra Staid de Vivre

I'm re-posting my screenplay fiction, "Baram Writer", at my new blog. This was originally published in the literary magazine Dark Sky, and by the time it had appeared, I'd submitted it to so many journals that I'd lost count. The screenplay form of the piece seemed to be a sticking point; that, and the technical issue of making the photos appear correctly in the piece.

Neither of these were insurmountable obstacles. In fact, they should have been minor ones, since all my material was digital. Nevertheless, the response I usually encountered was a variation on "interesting ... but not for us."

This reaction -- a form of conservatism, really, a set way of doing things -- is at one and the same time common in English Canadian publishing and also something of a stereotype. (Canadians themselves are the ones who tend to beat themselves up on this issue; no one else much cares.) My experience is that conservatism has become pervasive throughout the world of publishing -- even avant gardism has adopted set forms. But the idea in anglo Canadian letters that conservatism is a characteristic that is particularly prevalent in the national culture is one that won't go away. Obviously, I don't quite agree -- or rather, agree with misgivings. Nevertheless, it would do Canadian letters well to have this debate take place a little more energetically than it does at present. And for Americans, too, it seems to me that some more consistency of debate would help bring needed clarity to this matter; after all, the "digital revolution" -- with all its variants of e-ness -- is at best a double-edged sword. Literary people generally need to start thinking of new ways to make narrative fiction work.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Business Army - 2

The second excerpt from my novel THE BUSINESS ARMY is now up at this blog's new site.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Business Army

Upcoming -- more excerpts from The Business Army.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Coach House - 1

When I was in Toronto, I visited Coach House Books. It's located on a small alley just north of Robarts Library at the University of Toronto.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I was in Canada for an extended stay, and while there met with the people at Coach House Books and ECW Press. I’ve also been in email contact with Gavin Grant at Small Beer Press in the U.S.....

To continue, go here

Friday, January 06, 2012

Depression Theory

This post has proven popular, so I'm re-posting:

I stumbled across this Powerpoint description of the factors behind the Great Depression in the United States,and it jigsawed well with several books I've read in the past few years which either deal with the Depression directly, or as an important element of the book's topic -- titles such as Robert Bothwell's THE PENGUIN HISTORY OF CANADA, Jean Edward Smith's FDR, Amity Shlaes' THE FORGOTTEN MAN, Ron Chernow's THE HOUSE OF MORGAN, and A. J. Nicholl's WEIMER AND THE RISE OF HITLER. (I think I could also include Herbet Bix's HIROHITO AND THE MAKING OF MODERN JAPAN in this category because it gives a detailed description of the rise of the Japanese right during the 1930s.)

source: Google Images

The ppt presentation is at a blog for a company called Multimedia Learning. However, the site seems to be something of a labour of love (and some profit) put together by a group of American history teachers. As a result, its posts tend to go from subject to subject. However, I was quite impressed by the presentation because it underlined in simple language the multitude of causes behind the Depression, including factors such as unequal distribution of  income and the pre-Depression that existed in agriculture, which suffered economically throughout the 1920s.

Unequal distribution of income remains one of the hallmarks of modern economies; it is, apparently, a desired neo-conservative goal, or at least a principle that neo-conservative economic thinkers -- whose ideas influence and sometimes dominate North American economic policy -- feel ideologically obliged to support. Blogs that I have found that deal with the New Great Depression do not pay much attention to it, and instead focus their remarks on the perceived bungling of bureaucrats, alarmist writing about the fragility of paper currency (and, natch, the superiority of gold), and so forth. Crisis is viewed as so incipient that a rational collective response cannot be conceived or organized. The underlying message is, everyone man/woman/investor for himself.....

(Mainstream media is somewhat more sophisticated, but still alarmist.

Paul B. Farrell
Nov. 19, 2008, 11:53 a.m. EST

30 reasons for Great Depression 2 by 2011

New-New Deal, bailouts, trillions in debt, antitax mindset spell disaster.    )

The other factor from the teachers' site that I found particularly interesting, farming, has changed considerably since the 1920s and '30s. In North America and Europe, it receives better government support than it used to. I have to admit, this is a pretty hazy area for me, though, and one of my friends, whose father is a farmer in Saskatchewan, would probably bristle at the suggestion that the farmer's life is "easy". My in-laws also include farmers -- a tea farm with some vegetable gardening. I've seen repeatedly how hard that line of business is, and this year's destructive winter only made the situation worse.

In South Korea, more than contemporary Canada or the U.S., farmers still suffer on a regular basis: acreage is limited, incomes remain too low, there is population flight to the cities, and crises such as the recent foot-and-mouth disaster with its ill-administered vaccination program followed by a panicky mass slaughter of livestock, tend to escalate quickly.

What is interesting, from point of view of the maintenance of democracy, is how these issues are not often expressed on the meta-economic level of day-to-day discourse. Economics is seen as focused on the stock market -- along with industrial production. I do not want to take issue with the importance of these factors. All I mean to say is that other factors which are crucial to creating new economic turbulence tend to be low-balled in media coverage. New depressions, in other words, gestate in overlooked zones of the Body Economic, while our attention is focused elsewhere.

Monday, January 02, 2012


Frances Madeson has a new blog up. It's promisingly entitled WRITTEN WORD, SPOKEN WORD, and you can read it here.