Tuesday, May 31

Mow Is Me

All day at work today, it's been in the back of my mind - the grass at home needs to be cut.  Tonight.  It should have been cut last night, but I had a Sketch22 rehearsal.  A long busy day does not end with work today at 5pm.  Nope, the toil moves from the mental to the physical this evening.

Yes, my son (purely from the economic advantages it affords him) has taken on more and more of the task, but it's still my least favourite part of home-ownership.

Today, I implore you all, instead of your usual prayers for the orphans, the impoverished, the sick and infrim, pray for me.  Pray for me and my suburban woes.

Monday, May 30

Everyday I Jump The Shark

I was reading somewhere else on the internets a discussion as to when Elvis Costello jumped the shark.  And it made me ponder that exact same question.  When exactly did he jump the shark for me?

Back in the early 1980's I was a pretty huge Costello fan.  His first, from 1977, My Aim Is True is one of those almost perfect albums.  Smart sharp vitriolic angry songs, he was kind of the thinking man's punk.  The next few albums of his never could, and never did, match the quality of his first, though they all had some great songs.  And that was enough to keep him tops of my pops.
I was originally going to say that Punch The Clock was his Shark Jumping album.  Yeah, it had some nice songs, Everyday I Write The Book, Shipbuilding most notably, but it missed on a few cylinders, and it sounded too...soft.  Strings and horns and orchestrations?  From the thinking man's punk?  Was he done for? 
But how could I say he'd jumped the shark when he still had the albums Blood & Chocolate, King of America, and even Spike (an album I liked but many others didn't as much)... all really good albums with a lot of great songs?  Surely we had to accomodate him experimenting with the pop songs and sound of Punch The Clock.  I had to give him that allowance.  No, I decided, Punch the Clock did not jump the shark.
Nor do I think he jumped the shark with Mighty Like a Rose.  Yes, it's a difficult album to like, and the one that forever changed me from a buy-every-Elvis-Costello-Album guy to one who would wait and hear the reviews first.  But still, it was Elvis being Elvis.  Not very good Elvis, but still Elvis.
With the follow-up to that one, though,  The Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet, Elvis was pretty much done for in my mind. An egotistical stunt if ever there was one.
That was his Jump The Shark Album.  Without question.

Monday, May 23

Harrison Ford's Own Peter Pan

George Lucas signed off on this.  For that, he can never be forgiven.

The Star Wars Holiday Special (quicktime video)

Featuring:  Chewbacca and his family; a cooking demonstration; Bea Arthur singing; Carrie Fisher singing; and other unspeakables.  I have my Peter Pan ignominy, Harrison Ford has this.

Friday, May 20

Tar Zan Rub Ber Band

The folks over at Screenhead called this video "possibly the greatest thing we've ever seen."  That statement, of course, is one which begs to be brought down.
However, watching it, I may just have to agree.  It is possibly the greatest thing I've ever seen.

Thursday, May 19

Same Or Different Song?

I was walking up town at lunch today, listening to music in my own little world. I passed another person who was likewise listening to music.  I wondered what were the chances that we'd be listening to the same song.
Then I thought of this:  If I had to walk the earth, listening to music, and I had to stop each person I met who was also listening to music, and ask them what they were listening to... If I had to do that until I found somebody who was listening to the same song at the same time I was...(follow that so far?)  would I have a greater chance of success if I continually listened to the same song, over and over, until I found somebody who was also listening to that same song... or would it be better for me to randomly listen to songs, hoping to meet somebody who also randomly was listening to the same song at the same time?

I need to know.

The Okie Music Hall Of Fame

Last night, Vonzell got the boot.  Finally.
Even though there are two remaining American Idol contestants, there really is only one viable choice.
Watching the "Idol goes back to their hometown" video segments and Carrie went back, got the key to the city, and also received induction into the Oklahoma  (I just spelled it Oklahomo, then changed it - I wonder how many soft Okie boys have been called an Oklahomo?) Music Hall of Fame.
I immediately thought to myself "if I was a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, I'd be pretty sad to suddenly have my status decline in such a dramatic way by the inclusion of such a robotic 'of the moment' barely-talent like Carrie Underwood.  Kind of like when Lassie got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  It instantly devalued all significance such a gesture meant to worthwhile people who received it before and after.

Bo will win.  Bo must win.  And I don't really like his music.  It's just that Carrie is such a blip of talent, it'd be sad if she won.  Her lack of talent (yes, she can sing, but she can't - you know - sing.  No soul) doesn't deserve it.

Tuesday, May 17

The Answer My Friends Is Belinda Wins

Okay, so it's supposed to be Blowin' in the Wind.  I expect I'd have needed to explain that title...unless you say it fast out loud, and in just the right way.

So, Belinda Stronach walks across. Not quite the same impact as hearing that Gretzky went to the Kings from Edmonton, but I admit, I'm glad of this if it means no spring or summer election, as it most likely will.  I like Belinda.  Really the main thing I had against her was that she was on the Conservative side.  As for who I'd prefer:  Martin or Harper as leader?  What's that saying:  It's better to side with the devil you know than with Stephen Harper.

Hey, lookit me!  I'm talking politics.  I'm a big boy now!  Note, though, that I put this in the category "Games".

Monday, May 16

Not Even Worth A Clever Title

Listen.  I'm as sick as you are with these interminable reality show recaps of mine.  But I have to comment on this past season of Survivor.
It was, without question, the most I've ever enjoyed a Survivor series. A bunch of smart players who knew how to play the game, knew the parameters within which their relationships were based.  It made for some great viewing.
Some of my highlights:
I so immediately hated Wanda the crazy singing crazy woman.  I was so relieved when she didn't get picked to play.
I really enjoyed the week-by-week-by-weak dismantling of the Ulong tribe.  It was fantastic the way that Stephanie sort of became the symbol for the Downtrodden (in a reality TV kind of way, I'm not talkin' starvin' Africans here) and it became almost impossible not to root for her.  Wouldn't it have been fantastic if she did make it all the way to final two?  She sure is purty.
I was saddened when Ashlee was voted out.  I enjoyed looking at her bulging breasts.
I didn't like James the redneck.
Even though he seems like something of a childish snobby self-centered, I was moved by Coby's moment when he talked about his childhood.  Still, I didn't quite understand what his problem with Tom was?  He seemed to fabricate the idea that Tom was constantly lying and manipulating people and wouldn't budge from it.  From what I saw, Tom played perhaps the purest game ever, in terms of playing straight up and honestly.
Ian was my favourite player.  I was hoping he'd win.  What a crazy last three or four days for him.  A couple of minor slip ups in what he says and it implodes on him.  The emotional argument he had with Katie was fantastic, even though it made no sense, logically.  it was simple emotion-vomit.  His decision to give up the chance at final two:  I think I understand it, what with respect himself and all, but man...???
Katie made it to final two by riding the coat-tails of two strong players.  That's fine.  But what lost her the million dollars was her inability to play the other aspects of the game.  She could have still rode the coat-tails but actually contributed more to the community.  That's where she failed.
Tom deserved to win, hands down.  He totally dominated in practically every way, outplaying everyone.  He was smart, outwitting all without being in their faces about it...and he outlasted.

So, Survivor will never be as good again as this previous season has been.  I'll have to admit that and never forget when I watch the next bunch of nuts in Guatamala.

Amazing Race also concluded last week.  It too was a great season, thanks almost entirely to Rob and Amber.  They were the season's heroes, villains and scapegoats all wrapped into one package.  They never forgot what I consider the two most important rules (that I would try and follow if I was playing): never forget that this is a game and that means doing whatever necessary within the bounds of the game to get ahead, and two: respect your partner.
The final episode was very good, glad that Uchenna and Joyce won, but am pretty skeptical about that plane thing at the end.  If you don't know, I won't bother explaining it, because, you know... who really cares anyway?

I hate The Aprrentice but I watch it.  I hate American Idol but I watch it.  I watch because I hate.  They both wrap up fairly soon, but I'll not bother with recaps on those shows.  There, that'll show them how much I hate them.

Saturday, May 14

Tammys And Jum

Today, we shot some video for our upcoming season of Sketch22.
We started out bright and early (for a Saturday) at 9am at Timothy's.  After caffeination and chit chat, we headed to the CARI complex.  It was my first time in the building.  From the brief glimpse I got, it's a pretty nice facility. Today was also convocation for UPEI students, and that was also taking place at CARI, so the place was buzzin'.  We were shooting a video that required three of us to dress in drag, and we shot it in one of the two rinks, while watching girls hockey.  It was pretty noisy in the rink, and the rink itself really swallowed up the sound, so I'm hoping the sound will, well, sound okay.
I was impressed with the level of hockey we saw too.  I guess a tournament was on, or something, but some of those girls can really play hockey.

After shooting that bit of silliness, we went to the Farmers Market for some lunch (I had a schawarma) then it was to the CBC to shoot another video that's part of a live sketch.  It was a pretty simple setup and Andrew and Dennis, the actors for that video, gave it their all.  They had me biting my tongue quite a bit, trying not to laugh.  I hope that video turns out to be nearly as funny to others as it seemed to me.
Overall, the summer show is starting to come together nicely, I think.  It's kind of hard to gauge now, because some of the sketches that we have, we've been looking at, tweaking and fretting over for a couple of months now and the humour has long been drained out of them for us.  We have to keep remembering our first time hearing those sketches and trust they are as funny now as they seemed when we first heard them.

Behind the scenes at Sketch22, we've been fortunate to have the mighty Ghislaine O'Hanley come on board as our stage manager for the summer.  Ghislaine is tops in my book, and I look forward to what she'll bring to the show.

You can keep up to date with the latest Sketch22 goings-on at the Sketch 22 Online Glamour Site.

Wednesday, May 11

The Anti-Courtesy Call

A couple of weeks ago, the phone rang, during our dinner, I answered and it was some customer service representative from one of our banks or credit cards.  He explained this is a customer service call, and asked to speak to my wife (since, I assume, the credit card from that bank happens to be in her name).  I told him she wasn't home, which was true, and would he like to speak to me, since we share the bank account and the credit card.
He said no, he has to speak to Karyn.
You *have to* speak to her?  (I was put off by the urgency and insistence in his voice.)
Well, is it something important, that you *have to* speak to her?
"No, nothing like that.  It's simply a customer courtesy call."
A courtesy call in which you *have to* speak to my wife?
"That's right."
Well, she's not home.
"Is there a better time to reach her?"
"Maybe tomorrow at the same time?"
I don't know when she'll be home, specifically.  I mean you can try, but I'll not guarantee anything.  Okay, bye.
"Thank you."

That bugged me.  I wanted to grill him on the definition of 'courtesy' and how I didn't think cold-calls like this were much of a courtesy to their clients.  Oh well.

Tonight, the phone rings.  Long distance.  Oh good, I think.  I answer, and it's a pleasant, professional sounding woman on the other end.
"May I speak to Karyn, please."
Karyn's not home right now.  Which, again, was true.
"Is there another time that would be more convenient to speak to her?"
No.  Is there something I can help you with?  I'm her husband and we share the account.
"No thank you. I really must speak with Karyn.  It's just a courtesy call from {blank} bank to see if there's anything we can do for her."
I see.  This is the third time (I lied, it was the second only, but three sounds like more trouble) I've received this call for her.  Doesn't really seem like much of a courtesy to keep bothering your customers like this.
"Maybe I could just call back another time and try to get her again."
Yeah, no.  You'll probably just get me again. It's not very courteous to keep calling us.  Is there any way you can take her off this call list?
Because it's not really a courtesy to be receiving these phone calls from you. In fact, it's the opposite of courtesy.  It's a nuisance.  Can you remove her name so she doesn't get called again?"
"Yes.  Yes, I can do that."
Thank you.
"Okay. Bye."

Bye Bye Little Fetal Birds

This morning as I was about to leave the house to go to work, my wife, who was returning from delivering our green compost bin to the end of the driveway, informed me of four dead little baby birds that were on our walkway and driveway.  Would I dispose of them, she asked.  I would, I offered.
I don't know how they died.  Perhaps a cat?  Perhaps some bigger bird.  I assumed they came for the birdhouse that is attached to our rapidly deteriorating barn/shed.  If they were from that house, then they were kind of like family, I thought, because that's how I see the birds that live on our property:  like family.  Not tenants.  Family.

They were the tiniest little baby birds, maybe two inches long. Seemingly featherless, nothing but bone and skin.  I got a spade and gently scooped them up, two at a time and then whipped them into the small grove of trees behind our yard.  I didn't like whipping them in there, poor little dead pieces of nothing, but I really had no option.  The compost cart, afterall, was way at the end of the driveway.

As I was scooping up the final two birds, I thought to myself "Hey, I should take a picture of this."  You know, to somehow commemorate their death.  To honour them.  Then I thought about it and decided that I wasn't the kind of guy that took pictures of little dead fetal birds.
I'm glad, in the end, maybe in some Amish way, that I didn't take the picture.

Tonight's menu:  Chicken!!

Will America Finally Be A-Fed Up?

I only got to watch the final two performances of American Idol last night, and I am pretty sure I'm glad of that.  I think maybe I enjoy American Idol more if I don't watch it.  Aw, who am I kidding.  I'd prefer to watch and not enjoy it.

Anyway, I can't really comment on the performances or the judges or the repartee of last night's show, but I can probably safely say that: the performances were such that I wouldn't have enjoyed them (in all the American Idol performances I've ever seen, in all the years, the only performance I *enjoyed* was likely Fantasia's "Child that's got his own" from last year.); the judges were mostly asanine except for the spot-on Simon; and the repartee was neither repart or partee.

I don't know how the kicking off works when there's only four, but I think Carrie and Anthony will be the two who will be on the edge of leaving tonight, with Anthony finally getting the boot, 9 episodes too late.
Really, I have no idea what The Idiotic Masses Of America(tm)'s thinking with this year.  They're certainly not thinking with their Talent Meters.  Heck, even Bo could go tonight.

Does This Thing Still Work?

Yeah, so I've been really busy at work.
Too busy to keep in touch with your online friends, Rob?
Well, yeah, kinda.  There's a lot of stuff happening and some of it doesn't belong on this blog, so I kinda took a hiatus from here while it sorted out.
You mean "from us".  Did you even consider how we'd feel during this so-called hiatus?  Listen to you, with the big Hollywood word.  Is that it?  Have you gone all Showbiz on us now, Rob?  And we still don't buy it, this 'too busy' crap.  Are you seriously saying that you couldn't find a moment or two to touch base?  A minute out of your jam-packed day to say "Hi friends."  One minute?  You know, we honestly don't believe it takes you much more time than that to come up with most of your posts anyway.
Hey, that hurts. Sometimes I take a lot of time to come up with these posts.
Not this one, I'll bet.
No, not this one.
So, you're back?  You'll be posting again.
I hope so.
We missed you.
I missed you all too.

Friday, May 6

The Bat-Man's An Arse-Hole

Here's a fun little quicktime link all about Robin's Big Date.

Entertaining, and has Zaphod Beeblebrox as Bat-Man.

Wednesday, May 4

Rosie O'Donnell Plays Retarded

I know it's a politically incorrect term, but when you watch this, I think you'll agree that it's somehow apropos.

I had read where Rosie was doing this movie, but I didn't watch it.  I know that seeing these bits of video out of context isn't fair, but holy shit.

Tuesday, May 3

A.I. - Back From The Future

I just returned from the future - from about 6 hours in the future, to be exact.  I went into the future so I could give you an advanced rundown of tonight's American Idol televisionistic presentation.

Tonight, on American Idol...

Well, Ryan came out to an unbelievably large audience of maniacal fans.  One sign that stood out to me, held by a chubby 13 year old girl, said:  "Scotty, You Terroridol Me!!"... Cute.  Ryan was wearing a tight black t, with a dark brown suit jacket and dark jeans.  His hair was tossled just so.  He introduced the judges, and while doing so, made an innuendo-joke about Simon swallowing a turnip.  Simon retorted with a comment on Ryan's lack of any talent for anything.  Oh those two, when are they gonna get married!
Then it was time for Ryan to introduce the pre-recorded segment when he tells the group about tonight's genre.  He runs in to the Coke Room and shows them all pictures of feces.  After Vonzell guesses "the same type of shit we've been singing forever" and Scotty guesses "I hate my dad!", Ryan tells them "No, tonight's genre is songs that have moved you."  So, you know, that's gonna be shitty.
First up is Vonzell.  She's wearing some rock-hard faded denim pants, a navel-showing pink short-t, and a black leather jacket.  She's chosen  Climax At The End Of Movie from Disney's animated feature "Humanimal" because, as she says "Climax At The End Of Movie was so great and made me and my Mom cry when we saw it with the twins."  It's not an uptempo song, so that's not good.  Vonzell starts off poorly, but by the end hits some incredible high and sustained notes.  Randy didn't like it, bro, and thinks it wasn't her best performance.  Vonzell asks him to be a little more articulate in his criticism, and he says, "you know, it was... okay, but not, I don't know, you best."  Paula starts to talk about Vonzell's lipstick choice, and how it glistens in the pretty lights.  But as she's talking, she gets side-tracked by a moth that flutters by.  Simon says she was "absolutely pathetic" and wishes her "dead" for making him sit through that "festering pile of shit".  Ryan comments about how that relates to the theme of the night, then gives Vonzell's phone number.
Next up is Bo, and Bo's wearing the rockin'est most rockin' clothes you've ever laid your eyes on.  For tonight's show, Bo tells us, he's chosen  Shitty Song from his favourite BlisterMetal band, Trixxiksiks.  His voice sounds a bit raspy, but it doesn't matter once the bleeding-from-the-mouth starts.  At this point I begin to miss Constantine, as I imagine him singing this song.  Then I realise that the blood that comes out of his mouth would be fake blood.  Bo forgets a few of the lyrics and replaces them with Indian Yelps.  Randy calls this performance "the bomb, man".  Paula purses her lips tight together and begins to make toy-motorboat engine sounds, as spittle flies all about.  Simon declares Bo the King of Bo and all his loyal subjects will no doubt vote him through to the next round.  Ryan comes on and calls Simon "The King of Gay" and Simon retorts with something about how Ryan could be his servant.  Ryan then gives out Bo's phone details.
Third up is Anthony, or as Ryan calls him "A Dot To The N Dot To The T Dot To The H Dot To The O Dot To The N Dot To The Y Dot...F Dot To the E Dot To The D Dot To The E Dot Again To The R Dot To The O Dot Once More To The V Dot".  Anthony, in his introduction to the song he's chosen, reminds us that he's a communist, that he had a tracheal torture  experiment done on him when his family tried to escape Pitymeosk.  He's chosen Billy Joel's Piano Man because he loves that he's still in the competition and this is a song that he could sing.  Anthony does a terrible job of the song and the audience goes crazy when each of the judges says it was terrible.  Even Paula sobers up enough to say it was wonderful.  Ryan reminds us that if you don't vote for Anthony, the Earth will stop spinning and we'll all get flung off the earth.
Next is Carrie and she tells us she's singing Chritina MacCountry's uptempo song Beaten, Bloodied and Betrothed because she too, knows someone who "once went through the terrible atrocity of wife beating in an entertaining uptempo way".  She sings the hell out of it and the judges all tell her she's the one to beat.  Nobody gets the joke.  Mostly because none of the judges realised it was a joke.  Ryan says he'd like to beat Simon and Simon says he would like to be beaten by Ryan.  There is an uncomfortable silence as they both, for the first time, speak the truth about their relationship.
Finally, Scott.  He tells us that he has an awful headache and he's spoken with Jesus about his father, and Jesus said that Scott should punish us for his father's actions.  Scott lies that he's chosen Van Halen's Jump as his song to sing tonight, because, he says, "it moved me, I guess.".  But when Scott comes out on stage, he's dressed in a long black trenchcoat, and screams that "this is for all the shit!!" and pulls out a semi-automatic machine gun and begins to plug bullets into everyone he can, all the while screaming at the top of his lungs.  Unfortunately the screaming is off-key, and full of trills and bullshit fake-feeling.  Ryan gives us his phone number and bleeds to death.

Bottom Three:  Scott, The Audience, Me for planning to watch.

Leaving on Wednesday:  Scott.

Seacrest, out!

Monday, May 2

It's Enough To Make A Pig Say "Huh? Wha'?"

My friend Dave tells me that, among the rather large and curious menu at the new Chinese restaurant in town (close to Cedar's), the offer:

Onion Rings (no fries)
Ham burgers.

I imagined a scenario where all the pigs, who had become relatively comfortable with their lot in the Human Dietary Comsumption Order, gathering around to hear the latest news:

"It's not good, fellows.  Remember how we used to laugh at the irony of the word "hamburger"?  How we used to mock the cows with it?  Well, seems like the laughing and mockery may be coming to an end.  Seems like the humans have found another way to prepare us."

Tins Non-keen Men's Theatre

As you might have guessed I'm not a Globe and Mail guy per se. But for
no good reason whatsoever a couple months ago I got hooked on the
Cryptic Crossword at the back of the book review section of Saturday's
Globe. I think it's because of the whole anagram thing. You know: you
rearrange the letters to make a new word or phrase out of the given

So here's your next assignment. I want you to make an Anagram out of:
The Annekenstein Monster.