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January 2006
January 27th, 2006
Religious Duty

the dianetics and the jehovahs
keep handing me pamphlets
as I wait for the 6
at the bus stop
on 99th

even though I'm tired
I still make the effort

to smile as I accept them
and stuff them down the front of my pants

January 19th, 2006
Unlikely Scenarios Continued

It seems that Mr. Trent Wilkie is no longer content verbally fucking with Fringe audiences. He is learning Photoshop so he can fuck with nerds in a visual format. His handiwork is proudly featured above.

The intrigue over the two scenarios continues to build, as people ask themselves:

• Who took the photo?

• Who is the mysterious man in the photo (in the white circle)?

• Why is he bent over like that?

• Could that be Adam Cranberry? If so, why wasn't he mentioned? Do he and Mingus Tourette still hate each other?

• Does the blogger that claims to have purchased a copy of nunt from Chapters actually exist, or did Mingus Tourette create that entire blog as a red herring?

• Could the original photo be a Photoshop composite?

• Is this photo a result of a third scenario, as outlined by commentor The Only Lorry, who opined that "Through sheer force of will, Mingus caused the entire Young Readers section of Chapters to became copies of Nunt for one hour."

• If I win this contest, will I really win a copy of Akira? And do I want it in VHS format? Or is this just a trick, and I will end up somewhere in North Virginia with nothing but a bottle of Jack Daniels, caressing Il Duce?

• How long will it take for Rahim Jaffer's staffers to google his name, reach this site, read the words "Boning Fellow MP Helena Guergis" or "Girlfriend Vomits in Lap As A Result" and "Freak the Hell Out"?

• Why is web traffic higher today than it has been for six weeks?

• How do I feel about Il Duce?

January 16th, 2006
You Be The Judge - Two Unlikely Scenarios

Let's play a game. The rules are: you look at the picture above, and decide which of the following scenarios is more likely. One of them is definitely true:

Scenario A.
To celebrate Sweaty Charles' recent release from the corrective facility, Mingus Tourette rounds up Marvin Gander and Terrible John to take Mr. Charles out for an afternoon of draught beer and chicken wings. After a few drinks, some boisterous conversation about the good old days of Breastfish, and some old fashioned school-yard dares; the fellahs walk into Chapters on a Saturday evening with eight books stuffed into each of their coats. They walk up to one of the main displays and move all of the regular books to a nearby table. With surgical precision, they lay out thirty-two (32) copies of nunt on the display, take a couple of photos to document their operation, and evacuate the premises. The 32 copies of this horrifying book await discovery by a confused and trembling bookstore staff.

Scenario B. Sixteen months after its release, the West Edmonton Mall Chapters store somehow decides to order thirty (30) copies of nunt and place them on a prime shelf-end display where they can be seen by the high volume of customers (and their children) that walk past it every day.

A higher res version of the photo, for those who assume I would rather commit Photoshop fraud than actual crimes, is available here.

Good luck. This is a difficult and thankless game. The winners will gain garlands for themselves. The losers will be ridiculed, and possibly, kicked in the groin by a loaded Mingus Tourette the next time they see him. As with the Fake Stag Omerta, there will be no warning.

Go on - best logical explanation or 'proof' wins a VHS copy of Akira! Yeah!

January 13th, 2006
Loco Politics

The big vote is coming up. When I look at my options in my riding, I see a Liberal named Andy, an NDP named Linda and a handsome nine-year veteran incumbent from the Conservatives named Rahim Jaffer.

I get a lot of mail from him. Or rather, I get a lot of mail from his aides. Though it struck me the other day that I couldn't actually name a single thing that he'd done for my riding in his nine years in power. Except for that incident where he got one of his aides to pretend he was Jaffer on the radio. Though apparently, the aide did it without his knowledge. Or, the aide did it with his knowledge, and ate the bullet for the big MP when it backfired. Such would be the benefits of being photogenic, I suppose.

Oh, I guess Jaffer has worked on several "portfolios" and "special joint committees" . And his dad's coffee shop. That's something. But, I don't know if it's enough for me to vote for him.

See, the other day, a very reliable source told me that Mr. Jaffer doesn't actually work that hard. I've often wondered if he gets re-elected around here because people confuse him with our esteemed MLA Raj Pannu. Because I never hear anything about what Jaffer's doing. And then the other day, I heard that Mr. Jaffer hadn't even bothered to show up for a local candidate forum. Which sounded both cocky AND disinterested.

In my book there are few cardinal sins. However, laziness is one of them. The source also mentioned that Rahim Jaffer actually spends most of his time carousing in Ottawa rather than representing my interests. Actually, there was a funny story about that - if you think adultery, liquor and vomit is amusing.

Apparently, not too long ago, Mr. Jaffer was messing around with another MP named Helena Guergis in an Ottawa bar. Jaffer's long time girlfriend found out, caught him, and was so upset that she threw up in his lap.

Sounds like a Mingus Tourette story. And you know what - it would be fine if it was. I mean, that Helena is hot. I should be writing dirty poems about railing her in an Ottawa bar. But, my Member of Parliament should be in his office. Working hard for his money. I like to work hard. And, I think anyone working for me should work hard, and that includes my official representative. He should leave the drinking and womanizing to the poets, and crack open them policy books. Or at least show up for the local debates.

Anyhow. I can't vote for that guy. Good looking, but lazy. So - even though the lefties in my region will split their vote between NDP and Liberal, I got to throw one way or the other. And I got a feeling that the NDP will be closest this time. So I think that's the way I'm leaning.

Yup. Go Linda. All the way baby.

January 9th, 2006
Forty-Nine Solitudes

An infuriatingly accurate article ran in the Edmonton Journal yesterday about national media perception of this province. Some might be tempted to shrug and say - such is the problem with having a national media centred in Toronto.

Question is - why doesn't it change? Why is Toronto's perception of Alberta as follows: Stampede, Hockey, Mall and Oil? Is it all THEIR problem, or is it partially OUR problem? As Buddha might say - perhaps it's both.

On one hand, we certainly play up the cowboy angle. Or at least, Calgary does. Because in many ways, that's their deal. Even their cutting edge theatre festival, as experimental as it is, is called the High Performance Rodeo.

But Edmonton, what does it play up? Even with everything else it has - the festivals, the river valley and an explosively expanding university - over the decades it has played two things: the Mall, and the Oilers. There are big music, poetry, theatre, and cultural scenes that thrive locally, but seem nationally invisible. With literature, the only writers that anyone in Toronto knows are dead or seventy years old. If they ain't Rudy Wiebe or WP Kinsella, they simply ain't. Even established authors who refuse to plough the farm fiction field have a tough time getting their books published.

Perhaps Edmonton's message is finally changing, due in part to a new mayor who seems to understand the value that culture can bring. But these scenes have been here for years. The question is - will Toronto, or the national media, pick up on it? And if they do, how long will it take?

Hugh MacLennan wrote about our two national solitudes - the French and English, but it's more schismatic than that. We've got dozens: The THC BC, The Prairies, The North, The Maritimes, The Quebec, all the solitudes within each of those, and of course, The Media Centre Known As T-Dot. Pat Carroll, a poet who's lived all over the country in order to discover it, once said, "It's a country of pockets; just different pockets of people living their lives without ever intersecting with the next pocket. That's us." So perhaps it's the geographical nature of the country, but when is that going to change? These are the halycon days of instant messaging, email and web phones. Surely the gaps are no longer so wide. Or are they?

And if the situation doesn't change, should an artist who is hell-bent on writing for a living stay in Edmonton and pound his head against the black walls of Toronto? Or, should he move to the place where everything happens? Because, though it drives me nuts, nothing guarantees success for a local artist like succeeding in Toronto.

The best example of this that I've seen for years came just before Christmas. Wunderkind rapper & producer Cadence Weapon put out his album Breaking Kayfabe earlier this year. He caught a four star review in the Globe & Mail & NowToronto on December 9th. By December 15th, he had big fat articles in The Edmonton Journal and Vue Weekly. By December 22nd, he was on the cover of See Magazine.

What else do I have to say?

Maybe there's something that I don't know, but to an average news reader, it looks like he broke in Torontosaurus Rex, and Edmonton immediately scrambled on board. The worst moment in following the story was the Vue Weekly review which stated "I might be mistaken, but I’m pretty confident that Cadence Weapon’s hometown shout-out anthem 'Oliver Square' may be the first and only time our fair city has been mentioned in a rap song." Honestly - whoever wrote that should not be reviewing rap albums in Edmonton.

Personally, I think it's terrific for Mr. Weapon. I hope he gets a fuckload out of it and skips the day-job stage and cuts right to living as a full time producer & hiphop artist. Also, I hope the Edmonton hiphop scene prospers because of it. There are a lot of fellahs here that have been working hard for years, like DGC (who have their own review of the album circa June 2005), and they deserve the break.

Just like a whole lot of E-Ville artists - hiphop, literary, or otherwise.

Question is, will it ever come? Or perhaps the better question is: will it ever come while we're living outside The Big Smoke, looking in?

January 6th, 2006
a step and a whirling spire

three days ago
I ate a tin of oysters
that I later discovered
expired in 1999

only now
am I climbing out of the fever

but barring the vomiting and sweating and shaking
it has not been a bad time in the cave

I have not seen as many old friends
in one place
since my third wedding

Gander was there
and said

that pink book is a pillar of salt
and so is she

stood white and hard
in the corner
saying nothing

asked me out for breakfast
down in grey forested limbo

said she hated me
and my pale lips


I don't even hate you

i pity you
to have to

live with you

and curled her lips
as she spoke
which made me shiver

but my old bookbinder
perched there
on his black chair

and said

you knew it was time to
start walking again

this ironshod city
with her collar of rust
is starting to flake
and burrow under your skin

so crack it off and start moving

you great stupid pipemoth
you terrible wandering fool

and when I woke
I clutched long strands of hair
in my fist
and gasped for breath
and saw nothing

but the cracking ceiling
and ravens
chasing sundogs
howling across the sky

But What Happened Last Week? By God, Find Out Here!