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Todd Rundgren


A few years ago we went to Vietnam for a week.  Started off in Hanoi and loved it there. Moved a bit further afield to Halong bay, and loved it there too! Finished off at the Perfume Pagoda, and came away thinking that I want to return to explore more of the country.

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Just a choice between fear….and love.

After seeing a link that the ‘Dude’ posted on his Facebook page about Zeitgeist Addendum, I watched the movie and felt inspired by the ideas behind the Venus project, led by the amazingly youthful and charismatic  94 year old Jacque Fresco. Although the concepts that make up the Venus project are difficult for middle class kids from the Canadian suburbs to believe, the essential argument for progressive change in society is irrefutable in light of our current state of affairs.

As noted in the Wikipedia article about the Venus project, “Fresco states that for this to work, all of the Earth’s resources must be held as the common heritage of all people and not just a select few; and the practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to the survival of human civilization.

One of the key points in Fresco’s solution is that without the conditions created in a monetary system, vast amounts of resources would not be wasted unproductively. Instead Fresco’s contention is that without the waste of resources on ends that would become irrelevant there would be no scarcity of necessary products such as food and education.”

I find the concept of no scarcity to be astounding. If its true that we have sufficient technology to harness the sun, wind and tides to give us limitless energy resources (the movies strongly suggests this is already true), then the next logical step would be create similar situations in terms of food, shelter, etc.  If man had the wisdom to allow this to happen (instead of greed and scarcity), the future might not be as dismal as it looks now.

My natural tendency was to reject the idea on the basis that doesn’t follow human nature.  But, is greed / selfishness / jealousy intrinsic to everyone, or is it a series  of behaviours that we learn within a particular culture that accepts the notion of scarcity?  If people had everything they needed, would there still be a lot of crime, deviant behavour, etc? Food for thought…

Dicks n’ Janes

Dicks n’ Janes is a podcast hosted by a dear old friend of mine who goes by the name of the “Scarborough Dude’.  The Dude is a very creative and passionate exponent of all things that bring people together, and for several decades was the editor of a paper based ezine that allowed all his old friends to keep track of one another.  With the advances in technology over the past few years, the ‘Dude’ put the zine out to pasture and took up podcasting 271 episodes ago…he describes his show as

A rambling kinda talk about life and all that comes with it, held together with an unusual variety of great music…

and this is an accurate representation of the weekly offering he serves up to his listeners.

Unlike many podcasters who are afraid of controversy, the ‘Dude’ revels in expressing his opinions on every sort of subject, but he usually returns to an even keel by  the end of every show. He is also unusually honest with himself, and is able to see both the good and the not so good in his everyday activities.

Having grown up in the early days of rock and roll, the ‘Dude’ has excellent taste in music and often shares  the various contexts in which he was first exposed to different types of music, ranging from Gordon Lightfoot to Pink Floyd.  However, he is also interested in what’s going on in modern music (he has two teenage sons) and I have become interested in some newer bands like Ween and the like after listening to excellent tracks on DnJ’s.

I met the Dude in University back in the 1980’s and after graduation we both spent considerable time in Japan.  We didn’t get together that often, but when we did, it was almost always memorable, fun and alchohol soaked!  After I returned to pursue further studies back in 1992, we met again at an Education conference in Baltimore and returned to our old ways at various bars, using our time to catch up on long gaps in our experiences over gallons of red ale at the Wharf Rat bar.

As a direct result of that conference, I ended up moving to Singapore in 1994 and have been here ever since. The Dude was back and forth between Canada and Japan for years and ended up settling down in Scarborough, where he’s spent many years raising his family and getting involved in all sorts of community enterprises, including a long stint as President of the Canada-Japan society. Despite his occasional bouts of domestic tranquility, my suspicion is that the Dude is still hungry for more adventures, and will likely seek out new pursuits when the time is right.

So, if you like zen philosophy, beat poetry, stream of consciousness dialogue and great storytelling, you are sure to find his podcast to your liking. I’ve enjoyed every episode, and recommend you start catching up as soon as you can!!

Check out the ‘Dude’ at

Oasis of sanity

When we built our house about seven years ago, my biggest wish was to have a nice spacious balcony where I could stretch out and enjoy some good music while reading or spending time with friends….

Parade in Chiangrai,Thailand

Taken in Summer, 2010….

I was born in a desert…

Captain Beefheart

Don Van Vliet was born Don Glen Vliet in Glendale, California, on January 15, 1941, to Glen Alonzo Vliet, a service station owner of Dutch ancestry from Kansas, and Willie Sue Warfield, who was from Arkansas. He claimed to have an ancestor, Peter Van Vliet, a Dutch painter who knew Rembrandt. Van Vliet also claimed that he was related to adventurer and author Richard Halliburton and the cowboy actor Slim Pickens, and that he remembered being born. He allegedly refused to talk until he was two years old.