Thursday, March 31

Um...ehe ha

Telephone rings.
Good day, sir.  I'm calling from Rogers Wireless.  I'd like to tell you about a wonderful cellular phone deal--
Sorry, I'm not interested.

Oh... Do you think there might be someone else who might be?
You mean in the whole world?

(pause in which I actually hear the silent sound of confused panic)
Um..ehe ha...can you be a little more specific?
Yes.  Can you be a little more specific.
Ahee ha.  Well, we have two cellular phone--
I'm not interested.
Oh...Well you have a good day sir.
Thank you.

Water To Boil The Type


Can I have a half order of Fuck A Cuttlefish?   And The Rabbit Fucks The Pot, does that come with white rice?

This picture of, apparently, a poorly translasted chinese restaurant menu, well, it struck me funny.

Wednesday, March 30

Looks like our Sketch 22 website is up and running.  Haven't looked around it yet, so I can't guarantee it's all smooth as silk, but there are a few treats available at least.

Go have a look:

Stars On 45 (as in, Average Age)

I notice this in the TV Guide for this Friday:

Winnipeg Comedy Fest 1:00
Showcasing stars of the future.  Features Stewart Francis, Todd Butler, Steve Smith, Dave Broadfoot and Lorne Elliot.  Hosted by Patrick McKenna

Stars of the future? Dave Broadfoot?  Steve Smith?? Lorne Elliot?

Blah-merican Blah-dol

First off, notice that the category for this post is "Television" and not "Music".  Calling it music might encourage them.

So far, this run of American Idol, I am very much disappointed in the song selection from practically all of the "idols".  Last night, they had any song from the 1990s to choose from, and they all picked shit.

First up was Bo.  He seems like a nice guy, but I really can't stand him, solely because of his look, specifically because of his hair.  Yes, all the lay-dees see him as the icon for 'bad boy" but please, no true bad boy would step a million miles close to American Idol.  He's Playgirl(tm) Bad Boy.  Pure surface bad boy.  He sings some shitty song by the shitty Black Crowes and is bored and therefore boring.  He gives his Las Vegas Gigolo cowboy hat to Paula, and I hate the way he holds the mic stand, way down low as he stands, like a fake bad boy, on the very desk that the Judges sit behind.  How bad boy of him.  Faker.  I also hate how he and Constantine are dubbed "The Rockers".  How can these products be rockers when they are only Monkees?

Next is Jessica, who sings a boring LeAnn Rimes song.  My biggest trouble with Jessica is that I can't tell her apart from the other blonde female country singing "idol".  You know, the one who the judges keep reminding us is the best, regardless if she performs well or not.  Anyway, as she sings, I go all Terri Shiavo and my wife takes away my ripple chips and I really don't care.  I thank Simon for calling her "unlikable" and then I wonder how much that would hurt to hear, never mind that it's broadcast over the continent.  "You're unlikable" and a hundred million people nod in agreement.  Ouch.  Apt, but ouch.

I have a catholic-jewish-black conspiracy theory that I'm just now making up.  I believe that the Pope is actually dead, and they've been Weekend at Bernies-ing him for a while now.  I believe that he succumbed to some whithering disease that has also afflicted Mikhala (the American "idol" who got voted out, either last week or forever ago), because there's simply no other explanation as to how she could have so much (granted annoying) talent and spark, and then, week after week, just crumble to the point where she became consistently lousy.  Now, Anwar seems to have succumbed to the same disease (which I hereby dub Pontiff-Bernard Syndrome).  He was so good early on, and now, last three weeks, he's tanked, each week worse than last.  Last night he was awful, singing a poor-choice R.Kelly song.  Yeah, he hit the end-notes well, but friend, guess what?  The audience has already left.  I used to like Anwar, and was hoping for him to do well, but he really picks crappy songs.  His taste in song choice, like all the 'idols' it seems, is really suspect

More than I like Anwar, I like Nadia.  In her little pre-song interviews lately, she's been hinting about her eclectic and subversive side.  I like that (why she almost seems like she'd be better suited to be a Canadian Idol contestant, since they seem to be, generally, a more cool and hip bunch.  More "Canadian" I guess.).  She sings Melissa Etheridge and does a fair enough job.  Nothing spectacular (in either direction, good or bad) and not much to say.  Good enough to stick around.

Oh Constantine, you scampy fat-cheeked boy.  Of all this year's "idols" he's the one I'd least trust, the one I'd least expect to see the return of the hundred and fifty bucks I leant him.  My criticism of this rocker is that his singing is too affected, he employs too many "sexy" singing tricks.  He has everything that makes Corey Hart bad.  Last night, though, I thought he nailed his rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" (a great song, by the way).  I expect him to survive to next week, and then he'll come out all bubble-gum cutesy and re-energize my hate-on for him.

I don't like Nikko.  I don't like the songs he sings, or the way he sings them.  He is bland.  Last night he did an okay job, but I didn't enjoy it.  In. Any. Way.

Anthony Federov grabs the puck at the blue-line, skates around two defenders, spins and shoots...he scores!!!  Sorry.  A-Fed, as they call him (because they probably don't want to say the communist "federov" any more than they have to), sings a crappy Elton John song.  I think it's called "A Vagueness About Your Appearance This Evening".  Anyway, I've never noticed it before but in his pre-song interview, I could hear him trying to stifle his accent.  Then I could hear him doing the same as he sang.  I'm calling him a Red Menace right now.  How did he do with the song?  As good as he always does, which is not very good.  He'll be gone soon.

Carrie (the other white Jessica) sings Independence Day.  Is this awful country song about a woman who has every kind of hurt done to her, and then proclaims emancipation?  Wow.  Good for her, singing that.  Of course, she could sing farts and still the judges would pedestal her, because they all want her to win.  Shouldn't she be on Nashville Star, and not American Idol?  Does America really want a country singer as their next idol?  Idiots deserve that shit, I'm saying.

Scott is a scary looking dude.  I think he'll stay in the competition for a while longer because each and every Ameican is afraid to not vote for him for fear of a personal pipe-bombing.  He's a scary looking dude.  But the voice of an angel.  At least sometimes.  Last night, he tanked.  All over the place and not at all good.  There, I said it.  Here.  Here are the keys to my car.  Why don't you go start it, while I stand well outside the potential debris range.

Vonzell is a beautiful woman.  I don't know what it is about her singing, but it's not quite there. Ever.  She comes so close to having it all, but just can't reach it, for some reason.  But she sure is beautiful.

Tonight's "bottom three" (an inelegant phrase, I dare say) will be: Jessica, A-Fed the Communist, and Anwar.

Jessica gets the boot.

Tuesday, March 29

WotD: Aliment

Yesterday, a large lunch of Schwarma and a large dinner of Chicken Tikka Masala provided more aliment than I required.


I didn't say you were fat, dear.  Aliment was those jeans show off your hips.

Monday, March 28

The Battle

We got a digital camera a month or two ago, and ever since, my son and his friend have been pestering me to use the "movie mode" of it to help them make a movie.  I have always been reluctant because, as other movie projects we've done in the past prove, it ends up with them having fun doing the acting, then it's a couple of hours of frustrating importing, uploading and editing on my part to get some type of finished product.  Frustrating because the program I use (the rather cheap Windows Movie Maker 2) keeps crashing, and any other program I've tried has been worse.
Anyway, Good Friday I relented and agreed to shoot them in a "movie".  It really is just an action scene, but they do actually have a rather involved plot outline for a larger feature.

We went outside, around our yard and for twenty minutes or so, we came up with some quick shots, which I then took and edited together.  Borrowing a cool piece of music, The Battle was complete.  It actually turned out much better than I thought it'd be.
I'm offering it here for only a couple of days because I don't want it eating up my limited bandwidth.

If you stumble upon this post after April 1, 2005, the download link will not be working.

Have a look, if you like.  It's a 7MB wmv file.

Download The Battle (6861.4K)

Thursday, March 24

Moe Gorman Hawks "Songs of Slander and Libel" Posted by Hello

Arrested D'oh!velopment

I always thought it'd be an interesting experiment to take an actual episode of The Simpsons and try to reproduce it as best as possible, shot for shot, camera angle for camera angle but with live action actors.

A while ago, when I was watching Arrested Development, I was trying to figure out what it is about it that appeals to me so.  Smart writing, yes, good acting, yes, these are givens, but one thought I struck upon that I hadn't before is that Arrested Development, more than any other live action show, comes closest to capturing that frenetic, what's-gonna-come-next, where will this week's plot eventually take us pace of The Simpsons.  Lots of really short scenes is the norm for both shows, there are all kinds of little jokes that zoom past you without you even realising it half the time, along with the big jokes, the plot can start off down one path and end up, 22 minutes later, somewhere totally unexpected.

So, there.  Has anyone else thought of that?  I should write a book, I'm so smrt. Smart.

Boring Exercise Update #2

I'm going to be keeping a small diary of my running exploits, so please feel free to ignore these posts.

Today was my second run.  The difficulty of the first run was 100 (the maximum on my scientific scale, on the probably flawed theory that subsequent runs get a bit easier).  It was a real trial to get through and I barely did.  Sounds simple, probably:  8 repetitions of 60 seconds or running followed by 90 seconds of walking.  But for a schlub like me, carrying around the extra pounds I do, it was a task, I tell ya.  The worst part was the two hours afterwards, what with the aches and the pains and the high-den-froid-en, nice laaaa-ddy!
Today's run was again 8 repetitions of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.  It seemed a bit easier to get through to the end of the 8 reps, and the afterwards pain is substantially less (see, I'm an ace at exercise!!), although I did find it kind of difficult to walk after my final run.  Not because of shortness of breath, or anything, but because of sore shins.
The big problem, one I hope goes away eventually, is the pain all up and down my left arm... no.  Is really sore shins.  Does anyone know if that will remedy itself after a few more attempts?  I hope so.
Anyway, exercise attempt number 2 rates a 90 on my worthless scale.  That's a whole 10 point difference (those 10 points coming off because this time I had no doubt I'd finish the 8 reps).
Yay Me!!

Come Play On Our Island (bring protection)

You can't beat free tourism advertising:

- Hell's Angels Sets Up Chop-Shop in Charlottetown
- NB Bike Gang Expands Domain To Include PEI
- Charlottetown Policeman Caught With Child Pornography
- Mob of Charlottetown Teenagers Harrasses Chinese Restaurant Owners
- PEI Students Stupidest In Canada
- Charlottetown Festival to present Canada Rocks - A Musical Revue

(okay, just kidding on the last one.  Well, let's just say the jury has not yet returned a verdict)

Tuesday, March 22

Exercise. Gasp!

I am not what I would call "fit".  I would love to remedy that but cannot begin to fathom the idea of going to a gym.  I have grown pathetically comfortable in my non-physically active lifestyle.  I have been contemplating, for months now, the notion of beginning to improve my fitness and well-being.  I had kind of talked myself into waiting until the weather was better before I begin any program that would involve outside activity.  Now that it is spring, it is time to take that contemplation and turn it into actuality.
So, today begins what I hope becomes a long and fruitful routine in my life.  Today I take fhe first steps towards getting more healthy.  Today I start a running regimen.
My goal is to be able to run 5 Kilometers straight within 9 weeks.  I found The Couch-to-5K-Running-Plan, which looks like a good way to ease me into the world of getting fit.
I hope I can force myself to stick through the initial weeks so that the routine can plant itself into my brain.  I post my intentions here so that I can fear the humiliation of failing in this task.

I'll report back here on my progress as events warrant.
Once I succeed on this task, then perhaps I'll be in a better condition (physically capable and mentally willing) to take advantage of the goodness that a gym and it's services could offer me.

Saturday, March 19

Ken Burns' "Civil War Jazz Ballers"

"My dearest Edith, today saw the sun shining and the fields of grass being mowed in preparation for the Tantonville Titans' jazz ensemble performance.  On the mound will be our top trombonist, Willie "Slide" Carmichael, so I am filled with great hope.  If the ensemble goes well, we expect to capture the Pennawatty Pirates fort by nightfall.  Capturing this fort will go a long way in ensuring the North wins the war.  I hope to be home before the fall turnip harvest, but Cpl. Adamson says I'll likely die in the 7th inning, running for a foul note.  Still, I remain hopeful.  Yours, forever, Kenny."
Left fielder and third trumpeter, private Kenny Kennilson's letter to his estranged wife is but one of the touching and written letters from the men of the Tantonville Titans First Battalion Jazz Collective.  The first all white jazz group that saw battle in the great civil war.  Unfortunately, they all died at the Battle For Penawatty that day, by a score of 9-2.

Isn't that a touching story?  If you'd like The Annekenstein Monster to continue with great stories, moving portraits like that, then I implore you to fake donate some money to The Annekenstein Monster right now.  It's simple to do.  Compubots are standing by, over in the comments section of the Fake Pledge post.  Just click there and type in your fake-pledge amount.  Remember, no amount of fake money is too little, or too big.
I'm Rob MacDonald, owner and operator of this very site.  We'll be back to Ken Burns' excellent documentary "Ken Burns' Civil War Jazz Ballers" in a never, but before we never get back, I'd like to tell you a bit about The Annekenstein Monster, and why it's so important for you to fake contribute to it.
Having thought about it, I'm actually coming up empty.  Still.  The compubots are standing by.  And they do charge about $7.50 each per hour to stand by, so, I guess, that's one reason to fake contribute...??
Thanks for your time, and now, back to "Ken Burns' Civil War Jazz Ballers", exclusively on The Annekenstein Monster...

The Annekenstein Monster Fake Pledge Drive

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To ensure that TAM continues to offer you the best postings possible, we ask you to look deep into your fake hearts, and to dig deep into your fake pocket books and send some fake money our way.  Every little fake bit helps the TAM team of writer search the brain, the internet and beyond for stories, inanity and musings that are sometimes funny, sometimes touching, but almost always irrelevent to your own personal lives.

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Friday, March 18

Free Chicken - new update

Today, my usual Friday lunch with Dave being cancelled, I trudged off to conduct the latest round in the Great  Chicken Fingers Experiment.

Today's results:
Five nice sized fingers
A pleasant mound of fries
And it was all free!

Yes, the guy (who some say loves me) took my order, cooked my order, gave me my order and said "here you go" and that was that.  But I didn't pay yet!  I'm positive he knew that.  Obviously, this was a major attempt by him to tell me something. Some will say it's love, some will say it's something else.
Persoanlly, I choose love.
Anyway, I flatly snubbed his advance (as you all know, I learned the hard way that love and money don't mix) by pointing out that I hadn't paid for my meal. "Actually, I didn't pay for this yet," I stated, emotionless. It was like a slap in the face to a scorned lover.  Quickly recovering, he gathered whatever composure he could muster and said "Oh yeah!  Seven Dollars."
Sad, brokenhearted man.
It will be interesting to see how many fingers I get next time.

Thursday, March 17

I Demand A Recount!!

This, from a press release for The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,  listed in the latest TheatrePEI email newsletter:

Laurie Murphy, PEI's comedian,
writer, actor, director, producer, and musician (did I forget anything? I'm sure I
did!) will no doubt be superb in this role.

My question is:  When did this election take place?  Is PEI only allowed just the one comedian, writer, actor, etc?


Kicked When Down

Well, wasn't Survivor: Pulau something last night?  What a turn of events, followed by another turn of events.
I am under the impression that, by law, reality show games such as Survivor are supposed to be pre-planned, from start to finish, before the contest starts, so that charges of impropriety and favouritism are more difficult to press.  Last night's change from the ordinary made me wonder whether that was planned before the game started, or whether it was a made-up-on-the-spot effort to get force the Unbeatable Team to lose a member.
Whatever the answer, it made for one of the better episodes of Survivor that I'd seen.  The Reward Challenge was for the reward of food, but, it was revealed, the winning tribe of the challenge would, as would the losing tribe, have to vote out one of its members.  What!!!???!!!  How is that fair?  What is the justification for that?  Excellent!!!  But that wasn't the only surprise.  The members of the winning tribe, after voting out their member (good riddance, Willard, boring Willard), were then told that they were to each vote to give immunity to one of the members of the losing tribe.  What???!!!???  A second surprise??  Excellent!!!  This of course resulted in the guy, Ibrahim, who was 100% destined to leave getting immunity.  Who would they vote out now?  How would they be able to confer?

And what a humiliating and tough day for the losing tribe (is it Ulong?).  Not only do they lose a challenge that they had come close to winning, but they must suffer the indignity of having the other tribe witness their tribal council, and the even worse indignity of seeing the other team eat delicious bowls of beef stew while they sit, stewing in their own patheticness.  Then the final kick is that the satiated winning team gets to screw up their plan of voting out Ibrahim.  Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick.  Frazier Goes Down!!!  Frazier Goes Down!!!
In the end, the Pathetic Tribe votes out the much-tattooed- and-therefore-much-more-ugly- because-of-the-tattoos Angie.  Apparently because she didn't like being lost in the jungle during a lightning storm???   I guess the fact that she was one of the strongest and most consistent challenge performers on the team wasn't relevant anymore.  Probably because the members of the team has likely given up the concept of "tribe" by now and are thinking about how they each can manage to survive whenever a merging of tribes takes place.  Their weak will now eat their strong.

Anyway, a good season of Survivor got even better last night.  Way to take everyone out of the usual discomfort zone.

Wednesday, March 16

Moe Gorman Sings

Sketch 22 is in the process of creating something (a couple of somethings, actually)  other than a sketch comedy theatre show for this summer (although we're currently writing sketches for that, too).  For fear of spoiling the possibility of it coming to fruition, I'll not say anything further on what it (they) is (are).
One of the elements, though, required me to record some Moe Gorman songs.  For those who don't know, Moe is a character I created for last summer's show.  He's a fictitious descendant of the real Larry Gorman who was a 19th century PEI poet and songwriter, who, as Moe says "wrote and sang songs about them what pissed him off." 
Moe has not one bit of poetic or singing talent, but nonetheless feels the urge to carry on the Gorman tradition of creating songs about the people who done him wrong. Despite his lack of talent or ability, he does have oodles and oodles of passion and belief in what he's singing, and in that, I suppose, lies his appeal.
No matter how slight the slight to him, Moe is likely to write a song about it.  Last summer for Sketch 22, Moe hocked his CD Moe Gorman - Songs of Slander and Libel and sang a couple of the songs that were on this (non-existent) CD.
Well, some of his songs are now recorded and will soon be available for public ?enjoyment?.
Even though I am not a great (or all that good) singer, it's difficult to sing songs that are purposefully tuneless.  It's even more difficult when the songs are such poorly crafted works.  Structurally speaking, the lyrics are abysmal, with horrible run-on sentences and absolutley nothing to hitch a melody to.

Here are the titles of the songs I recorded Monday night:
Phillip Arsenault's A Real Arsehole
I'm Glad She's Dead
Dan Simmons Got A Real Small Dick (And He Don't Know How To Use It)
First Time I Stepped Foot On This Campus In Twelve Years
Keep The Thirty Bucks
(Ya Stupid) Snowplow Operator
Rubber Sheets
A Partial List of The Affairs I Know About

Here are the lyrics to my personal favourite Moe Gorman song:
I'm Glad She's Dead
Sybil Monroe never gave me the time of day when we was going to school
She thought she was too good for me, and would laugh at me clothes.
Well, the last laugh's on her,
'Cause now she's dead.
And I'm glad.
Oh yes, I'm glad she's dead, oh yeah.
I'm glad her poor old mother outlived her.
And her stuck up friends, like Gladys Kennedy, and that fat one, Sharlene O'Connor
Crying their tears and smudging up their makeup at the funeral
Can go to Hell too.

Stay tuned for future updates on how you can get a little Moe into your world.

Tuesday, March 15

This Week, Rob Tells A Lie

One night, many years ago, I was with friends at Pats Rose & Grey, enjoying an evening.  Being introduced to strangers, and being somewhat inebriated, and assuming that the brief introduction would be my complete and total association with these strangers, I decided on a whim that I'd pretend I'm visiting from Scotland.  And so I put on my best (bad) Scottish brogue. 
Of course, the short introduction turned into us all getting a table together, so I was kind of forced to keep up the charade for quite a while.  I can't imagine I fooled them, but they seemed to take me at my word. If they did take me at my word it was probably only because they (rightly) couldn't imagine someone being so pathetic as to fake a scottish accent for an entire evening.  Seriously, how sad.

Since then, I've often thought of scnearios and lies I could tell people about me if I was in such similar situations (being introduced to strangers) and if the mood struck me.  And I've come up with the perfect one (I think).
Saying you're Scottish (or anything where you have to put on a tough accent or any affectation) is dangerous because it's tough to keep the charade up.  One needs to choose a lie which is easy to maintain yet fairly difficult to prove on the spot.  The lie also needs to be of a nature that the possibility of the truth is within grasp.  Saying you're an astronaut is probably not going to be believed, and would be farily easy to disprove.  The lie needs to be within the realm of possibility, yet of appeal uncommon enough to be remembered.
And I have the perfect lie:

If you don't know me, and you get introduced to me, and if I am of the right level of intoxication and if the mood strikes me, I may tell you my lie:  I am one of the writers of the little show description snippets in the TV Guide.  If pressed, I have a whole backstory ready to prove that fact.

"See that guy over there," you'd say to others.  "He writes those little blurbs about the shows in the TV Guide."

What's your lie?

Monday, March 14

The Sith Sense

I am not going to post a link to the latest trailer for Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, because I assume you a) have seen it if you heard about it, b) know where to find it if you care to, c) don't care at all about it.
The reason I won't post a link to it is because I don't want to facilitate in any way you to get your hopes up, as I have mine, that this is going to be the best of the six in the series.  I don't want to make it easy for you to see it, get your hopes up, and then be disappointed when you actually go and see the movie.
Not that it's a great trailer, but it does stir hope within me that perhaps George Lucas will finally pull something other than technical wizardry out of his director's bag.  Maybe this time there'll be some emotional weight to the movie.
I have a sense that I may be disappointed.  For I have seen the trailer.  And from the trailer, hopes have risen.

Sunday, March 13

There. And Not There

This weekend was one of those frustrating computer weekends. First, for whatever reason, my Picasa2 (a favourite, by the way, especially now that I have a digital camera) decided it would discount all the efforts we made to categorize and label our thousands of pictures.  You know, the "any picture with Rob in it gets a "Rob" label" kind of stuff.  Yesterday, I started up Picasa2 and it was showing zero pictures.  It had to import them all again, and the labels we had created had disappeared.
Oh well, at least the pictures are all intact.
Then, today, I open iTunes and lo and behold, there is no music in the iTunes Library.  The files are all still on the computer, but none were showing up in iTunes.  Had a heck of a time trying to get things back in order without losing playlists and smartlists.  I wouldn't have cared too much, and would've just imported the files again, but I sync my iPod through playlists and smartlists, so I really wanted to find them.  Fortunately, a google search gave me the problem and solution:  a corrupted library file.  A quick deletion and moving of files in my iTunes folder, another importation of the moved library file and voila, back in action.
I am sure you are thrilled.  As if anyone read to this point.


Friday, March 11

I Should Have Died 3 Million Years Ago!!

According to 2 UC Berkeley scientists, the Earth gives itself a bio-enema of mass extinction every 62 million years. 
People, it's been 65 million years since the last mass extinction, with the dinosaurs and all.  We're 3 million years past due!  I'm scared to go to sleep tonight.

The Earth was talking on the phone its friend, a teenage planet.
"Wait", said the Earth, "I think I hear something."
The Earth turned it's head slightly and saw something moving in the shadow of the closet, and its heart began to pound fast.
"Seriously," the Earth whispered into the receiver, "there's someone in the galax----"
There was a scream, and then...
diiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaallllllllll    toooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!
"Oh. My. God." said the teenage planet.  "You better be joking, or I'm gonna be, like, seriously pissed!"
Teenage Planet waited a moment for Earth to stop playing its game.

But Earth wasn't joking.  It was dead.

The Gag is dead. Long Live The Gag!

Unfunny Jay Leno can once again make "jokes".
A judge has ruled that Jay Leno can once again tell monologue jokes about Michael Jackson, granting him an exemption from the court-imposed gag order.
I am saddened by this.  While it's obvious that Leno has no sense of propriety, good sense and fair play (not to mention worthwhile, funny material)  when it comes to relying, overly, on news and scandal and celebrity as fodder for his unfunny gags, I was hoping the court order would spare us all.

iPod iWishes

I like my iPod.  Very much.
There are things about it though, that I wish were better.  I'd like to see these ideas implemented:
- When you select "Songs" on the menu, the alphebetized list of all your songs is displayed.  It would be great if there was a better way to navigate around the (usually) huge listing.  To get to a song that begins with "S" for instance, it takes a bit of wheel-scrolling and all of a sudden you've zoomed to the end of your list.  I suppose that one could create Alphabet Smartlists, I suppose, to break the songs down alphabetically, but that's kind of a hassle.  I like being in the menu that contains all songs, and I'd like to be able to, I don't know, tab through the alphabet, get to the letter I want, then wheel-scroll through them.
-  I usually just listen to my full playlist, shuffled.  I like not knowing what song comes up next.  Sometimes, though, I'll hear a song come on and I'll think I'd like to hear more songs from that album, or artist.  I wish there was an easy one-or-two-click way to access that album or artist.  Currently I have to navigate to menu, then to artist, then to album and select it.
-  I wish there was a bit more user ability to alter tags.  Currently, about all one can do is give songs different ratings.  It would be great if you could, on your iPod, add short comments to the tags, or put songs in different playlists from your iPod.  For instance, let's say I'd like to have a playlist of songs that I'd like to learn how to play on the guitar.  It'd be great if, when listening to songs on the iPod, if I could mark the random songs that come on as "guitar" (or whatever).  Currently, I'd have to remember to remember that song later when I am on iTunes.

Anybody have any tips on how to make a pretty smart iPod experience even smarter?

"Homosexuals Are Strong"

So says James, The Southern Redneck on this season's Survivor.  He had just been bested, twice, by Coby, The Gay Guy in a physical challenge and was humiliated by the defeat.  His rationale in justifying this incredible and surprising affront to his masculinity was that it makes sense because homosexuals go to the gym a lot and work out, so of course they are strong.  As I watched that, I imagined civilised southerns just shaking their head and silently cursing him for squirting such a huge stream of Ignorant Brand Lighter Fluid to the Stereotype Barbecue.
Then, on The Apprentice, the Stereotype Barbecue kept on burnin' as John (the Vince Vaughan of this season's group) seemingly went out of his way to cook Male Chauvinist Hot Dogs.  He and a couple of female team-mates were to meet with some Rock Stars and he all but told them to whore themselves up to please the male rockers.  He called one of them "the fluffer".  I had kind of liked John (much like I like Vince Vaughan) until then, but he lost me with his stupid "women are best when they sell themselves as sex" mentality.  Glad he got fired.  Too bad that Trump seems to share John's basic philosophy about females in business.
Also on The Apprentice, I must say that George and Carolyn (Trump's assistants) absolutely rocked in this episode.  George owned the final board meeting. He was fantastic.

Thursday, March 10

10 songs, 10 John Lennon References

Time for the list of the next ten songs I hear on iTunes.

Long Shadow - Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: a nice little acoustic folk ditty by Joe et al.  Has kind of a Latin American rhythm to it.  I read some survey that said John Lennon had the best rock voice ever.  I'd put Joe Strummer right up there.  A fantastic voice.

Save the Last Dance For Me - Harry Nilsson:  This is an incredibly gentle demo version of that song we all know and assume we don't like.  Just Harry and a heavily tremaloed keyboard.  Simply done and all the better for it.  To keep the John Lennon references going, Harry and John had a drunk weekend in LA that lasted a year or so.  If you can find this song, I'd recommend you get it.  If you don't like it, I'll pity you.

54-46 Was My Number - The Maytals: Oh yes, I like the ska.  I do.  60's, 70's, 80's ska especially.  It's a genre of music that dares you not to dig it.  This is a great song.  Not sure if Toots is involved in this or not.  He must be.  Wouldn't that be like The Crickets without Buddy Holly?  Or The Beatles without, I don't know... John Lennon (see the clever way I referenced him this time.)

To Sir With Love - Lulu: Oh Lulu, you troublesome high school student, you.  Tough molly, wa'n't she, guv'nah?  Oh but this song tells us all how much Sidney Poitier means to White British Youth.  What a great song, says I.  Rumour has it that John Lennon and Lulu and Yoko Ono were going to produce some records, and they were going to call the record label Lulennono.  Not really.

Children Go Where I Send Thee - Ralph Stanley/Keith Whitley:  Even more than ska, I love me those high, tight bluegrass harmonies.  This song follows the acapella "O Death" from O Brother Where Art Thou style of bluegrass.  Seriously, does anyone sing as plaintively as Ralph Stanley.  Speaking of O Death, John Lennon is dead.

Omobolasire - Prozzak:  Yeah, that song that was on the radio there a few years ago.  I'm not a big Prozzak fan, but my wife likes 'em.  They'll show up in the shuffle every once in a while and I'm no worse for wear for hearing them occasionally.  I bet John Lennon would think these guys are okay, but probably wouldn't fancy the fake British accents.

California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas:  This is one of those songs that you have in your collection and you think "should I delete it?" because, you know, it speaks for the boomers, man, not to me.  But then you listen to the harmonies and you say "You'll do pig.  You'll do."  John Lennon and the Papas toked a lot together I'm pretty sure.

High Class Music - Roddy Frame:  I was an intermediately sized fan of Aztec Camera.  Mostly for the neat voice of the lead singer, Roddy Frame.  I came across an album of his last year and had to check it out.  There are some really nice songs on it.  This is one of them.  I'm afraid the John Lennon reference well dries up here, friends.  No wait.  Roddy Frame was born in Liverpool.  Yes he was.  Go and prove me wrong.  Provide me the link.  You can't. No.  You can't.

The Ballad of Hollis Brown - Bob Dylan:  Early Bob Dylan is the best for me.  I love ballads like this. Back when I was a teenager, my father and I bonded a bit because he appreciated these kind of Dylan songs.   Bob supposedly introduced the Beatles to dope.  I don't believe that.  I can't imagine the lads wouldn't have experienced some of that in Germany.

Money's Too Tight To Mention - The Valentine Brothers:  I've never heard this song.  I don't know where it came from, but I assume I downloaded it from some music blog somewhere.  Sounds like a 70's jazzy soul/funk type deal.  Farty disco bass and some tootin' sax.  But I tell ya, when the Valentine Brothers start singin' the woes of lovin' on a tight budget, well, I can feel it, bro.  A quick trip to allmusic tells me the brothers Valentine had appearances in the touring company of The Wiz. And that was pretty much a highlight.  So.  There ya go.  Oh.  And John Lennon.

And.  There you go.  Another random mix of songs.  Not a bad apple in the bunch.

Wednesday, March 9

I Can't Find My Singing Voice

Some might say I never could find my singing voice.
I have noticed, in the last five years or so in particular, that I am no longer able to sing as well as I used to.  My voice has grown a little deeper and my range is not near what it used to be.  Notes in songs that I used to be able to sing along to in a high tenor voice are now unreachable.  I have to actively find the notes in the limited range I now am forced to sing in.  This can lead to some fugly sounds as I fail to find a register that I'm comfortable in. 
It's like my voice is between floors
Is this just a result of growing older?  I assume it's common to lose range in your singing voice as you age.

Tuesday, March 8

PEI: 25% Wrong

from CBC News  Island MP's 3-1 For Same-Sex Marriage

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay is now the lone dissenter.  I'm confused.  Larry wants us to have Ferries, but he doesn't want them to marry?

(see, what I did there, was I made a "play on words".  See, there is controversy here on PEI regarding cut-backs to funding for our Cardigan area car-ferry service, and there is also a national controversy regarding homosexual marriage.  Homosexuals are sometimes referred to as "faeries".)

Chicken Finger Update

a huge heaping helping of fries
6, yes, six, fingers.  Large fingers.
Server:  The Guy

Bit The Seabiscuit

You all had better sit down.

I just read a report in the "Movie News" section of my MyWay homepage: Horse That Played Seabiscuit in Film Dies

Now, I know this is a shock to you, but after reading the report, I can tell you that it's not as doom and gloom as it seems.  See, the dead horse I Two Step Too, was merely one of ten horses to play the part of Seabiscuit.  So, we still have nine of the Seabiscuit actors left.  Still, though, a tough way to start our day, huh?
I did some research and came across a transcript of an upcoming segment of The Actor's Studio.  The following are excerpts from that interview, the final interview that I Two Step Too gave.

James Lipton:  We now come to that career-defining moment in your life.  Seabiscuit.
(Audience applauds)
James:  Were you surprised to be one of ten actors chosen to play the title character?
I Two Step Too:  Neigh.

James:  I understand you are a big fan of that wonderful, gloriious TV series The Wonder Years.  Who was your favorite character?
I Two Step Too:  Winnie.

James: hero, Bernard Pivot...I Two Step Too, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say upon your arrival?
I Two Step Too:  (stomps front hoof four times)
James:  Well said.  I give you your students.

Goodbye, Seabiscuit horse number three.  May we someday meet up over a bottle of Elmers, as I build a popsicle stick dish.

Thursday, March 3

What Are You?

I'm a monstrous fruitcake who likes to discover buffalo.

What are you?

An Axe, worthy To Grind

It seems every week, I'm reading or hearing or seeing something that makes me glad to live in Canada.

This week it's this published letter to Condi Rice, from Lloyd Axworthy.

I liked this paragraph, particularly:

I invite you to expand the narrow perspective that seems to inform your opinions of Canada by ranging far wider in your reach of contacts and discussions. You would find that what is rising in Canada is not so much anti-Americanism, as claimed by your and our right-wing commentators, but fundamental disagreements with certain policies of your government. You would see that rather than just reacting to events by drawing on old conventional wisdoms, many Canadians are trying to think our way through to some ideas that can be helpful in building a more secure world.

Amen, brother.

Wednesday, March 2

Spree-ality TV

Too many reality shows to keep tabs on right now.  I may have to vote one of them off the island.
Here's my oh-so-important opinion of the current slate that has me in rapt attention:
American Idol - I still don't know why I watch this show.  It's young quasi-talented egotists singing songs that I'd never put on my iPod.  Why watch?  It's not so much for the "you were a bit pitchy but you were a'ight" Randy, dawg.  It's not for the "your aura was im-magnificantacular, and I love your look, but you have to work on your look, and on how im-magnificantacular your aura is" Paula.  It's for the "If I was being honest, I would give an opinion that so often is exactly what needs to be said, and that mirrors what Rob thinks" Simon.  I feel like a school girl typing this, but Simon is so right-on so often.  Plus, I watch for the pathetic "my world just ended" dramas that happen every "results show" Wednesday.
Amazing Race 7 - a scant 3 weeks after the end of AR6, it's back.  Looks like a great bunch of competitors.  I'm surprised that I find myself cheering for Boston Rob and Amber.  I think it's because so many of the other teams have marked them as the enemy.  They really are a pretty entertaining couple.  I hated to type that.  When did gay boyfriend couples become the joke?  I like them all, except the "Suck it up" guy.  Does anyone else think that the old guy, Meredith (get beat up as a kid much?), look like Larry David when he's wearing his cap and sunglasses.  Spitting image, I say.  For that reason alone, I cheer him on.  Not so crazy about his wife, whom I'll dub "Dagnabbit".  Anyone else interesting?  Probably, but not worth mentioning right now.
Survivor - I'm liking the gang they've coralled onto the island this time around.  A good bunch of people, all seemingly knowing how the game is played.  Except, you know, for the fact that they all still seem to get upset when they, you know, learn that the people they've begun to trust are, like, you know, actually trying to win.  I thought they were all everyone's friends! 
The Apprentice - I so hate this show.  Arsehole business people doing whatever necessary to kiss the ass of the biggest arsehole around, Donald Trump.  Stupid arseholes who continually let picky picky picky stupid non-game stuff get in the way of their success on the show.  Stupid contests whose results are basically at the whim of the producers so, really, they can pick and choose who goes on and who gets fired.  Contests that are nothing more than advertisements for products.  I so hate this show.  I hate it.  Can't wait til it's on again Thursday.  Damn you, Trump.

Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck...and Cluck

This week's Chicken Finger Conspiracy Update:

Today, the guy served and he gave me 5 Huge chicken fingers.  Not so many fries, though.  Hmmm.

Added intrigue:  I didn't have to place my order.  He just said "Chicken, right."  I nodded.  Later, he tried guessing my finger sauce: "Sweet and Sour sauce?" he asked.  "No", I said, "Honey" I added.  Whether he took the "honey" the way it was intended, I don't know. But he did say "Right. Guess I should know that by now."  I replied, so coyly:  "Sometimes I like to mix it up."   I can't wait til he tells the girl about that.  Surely that will fire up her jealousy and garner me five fingers from her next time she serves me.  (and it's true, about the mixing it up.  The time before last time, I got Sweet'n'Sour sauce.  Last time I got No Sauce.  Today, honey.)

Dead Wrong

Well, now that the US Supreme Court has ruled that juvenile execution constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, I suppose we can expect some of those juveniles who've been executed to ask to have those sentences retroactively revoked.
Oh, wait.  Never mind.