Ninja defends Buck Angeland Madge defends Dave Chapelle . Madge doesn’t see the point of fanning the flames of the culture wars. Ninja frets about her powerlessness over the existential threats facing humanity. Those threats include AI, climate change, and nuclear destruction. Madge imagines in a thought experiment that she could be the only conscious being in the universe. We discuss the ethics of using AI to create a show where Joe Rogan interviews Madge. Madge likes that idea and asserts that we could use AI to subvert the messages of Donald Trump. Check out the Madge’s version of this show at YR1609.
At the end of January, Special K and I went to the Toronto Tea Festival. The last time we were there was February 2020. It’s the first time it has been held since the pandemic started. Speaking of the pandemic, we are still in it as I post this episode in February 2023. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since the pandemic was declared, but here we are. I know, you possibly think it’s over. Maybe you’re not wearing a mask anymore. Anywhere. Well, I still am. Everywhere I go. Five vaccine shots and one Covid infection later, I am still wearing my mask. It was no different going to the tea festival. The venue was very small. And quite crowded. Everyone there wanted to taste the best teas the world has to offer. So, with the few exceptions where I tasted tea and talked to vendors, Special K and I kept our masks on. The festival has been held annually except for 2021 and 2022 since, well, sources differ on when it first started, but it might have been 2014. It is set up in what I think is too small a space for the number of people who attend, in the Toronto Reference Library steps from one of the most famous intersections in Toronto – Yonge and Bloor.
There were a total of 41 vendors at the festival and I started my journey at table 41 Daniel’s Chai Bar. Daniel has even served tea to HRH King Charles III. I asked him to share a few words for ninjaradio and then moved on to talk with Isabelle and Nickola who have what I can only describe as the smoothest teas I have ever tasted. A more frothy mellow matcha latte I have never had.
We then headed over to the David’s Tea booth where we chatted for a long time with Nadia, the Director of Sustainability for the company. We were rather intrigued that a Tea company would have such a position defined. But they are committed to fair trade and eco-responsibility. They have a partnership with Teahorse.ca, a women led indigenous owned company out of Thunder Bay. The featured tea from this partnership is Manoomin Maple. Manoomin is Ojibway for Wild Rice. 10% of the proceeds of their maple tea will go towards the David Suzuki Institute to support Indigenous communities.
Finally, we tested the award winning Cream of Earl Grey at Blink Tea, where I had a chat with the President, Michael Prini. It is astounding how many different types of tea there are and the history and rituals that surround them. I’ve put some links in the show notes if you want to explore further. Have a listen here to my conversations with experts in the field. Enjoy the show.
When Special K and I stepped into the AGO in Sep 2022, the dulcet tones of Jónsi, the Icelandic artist and singer/guitarist for the band Sigur Rós, reverberated in the hall. Drawn onward by the music I listened and poked my head into the dark room. The exhibit is called Obsidian in English and Hrafntinna (Hrawftinna) in Icelandic. The piece I was about to see is inspired by a volcanic eruption in 2021. The text panel says that Jónsi ’s, “…work in the visual arts draws on the genre-blurring atmospheric effects of his music.” In this installation, Jónsi “…imagines the sensation of being inside a volcano…” Also on the panel is a description of the installation: “A single circular light stands in for the summit of the volcano. A sixteen-channel audio composition resonates through 195 speakers; a sweet and smoky scent fills the air…” In bold, the panel warns the participant that it features low lighting [which did take a few minutes to adjust to], scents, sound reverberations and occasional flashing lights. Visitors should exercise caution.” It’s described on another panel as a “…sound installation…” with “…chandelier, speakers, subwoofers, carpet, and fossilized amber scent.”
I take issue with the term “visitor”. It is too immersive an experience to not be a participant. I’m hoping my audio keeps to the spirit of what my experience was. Let me explain further. There is a video on the Art Gallery of Ontario website about the exhibit. The audio in that video is very different from what I actually recorded. The promotional video no doubt used many mics and professional mixing to convey the aural message the artist wanted. I love the sound on that video – of course- it’s Jónsi , but I like the sound my Zoom audio recorder captured too. I lay back on a carpeted circular platform that others were laying back on, listening, watching the light show, and smelling the smoky scent. The only mics were on my two ears in a particular position in the room. As a participant, I felt the reverberations directly. I hope the audio I captured achieves something close to that same experience, if you listen to it in a relaxed quiet location with headphones. You might just feel the rumble and explosions of the volcano. You will hear what I heard, from my vantage point, using binaural earbuds, albeit, rendered digital.
If you live in Toronto, or even if you don’t, I recommend this installation. I can only provide an audio interpretation of what I experienced, and sound is only one aspect of it. Missing is the darkness that surrounds the participants, the amber scent that evokes ash and fire, the sensations of a moving earth, and the light above, sometimes dark, sometimes bright, sometimes flashing. We were after all, supposed to be inside the belly of the volcano. It’s not clear when the exhibition leaves the Art Gallery of Ontario. You’ll have to check the AGO website for that.
Distracting myself from the end of the world, I do some gardening. Famous anti-semitic poets mentioned: T.S. Eliot. Apparently his anti-semitism is a matter of debate so I can no longer say for sure that it is so. Other subjects broached: Autism, rescue dogs, removing suckers from the pear tree, how long the 1918 pandemic lasted for, a rolling stone gathers no moss, dandelion pulling, up by the roots. Keep some to attract bees, not leaving cars sitting for long periods of time, gas prices, flying ants, Japanese knotweed, the dangers of raccoon poo to your health, smoke trees, hot tamales.
I may know some things about gardening, but all the same, fact check me.
Listen to the episode below (HotFRM 238 137mb 59m51s)
More depressing discussion about the end of the world. The beautiful people of Tik Tok. Boostagrams. Premptive Strikes. Abortion. Building love into robots. Deep talk about the consciousness of biological beings. Trying to simulate life on earth. The impossibility of humans to think in terms of deep time. Retirement. Overnight Chia.
It took Jowi Taylor 11 years to collect the pieces and create “Voyageur”, the Six-String Nation guitar. It was made from 64 individual artifacts modern and ancient. Each tell a story from the history of Canada. A piece from former Prime Minister Trudeau’s canoe paddle, wood from the sacred albino spruce, (also known as the golden spruce), of the Haida First Nation people, the top of Wayne Gretzky’s hockey stick, part of the cabin of a former S. Carolina slave John Ware, a piece of the handle from a championship oyster-shucking knife, and many more objects adorn and make up this guitar. Jowi calls it a living museum because he invites people to touch it, photograph it, and of course play it.
Photo By Ninja
This episode of Hot Fossils is an homage to this living piece of history, this unique method of telling 64 wonderful stories. Jowi Taylor gave the keynote address at this year’s Podcasters Across Borders. I attended the weekend of June 21st. After the keynote, Jay Moonah was invited up to play the guitar. My show today opens with Jay and Bob Goyetche playing “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Lennon and McCartney, followed by the question period. I have edited out portions of the question period in order to focus on the story of the guitar itself.
After the question period, I talk to Jowi and he describes additional pieces that make up the guitar case. For those of you interested in obscure and not so obscure Canadian lore, you’ll find out about the fun fur that lines the case, pieces of the costume that Karen Kain wore during the ballet Sleeping Beauty and material from the sportcaster Don Cherry’s pants. You can read all about the six-string nation guitar project at the site sixstringnation.com.
On a rainy, miserable weekend because they can do little outside work, Ninja and Special K conduct a painting proof of concept in the basement that also includes the art of putting Muskoka chairs together. They debate whether Adirondack, Muskoka and Cape Cod Chairs are all the same or not. Ninja finds proof in Wikipedia that they might be, but Special K is certain they are all slightly different. Ninja promises her partner that there will be no podcasting this weekend, but can’t quite stick with it.
Joan comes to a podcaster’s meetup and starts asking questions that everyone wants to answer yet digresses from.Revealed: What is it about podcasting that makes us want to spend hours and hours editing?Podcasting is about passion.We discuss the intimacy of podcasting, lattes, beer, and subjectivity.Sean admits he can listen to a knitting podcast and be thoroughly engaged.And challenges us to listen to his podcast about songwriting at Ductape Guy.
We learn that podcasters are communists, anarchists, members of knitting cults, hobbyists, navel gazers, former hippies, and most important of all: communitists – a new word coined by Joan.(Later that evening Katherine comes up with the verb form:communitize).Scarborough Dude swears a lot and then Joan swears back.So listen to this MetaCast with Sean, Katherine, Ken, Daniel, Rob, John, Valerie and others.