Tag Archives: birthday

Happy Birthday John Cleese

cleeseOn this day in 1939 John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, England and the futures in absurdity went through the roof. John had a few witty things to say over the years including  “He who laughs most, learns best” and “I think that the real religion is about the understanding that if we can only still our egos for a few seconds, we might have a chance of experiencing something that is divine in nature. But in order to do that, we have to slice away at our egos and try to get them down to a manageable size, and then still work some practiced light meditation. So real religion is about reducing our egos, whereas all the churches are interested in is egotistical activities, like getting as many members and raising as much money and becoming as important and high-profile and influential as possible. All of which are egotistical attitudes. So how can you have an egotistical organization trying to teach a non-egotistical ideal? It makes no sense, unless you regard religion as crowd control. What I think most organized religion—simply crowd control.” and  “I find it rather cleese wareasy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me. ” and “I can do anything I want, I’m eccentric!” and “I think the problem with people like this is that they are so stupid that they have no idea how stupid they are.” and “Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” and “This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.” Dead/Not Dead John celebrates his 75th birthday today. One final word: “We don’t know where we get our ideas from. What we do know is that we do not get them from our laptops.” Oh I almost forgot,  “Your Mother was A Hamster and your Father Smelled of elder berries”

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Sweet Dream Baby


My last post featured a picture of cousin Edra at two years old. Subsequently I remembered I’d seen another similar picture of her so I dug it out. Above is Edra at one year old posed in a similar fashion to the previous picture with her eyes closed gripping the edge of a crib. Both are outdoors with snow on the ground and the same pole in the background. Edra’s birthday was in late March so that would jive with the snow. A couple of my family commented on the previous picture but no photographer was ventured.  Taken together the two pictures capture innocence and growth, change and hope and are lovely mementos to have and share. I call this picture Sweet Dream Baby.

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Happy Birthday Tom Waits

“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.” The genius in the basement turns 62 years old today. Let’s celebrate with Tom’s thoughts!  “Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.” “There ain’t no devil, only God when he’s drunk.” “We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns.” “A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.” “The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.” “I’ve never been a fan of personality-conflict burgers and identity-crisis omelets with patchouli oil. I function very well on a diet that consists of Chicken Catastrophe and Eggs Overwhelming and a tall, cool Janitor-in-a-Drum. I like to walk out of a restaurant with enough gas to open a Mobil station.” “Apparently the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad — ideally naked and purring on the hood of a new car. I have adamantly and repeatedly refused this dubious honor. While the court can’t make me active in radio, I am asking it to make me radioactive to advertisers.” “Commercials are an unnatural use of my work. It’s like having a cow’s udder sewn to the side of my face. Painful and humiliating.” “George Bush is a fan of mine, he came to see me in the Seventies. His coke dealer brought him.” “The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.” Watch Satisfied from Tom’s new CD Bad As Me.

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Happy Birthday e. e. cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings, born this day in 1894, spent most of his lower case life discovering precious stuff like “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” His wild affair with language – poetry, essays, novels, plays – gave us a new perspective on ourselves and our time. Getting into e. e.’s head: “Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” and “A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man.” and “A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.” and “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” and “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” and “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” Not dead/Dead since September 3, 1962. I’ll leave you with e. e.’s fitting thought to begin each day, “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” Hear e. e. cummings read Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town.

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Happy Birthday Lenny Bruce

If Lenny Bruce had not been born on this day in 1925, today’s comedy would all be shtick and bullshit. Because of Lenny, today’s comedy is one of the few places you can hear the truth. Here’s more of Lenny’s truth: “Today’s comedian has a cross to bear that he built himself. A comedian of the older generation did an ”act” and he told the audience, ”This is my act.” Today’s comic is not doing an act. The audience assumes he’s telling the truth. What is truth today may be a damn lie next week.” and “Every day, people are straying away from the Church and going back to God.” and “I won’t say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like: What I’m going to be if I grow up.” and “The only truly anonymous donor is the guy who knocks up your daughter.” Not Dead/Dead since August 3, 1966. One last thought from Lenny, “I’ll die young, but it’s like kissing God.” Watch Lenny on stage just before he died or listen to him riff on kids sniffing airplane glue.

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Happy Birthday Mahatma Gandhi

Reporter: “What do you think of Western Civilization?” Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.” This is just one of the thousands of wise thoughts that Mahatma Gandhi shared with the world during his lifetime which began on this day in 1869. Here are more of Gandhi’s thoughts: “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” and “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” and “Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive
possession of no one race or religion.” and “Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it anyway.” and “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” and “Those who know how to think need no teachers.” The truth that Gandhi lived and the inspiration that sprang from his life are encapsulated in one of his best known phrases: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Not dead/Dead since January 31, 1948.

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Happy Birthday Van Morrison

“Being famous was extremely disappointing for me. When I
became famous it was a complete drag and it is still a complete drag.” Aw gee, Van, that’s too bad, buddy. Thanks for all those wonderful years of great tunes though. Sorry it was all such a drag for you. I loved it! Hap, hap, happy b`day anyway, you old sod. Vintage: today 1945. Say something else Van: “I don’t feel comfortable doing interviews. My profession is music, and writing songs. That’s what I do. I like to do it, but I hate to talk about it.” and “I write songs. Then, I record them. And, later, maybe I perform them on stage. That’s what I do. That’s my job. Simple.” and “Music is spiritual. The music business is not.” and “Skiffle was a name that was attached to what was, in essence, American folk music with a beat.” and “You take stuff from different places, and sometimes you stick a line in because it rhymes, not because it makes sense.” Thanks Van. We’ve had a request on the all-Van request line. It reads, “Can you do an incredible funky reggae version of And It Stoned Me from 1980, please. Thanks.” Of course Van can!

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Happy Deathday William S. Burroughs

Although the inevitable occurred on this day in 1997, during his long productive life, William S. Burroughs said many clever things. “Which came first, the intestine or the tapeworm?” “After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager.'” “Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.” “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” “In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.” “Like all pure creatures, cats are practical.” “There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.” More advice from Bill. What’s with deathday?

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Happy Birthday Linda Tooley

I usually list a number of quotes the birthday honouree said. Today, because it’s my love’s 63rd birthday, there is just one Linda quote I want to share with you. I heard it thousands of times during our decades together. It is, “I love you, Reid.” Love you too my Beauty.

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Happy Birthday Marshall McLuhan

Henry Gibson, poet from Laugh-In, wrote eloquently and succinctly about one of Canada’s greatest thinkers. His poem goes: “Marshall McLuhan, what are you doin’?” which summed up most of the world’s reaction to McLuhan’s thoughts. Here are a few random ideas from McLuhan, born one hundred years ago today: “The printing press, the computer, and television are not simply machines which convey information. They are metaphors through which we conceptualize reality in one way or another. They will classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, argue a case for what it is like. Through these media metaphors, we do not see the world as it is. We see it as our coding systems are. Such is the power of the form of information.” “A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion.”  “The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf. Advertising is an environmental striptease for a world of abundance.” “Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it.” “The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.” “Affluence creates poverty.” “Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.” “Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America – not on the battlefields of Vietnam.” “All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” “An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him.” Marshall McLuhan was a future attractor,  a genius whose mind extended far beyond his time and, as a philosophical oracle, was only able to speak the truth. After his death, McLuhan’s influence waned, more accurately it was submerged from the public mind and usurped by corporations who twisted his truth to manipulate the masses for profit. We are immersed in an invisible environment which continuously exploits every aspect of our humanity. McLuhan was the first to point this out.

Marshall McLuhan was born in Edmonton but moved to Winnipeg when he was four years old. The McLuhan family lived at this house, 507 Gertrude Avenue in Winnipeg. McLuhan attended Gladstone School, Earl Grey School, Kelvin Technical School and the University of Manitoba. Not dead/Dead since December 31, 1980. One final thought from the man who truly knew what the human mind is for, “Art is anything you can get away with.”


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Happy Birthday Hunter S. Thompson

On this very day, in 1937, a sage for the ages, a historian of the highest order arose to document the druggy dissolution of America – Hunter Stockton Thompson. He shall now blather at length: “America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.” On Richard Nixon, “The integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.” and “Call on God, but row away from the rocks.” and “If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years,  about 600 people – including me – would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.” and “On some days you just want to beat the living shit out of someone, and then have the cops come and clean them up” and “The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” and “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.” and “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” and “The person who doesn’t scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.” Not Dead/Dead since February 20, 2005. Thanks Hunter.  Here’s part one of Hunter in The Crazy Never Die.

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Happy Birthday Pete Townshend

Truly one of the great British bisexual guitarists who transcended that category and gave us a long jangly sequence of riffs we have mentally hummed and thrummed for decades.  What does Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend, born this day in 1945, think about stuff? “Early British pop was helped tremendously by the writing of Bob Dylan who had proved you could write about political and quite controversial subjects. Certainly what we did followed on from what was happening with the angry young men in the theatre.” and “He is the king. If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I would have never picked up a guitar.” and “I have terrible hearing trouble. I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal proponents deaf.” and “I know how it feels to be a woman because I am a woman. And I won’t be classified as just a man.” Pete does suffer from deafness, an occupational hazard of being a Who. The Who, basically Rog and Pete, begin a North American tour this fall, with tickets going on sale today. Their Winnipeg date is November 2. One more quote from Pete to go with the two pictures of him. “We tried not to age, but time had its rage.”

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