Stop the world, I want to get off

Sometimes the world we live in seems seriously messed up

I sometimes wonder if our planet is the asylum of the

universe for disordered minds.

— Goethe



Ever get the feeling you’ve been shanghaied into showing up at the wrong cocktail party? Or perhaps downloaded onto the wrong planet?

It’s the little jarring signs, such as finding yourself living next to a nation which is in the process of selecting candidates for Supreme Leader — and the contenders are as bizarre a collection of nutbars, fruitcakes, Flat Earthers and tin pot fascists as you could find this side of the bar scene in Star Wars.

Or hearing the news that baseball fans lined up to pay $250 a pop for a half-ounce of clay taken from the baseball diamond where Derek Jeter got his 3,000th major league hit last summer. Other mementoes from that game available for purchase: 30 baseballs used during the game ($2,000 each); first, second and third base ($7,500 per bag) and one pair of Jeter’s sweaty socks ($1,000 — all prices US, no HST).

How about the results of that survey conducted by London’s Museum of Science last month?  It asked 3,000 Britons to list things they absolutely could not live without.

According to science, the correct answers are: air, water, food, sleep and sex. According to the British survey results air, sleep and sex don’t even make the top ten. Four absolute indispensables that do: the mobile phone, Internet connection, email and Facebook.

No wonder increasing numbers of citizens can be seen jaywalking down the streets staring off into space and jabbering to themselves like lunatics.

Oh, sorry.  Those are Bluetooth customers. First time I saw a guy decked out in a Bluetooth earpiece in a restaurant I thought I was witnessing the victim of a hideously botched plastic surgery experiment.   The gizmo gives off a whiff of robot and always struck me as the ultimate in ubergeekdom, but hey, I’ve still got vinyl records, so what do I know?

Speaking of whiffs, are you familiar with the work of Christopher Brosius?  No?

Where have you been, child?  Brosius is a New York parfumier — he manufactures perfumes. He’s come up with some doozies, alright. Brosius specializes in fragrances that invoke memories of childhood — hence his offering of phials and atomizers that dispense scents of Green Bean, Baseball Glove and (my favourite) Clean Baby Butt.

But that’s minor league stuff for Brosius. Like a psychic bloodhound he’s got his nose high in the air sniffing the next perfume frontier.  A perfume so subtle, so evanescent, so exclusive … that no one will be able to smell it. He’s already got a name: “Where We Are There Is No Here.” Perfect. Especially for a perfume maker with a website called “I Hate Perfume.”

I think I might have managed to hang on to my few remaining marbles had I not come across another news story. DYLAN TAKING UP THE PIPES the headline reads. Oh, please, god — no. Bob Dylan and the Scottish bagpipes? The Marquis de Sade couldn’t have thought that up.

As a man with an impeccable Scottish pedigree (Clan Macgregor) and a mouldy collection of Bob Dylan’s first LPs let me declare my bias right up front: I think Dylan wrote some of the best popular music of the twentieth century — but he hasn’t uttered an intelligible lyric in the past 30 years.  Theoretically that makes him a good match for the bagpipes, which when played properly still sound like a hyena being waterboarded.

A French philosopher by the name of Augustus Saint-Gaudens once said: “What garlic is to a salad, insanity is to art.”

Perhaps some day Dylan will write a song about that.

Not that we’ll ever understand him when he sings it.


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