Interview with Cathy MacNeil- Author of ‘Dying to be Seen: The Race to Save Medicare in Canada’

Today, we here at Brad OH Inc. have the privilege of interviewing Cathy MacNeil, author of the newly released ‘Dying to be Seen: The Race to Save Medicare in Canada’.

‘Dying to be Seen: The Race to Save Medicare in Canada’ is currently a best seller with Friesen Press, and explores the current struggles and future trajectory of the Canadian Healthcare System.

-Click Here to Buy-

Canada’s public health care system is under attack. Defunding, deregulating, defrauding, and deliberate disintegration have manipulated Canadians into despising their once-beloved system as unsustainable, unfixable, and cost-prohibitive. There is a reason for that. Neoliberalism has the rescue medication locked within its assault armamentarium-privatization. The last stage of the takedown has begun and the slow but steady infusion of privatization now flows unobstructed through the veins of Medicare. Dying to be Seen lays out the deleterious effects of such an attack and how it is impacting every stakeholder in Canada’s Medicare system.

For health care policymakers, the book outlines the urgency of the constructive, evidence-based action that is required to save the system. For administrators, it sheds light on why the current solutions have failed. For law makers and governments, the book is an urgent warning to rearrange the status quo to divorce political expediency from sound policy or suffer the dire consequences. For average Canadians, it is a call to arms to save Canada’s universal, egalitarian Medicare program from sliding into the cruel, profit-driven system that bedevils their neighbours to the south.

A clarion call for change, Dying to be Seen traces the origins of Medicare and offers a glimpse of what Canadians can expect to happen if we decide not to intervene now. It also offers real, implementable, solutions to save Canada’s cherished public health care system and emphasizes the urgency of acting on them.


Brad OH Inc.: This is your first book Cathy, that’s so exciting! What was the writing experience like for you, from blank page to publication?

Cathy MacNeil: The writing experience was both exhilarating and intense. Exhilarating, because I felt as the project gathered momentum it had the capacity to really help the Canadian Medicare system and by default, patients across the country. Intense, because the research constantly reminded me of how far this system has fallen.

Brad OH Inc.: You worked for a long while in the healthcare field, were there any particular experiences that made you want to write this book?

Cathy MacNeil: There were many experiences that pushed me to write this book after all I’ve been working within the system for forty-seven years. However, one of the key experiences was my time as a Nurse manager in a busy city ER that had a catchment area of about 120k people. This position placed me directly between upper management who often failed to see the realities on the ground, and my wonderful staff who worked relentlessly to provide the best care they could in a system that clearly wasn’t listening.

Brad OH Inc.: Help us understand some of the current failings you see in our healthcare system, and what the causes might be.

Cathy MacNeil: That’s a loaded question but I’ll try my best to summarize via the books content: Broadly we are submerged in a political economy that is really a type of corporate Neo-feudalism. Everything is based on growth, capitalism, consumption, working harder, faster while trying to consume more, irrespective if we need more or not.

In such a system capital is king and public systems are viewed as useless. This is certainly true where our public health care system is concerned.  As such it has been defunded, deregulated, and defrauded. This has led to a deliberate state of disintegration, which we find ourselves in the last phases of now. So, to rescue the system we must change that culture and we do that by exercising our voices as funders of the system.

That’s a broad perspective but unfortunately, we cannot decouple our public system from the political economy it is currently entangled in. So, changing the narrative towards a more humanist one will help counter the current narrative which is largely one of we can’t afford the public system therefore we need to privatize.

Next, we need to take decisive action on a federal government level, provincial and territorial level, and on a personal level that will rescue the system from the above elements that I have called the four horsemen.

Brad OH Inc.: Can you summarize for us some of the key conclusions or recommended changes you propose in the book?

Cathy MacNeil: Let me tackle this one on three specific levels.

Federal government action required:

  • Change the culture pertaining to health care in the country by joining the Wellbeing Economies group (WEGO).
  • Focus on being a well-being economy.
  • Establish a FARE council (Financial accountability regarding expenditures) that will focus on saving tax dollars, not wasting them with the Auditor General in charge.
  • All savings incurred from reducing wasteful spending should be redirected to health care.
  • Stop the fiscal food-fight with the provinces and immediately renew provincial and territorial relationships.
  • Establish universal support for poverty.
  • Launch a universal Pharmacare strategy.
  • Implement national standards for long-term care and bring the sector under the Canada Health Act.

Provincial government action required:

  • Establish FAREcouncils provincially and territorially with the same guidelines as their federal counterpart reporting to the federal council annually.
  • Tackle wait times by switching to pooled referral systems.
  • Set up community care models with an emphasis on disease prevention.
  • Redirect the subsidization of physician’s liability costs back into the system by ceasing to subsidize these costs.
  • Restructure current home care models with a vigorous home care expansion program utilizing modern technology and reporting systems.
  • Set up centres to track all data related to tracking health care Human Resources such as recruitment and retention issues.

Personal action:

  • Canadians must reject the narrative that there is no money for health care and demand accountability.
  • Citizens must practice healthcare care activism.
  • Canadians must practice health promotion and illness prevention in a broad sociological sense.

Brad OH Inc.: If people can finish this book with one key take away, what would that be?

Cathy MacNeil: That the Canadian health care system can be saved by all of us because we are the funders and as such the shareholders in this system.

Collectively we can rescue Medicare. And we must rescue it because it will be privatized and lost for our children and grandchildren otherwise.

Brad OH Inc.: I know we can’t cover everything here, and we don’t want to, but give us a tease of what else is to be discovered in your book.

Cathy MacNeil: Ok. Well, There’s a brief history of how Canada came to have a public health care system, the myth regarding privatization backed by tons of evidence-based data, why emergency departments are failing, how the ‘four horsemen’ have trampled the public system almost to death, as well as how and why we must act now to rescue Medicare.

Brad OH Inc.: That’s a lot of fantastic content! What’s the best place to buy your book?

Cathy MacNeil: Its been selling out on Amazon since publication but I still suggest people try Amazon first. If that fails indigo.ca will order and ship it to your nearest Chapters store for free.

Also, all e-book options are available on Kindle, Apple Books, Google Play, Nook and Kobo.

Brad OH Inc.: Anything else you’d like to share?  …Any plans for future books?

Cathy MacNeil: Although I am hoping policy-makers and government officials read this book it was written primarily for the funders (taxpayers). It may be one of the few projects totally devoted to the citizens of Canada including every hard-working health care worker that is out there trying their level best to sustain a system that is collapsing.

For the Canadians that have suffered and died because this system has failed them this book is also for them and their families. We have not forgotten you and we will wage this battle to repair this system until someone somewhere in a position of authority finally listens.

As for my next book, I’m looking at deconstructing the private health care system in the US and how it fails people.

#MedicareMatters


We at Brad OH Inc. want to thank Cathy MacNeil for taking the time for this interview, and for writing this essential look into the Canadian Healthcare System.

Remember to click here to get yourself a copy of ‘Dying to be Seen: The Race to Save Medicare in Canada’.

Finally, be sure to check back soon here at Brad OH Inc. for some exciting news on my own upcoming novel, ‘Meaning Less’.

Cheers,

-Brad OH Inc.

Yule

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

There are lights hanging in trees, and the gentle sound of bells is everywhere. The ground is caked in thick, crunching snow, and the cold in the air can freeze the flesh.

In each house and every bar, parties are going on—people celebrating festivals, religious happenings, and the changing of the calendar.

Folk bustle about utterly convinced of their own importance, shouldering through busy crowds and sighing at anyone who might slow their urgent progress.

At random intervals, groups stand in circles and sing songs about happy times, or squalling infants.

Gifts are given.

Such is the season.

-Brad OH Inc.

A Glimmer of Light Across the Vast Sea- A ‘Rings of Power’ Review

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

When it was announced that Amazon had purchased the film rights to Tolkien’s world, most dedicated lovers of Middle Earth felt a twinge of apprehension. Fans of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy hold the story and content as some of the highest achievements in film-making. To lovers of the original books and extended writings of Professor Tolkien, the world is close to sacrosanct.

Could a faceless, cruel force like Amazon ever hope to capture the key themes and core feeling of Tolkien’s works, or would fans be forced to endure a blasphemous caricature of their beloved heroes, diminishing and disrespecting the brand?

Looking back, I think it was a bit of both. Here, it must necessarily be said that this review will feature spoilers not only from the Rings of Power series and the Peter Jackson films, but also from the entire catalogue of Tolkien’s works.

The first tremor of concern came with the details of just what Amazon held the rights to, and what story they were hoping to tell. Speculations abounded—some claimed it would simply be a remake of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Others claimed it would be a backstory for Aragorn.

Finally, it was revealed that the show would cover the events of the Second Age—the rise of Sauron, the making of the rings, and the fall of Númenor. This was encouraging news to many. That period had never been represented on film before, and certainly the content was captivating. The story, however, was not very fleshed out , and even in the Akallabêth—a subsection of The Silmarillion which covers the Second Age of Arda—it tends to be a bit high-level, and not necessarily suited to the screen.

What was worse, it turned out that Amazon didn’t have the rights to The Silmarillion, nor Unfinished Tales. They had no more rights than Peter Jackson had—specifically, to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

This meant most of the narrative would need to be gleaned from brief references or listings of years found in the Appendices.

Much would need to be invented outright.

This was of grave concern. Representing a beloved world in a new medium was a serious challenge, but to insert what amounted to fan fiction into the universe risked a clash with the source material that could lead to losing the core themes.

To some extent, this is what happened.

That is not to say that The Rings of Power failed entirely. In fact, there was a great deal to enjoy, and more than enough reason to be optimistic for future seasons, so long as the ardent fan can keep their expectations in check.

The music was consistently fantastic, and while many of the storylines were well into the fan fiction zone, they often worked surprisingly well, with the Harfoots being an especially charming bit of world-building, even if their ultimate story feels unnecessary.

While the version of Galadriel (and Sauron for that matter, but more on that later) clashed with impressions held by most fans, they tended to work within the story the show was telling. Where the conflict existed, there were usually decent reasons, and we’ll get into more on that soon.

Elrond, Durin IV, and his wife Disa were especially enjoyable, and their scenes tended to steal every episode they appeared in. In fact, it’s worth giving special mention to everything done with the Dwarves and their realm of Khazad-dûm. Not since John Rhys-Davies portrayal of Gimli in the Jackson films has the Dwarven world felt so alive, and this portrayal was a much better fit to Tolkien’s vision than what was shown in the recent Hobbit films.

This attention to characterization does much to build the sense of the world at large. Of course, this can’t be done without building the actual world the characters inhabit. While several of the set pieces seemed a bit small and sparsely populated, this was likely due to filming during the pandemic, and may improve in coming seasons. The artistic direction and design of most locations was fantastic though. Númenor, Khazad-dûm, and Lindon were especially wonderful.

Here, we must again compare the Rings of Power against the two standards—Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, and the source material of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The artistic direction in Rings of Power worked best when it managed to resonate with both fans of the film and books—creating a kind of consistent tone for the universe. This was likely due to the influence of the incomparable John Howe, and was especially noticeable in the broad vista shots of Númenor and Khazad-dûm, which were absolutely breath-taking, and worth the ticket price alone.

In other places, the tone felt less like an homage to Tolkien’s own works, and more like a cover of Jackson’s. Constant call-backs (or call-forwards?) to things that were in the movie but not necessarily in the books reminded us that the primary audience for this show was the movie crowd, and the distinction between canon and entertainment was one they were happy to cross over where they thought it would attract more viewers.

Now to be fair, we have already pointed out that Amazon didn’t have the rights to a lot of Tolkien’s works, and shared only that which Jackson had access to. This did limit them, and while it has been expressed that they worked closely with the Tolkien estate to keep close to the source material, one can’t help but speculate what might have been possible had they simply been granted full access to the source material.

This is where some of the show’s weak spots begin to appear. Often, Amazon seems to have felt compelled to explain things that were better left vague, or to create uncertainty where it wasn’t needed. The worst offender of the former was the ridiculous decision to give Mithril a backstory. While aiming to raise the stakes and give context to viewers, it failed, in my opinion, at both. The fading of the Elves was already an established theme for Jackson fans, and could have been better explained for new viewers. It took an ethereal concept like the nature and magic of the Elves, and attempted to pin a scientific explanation onto it. Essentially, it was the Rings of Powers version of midi-chlorians.

That’s all to say nothing of the damage it does to the canon. While the writers do dull the effect slightly by admitting the backstory may be apocryphal, the idea of a Silmaril sitting on top of the misty mountains is beyond silly. It’s insulting.

Of the other misstep—creating needless uncertainty—there were many examples. In the source material, the identity of Sauron was never a mystery, at least not to the reader. We were aware of who he was, and enthralled with the way he used foibles and doubts—as well as pride—to play everyone against one another and eventually bring down the greatest nation the world had yet known.

Rings of Power instead decided to focus on a ‘mystery box’ approach, keeping us guessing till the very end just who was really Sauron. This cheapened the impact of his deeds, and presents some serious problems going forward. Further, it resulted in a lot of storylines—such as that of the Stranger—feeling inserted only to add to the mystery, and we are now left to question if they were ever really relevant at all.

At last, we come to the man himself. There’s an ironic twist, because while Sauron was the titular character of The Lord of the Rings novels, he never actually appeared in them directly. In Jackson’s films, he was represented by a giant eye, but didn’t play a much more active role, as was fitting.

In the years covered (and condensed) by the Rings of Power though, Sauron was a very active and very physically present player. And he did a LOT.

The brief stretches we see of Sauron (Halbrand) travelling through Númenor—especially his interest in the blacksmith shop—and Eregion were hardly representative of the incredibly cunning and devious deeds he did in both, but it’s unclear if we’ll see him return.

In the show, the three rings of the Elves have already been made, but that leaves us with sixteen left unmade, which Sauron should be involved with. Given the ending of the season, it’s difficult to imagine how he can saunter back into Eregion to get that work done.

Now, it could work to have him brought back to Númenor. According to canon, he was brought as a prisoner to Númenor, and they knew full well who he was. It was not due to deception, but rather playing on the pride and fears of men that he was able to sow his discord there.

This remains a possibility on the show, but the work has not yet been laid to show that fall from grace. While it has been made clear that the Númenorians mistrust the Elves, little is done to establish why, and that’s a grave omission.

Aside from the pride of men, the key tool that Sauron used in their seduction was mortality, and their jealousy that Elves got to live forever in the Undying Lands. One of the key themes of the Akallabêth is that there are limitations to men, and it is wiser to accept them than to fight against our nature. Although true of several things, this is especially true of death. The Númenorians were already longer lived than the ‘low men’, and eventually they used this as justification to dominate and exploit them. They sought ever longer lives, and held onto their station well-beyond the waning of their abilities.

This slow corruption is an essential theme of the Akallabêth. In the book, we witness how the Númenorians chased after power, and that ‘if they were not increased in happiness, yet they grew more strong, and their rich men ever richer.’ We are told directly of their ‘desire to escape from death and the ending of delight’.

These are rich and powerful themes. In the show however, they’ve done little to explore these essential differences between Elves and men—a show fan could be excused for thinking the only difference was their ears. The ban of the Valar on men sailing to the Undying Lands has not been mentioned, and the stakes are unclear.

It was the Númenorians desire for more that Sauron was eventually able to turn against them, leading to their downfall. Future seasons will have to work hard to build these traits in men.

None of this is to say that I don’t have high hopes for the future of the series. What worked, worked very well, and I am eager to see more.

I look forward to the introduction of Isildur’s brother Anárion, and hope that his role can help flesh out some of the themes above, and distinguish between the Faithful and the King’s Men. Further, the war of the Elves and Sauron in Eregion, and everything that follows could make for one hell of a spectacle with the budget available to Amazon.

If Amazon can work to better build on some of these key themes, and show Sauron’s true malice at work, the show could really begin to shine. They’ll need to resist cheap temptations like mystery boxes and dumbing down complex ideas, and trust instead to the power of the source material they spent so much money on acquiring.

If not, greed may well give way to foolishness, and where once there was hope for a beautiful and enduring piece of art, they will be left only with the washed-out ruins of their own avarice.

Let’s hope that those faithful to the material will prevail. The ride would certainly be worth it in the end.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Bushido of Bogney, Part V

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampBushido: (武士道) literally meaning “the way of the warrior”, is a Japanese word for the way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry in Europe. (Source)

Bogney: A tiny dog, wise for his years.

Today, we once again combine the old and the new for a fresh perspective on life through the eyes of our classy canine friend. This is the daily living of a small dog. This is the extrapolated wisdom of the ages…This is the Bushido of Bogney.

-Click Here for Part I-

-Click Here for Part II-

-Click Here for Part III-

-Click Here for Part IV-

Lesson 1:

When out for a walk, Bogney will occasionally get something stuck in his fur or paw. A thorn, a bur, or the like. Sometimes it may even be a clump of snow knotted painfully in his fur.

When this happens, he will limp, and look up to me for help. Finding the offending item, I will work to disentangle it from his fur. This increases the discomfort, and Bogney will pull away and struggle, which only hurts him more. If he could submit to the moment and be still, it would be over much quicker.

We all act this way sometimes in life.

Lesson 2:

Recently, Bogney had a painful stomach issue, and needed a tightly controlled diet. He needed to eat lots of fibre to get it under control, but because his stomach was hurting, he did not want to eat. Worse, when he did eat, he tried to choose soft, fatty items which were more tempting, but would only worsen his condition.

Often, our what we need and what we desire are very different.

Lesson 3:

Bogney loves to cuddle together with his parents, often ensuring at least part of him is touching each one. However, there are many occasions where his parents will be in different rooms. At these times, he will leave his bed or couch, and lay himself on the floor at the centre-point between their locations.

He sacrifices personal comfort to be as close as possible to both of his loved ones. We all stretch ourselves thin sometimes. This is the way with love.

Now however, the snow flakes are falling, and Bogney is sitting warm in his bed, watching them through the window. The pain of the past is forgotten, and he is content in his present moment.

This perhaps, is his greatest lesson to us. At least for today.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Muse

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The minutes crawl, meandering mindlessly by,

as the mind mulls on myopic miseries.

Minutiae distracting—malicious in its mediocrity,

as merciless minions of misgivings muddy the waters.

But where the muse, whose music brings meaning?

When weaning from mundanity we writhe,

then written on the walls is the wonder of her witchcraft.

Who mollifies the weary and meddles with our worry.

Myriad memories are woven in her menagerie.

Where many malevolent mental blocks

are withdrawn and mended into that

magical mess of which they were wrought.

The who’s and the where’s and the why’s and the when’s,

writing we wrestle them while we still can.

It’s merely a moment, a miraculous wash

but wading unworried we’ll master the world.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Gathering of the Juggalos 2022

Well, I’m back.

Those were the words Sam Gamgee spoke to Rosie Cotton upon finally returning from the end of his journey. Sitting in the air-conditioned silence of my office, only days after the ending of the Gathering of the Juggalos, I feel rather the same.

The real world I’ve returned to is less vibrant than the one still teasing the edges of my memory—threatening to pull me blindly back through time into a realm I would rather remain.

The Gathering of the Juggalos 2022 was dubbed the Gathering of Dreams, and in many ways, that’s certainly how it feels. Too quickly it passed, and remains now as a constant dream in the back of my mind of what was, and what will someday be again.

The visions are a seemingly chaotic collection—a kaleidoscope of carnival imagery, camaraderie, and concerts.

With the lingering taste of midway food and the smell of stale soda, faces pass through my mind. They are a shockingly varied group, united by looks of grudging exhaustion, glee, and more than anything else, a burning sense of appreciation for the moment they’re in.

I was able to reconnect with old friends, and meet new ones. At a Gathering, there’s a pervasive sense of familiarity that makes real the repeated claim that these events are not merely a music festival, but rather a family reunion for the most reviled and feared lineage in music history.

Faygo flew through the air, raining down on anyone below before crashing with a colourful splash into its target. Juggalos set up slingshots to launch Faygo or water balloons into the crowd, while others struggled to outfox security and make it up onto the dinosaur’s back.

Fireworks blasted continuously in the background, and clumped in wet heaps on the ground at many points were the burned rags of confederate flags. Passerby’s would spit on them and laugh. One danced upon it. “Be careful,” said a nearby stranger, “I did that earlier, and there was shit all over it.”

I think I’ll always remember that quote.

Juggalos are a direct sort of people, and if they are passionate about displaying their hatred for hate (ironic as that may sound) so too do they celebrate what they love with ferocious vigour.

The pits in front of the ICP concerts saw split heads and shattered teeth. Strangers crashed into each other, then hugged like old friends. Mortars shot off, smoke filled the air, and people choked and gasped together. Fresh Faygo washed away blood and sweat alike.

Even amidst this atavistic revelry, there is gentleness and respect. No one who falls stays down for long, and even as they land are greeted by a rush of hands ready to pick them up and let them try again.

That’s sort of what the Gathering is about. We take care of our own. Whether it’s helping a wounded comrade out of the pit, putting together entire campsites to take care of people lacking supplies, or finding random and wonderful ways to entertain one another, Juggalos never cease to amaze with their ingenuity and unique charm.

I remember on the final night as ICP held everyone in thrall, I caught a funny sight out of the corner of my eye. It was like a white blob moving through the sky. I stole a look over, and saw that it was a Hatchetman. Someone off to the side was creating them out of foam and sending them up to dance over the crowd.

No matter where you go at the Gathering, you’ll see something memorable. I appreciate that about Juggalos.

Of course, there are scheduled events too, and some of these were chief in my priorities. Among the top of that list was the Morton’s List Revealed Seminar—at which the creators of the beloved game would reveal all the secrets of its past, and discuss the game’s future.

Despite the excellent turnout, this felt like a surprisingly intimate affair. The three creators of the game—Jumpsteady, ‘Ninja’ Nate Andren, and ‘Tall’ Jess Deneaux—shared stories of their childhoods, the creation of the game, and the magical experiences which culminated in this epic release. A photo was shared of the original inspiration for the name of the Morton Boulder, and thus the game itself.

The game’s creators had tracked down their old friend, the eponymous Morton recently, only to find that he was deceased long past. Their mission ended with celebrating the life of their friend—reckoning themselves with the clutches of mortality even as they reminisced on the days of youth, life, and blind ambition.

Morton’s List brings us full circle like that sometimes, it’s part of the game’s chaotic magic, and provided for a touching seminar.

I was able to connect with my friend and one third of the creative force behind Morton’s List—Ninja Nate—out on the grounds. He was driving the golf-cart around for those who needed transport, but spared me the time to chat. Then, he gave me a lanyard with a card for his new game, Stranger Tales, explaining that he passed one to each person he encountered, and that the symbol on the back was the harbinger to some magical connection. It was up to me to discover the meaning of that for myself.

My card showed a series of exploding fireworks. I didn’t know what it meant then, but I nevertheless wore it with the youthful enthusiasm so necessary to a festival like this.

At 15 years old, I could hardly have dreamed of an experience like this.

Of course, dreams blend and shift as we look back on them. They merge and intersect, building on one another as they exist at once in the past and the future. Every minute since I’ve been back, different memories have bounced and played before my tried eyes. Friends and strangers, concerts and events. I saw amazing performances from Sir Mixalot, Onyx, The Hatchetman Project, Esham, KRS-One, Slick Rick, and the legendary Mike E. Clark among others. The latter of these even DJ’d live for ICP, and is featured heavily on their new EP, Pug Ugly.

I watched a live Palcast Hotdog eating contest, and witnessed Babytron live up to his name as he fled the stage early for this year’s Bubba Sparxxx award (IFKYK).

As is tradition, ICP were late for their yearly seminar, and the Trash War which ensued in the meantime was one for the books. Faygo, garbage, fireworks, smoke bombs, and even an octopus took to the skies, most often connecting with some unsuspecting sucker who’d gotten himself in too deep.

Sometime around 2011, venues stopped providing chairs for this event, and opted instead for bails of hay. The rationale was that the bales would be less easy to throw at one another than the chairs, but this assumption was sorely tested. I not only saw hay bales thrown at Juggalos, I saw Juggalos themselves hurled through the air as improvised projectiles.

It was fantastic.

An improvised Zen of Love Show took the place of the traditional seminar. It was fun, but many regretted the lack of significant news or updates in the Juggalo world.

Of course, at any Gathering of the Juggalos, the ICP concerts are an undeniable highlight. This year, we had two on offer, with the first of them being a Night 2 performance focussing on rarely or never-before-played songs. This ‘Juggalo Jukebox Show’ was a legendary performance, and will likely be held in the upper echelon of ICP’s storied concert history. It opened with ‘Here Comes the Carnival’ from the recent LP ‘Yum Yum Bedlam’—the live debut of a song likely to be a live classic. As fate would have it, this writer was able to get right up to the front of the pit.

It was about then that I realized it had been ten years since I’d been in a Gathering pit, and I was not the young man I used to be. It was a battle to be sure. Faygos launched like missiles before and behind me. Crowd-surfers—many with steel-toed boots—crashed towards my head from the smoky stretches of humanity pressed behind me, as the sweating masses clawed for my position.

It’s not a scene for the faint of heart, but even in the mud and mire of this battleground there is beauty and friendship. Juggalos scream the words into each other’s faces, and support one another when they fall. In rare moments of reprieve, they share stories of past battles, exchange notes on the setlist, and speculate on what will come next. Namelessly, bonds are formed, only to be torn asunder by the raging movement of the crowd as the set resumes.

The bonds remain.

As the final song started, I saw my moment come, and with Faygo Armageddon in full effect, I pulled myself over the rail and onto the stage.

Watching from far off, my partner shared that she saw me make it up, and knew that it was me when I turned to pull up those struggling behind me. That made me smile.

I danced in the Faygo rain for a long while—handing out 2-Litres, helping protect the security line around J, and hugging strangers with paint smeared smiles as they stood dumbstruck by the celebration of love, madness, and unity strobing around them.

After the set, I sat soaking and trembling with an energy rarely achieved in normal life. As my partner purchased herself a corndog, I sat on a rock, staring up at the starry sky. The myriad colours of the carnival lights bounced off my wet shirt, and I knew in that moment with a clarity reserved usually for youth and the insane that this was a special moment. It was one that I could hold, turn about and examine for years to come. It was the high-watermark of a week-long dream. The terrible, white face of the iceberg—visible and real—and acting as the portent of all that might bob and heave beneath the surface of immediate recall.

Then, as I sat there staring in wonder, the fireworks went off. Dozens, in all the colours of the rainbow, exploded above, sending their dying tendrils of smoke and sparks raining down over the grounds like a final baptism.

I clutched at my chest, where my Stranger Tales lanyard showed a similar row of fireworks. It couldn’t have been clearer to me just then. Of all the dreamlike, esoteric joys I’d had, and all of those yet to come, I knew that I’d found my moment. I was simply, purely happy, and that’s a thing not easily achieved these days.

It was a like dream, and it remains such.

Some dreams never end…

Now, I’m back. But I’ve said that already. The dreams of this vacation stretch behind me like a map to a place I never knew existed. Talking about it to those who have never been there feels like a futile effort. I would come across like a child trying to relay the contents of a fairy tale to some stranger with a briefcase.

These memories are not of this world. They are for somewhere better, a dream-like place that exists still in my past, and lingers upon the edges of certainty, somewhere ahead, like a castle in the fog, or a road stretching off into the clouds. It is the promise of joy, of community, of all the things so necessary to our humanity, yet all too often eschewed in the daily grind to survive, rather than to live.

To the Juggalos, that dream will never end. Someday, I hope that you can join us.

There’s always room on our wagons.

Much Clown Love,

-Brad OH Inc.

(Schisobe)

Dark Carnivals, Dreams, and the Mystery of Morton

Ten years… a goddamn decade. That’s how long it’s been.

As I drove the long road home from the Gathering of the Juggalos in 2012—bumping the brand new Mighty Death Pop album—I imagined what might change in my life before I returned.

I couldn’t have guessed the extent of it then, or how long the stretch of time would be. Much has changed in my life and the world at large in the last ten years, but fortunately, at least one constant yet remains.

Each summer, thousands of Juggalos from around the world gather in one spot for the biggest independent music festival and family gathering in the world. This year, it happens at the start of August, and is hailed as ‘The Gathering of Dreams’.

The name isn’t chosen solely to celebrate my return—although the assumption is understandable—this year the acts and events were all themed around the wildest dream of the Juggalos and the organizers alike.

It’s a return, a celebration, and to steal a line from a wildly different band, a sort of homecoming. With all the uncertainty and instability in the world of late, a return to the gathering is just the ticket to create some semblance of sense again for this and many other Juggalos.

The Gathering is a time to forget about the rest of the world, and revel in the company of like-minded lunatics, where the mundanity of life and the weight of daily norms are cast to the wayside for a party involving friends, family, wild musical acts, carnival rides, and so much more.

This year, the emphasis is on the more. As one of the dreams of Psychopathic Don Jumpsteady, there will be a very special session to discuss some of the most ancient and guarded secrets of the infamous game, Morton’s List.

For those unfamiliar, Morton’s List is a Random Reality game heralded as the ‘End to Boredom’, and does much to live up to this bold claim. Tasking players with completing real-life quests limited only by their imaginations, Morton’s List is the only game ever to be banned from Gen Con, one of the largest toy and game trade shows in the United States.

This year’s seminar couldn’t come with more karmic hype. Original creators Jumpsteady, Ninja Nate, and R. Jesse Deneaux will be coming together to share their memories, reveal key details about development, and answer the age-old question and potential quest—who is Morton? Juggalos have been wondering about this since the games release back at the second annual Gathering in Toledo, in 2001.

Ninja Nate explains the event: “Twenty-eight years after beginning the Morton’s List project, we three authors are coming together to not only share the long-held secret of the origins of the game’s name, but also to reveal wig flipping information we weren’t aware of until last year. Plus, more revelations of the future of reality gaming!”

Like many, it’s not only the specifics of the seminars, but the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere of the Gathering that has Nate excited: “I’m most looking forward to being in the same tent with so many Morton’s List players and supporters. The Karma and good vibes of all you creative, adventurous ninjas is gonna be thick as bricks!”

There’s no doubt about that. To learn these key secrets and discuss Morton’s List with fellow enthusiasts, be sure to be at the Morton’s List Seminar. Tickets to the Gathering are still available Here.

Also, be sure to check out other games by the creators of Morton’s List, including The Quest for Shangri-La, Stranger Tales, and Druglord.

Even beyond that event, this years Gathering will be a veritable smorgasbord of entrainment. Musical acts include Mushroomhead, KRS-One, Onyx, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Slick Rick, Steel Panther, Mike E. Clark, Esham, and countless others.

Of course, the Wicked Clowns themselves—ICP—will be playing not one, but two sets. They’ll be the headlining act on the final night, and will also perform a ‘Super Mix Juggalo Juke Box Show’ featuring rare and never-before-played-live songs. This one will doubtless be a special draw for many seasoned Juggalos.

If music isn’t your thing, there’s an endless supply of alternative activities running all throughout the day and well into the night. Haunted Houses, Carnival Rides, Sideshows, countless Juggalo vendors selling rare or customized merch, the return of Big Silva (if you know you know), a seminar with the infamous Bigfoot researcher Todd Standing, and the annual ICP Seminar—often likened to a yearly Juggalo state of the union address.

Of course, even when the events stop, the Gathering never sleeps. It’s the Juggalos themselves who are the main event, and they keep it going all night long.

It’s certain to be the event of a lifetime, and there’s not a Juggalo I’ve spoken to that isn’t counting the days.

The Gathering of Dreams runs from August 3-6, 2022. Click here to get your tickets.

I’ll be on the scene as early as possible, taking it all in, living the dream, and rejoicing amongst the Juggalo Family. Check back here afterward for a full report.

Until then, stay down with the clown.

MCL,

-Brad OH Inc.

(Schisobe)

The Curse of the Uncouth

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampAs the pandemic passes all too swiftly into memory and businesses start to run at full capacity once more, there are many long-lost amenities to appreciate with fresh eyes. Open air markets, dusty record stores, convenient shopping experiences, dine-in restaurants, and of course, the beloved local bar.

Returning to a closer approximation to normal at the local watering hole is a welcome relief to the cultured barfly—and the uncultured one to boot. In this wave of excitement however, there has long lingered an unspoken fear—perhaps the final curse of the dreaded Covid virus.

After more than two years of closed or limited bar service, this return to normal will debut not one, but almost three years worth of first timers to a busy bar scene. The Uncouth—they will have no experience to guide them, and no friends near in age to teach them. A stretch of clueless newbies from eighteen to twenty (CDN) will be plowing their way through crowded bar fronts, bumping into tray-laden servers, and forming lines where absolutely no line is needed.

Cologne-covered and cocky, they’ll stand with their backs pressing against the chair behind them, unheeding the discomfort of the sitting person who would much rather just be left alone.

Like spooked buffalo (or bison, for you locals) they’ll trample wild-eyed over the accumulated goodwill of crusty drunkards everywhere. Whining their way to the front of lines. Scrounging for cigarettes on the ground. Or worse yet, stealing quick hits from vape cartridges, leaving the discarded cigarettes to pile up on the ground unchecked. They’ll throw the whole damned eco-system off kilter!

They’ll request all the wrong songs, and dance far from the designated dance-floor. They’ll sing Top 40 lyrics in your general direction, and expect you to respond with enthusiasm!

This is the final sting, the lasting poison of a sickness which has already asked far too much.

Or maybe they’ll turn out ok.

Shit, I’m probably just getting old.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: A Fool Not Just in April

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

This may seem like it’s coming a month late, but the truth is, this was never about April Fools…


There’s a funny thing that happens right around this time of year. On the first of April each year, we observe a weird little day called ‘April Fools’’. This glorious day is a long-time favourite for pranksters and mischief-makers the world over—as jokes are played, tricks enacted, and terrible deceptions perpetrated by one friend upon another all in the righteous pursuit of naming another as a fool.

The possibilities are endless! Saran-wrap over the toilet seat? Check! Sardine Paste in the toothpaste tube? Check! Brutal lies about the health or general well-being of distant loved-ones? Yeah, even that might pass. But recently, one phenomenon has illustrated an especially troublesome habit of humanity—and shown us perhaps that the day of fools is a boon for the few wise people among us.

See, one irresistible opportunity for news pundits and bloggers alike is to post semi-believable yet entirely unreal stories for public consumption on April Fools’ Day. The writer will let the speculation and doubts run roughshod until noon, then coolly—and doubtless with an air of overplayed coyness—reveal the truth: namely, that it was all a ruse.

This all seems harmless enough. The thing is, it’s been going on for a significant enough stretch of time that anyone with half a clue and access to the internet for more than a year knows just what to expect, and rises each April 1st donning the armour of suspicion, and brandishing their sword of rational-inquiry. Each article they see is taken in with a discerning eye. Facts are weighed against probabilities, and anything doubtful is cross-referenced against other articles.

Dates are checked, names researched, local obituaries are pored over for accuracy, and for one day, all sources of information are taken in with a critical eye, hell-bent on sussing out the truth from the trash.

All things considered, it’s a pretty wonderful day!

But then something unfortunate happens. The sun rises on the second of April, the bathroom floors are disinfected, toothpaste tubes replaced, and loved ones are given a brief check-in call with a pre-arranged excuse to hang up after a few minutes small-talk. Then, everything returns to normal. People eat their breakfast, kiss their spouses and children, go to their jobs, and then sit slack-jawed and dumb-founded at the torrents of bullshit flashing across their screens in the name of ‘news’.

‘You won’t believe what…’

‘What happened next will leave you speechless…’

‘Local mom makes $900,000,000 in one hour, when you learn how you’ll…’

‘THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!’

They sit with eyes glazed over as they work their fingers along their mouse, taking it all in, following the currents of their newsfeed like Job waiting on fairer winds. It’s all accepted, all welcome, and none of it is ever second-guessed.

It’s a sorry fact that when not actively warned by our calendars that the news just might not be as accurate as it’s purported to be, people forget the concept entirely. But rational thought is not a novelty to be toyed with once a year, only to be dusted off and returned in mint-condition to its little glass case marked ‘Open April 1st’. Rather, it is a tool to utilize daily, to ward off the perils of misinformation—deliberate or not—and exercise the full potential of our humanity. As rational creatures living in an often irrational world, the onus of critical consideration of news media is on us as consumers. It is a matter of education, of self-protection, and more importantly, of intellectual integrity.

So let us not forget, good people, that there may be but one day a year where we are free to name each other as fools, but that leaves 364 days each year where the names do not fly so readily, and we are left simply with an opportunity to prove the fact for ourselves.

-Brad OH Inc.

Wicked Juggalo Podtrash

As the more astute among you may have figured out, ‘The Gentleman Juggalo’s’ hiatus is seeming mighty permanent these days, but that doesn’t mean that Brad OH Inc. is out of the Podcast game completely.

Not by a longshot.

In fact, my recent appearance on the amazing ‘BoomBastiCAST’ Podcast has led to the creation of a new show with my friends Mathew and Kandis at ‘Wicked Juggalo Podtrash’. Connecting virtually, the three of us come from far away locations and different eras in ICP’s long and storied history. I think this adds a unique spectrum of voices and opinions as we discuss recent Juggalo releases, news, and whatever the fuck else happens to come up.

It’s been a blast recording it so far, and I hope that my readers, new Juggalos, and other curious parties enjoy it as much as I have.

Check us out here for all the latest Podcast drops and other news.

MCL,

-Brad OH Inc.

(Schisobe)