Wednesday, December 31

Wag the Chin

Every weekday, I drive to work and I hear on the radio a selection of jokes from the previous night's Tonight Show with Jay Leno monologue.

I gotta say that, based on these daily comedy bits, there are some comedy writers out in LA who are making some pretty easy coin.

In terms of quality of content, I kinda equate The Tonight Show with the Air Farce: both are shows designed to appeal to The Greatest Common Denominator and/or grandmothers. Very safe comedy. Read: boring. It's greatest sin is that it tries to trick us into thinking it's comedy-on-the-edge. The sad thing is that so many people fall for the trick. It's not on-the-edge. It's repetitive and simple and mean. I like comedy that's mean, but to me, mean comedy must also be smart. Jay Leno jokes are not smart.

Monday, December 29

Coma Cure

People, if ever I fall into a coma, please, oh please get a television and a dvd player sent to my hospital room. Then play the movie The Master of Disguise.

I vow that this will cause me to rise out of my coma, get out of bed, and turn the damn thing off.

Saturday, December 27

If I Was A Famous Woman...

...I'd want to be Janeane Garofalo. She's all right, in my book.


Ever since George, on Seinfeld, came up with "Seven" as the name he'd like to call his child, the notion of coming up with an unusual name of my own has been percolating in the back of my head.

Lately, I've been coming back to 'Error' as a name. I realise it's absolutley awful, but still, I come back to it. I don't even think that, if one could discount the negative inherent in the word, it would be a good name, yet I'm fixated on it. It does have a celtic flavour to it, which is good if you're into that. Perhaps if it was spelled differently, it might work better? Eihrrohr?

I think naming a child Eihrrohr would be about the worst thing you could do.

What unusual name would you name, or not name, a child?

The Whispering Wheel

This article is another of those stories about a promising and excellent, exciting alternative to the current motor vehicle engine. This time, it's a Dutch company that's created an in-wheel electric motor. Basically, the engine is in the wheels of the vehicle. In fact, the engine is the wheels of the vehicle. It's supposed to reduce vehicle emissions by no less than 50 percent, and vehicle noise by 90 percent. Another small engine is required to produce the electrical energy required to supply the wheel engines. Read more at the link, above.

I always get excited when I read about these types of potential advancements, but they hardly ever materialize in any practical way. Nonetheless, I'm hopeful that this will succeed.

Wednesday, December 24

The Holidays are Go!

Enjoy fellowship, goodwill and turkey, y'all. And if you happen to get something to unwrap, all the better.

Tuesday, December 23

Free Family Circus!!!

Even though so many of them are anti-funny, the comics page lives on in many newspapers. There are many ways to view comics online, but here's one of the better ones I've come across yet: The Houston Chronicle gives you the option to build your own comics page. Just go to this link and choose your favourites, as many as you want. Click the submit button, then a new page comes up.

Simply bookmark this new page and you'll have a handy-dandy link to all your favourite comics, updated daily.

Monday, December 22

I Bet Those Lights'd Be Pretty

Once upon a time, for no real reason, I came up with a simple video sketch idea that might someday go in my huge as-yet-unproduced-sketch-comedy-show-that'll-never-happen. Basically, it's this feeble, old couple who drive around the city, looking at the Christmas lights. Only thing is, she doesn't know how to drive, and he has a condition that doesn't allow him to drive when it's dark. So, they drive around at noon, and have to imagine what the lights would look like if it was dark.

Well, tonight, I was driving home from St. Catherines and, I must say, I was glad I'm allowed to drive at night. Because it was a gorgeous night to be driving, and so many of the houses along the way home looked fantastic. I was mightily impressed with both the quantity and quality of houses decorated.

This year, I Scrooged and didn't bother to put up any lights or decorations outside the house. So, to those who made the effort this year to put up lights and such, I just want to say a big 'Thank you'.

Chicago Cubs Defeat Miami Dolphins!!

Sorry, everyone who don't care about sports, but here's another (long-ish) sports post.

One of the reasons I like NFL football more than other sports is this: The season is only 16 games long and the competition is so close that practically every moment, every play of every game can make the difference between a successful (making the playoffs), and a disappointing year. In hockey and baseball, where the season is so long, and where the game is so fluid, it’s hard to define specific moments in specific games that could be considered potential season-breaking plays. An individual mistake or bad play in a regular season game in these sports doesn’t have the same potential impact on a season that a bad or missed play in football can.

Case in point: With one regular season game still to play, my favourite team, the Miami Dolphins are now mathematcially eliminated from the playoffs. At the beginning of the year, the Dolphins were considered by many to be one of the teams expected to make it to the Super Bowl. The disappointment at them not making it to the playoffs is indeed huge, but is made even greater when one theorises that, if only one or two plays this season had different outcomes, the Dolphins probably would still now be favoured to get to the Super Bowl. That is how close the competition is in the NFL. That is how important every play of every game is for a team’s success or failure. In the NFL, one or two plays in the entire season can make the difference between winning it all, or going home early. That is what makes every game in the NFL so important, and therefore, so exciting.

In the Dolphins very first game of the year, late in the game, there was a penalty (which, by the way, NFL officials admitted afterwards was the wrong call) called on the Dolphins that changed the outcome of that game. It is not really a stretch to say that this one penalty played a major role in causing the Dolphins to lose that game. All things the same for the rest of the season, if that penalty wasn’t called, the Dolphins would now be in the playoffs.

In a mid-season game, the one game that, in my opinion, changed the course of the season for both the Dolphins (for the worse) and the New England Patriots (for the better), two totally unexpected and unusual field goal misses by the Dolphins caused them to lose the game. If either of those field goals were made, the Dolphins would have won that game, and most likely would now have a first week playoff bye, and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But they didn’t make either of those FG’s, and are now out of the playoffs.

(To take these suppositions even further, the reason the Dolphins missed those field goals is because the kicker had to kick from the dirt on the field, instead of from the natural grass. The reason there was dirt on the field is because the Florida Marlins [who share the stadium with the Dolphins] were still alive in the National League Championship Series. The reason the Marlins were still alive was because that guy in that game in Chicago reached out for the ball and kept Moises Alou from catching it. So, if Alou caught the ball, and the Cubs won that game, the baseball infield would have been removed from the playing field and Olindo Mare, the Dolphins very accurate field goal kicker, would have kicked at least one of those two field goals, and the Dolphins would have won that game, and would today have enough wins to be in the playoffs)

Of course, it’s all for nought, now. Woulda coulda shoulda means nothing. You are in a wheel-chair, Blanche, and the Dolphins are out of the playoffs.

Saturday, December 20


Or "Everything's Ducky".

Last night, I was out with Dave S and after a couple of pints, we decided if we could come up with a sure-fire terrible movie. One that was sure to flolp.

This is what we came up with (a couple of additions I've made this morning): Cox'N'Ducks is about a single mother, Sandy Cox (played by Posh Spice with voice over-dubbed by Elizabeth Taylor) and her two kids (Johnathon Lipnicki and that girl who was recently in those Pepsi tv ads, the Curley Sue type girl). A rich relative has died, and in his will, he bequeaths a large amount of money to the Cox family. Providing that they take care of a family of ducks for a defined period of time; and provided that they can spend a night in the haunted house.

The care-taking of the ducks takes its toll on the family and tensions are high. The night of the haunted house arrives and everyone is angry at each other. Various creepy things happen: a horse chase (or was it a nightmare!!), a talking dog and a talking cat (both voiced by Nathan Lane) who live in the house, set up traps to get the family to leave. And the appearance of the (animated) ghost of the rich relative (voice of Emeril), who gets the family to understand the true value of family, by having them look at how well the duck family gets along.

It's the morning of the big duck inspection, duck inspector (Rowan Atkinson) arrives. One of the ducks is sick, however, and the Cox family asks the talking cat to dress up as the duck, to fool the inspector. In return, the Cox family will adopt the cat and dog. Cat agrees. The inspection occurs, ducks pass inspection, the Cox family wins the money. But more importantly, they learn the true value of family.

Can you make it worse?

Wednesday, December 17

Here's Today's Funeral Announcements

...suddenly, under the Lazy Susan in the kitchen of The Annekenstein Monster, on Sunday, December 14, 2003, of A. Pesky Mouse. Age one month.

Survived by Hopefully No Other Mouse. Hated nemesis of Resident Cat, Arista. Resting in the Green Compost Bin until Next Wednesday. Visiting hours anytime before that, if you're into that kind of thing. Interment later in Island Waste Management Corporation's Compost Facility.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to help defray the cost of the mouse trap.

Tuesday, December 16

Ashes To The North Pole

My son is 10 years old. I am ready to give up the Santa Claus thing. I think he's already given it up, but is smartly playing it because he theorises that it means more gifts.

So, how to find out he's given up the jolly ghost without blowing it if he hasn't? Any ideas?

When I was a kid, I don't know how old exactly, but young enough to still believe, my older brothers stole my letter to Santa and took it outside. I followed, frantically trying to grab it back. My brothers held the letter out, and lighted it on fire. It burned to bits, the ashes floating here and there. I wailed. My brothers told me that this was the best way to get your letter to Santa. The ashes magically find their way to the North Pole.

I may have believed in Santa, but I knew a load of bull when I heard it. I knew there was no way to get all those ashes back together. How would Santa know I wanted a slinky if the ashes were strewn over our back yard? I wailed.

Well, I thought, this year, I'll pull the same story on Cameron. I'll threaten to burn his list. If he gets upset then I'll know he still believes. If he doesn't then chances are he's beyond Santa.

Out in the yard we go, me with the little propane lighter, him with his list. I tell him we're gonna burn his list. He doesn't comprehend this, mostly, I assume, because it's a ludicrous and foolish idea. So, I explain carefully the reason behind this technique of letter delivery. The ashes magically find their way to the North Pole. As I explain, I'm looking closely at his reactions to see him smirk or wink or anything that'll clue me in to where he's standing on Santa. Nothing. Nothing, that is, except "Cool, let's torch it."

Up it goes, in flames. No wailing. No worrying that his list won't get to Santa.

There you have it. Proof he no longer believes.


Monday, December 15

Would I Be A Bad Juror?

I consider myself someone who is able to play devil's advocate in most every situation. Whether it's a situation of personal calamity, or something that doesn't involve me in the least, I take a bit of pride in the fact that I can look at the situation from the other point of view. I can be objective.

When I saw the video of Hussein being swabbed, mouth open wide, red-aflame from the flashlight, I saw the emptiness, sadness, tiredness in his eyes and I felt bad for him. Yes, of course: He's a murderer of the worst kind. He's a human of the worst kind. He deserves punishment in the extreme. And, yes, I understand that the anguish, humiliation, fear, suffering that he was feeling at that time doesn't come close to the angusih and suffering he and his torturers have forced countless Iraqis to endure.

Still, watching the video of that moment, I felt for the man. I guess seeing a Fallen Human, no matter how despicable he is, in such a moment of weakness, touches the humanity in me.

Sunday, December 14

Letting Christmas Down


When I lived with my parents, we had an artificial tree. It wasn't a great plastic tree, but it was all I knew. Then, when I got married, we made the leap to real trees. We didn't go so far as to trudge into the woods and cut one down. Our Christmas Tree Hunting involved little more than, a coupla weeks before The Day, driving to the Zellers parking lot, quickly looking at a couple, picking one out and buying it.

The first number of years, I really liked the concept of the Real Tree. Tying it to the top of the car; family driving home slowly; sawing off the bottom of the trunk; lugging it in the house; sweeping up the needles; letting it settle and acclimate for a day or so; sweeping up the needles; putting lights on; sweeping up needles; watering; decorating; watering; sweeping; watering; etcetera etcetera...

I think it was last year, the tradition of 'getting the tree' began to wear on us. So, this in fact...we made the decision to get a fake tree. It was like we were letting Christmas down. Somehow it seems like putting up a plastic tree is another nail in the coffin of the tradition of Christmas.

We got a tree that has the lights already built into it. All white lights. It's a nice 7.5 foot plastic pine tree that actually looks pretty darn good.

There's no smell of pine (that can be, I assume, managed with potpourri), and that's too bad. But there's no needles on the floor, no watering.

Christmas, I hope we haven't let you down.

Friday, December 12

Now, That Was A Concert!

Okay, I'm granting you the chance to go back in time, to any place in the world, to any time in the 20th century to witness your favourite band/performer play one song live in concert. You will arrive in mid-concert amid the crowd already there, two minutes before the artist plays the song you chose, and then leave two minutes after the song is over.

You have to tell me who the artist is, where (time and place) the venue is, and what the song is. I'll even let you give me three choices. The best one choice gets to go.

My three choices are:

1) The Beatles in The Cavern in Liverpool in 1963 performing "Twist and Shout"

2) The Clash in any venue in London in 1977 performing "Complete Control"

3) The Pixies at U-Mass in Boston in 1990 performing "U-Mass"

3a) XTC anywhere at anytime playing any song.

Just don't look, okay

Seriously, this is not for everyone.

If you don't want to see a video of a guy shoving his head into a sheep and then being dragged (or is it drug) around a barn, just don't click on the link, okay.

Just don't.

Thursday, December 11

Feral Skunky

Feral know, instead of Feargal Sharkey. Ha ha.

I had just started writing a comedy sketch about a couple of wild-men discovered on PEI as being raised by skunks (don't ask), when I came, quite co-incidentally, across this site listing feral children. Reading some of these stories kinda takes the fun out of writing my "Skunk Brothers" sketch.

Wednesday, December 10

I Am My Own Jeff Probst

Quite a while ago, on an online message board I use to frequent (which is now pretty much dead from inactivity), I developed an online version of Survivor. It was quite successful amongst those who frequented that board, and lots of fun. There were actually two 'seasons' of Survivor, and the same fellow, Kreskin, was the ultimate survivor each time.

Basically, those who chose to play were randomly divided into two teams (and then later, the remaining players played individually), and each team had to answer challenges that I gave (they would email me the answers, which I would then post for all to see). I was sole judge and jury of the challenges, and with some of the decisions being judgement calls on my part, there were a few accusations of favouritism and cheating. The losing team/players had to then vote one of themselves out of the game.

My all-time favourite answer, from all the answers to all the challenges, is below. It was given by Frankie, who sometimes visits this site. This answer allowed Frankie to win that challenge.

Here is that challenge, and Frankie's answer beneath it:


The Challenge:

I am a big-wig, hot shot producer of a sitcom called “Bottomless Cup”. The sitcom airs on NBC on Thursday nights. The sitcom is about a happy, friendly, somewhat naïve man named Bill Timmons. He has a sarcastic wife and 3 precocious kids. Bill owns his own internet café, called Bottomless Cup. He has a wacky staff of 4 (a doltish male, a sexist male, a sexpot female, & an unassuming pretty female). Many characters frequent his café, some recurring.

The sitcom divides its time between Bill’s ‘work’ life and Bill’s ‘home’ life.

The sitcom is a huge success for NBC, and has just been renewed for 2 more years.

You five are my team of comedy writers. (at this point there were 5 players still remaining)

Here is the problem:

This week’s episode is almost ready to be filmed (before a live studio audience). The script is great. Trouble is, one of the jokes just isn’t working right. It’s just not funny. We’re about to film the scene and we need a joke right now.

You each will submit a joke or punch-line that fits into the following scenario and script. The one who posts the joke that I will ultimately use in the episode will get a huge raise and will win immunity.


The police have just arrived at the Bottomless Cup because a prudish customer, whom nobody likes, complained that she saw some explicit and potentially illegal pornography on the café computer she was using.

Officer: Mr. Timmons, I’m afraid we’re going to have to confiscate that computer.

Bill: But officer, that’s not pornography!

Officer: It’s not? Well, if that’s not pornography, what’s that giraffe doing with that stewardess?

Bill: (insert joke here)

We need a big laugh joke here, because right after this we break for commercial.


This is your challenge.

Good luck.


This was Frankie's, and the winning answer:

Officer: Mr. Timmons, I'm afraid we're going to have to confiscate that computer.

Bill: But officer, that's not pornography!

Officer: It's not? Well, if that's not pornography, what's that giraffe doing with that stewardess?

Bill: Well, uh, she's.....checking his baggage.


I just thought that was perfect.

Anyone got another punchline for this?

Tuesday, December 9

"Hands up," he said. "Haaaands up."

Today, during lunch, as I was walking (and walkman-ing) around the downtown core:

-a policeman was walking down the street toward me. I swear, it took all of my strength not to try and grab the gun from his holster as he walked past. This impulse wasn't one that built up as he approached. It was pure and intense and only instantaneous to his passing. I didn't want to do anything nefarious with the weapon, I just wanted to grab for it. Then I'd give it back. I wondered how the cop would react. By the way, in the end, I decided not to make a grab for the pistol.

-thinking about music, listening to music as I walked. Steven Garrity has posted his second Acts of Volition Radio Session and Matt's recent post referencing the Rolling Stone Top 100 got me thinking about music lists and playlists and such. Me, I prefer a lot of randomness to my music-listening adventures. I appreciate the studious and carefully compiled playlist of 10 songs which flow perfectly into the next, but ultimately I'd rather have a thousand or more songs randomly playing. I really like not knowing what's coming next, but knowing I'll like it well enough. As for Steven's 'theme' broadcasts, I thought 'great vocal performances' would make a great show. This thought struck me as I was listening to Tom Jones' "Delilah" (which was followed by X's "Los Angeles", then the theme to "Sanford and Son", then "Girl Afraid" by The Smiths, then...)

-I'm definately a stroller. Maybe even a saunterer. I take my time getting to where I'm going.

-I perceive myself as walking fairly erect. This may not be the case, maybe I stoop as I saunter, but I don't believe so. If anybody considers me a stooped saunterer, rather than an erect stroller, please let me know. But let me know gently, for god's sake.

Sunday, December 7

Happy Birthday, Jean Emily Hume

On this day, a few years before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, my mother, Jean Emily Hume was born.

Happy Birthday, Mom.



Wednesday, December 3

The Standards Standard

Standards are a great thing. It's comforting to know that when I go to Canadian Tire to get plumbing material to fix a toilet, for instance, that the flange I buy will be the same size as the flange I'm replacing.

But today, as I was sitting there, I started to wonder whether standards, at some point, begin to hold us back, developmentally speaking. How do we break free from the current set of standards and implement new, better machines that require a new set of standards?

The toilet, as it is today, is a pretty efficient machine. But could it be better? I suspect that it could. Yet I doubt anybody is investing much effort into making the toilet a better machine, because its design would likely involve the need to fundamentally change the standards we currently used. It would likely involve a total redesign of the flange? It would require us all to invest in this new toilet for our homes, and who wants to do that? The current toilet is good enough.

But is it? Who knows what exciting, innovative toilet designs and functions are in the designer's brain? And what other facets of our lives are being standardized into complacency?

Tuesday, December 2

What Does Love Mean?

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth. – Billy, age 4

Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other. – Karl, age 5

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. – Bobby, age 7

Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken. – Elaine, age 6

When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you. – Karen, age 7

Monday, December 1

Yes, I Am "Nature Boy" of The Fairy Gang

When I was growing up in Parkdale, our neighbourhood was, except for one girl, Norma, free of females of my approximate age. There were probably a dozen boys of my age. This made for a rather testosterone-fuelled environment. In fact, it was common to hear that the boys were going to go to Ginger McKay's tractor junkyard and break some tractors, or that someone stole their mother's smokes and people were going to meet at the back of the park (down by the manhole) to smoke them.

I say 'common to hear' because I seldom took part in such events. In fact, there were three of us, me and my two best friends, who chose not to go along with most of these deviant activities. As a result of our non-conformist decisions, we three were dubbed 'The Fairy Gang'. I suppose if they were a more literate group, they'd have called us 'The Faerie Gang'. This didn't necessarily cause rifts or divisions amongst us, the kids of the neighbourhood. We all got along pretty well during times when they weren't off causing havoc. We all played baseball, football together. We all played huge games of neighbourhood tag almost every summer night, and street hockey most every other night. We all got along well. It's just that we three were sometimes referred to as "The Fairy Gang."

Being upright and moral kids, we kind of embraced the handle, even though we understood the underlying implications. In fact, in later teenage years, when some of the kids upgraded their deviance to more serious vandalism and petty crime, there were some of the other kids who started hanging out more with us. They became unofficial members of The Fairy Gang.

One day, we were all playing football in the back field. It was the perfect field for playing football. A large rectangular, empty field of mowed grass that was contained within the center of our block. It was basically the field that was in back of everyone's back yard. On this day, I was relegated to blocking and blitzing duty. I wasn't pleased about this. I wanted to be a receiver, my usual position, but for some reason, I was blocking and blitzing.

Begrudging my position, I played half-heartedly, to the dismay of my team-mates. At one point, my lethargy and lack of effort caused me, instead of blitzing, to absent-mindedly pick up buttercups or dandelions. Of course, this behaviour was incongruous to a lineman on a football team, and it didn't go unnoticed by Moe, the boy who was built like a tree trunk. He called me 'Nature Boy', and naturally, the nickname stuck.

So, here I am, Nature Boy of The Fairy Gang.

My Three Wishes

Just in case it happens, I want to be ready. I want to have my three wishes all set, phrased in such a way that the devil or the genie cannot find any loop-holes to trick me. I’d hate to wish, for instance, for ‘good health’ and then be stricken to a wheelchair, unable to use my legs, with the genie saying ‘good’ is a relative term. I want my wishes to be locked-solid; to be unmistakable. I want it to be absolutely clear what I’m wishing for, and absolutely clear what I’ll get for my wishes.

For this, I humbly ask for your free advice. I would be grateful if any of you would look through my wishes and offer any suggestions, additions, deletions to them, with the goal of making them legally clear.

My three wishes, in their most basic form, are this:

1) I wish that I will never have to worry about money.

2) I wish that I will have good health, until the day I die a peaceful death.

3) I wish that I will be creative, clever and coherent until the day I die.

I am not locked into these wishes either. If someone has suggestions for better wishes, please let me know.

I just want to be ready, you know, in case the situation arises.