Edible Language

Reprinted from C-Arts Magazine (April 2010).

A long long time ago, in a land far far away, I ran a gallery that had a philosophy of integrating art and life. Gaya (in Bali) includes a restaurant and, after I left, added a gelateria. I love gelato, mostly because it comes in hazelnut. “Ice cream” doesn’t come in hazelnut. It comes in double-caramel-fudge marshmallow rocky road, chunky monkey, or whatever flavor can stuff the most chocolate, nuts, and other goodies into an ice cream bucket. The more explosions, the better the ice cream. Like a Hollywood movie.

On most days I’ll take Taxi Driver over Tarkovksy’s two-hour landscape pans, and, similarly, I’ll usually take a Brooklyn pizza over its poor Italian beta version (do I dare wax poetic about the lasagna pizza at Broadway and North 7th, run by Mexicans, a full lasagna on top of a pizza, or would that kill what little is left of my credibility?) But ice cream’s not pizza. There’s something about the purity of a hazelnut gelato that trumps the multidimensional density-whorls of New York Super Fudge Chunk.

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The manly man’s mushroom diet

The manly man's mushroom diet

Or…How I Beat Candida and Incidentally Lost 60 Pounds

As a manly man, it’s a bit shameful to admit you count anything, let alone something as vain as carbs or calories. In reality, a manly man has many layers. On the surface, it’s important to pretend you can’t count anything. You face what comes, whether it’s the next beer or the next opponent, without worrying about long-term issues like being outnumbered or running out of beer. Under that surface, a manly man is highly intelligent, of course, and understands exactly what’s going on — it’s only for honour’s sake that he doesn’t allow himself to access that information.

Still, even a manly man eats. And that eating includes choices. As the author of The Ugly, I tried for a long time to keep my body as close to that of Muzhduk’s as I could. I was unable to reach 300 lbs, but so long as I was over 260, with enough muscle to perform parlour tricks like lifting Honda Civics, I was happy.

Then something happened that dropped me down to 205. I lost most of my body fat while retaining all my lean muscle mass. To my chagrin, I can now count eight individual muscles in my abdomen. The good news is I haven’t lost strength. The bad news is that now I look, well, thin.

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Among the things the 3rd world does far better than the West…

Among the things the 3rd world does far better than the West...

Reuters is reporting that “Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.”

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Motorcycles and Authenticity

Motorcycles and Authenticity

A response of sorts to Stanley Fish’s column, Fathers, Sons and Motorcycles.

I have never in my life had a sentimental attachment to an object — I’ve never spent more than four years of my life in one city, and leave objects behind constantly. But then I bought my motorcycle.


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The Age of Big Partner

The Age of Big Partner

You know that the age of big brother, or big spouse, is truly here when no-fee and no-registration websites spring up for the purpose of tracking your partner. I’m not going to embed this link, because the URL says it all: http://www.trackapartner.com/

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Gross negligence

Gross negligence

So David Bennett lost his 77lb bag of lizard poop. “To some people it might have been just a bag of lizard shit, but to me it represented seven years of painstaking work searching the rainforest with a team of reformed poachers to find the faeces of one of the world’s largest, rarest and most mysterious lizards.” Continue reading Gross negligence

The drawbacks of atheism

The drawbacks of atheism

So far I’ve found three downsides to atheism besides the obvious, if cynical, problems with being on the losing end of Pascal’s wager:

1. Nobody to talk to during sex.

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I’ve counted 14 colonies of ants attacking simultaneously. Tens of thousands have died, but they keep coming. Continue reading Ants!

Porters, Rebellion and Regicide

Reprinted from The Globe and Mail (June 2001), where it appeared as Red Flag Rising over Nepal.

Six centuries of smoldering antagonism exploded into flames Saturday nigh, says Canadian writer Alexander Boldizar in Bali.

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Suklu: Reading Objects

Reading Objects, in Gaya Art News (July 2008)

Reading Objects, in Gaya Art News (July 2008)

Reprinted from Gaya Art News (July 2008).

“His spirit moves in the rhythm of things. It is thus that art becomes akin to religion and ennobles mankind.” – Okakura Kazue, The Book of Tea (1906)

If Suklu were a peanut, he would not be one of those peanuts that forgets its skin. “I want to be a farmer,” he says. “I want a farmer’s way of responding to materials and objects.”

Not a farmer from 2008, but rather one of the ancient ones, perhaps half-mythical, perhaps real. One of the farmers who made art in the everyday-sculptures in the form of scarecrows; landscaped rice terraces; sculpted ladles and plates and bowls and water scoops out of coconuts, tongs out of bamboo, or cheese graters from duri plants; complex installations out of wind-powered soundmakers; or performance art within Bali’s religious-animist ceremonies.

The dominant characteristics to Suklu’s work-a sense of purity and a rootedness of the work within Bali-make it awkward, artificial, to graft an exogenous analysis or philosophical framework onto it. A perfect review of his work might not include any names other than Suklu, Bali, and the farmer. But Suklu’s work is also such a rare living example of Heidegger’s concepts of authenticity and groundedness, not to mention his postwar agrarian nostalgia, that leaving out the comparison would be a disservice to both.

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