Hot Apollo

Toronto's Shiniest Rock-and-Roll Band

Mutant Material

I've got to assume that mutants in the Marvel universe would have started up their own sperm banks and stuff at some point. Right? In the real world, blood banks still seem reluctant to accept gay blood. Oh. I'm sorry. That should be "blood that had had sex with a man in the last two years". Or whatever nonsense equivocation current regulations use.

But yeah. I'd think that mutant genetic material would be a harder sell. But I'm sure that there are many mutants who can see the value their genes would have for the overall health of their species despite their unwillingness to actually have kids. Especially because the more powerful ones have a higher tendency to get drawn into situations that would raise their life insurance premiums.

And that's not even mentioning the hordes of base humans who'd be lining up to carry genetically gifted babies. It'd be a brisk business. Doctor Nemesis probably runs it in his spare time. Maybe with Cecilia Reyes's eyes over his shoulder.

Find me a dude who makes surgical gloves look more epic.

 Bonus Question!  Best gloves worn by a doctor?  Doctor Strange's leopard style, boy!

Bonus Question!

Best gloves worn by a doctor?

Doctor Strange's leopard style, boy!


Psalm for a Solstice

Solstitial shakes and Samhain shivers

Ripple out on distant rivers.

Rumblings of the season's stride

Make quakes on Gaia's lumpen hide.

Seisms seize the torn terrain

And crack it with ecstatic strain.

Signs of winter's coming pall

Stir to quicken gloaming's fall.

The timbre of a growing breeze

Lowers fore the waiting freeze.

The sounds it carries slow and glower.

What once was frantic now is dour.

A muddled message they convey

In nervous dirge and hazy lay.

The tidal rise of that refrain

Reaches peak as summer's slain.

Ape Metal

Last night's dream featured Tarzan's decision to leave the jungle and move to the city to sing rock-and-roll. The song he recorded when he got there was "Move to the City". Because he turned into Axl Rose when he got there. All of that was in the dream, but I'm only  now realising that it makes sense for Tarzan to be the one to write "Welcome to the Jungle" too. 

Bonus Question!

This reminds me that Brendan "George of the Jungle" Fraser could play a great David Lee Roth.  

Incel in a Cell

Is "Gotham" back yet?

It's weird. With his insecurity and stubborn, nonsensical feeling that he's deserving of love from the object of his desire, the show's version of Riddler seems like the type of guy who's right on the verge of trying to become a pickup artist, and the comic incarnation of the character already looks like one. It's far too easy to imagine him saying things like "Let me be the answer to the riddle that is you."



Bonus Question!

Thing that isn't quite a coincidence but should be?

In the 90s, Marlon Wayans was supposed to play Robin. In the following decade, Grant Morrison created a new Robin for the comics named Damian Wayne. Today I wondered if that was supposed to reference Damon Wayans because it feels like the sort of thing Grant would do if Damon had been the Wayans to play Robin. But then I realised that Marlon was the one. So whatever. At least I don't have to be curious about it now.


Crazy Rich Ellens

Did I tell you about that woman in the mall who came up to me a few months ago because she thought that I was Ellen Degeneres?

I just watched "Crazy Rich Asians", and there's a character who gets likened to an Asian Ellen near the beginning. Then at the end, she's wearing the exact jacket I was wearing in my Ellen anecdote.

That's it. It just struck me. That's all.

Also, I haven't been in such a crowded theatre since I saw "Infinity War" on the Saturday afternoon of its opening weekend. Despite the fact that this film's been out for weeks, it was still packed to a similar level.  


Bonus Question!

Prettiest thing in the movie that wasn't my jacket?

That emerald ring was pretty nice. It's not really my kind of cut, but I liked the depth of colour.


Some guy came up to me in an EB Games on the weekend and asked to take a picture with me because he recognised me from finding my music on Spotify. But I think that the only image of me on Spotify is the cover picture of my chest tattoo. So yeah. My chest is iconic.


Bonus Question!

Best thing I saw in EB Games?

A Boba Fett Nerf gun with a mask.

Duke of Show

Oh, my days. That show at The Duke. Our drummer was out of town, and the bassist and I looked for substitutes separately. I got some offers, but when bass man Shaheen said that he had a friend, I thought that that'd be the most elegant solution. He came over to practice with the two of us on the Thursday night before the show, and all seemed primed for a  smooth performance. On Friday around noon, I get a call from a private number in response to the Craigslist post I'd made for the drummer search. I tell the guy that the position's been filled and think nothing more on it until the following hour when Shaheen tells me that his friend has chagrined him by backing out. I can't call the last guy back because the number's private. I get in touch with the first guy who'd offered in the previous week, and he responds around 5:00. But he's excited, and he says that he can make it to our practice place by 6:45 from his base in Oakville. And he drives, which means that I won't have to pay for multiple 20-minute Uber van trips to transport all our drum stuff. However, I'm still dealing with the fact that my voice inexplicably started to get hoarse at Thursday's practice. It's  not generally a thing that happens to me. When we get to the venue, I can barely speak, and I'm  not supremely confident in my ability to get through the whole set. But whatever! We sit through two bands, which gives my throat some rest. When it's time to set up, we can't find my snare drum stand and assume that we've left it at my place. We borrow one from another band, who also lends a bass amplifier because the venue isn't equipped to allow direct input from the bass, which has historically been the norm. I make it through the set, and it's a good one. Though I announced my voice troubles, I'm told that it wasn't noticeable. We pack up and drop things off at my place, where we realise that the snare drum is still missing. We talk to the organiser and the other bands. We even drive back to the venue. No sign of it.

On Saturday, I can't really speak at all, which I expected before the show even started, and I go out to buy a  new snare stand. But I'm still probably ahead of the game because I didn't have to pay for those long Uber van rides. And  that drummer's a solid dude. Perhaps we'll jam again.

So yeah. Good times. And I mean that.


Bonus Question!

Best duke?



I Love You, Naomi

What is with  Naomi Novik? I remember having a fondness for "Uprooted", her take on the Beauty-Beast motif, but I don't really recall the specifics of that attraction. I recently learned that she put out a follow-up, "Spinning Silver", which takes loose inspiration from the Rumpelstiltskin tale. I put it on hold on my library app, and when it came up, I thought "Well, am I really going to like this? Did I really like the previous novel that much? Will it not be too dour? Maybe I can just read a chapter or two to be sure that it's  not for me before I move on the next thing on my list." But I couldn't stop. I don't really understand. It's as though I like it for no reason. But I do like it. I don't want to stop. The prose just flows into me.

Listen. I'm a guy who can enjoy a good glass of water. For years, it was the only thing I drank for six days of the week. Very recently, that's changed slightly because my trainer prescribed protein shakes. But water's still the main. However, I'm aware that this enjoyment is not universal. But still. You might think that you don't like water, and that might generally be accurate, but you're still capable of finding yourself in a situation where the need for hydration turns the dullest potation into pleasure. Then you're standing at the faucet for minutes on end and gulping down dihydrogen monoxide with glee. You might not be able to place the cause of your delight, but you feel it nonetheless.

This seems to be my experience with Naomi Novik's "Spinning Silver".

Bonus Question!

Rumpelstiltskin versus Beast!

Beast if he lands the first hit.

Feeling Fantastic

I just read the first actual Fantastic Four comic that Marvel's put out in ages. Apparently, it was released with consideration for an anniversary of their first appearance? Which made me think about the story I heard about Stan Lee's impetus to create the group.

He had this uncle or something who knew that Stan's comic business wasn't doing too well. Stan didn't think that he could keep going much longer. Mr Uncle-or-whatever comes and says "Hey, Stanley. Those DC dudes . . . " I'm probably paraphrasing. But.

"Those DC dudes are killing it with their Justice League mag. Whole team of heroes. That's what sells, m'boy. Making all the dusty dollar bills. Why don't you make one of those super teams?"

And he did. In a way. But the Justice League's popularity owed something to the prominence of the heroes that composed the team. It starred DC's greatest hits, who were already firmly established. By that point, some had been around for decades. Stan Lee's response, the Fantastic Four, were completely new. They weren't building on anything. But they still exploded. They basically built the foundation for the modern Marvel universe.

Today, people criticise DC for making a Justice League movie that hasn't earned its existence as Marvel's Avengers film did with years of solo movies for the team's major figures. It's the reverse situation. And the creation of the Fantastic Four belies those criticisms. It doesn't matter how you put the thing out there if what you put out there is good.

And that's an argument I won't take further around Justice League because my ability to objectively judge the quality of entertainment is firmly dubious. That's avowed.

But hey. I did like that movie.

Bonus Question!

Which Beatle would provide the best company for Ben Grimm?

My first instinct was George Harrison, but I think that Ringo's tastes would be more compatible with Ben's.

Last Week's Weirdness

Do you ever have one of those days where one of your guitarists is in Ireland and the other sprained his wrist on the day of your show, forcing you to play guitar onstage for the first time in ages instead of just singing and prancing around like a caffeinated rabbit? That was last week's show. And it turned out to be a pretty good one.

Also, the venue reminded me of some imagining of Miami in the 80s. The summer's evening sun helped with that. 


Bonus Question!

Best song about Miami?


I don't know if it's the best, but the first one I remember was Will Smith's. It was on some compilation album I had in third grade. 

An Untried Triad

I fought off the words that rose to my lips

Whenever I felt your embrace.

It felt strange to contain, but it spared all the pain

That the phrase would have brought to your face.

It's a sentence all know, but I kept it below,

For such things aren't accepted in haste.

It's the truth I believe, but it's not one received

Without risk of creating a waste.

I disguised it in song where it wouldn't go wrong.

It belonged far away from your eyes.

But all that's in the rear, and now there's no fear

To be clear where it wouldn't be wise.

The feeling's too vast to forget when it's passed,

But it's not to be said when it's new.

As the last bell has tolled for the memory I hold,

I can finally say it to you.

Third Eye Anxiety

You know that origin story about Ganesha's elephant head? Little guy was a pretty normal little god baby, and Parvati was a proud mother. But Daddy Shiva was standing there, and he didn't know how to be a parent at all. Dude was a volatile force of cosmic artistry. What did he know about raising babes? Speaking as someone who isn't a father, I can relate.

He was just standing there and looking at his newborn son, getting more stressed by the moment. That stress built up and reflexively shot forth in a gout of flame from Shiva's third eye, blowing Ganesha's human head off. At Parvati's understandable panic, Shiv got flustered and found the nearest animal head to fix his son's accidental decapitation. Ganesh grew into it.

But anyway. That's basically how that kind of obsessive anxiety thing I do sometimes feels when it manifests. Apart from the elephant part. I'm focusing on a thing. The thing and the type of attention don't even matter. Maybe I'm just looking at my hair. Then that third eye opens up, envisions a problem that might not even have a trace of actual existence, and blows it right up into a catastrophe.

Sometimes dancing helps. Maybe that's why Shiva took it up.


Bonus Question!

Shiva's known as the destroyer and the transformer. What are your favourite things to destroy and transform into?

Myself in both cases.


Jeffrassic Goldpark

I'm watching the new Jurassic movie, and this is the main thing I'm realising. If Disney buys Fox and decides to make a live action Simpsons movie because they can, Chris Pratt is a total lock to play Snake.

Cast the rest as you will. That's always fun.

Also, when I was watching the previous one, I kept waiting for Jeff Goldblum to show up. And now he does. Very yay.

I remember getting even more annoyed at his absence in the third movie when Bland Cowboy Hat Scientist actually said that they should've brought Ian Malcolm instead because they were on the island he knew.

He could have been in this one more, but at least he got to deliver the title drop.

Bonus Question!

Ian Malcolm versus Tony Stark! Rock star mathematician versus rock star industrialist! Who's better in a senate hearing?

Goldblum stayed on message more. That gives him the win. Probably?

Both wear leather jackets pretty well though.


Rainy Day Hotel

 "Hotel Artemis" was the madcap cartoon cyberpunk adventure I hadn't even considered. I can respect "Blade Runner", but I never got into it, and the genre doesn't have a direct route to my heart. I can appreciate its aesthetics, and I'll enjoy a good story that utilises its trappings, but it's not a draw by itself. But Jeff Goldblum is. And there was a bit of a lull in attractive releases for me outside of opening weekend blockbusters that can wait.

So! This! And it was even a suitably rainy day. And Charlie Day! That was a pleasant surprise. For a moment, his character looked like Danny McBride, which would have been a pleasant surprise too.

Bonus Question!

Charlie Day versus rainy day!

Charles's boundless enthusiasm cannot be dowsed.

Global Village Messtival

This June marked my band's third performance at the annual Global Village Festival at Mel Lastman Square, and in the hour before it, I was wondering if it would be the first one to go poorly. Right as Peter, the lead guitarist, was arriving at my door to ride up with me for early setup, I get a message from my former bassist, who was supposed to make this his last show with us. Because he didn't give himself enough time to account for the construction by his house, he doesn't think that he'll be able to make it to the festival by our planned arrival time. He doesn't even think that an attempt to get there by our stage time would be worth it. Earlier in the week, I'd told his replacement not to bother coming because this guy would be there. But then  he wasn't. I texted the replacement but got no response. I bring the bass anyway. Maybe our drummer can play it? I could drum and sing . . . It's less of a show when I'm in the back though. Then it starts to rain as we're journeying up.

As we approach the festival grounds, I get a response from the replacement: "I'll be there." Not even saying that he'll try. This is around a half hour before we're meant to start, and this guy is making a promise. He even has time to shower before he runs over from the subway station. In that time, the rain abates, and we have the best time we've ever had at this event.

Against the odds because we're gods.


Bonus Question!

Best bassist?

The new one!

Jord Sinatrason


I was just shown this video of Jordan Peterson by an acquaintance who has a fair taste for ridiculing the dude. I can understand that, but I'm struck by the clothing choice here.

Is that outfit supposed to be his interpretation of classic 50s business father? Because it looks more like some peacock pickup artist's Saturday attire borne out of a distorted Sinatra inspiration. It doesn't really seem on brand for Peterson, but it's fitting enough for the whole Peterson cult to look like the type of idol they'd build in a shrine to him. You know. After he's dead and open to the warping influence of future generations' interpretations. Like the Peterson equivalent of Hollywood Surfer Jesus.


Bonus Question!

Best surfing messiah?


Norrin Radd. 



Feeling The Beets

I've been watching "Doug" for the last bunch of weeks. I never really watched it in childhood, but it's basically my current  breakfast cartoon. From the start, I was liking the music of the fictional band that plays a side role in the show. I can get quite fixated on fictional music. It really does tend to be pretty good. As I'm writing this, I'm wondering if it's in part because the writers generally only have to make a few songs instead of composing albums at a time? Easier to be consistent in low amounts? And there's also there's also the idea that the songs can  often be distillations of a style instead of examples of it. Devo even said that Weird Al's "Dare to be Stupid" was the best Devo song, and I adored that tune before I'd even heard of Devo. That's not exactly the same thing, but it does do a bit to reinforce my thinking here.

Anyway, the band in "Doug" is The Beets, and they basically seem like what The Beatles would be if they were of the early 90s instead of the 60s. I was vaguely aware of some music videos that had been produced for some of their songs, but I didn't even look for their music on iTunes. I didn't want to be disappointed again by being unable to find the ability to easily add obscure musical ephemera to my library. But something prompted me to search for them on there for the first time yesterday. For their main song at least. And I found it! And others! And now my phone's singing them along to what my mind probably would have sung anyway.

Good stuff.

Also. Does the cast remind anyone else of the Archie gang? Doug's the leading everyman, Skeeter's the eccentric best friend with the weird name like Jughead, and Roger's the annoying Reggie analogue with his dark jacket bully style. He even has a similar name, and he came into a similar level of wealth too.

Mr. Bone and Weatherbee would probably get along fairly well too, though their similarities end with their managerial methods.


Bonus Question!

Best fictional song?

Many good ones! But I've really been listening to a lot of Austin Powers's BBC song in recent months.


What If Batteries But Too Much?


I just had a "Black Mirror" dream, and I've never even seen "Black Mirror". But it legitimately shook me when I woke up.

I got back later than I should have from a movie. In the dream. All of my electronic devices seemed to be unable to turn on. Upon inspection, their batteries had been removed. Somehow, this even included what appeared to be my iPhone's power cells. I went upstairs to see my mother and brother dozing in the kitchen, chewing on the pilfered batteries in the throes of addiction.


This probably isn't actually scary, but it unsettled me primarily because I can't really imagine my mother in such a state. Replace those batteries with heroin or anything else. Seeing her enthralled like that would mean that something had gone fundamentally wrong in the workings of the universe.


But actually, this is probably closer to a version of "Black Mirror" from the Eighties. At the latest. What era wrung its hands with warnings about the perilously alluring dangers of alternating current?


Bonus Question!


Actually, I'm pretty sure that Edison really did try to discredit Tesla by scaring people into the belief that alternating current was inherently destructive. I don't have definite details, but I think that elephant death was prominently involved.

Tinder Tool

Tinder, right? I gave that a try. Shortly after I did, I got matched with someone who immediately messaged me to ask if I was the one who sang that Tool cover at a specific downtown bar eight years ago. That was around the time of the first show I played there, but I don't do covers, and I doubt that I like Tool. I told her that, and then she enthusiastically realised that she did in fact recognise me from one of the shows I'd played more recently at a different downtown bar. She followed that up with a statement of apathy about my band's sound. That doesn't happen very often, but I told her that I appreciated her honesty, saying that distaste for my art didn't preclude getting to know each other on a personal level. It feels like the mature thing to do, doesn't it? Then when I looked back, we were unmatched. First actual experience of being unmatched. But honestly, I feel worse about the idea that she thought that I was the type of guy who'd sing a Tool song.


Bonus Question!

Best tool song? 

Queen's "Hammer to Fall". 


Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.