Thursday, March 30

Sketch22 Auditions

Sketch22 is looking for an actor to be part of our show this summer in Charlottetown.  To help us in that search, we are holding auditions in the very near future.

Our requirements are that the person be over the age of 19, be available for performances Thursday and Friday evenings July 6-Sept.8, as well as available for rehearsals prior to the production run.  We are interested in both male and female actors.  Being funny is a plus.

If you want to audition, send an email to and he'll set you up with a time.

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Wednesday, March 29

Rob Picks Idols' Songs

Based on a comment from Steverino in my post on last night's American Idol, I'm going to pick ten songs that I think the Idols should have sung.  Of course, the songs I pick may not be feasible, from a "palatable to the public", but more of a fantasy "if they had the same taste as me" thing.  And, as an added bonus, I'm going to post some of the more interesting songs I choose (at least until my monthly bandwidth disappears).

For Chris, I'd like him to expand his repetoire away from the moody Creed/Nickleback crap.  I'd still like him to rock out, of course, and that's why I'd have him sing The Pixie's "Debaser".  He would absolutely wail on that.  A song choice like that, of course, would never happen.

One that I could actually imagine happening, if I stretch my imagination thin enough, is the song choice I pick for Taylor.  His song choices are pretty good, generally speaking (apart from the atrocious Buddy Holly rendition last week).  I'll keep him very much within his comfort zone, and go with a John Hiatt song.  I think he'd be great singing any of Hiatt's songs, but I think he would blow the world away with  his version of "Have A Little Faith In Me".  Oh, I can just imagine it.

I think Paris can sing pretty much anything.  Or, maybe she's just really smart at picking what she can sing.  Anyway, I'd like to see her punch, right in the nuts, all those stubs who tell her not to be grown up, to not show her sexuality.  To Paris, I give "Kiss" by Prince.  My, would she ever have fun with that.  Why, I think we'd see Randy blush.

Mandisa is a mystery to me.  I don't know what suits her, really.  After this week's stunt, though, she needs a week where she sings a good song well.  She doesn't have to blast the vocals out of the park, like she tried to do this week.  She just has to remind us that she has a fantastic voice.  To do this, I'll give her "Constant Craving" by kd lang.

Elliott needs to pick songs that are a bit easier to sing.  He seems to always choose songs (or arranges them in a way) that are tough to sing.  He needs to be soulful and contemporary.  That's why I pick "Laura" by Scissor Sisters for him.  Not too challenging, vocally, but a song that he could really get into and would really rock the joint.

Bucky, I have a great song for you.  Now, at first you're gonna mumble how it's not a country song, but friend, country ain't workin' for you.  Or, rather, you're not workin' the country.  You need a week where you show us that you belong here.  You need to step out of the country and nail a good vocal.  I am giving you "Tempted" by Squeeze.  I swear to goodness, if you have any talent, and if you do anything close to a good job on this song, you will be my hero.

Kellie, for you I was tempted to give you the song "Oh, Good Grief" by Vince Guaraldi (he of "Peanuts" music fame).  Since you're likely (playing) too dense to get the joke, Kellie, I'll tell you.  It's an instrumental.  Get it?  I think your singing is so unintersting, the only thing that would improve it is if you didn't sing.  You do a great job of playing dumb, but it's time to smarten up.  Now, of course, we can't handle a sudden shift in your personality, so I think "Polyester Bride" by Liz Phair will be the perfect song to start you on the road to being grown up.

Okay, I'm tired.  I can't be bothered to come up with songs for Ace, Katharine or Lisa.  What songs would you give them?

American Idol Into The 21st Century!!!

Last night, the American Idol kids (and their Uncle Taylor) performed songs from the 21st Century.  Today, as I sit in the early years of that same 21st century, I rank their performances.  I will start with the best performance and sink to the bottom of the barrel.

Taylor was the best of the bunch last night.  I don't think I'd like to hang out with Taylor, because I think he'd spend most of the night looking for a microphone to sing into, so he'd be able to rid his soul of some, well, soul.  Men need to ejaculate every so often, to relieve the pressure of built up semen.  To Taylor, I think soulfulness is his semen.  It just builds up in him and he has to release it.  Those who tuned in to last night's show saw him wank off in a pretty controlled way.  Simon wanted Taylor to stroke a bit harder, but Taylor said he just wanted to sing tonight, not to show off.  I found that to be a very interesting comment and makes me think that Taylor is pretty astute in knowing what he needs to do to make it far in the competition.  When I started this paragraph, I honestly didn't know I'd be heading towards that Soulful Stage Masturbation analogy.

Paris was quite good, I thought.  She has incredible stage-presence for a 17 year old, and her voice is always exceptional.  As she was shaking her underage booty pretty good at one point, I knew that at least one of the judges would tell her to portray her age more.  I am not sure, but I think at least one did.  But I think that's bad advice, or at least, cowardly.  I think that advice has more to do with them thinking that their viewers (ie, America) can't handle sexuality from someone that age.

Elliott was pretty good, I thought.  I appreciated the jazzy version of that song he did (I'm always terrible remembering the names of the songs they perform).  I did get the sense that he was kind of always singing on the verge of total catastrophe last night, and didn't look particularly at ease.  He strayed away from the proper notes a couple of times, and yeah, his stage presence leaves much to be desired, but I thought he was good.  He doesn't have the face of an Idol, though.  A good radio-face, his.

Chris performed his song well, but I was glad Simon called him on singing the same types of songs week after week.  Been there, done that, Chris.  Now we need to see something else from you.  Interesting, too, to hear Simon comment on how a Creed song doesn't fit in with the American Idol experience.  It must be such a tug-of-war for people like Chris and Elliott and Taylor to feel the need to conform to fit the Idol model, yet aspire to keep their individual and unique spirits alive.  Wow, what a touchy-feely sentence that was.

Katharine was just okay, I thought.  I got a little angry with the way the judges talked up her performance as if it was odorless shit.  It's pretty obvious that they are trying to get her to go as far in the competition as she can, and are more than willing to lie to get her there.

Mandisa did a super job singing her gospel song, but I thought exactly like Simon did.  That it was totally self-indulgent.  I really didn't like her for forcing that on us.  And yes, I realise that "forcing" is only possible if I don't have access to a remote or movable legs.  But that couch was comfy, and the remote was a bit more than arm's reach away.  So, yeah, I was Forced to listen to her preaching to me.

Bucky did a good job singing his country song.  I didn't like the country song and I don't like Bucky's country persona. 

Ace has so fallen off the radar. I think his good looks are even starting to fail him.  I noticed a few times last night that he's resorted to those smoldering-sexy-look-into-the-camera moves to try and compensate for his lack of talent.  What's his name from last season did that all the time.  And I am gleeful that I honestly cannot remember what's his name's name.  Gleeful!

I didn't actually get home in time to see Lisa's performance, but based solely on the 5 second recap at the end of the show, I have to say it was awful.

And that leaves Kellie as the worst of the night.  Now, maybe her actual singing performance wasn't as bad as Lisa's, but overall, Kellie's deperate attempts to be noticed far outreach the patheticness of any other contestant.  You know that scene in some movie, where the aging actress starts to lose her mind, and she sits at the mirror and begins to apply lipstick to her lips, but it's kind of too much, but rather than wipe off some of the lipstick, she begins to apply even more lipstick, so much so that it begins to cover her whole face, and her eyes get really wide and scary and lost and desperate as she's grabbing the lipstick like it was a butcher's knife and she's swiping wildly at her face with her lipstick and it's totally smeared all over her face as she begins to wail and have a complete nervous breakdown?  Well, that's what happening to Kellie.  Only instead of smearing lipstick over her face, she's smearing dumb.  Right now, the Pickler Smear of Dumbness (tm) is being contained to the lips and chin and lower cheekbones, but you can see in her eyes that she's lost her mind and it's only a matter of time before she's completely smeared in dumb.  I fear we won't get to see that ultimate onstage moment, though, as her Idol days must surely be numbered.  I realise now that I was wrong in wanting Kevin to leave the show because I actually looked forward to seeing his lack of talent being displayed along with his false sense of importance.  Now, for pure potential car-crash shock value, there only Kellie.
Please, America, don't vote out the Pickler.  I want to see her crash!

Bottom Three:  Kellie, Lisa, BuckyorAce (probably Bucky)
The one to leave:  Lisa.  Can't say I'll miss her.

Seal Meat Is Seal Murder

Morrissey will not be touring Canada, in protest of our country's "barbaric slaughter of over 325,000 baby seals."
Seriously, good for him, for taking a stance.

However, in return, I vow to not listen to any of Morrissey's solo albums, in protest of his "barbaric slaughter of the good memories I have of The Smiths".

Now, truthfully, I don't know how barbaric Morrissey's solo albums have been, but I assume my knowledge of his solo career is on par with his knowledge of the realities of the seal hunt.

I honestly don't have much of an opinion on the seal hunt (even though I posted earlier this month on Paul McCartney's visit to PEI to sing his Sealy Little Love Song).  I am not one to invest much concern into subjective "animal rights" issues, so my inclination is to be in support of it, as I think most of the anti-seal hype is based on emotion rather than fact.
As I said, good for him for taking a stance.  I look forward to his announcement of not touring in the USofA as a protest of the annual deer cull.  Oh, wait, killing deer isn't a hot-topic issue.  Even though sports hunters kill about 1 million Mule Deer and 2 million White-tailed Deer annually (compared to the 325,000 annual quota of seals).
What's the matter, Morrissey?  Aren't deer cute enough for you?  Have you not seen Bambi?

Wednesday, March 22

Go Fish

I uploaded my first small movie to YouTube. I may have posted a time-restricted link to it here before, but now it's on YouTube and available to the entire world. It's "Go Fish", a little western drama featuring my son and his friend. It was filmed on my Canon digital camera and edited in Windows Movie Maker, so, yeah, it's a bit rough. Still, though, it's got some fun elements. The occasional long pauses are intentional, as I was trying to create dramatic tension. I'll leave it up to you as to whether drama was achieved.

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American Idol - 50's Week Didn't Suck!

When I learned it was going to be a 50's theme for American Idol this week, I shuddered at the potential awfulness of the performances.  And then when I learned that Barry Manilow was going to be involved, my shudder became a full-blown fever of fearful expectation.
Well, I was wrong.  Most of last night's performances were pretty good, and the interpretations of the songs (thanks in part to Barry, who seems like a super smart arranger) were much better than I anticipated they'd be.
Onto the singers:
Mandisa - She always has a pretty face, and last night her very pretty face was surrounded by a fantastic hairstyle.  She wore a slimming black dress that did an amazing job of taking attention away from her oh so large posterior.  Of course, the camerapeople helped too, by not zooming in on it.  (and yes, I realise there's a joke there about how, with the size of her ass, could the cameras *not* zoom in on her ass - her ass is a constant zoom shot, but I won't go there.  I just won't)  Her performance was stellar.  She's been progressively improving each and every week, and her first week starting point was already top-notch, so she's a threat to win it all.  Except, you know, she has a huge ass that America will never allow to become top Idol.
Bucky - I realised last night that Bucky doesn't sing.  He rasps.  And he often rasps out of key.  I thought his performance of Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy" was pedestrian and bland.  While it may have been a good song choice to fit his style and personality, I don't think it's a good choice to show off his singing (lackof) abilities.  Hmm.  Since he's not a great singer, maybe a song that doesn't show his lack of ability is a great choice.  Anyway, not very good tonight, Bucky.  And I'm partly saying that because I cannot get past your hair, both on your face and on your head.  Awful.  He'll be Bottom Three.
Paris - She looked fantastic and she sang "Fever" even better.  I thought she rocked.  She seems so incredibly in control of her stage presence that it is frightening to think she's just 17.  Wow, great performance.
Katherine - I've not yet liked anything that she's worn.  None of her tops seem to fit properly, like she's trying to keep the secret from her mother that she's pregnant.  She looked pretty great last night, though, in an ill-fitting dress.  From the introductory segment on her experience with Barry, I was expecting to not like her song and song choice, but she did a super job.  Maybe the best I've seen from her.  She's always in danger of bombing, I think, but last night she more than rose to the occasion.
Chris - My (and others) odds-on favourite to win the competition.  His rendition of I Walk The Line was superb.  If that was recorded today, it'd be a radio hit tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  This guy has it all and should be one of the final two.  Wonderful job.
Lisa - Apart from Kevin, Lisa is, in my opinion, the least talented of the remaining performers.  Some nights she shows glimpses of her potential, but last night it was a pretty uninspired performance.  She's a Bottom Three finalist tonight.
Taylor - Taylor should be hoping that his fans remember the excellent performances he's done in previous weeks because last night was terrible for him.  A terrible song choice, much too repetitive and not very challenging, vocally.  He tried to sell it, though, as best he could, but I didn't buy it at all.  One of the evening's three worst performances, but he's built up enough good Karma to not be in the bottom three tonight.
Elliot - This was the most difficult song choice of the night, in terms of being a vocal challenge.  Elliot always seems to choose the most difficult songs and I'm never sure he succeeds in pulling them off.  Last night, he had moments where he seemed out of synch with the music, like he was trying to rush through his lyrics.  He seemed quite nervous early on, but by halfway through the song, he found the groove and was pretty sharp to the end.  I loved his honesty, though, about not really digging Manilow's songs.  Good for him.
Kellie - I absolutely hated this performance.  Maybe I'm soured on Pickler (get it?), but I seem to have lost any ability to adore her naive stupidity any longer.  I wonder when America will tire of her?  I thought her Walking After Midnight was very much a "by the book" performance, without heart or feeling.  Barry is all about finding the story of the song, and singing the emotion behind that story, and she totally failed, in my opinion.  She should be a Bottom Three, but America will love her ditziness for a few more weeks, before they crash from her sugar-rush sweetness.  No, wait.  I'm changing my mind.  She'll be a Bottom Three contestant tonight.  America is tiring of her.  Just wait and see!
Kevin - I've voiced my opinion of Kevin a few times.  Basically, I don't think he belongs in the competition, and the only reason he is there is because he's willing to play along with the "untalented nerd pretends he's sexy and talented" angle.  Last week, he did an okay job with his song (still it was the worst of the week, IMO).  Last night, his performance was actually pretty good.  Great song choice for him, and performed as well as he could perform it.  Enough to keep him around for another week (or two?).  I loved Simon's noncommittal comment about how his performance will really be appreciated by those who like Kevin's performances.
Ace - Oh, Ace!  You are free-falling to the bottom of the talent pool.  Expectations were so high for you a few weeks ago, but a couple of poor performances since have made people look past your oh so pretty looks.  Maybe our ears were blinded (huh?) by your beauty all along.  Maybe you were always just mediocre?  Anyway, this week was a bit better than weeks past, enough to keep you safe from the Bottom Three (unless America has a hate-on for you, in which case you're sunk).

Bottom Three - Bucky, Kellie, Lisa

Contestant to leave - Lisa

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Tuesday, March 21

PopCultured - No Longer Bottom Of Barrel

Well, Canada, you have a new contender for worst comedy show on television.  For a couple of years now (is it really more than one year?), PopCultured has reigned supreme as worst comedy show.  But at least you could see their writers/producers/performers trying.  Failing miserably, but trying.
Now, though, there is a show so bad, so far below the poor quality of PopCultured that it makes it look like The Daily Show in comparison.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you Girls Will Be Girls.
When I first saw commercials and previews for this program, I immediately thought to myself "uh oh, that's gonna suck".  Rather than just sit idly by and stew in my assumptions, I decided to watch some of it when it first aired.  It was atrocious.  Far worse than I could have imagined.
For those who don't know its premise:  basically, it's four "cool" women who do "outrageous" things in candid camera style streeter videos.  Unfortunately, the things they do (and I admit I've only seen a handful of their pranks) are so intolerably unfunny that it makes me seethe with anger.  There's the girl who stands on the street and pretends to be schizophrenic, arguing with the voices in her head.  There's the girl who walks down the street with her skirt caught in the back of her panties.  There's the girl who stands next to a guy on the street and imitates his movements.
I suppose the premise of the Girls pitch to The Comedy Network was that "hey, girls can be funny and outrageous, too!  Our show will be like Just For Laughs Gags, but with chicks!"  It's not funny, nor outrageous, though.  Not in the least.  It is only juvenile.  And while "juvenile humour" can be funny, it just can't be juvenile by itself.  It still needs to have an inkling of humour within it.  Girls Will Be Girls has not one iota of humour. 
With PopCultured and Girls Will Be Girls as "Comedy Network" original programs, it's quickly becoming apparent that the people who run that network don't have much of a sense of humour.  Which is odd for a network called "Comedy".  Hopefully, they'll kick those shows to the curb post haste.  Either that or start renting the laff-trak machine that Just For Laughs Gags uses.  Because, seriously, the only way I know that GWBG is supposed to be funny is because it's on a channel with Comedy in its title.
I've seen Just For Laugh Gags a number of times, and every time I do, I always get angry at how unfunny it was.  But now, with GWBG as the new base in base comedy-less comedy, I may have to start giving the Gags people some props.  At least I can see that they put some thought and effort  into creating the gags.  It's just that they fail so hugely in their execution.  I always am bugged by the Gags fakey-fake lafftrak, and by the mostly puzzled, confused looks from the public, the people who are supposed to be getting punk'd.  The laughtrack works so hard at trying to convince us that what we are seeing is funny, but it's almost always belied by the "whatever" reactions of the people being tricked. 
GWBG doesn't stoop to a laughtrack, and, sadly, it seems to be a mistake.  I think the incalculable lack of humour in their video segments might benefit from fake laugther.  At least it'd clue us tv watchers in that what we are seeing is supposed to be humour. Perhaps they do use a laff-track but the canned laughter just gets sucked into the suckiness of the segments that we don't hear it.  Kind of like the old saying:  If a joke bombs in the forest, does anybody know they're supposed to laugh?
So, Elvira, rest a bit easier this year.  Your show isn't the worst one on The Comedy Network anymore.

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Friday, March 17

Top O' The Mor - Yeah, Right

Jean, Preston wedding 1948
Originally uploaded by The Annekenstein Monster.

I was never one to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Something about my MacDonald Scottish ancestry forbids it. Of course, I don't celebrate Robbie Burns Day, either. Maybe I'm just a guy who can't get behind mass celebrations. Except, well, Christmas, I guess, which used to be a Mass celebration, if you know what I mean.

One day that I'll gladly celebrate, though, is my parents' anniversary. And, today, St. Patrick's Day, just happens to be the 58th anniversary of their wedding day. This picture was taken on that day.
58 years!
Happy anniversary, parents! And thanks for being so great.

Thursday, March 16

Kevin Covais, the Shitty... An American Idol Rant

You can see it in his eyes.  He now thinks he is something.  And I blame you, Randy and Paula.
I'm talking about the 16 year old American Idol contestant Kevin Covais.  He's a deer-in-the-headlights dweeb with a weak voice who somehow managed to make it to the final 12, and inexplicably survived through last night's first top-12 elimination (he wasn't even in the "Bottom Three"!!!).  The "somehow managed", though, isn't such a mystery to my eyes.  The AI producers saw early on that this guy was their joke contestant.  The go-to guy, good for a few laughs, the odd funny line, and willing to play along and make fun of his own funny looks and nebbishness.  You could practically see the producers rubbing the Endearing Glue on his back, tossing him on the Big Map Of America and seeing if anything sticks.  Well, he stuck.  Only problem is, he can't sing.  Not a bit.  He's terrible, in fact.  But that doesn't matter, because America Lervs him.
Well, enough of America loves him to keep him in the competition for at least another week, despite being unquestionably the worst singer of the bunch.  He's miles worse than anyone else still competing.  No, I fear that Shitty Kevin Covais will last through at least a couple more weeks.
Normally, I wouldn't care (and truthfully, I don't, except in that totally meaningless superficial "who wore the best gown at the Oscars" kind of way), except that I see a disturbance in the Endearing Force of Kevin Covais.  Now, he is starting to believe the hype.  You can see it in his eyes.  No, of course he doesn't believe the claims that he's a legitimate sex-symbol.  Everyone gets that joke, even him.  But, I'm afraid that he's starting to believe that he actually belongs in this competition.  That he's on par, vocally, with the rest of the competition..  Kevin...honey... you're not.
I blame, of course, the producers for letting the joke go this far.  I blame Randy and Paula for never really questioning his vocal talents and only commenting on how much they like his performing-monkey antics.  Well, Paula I can't blame, because, well, who can blame the rainbow that bursts within your heart?  She's the joke judge, so naturally she's beyond blame. 
It's "shame shame" on Randy, though, for playing along with the charade.  Man, he's so frustrating, Randy is, because he seems like he should have better sense than he displays, but he continues to side with Paula.  And, yes, there is his general lack of ability to communicate a complete thought, but we can forgive him that.  We can't forgive him his decisions to side with Paula, all for the sake of "making Simon the bad guy".  Too bad, Randy, that by willingly doing so, you are tarnishing any position of respect you've earned.  I know why he does it though, why he sides with Paula.  He's a huge delicate bubble of a man, you see, and everytime he venture into the negative constructive criticism world, the "boos" of the audience are like pin-pricks on him, and his soul bursts.  He simply cannot handle people not liking him.  So, he lies, and says exactly what the audience wants to hear.  Or rather, he bullshits himself through all of his criticisms so that it really doesn't matter what he says, since it doesn't really make sense.
Back to Shitty Kevin Covais.  The only one who refuses the play the game is Simon.  He's the only one who ever comments on Kevin's lack of singing chops.  And while I expect the audience to boo him for it, I get angry when Randy and Paula complain about his speaking the truth. I hate it when Ryan calls him out on it, too, because Ryan calls him out on exactly the wrong reasons.  Ryan always claims that Simon never gives constructive criticism, but in fact, Simon is usually the only one who does so.  Anyway, that bugs me.
And, now, I blame Kevin, too, for his part in the charade of his participation.  Because, now he is believing he's deserving.  You can see it in his eyes. He's believing he belongs.
And he so doesn't belong.
Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! I hate this show so much!!!!
Can't wait for next week!

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Wednesday, March 15

Three Sports Updates

1.  The NCAA Championship in men's basketball, otherwise known as March Madness, gets underway tomorrow.  In past years, my interest in the tournament has ranged from Total Disinterest to Mild Interest to Casual Watcher.  This year, though, I sense that my interest will be way up.  I plan on watching a lot of it.

2.  The Miami Dolphins traded a second round draft pick for Duante Culpepper.  Culpepper has been in the upper echelon of quality quarterbacks for most of his career.  Last year was less than a stellar one for him, but I'm hoping that was an anomaly.  Also, he injured his knee last October, so I'm hoping that won't mean a significant decline in ability.  I am cautiously optimistic about his addition to the team.  I'm about 20% on the "Another Busted Acquisition" side, and 80% fervently hoping that he regains his 2004 outstanding qualities.  Okay, so maybe I'm not so cautious in my optimism.

3.  Formula One is back in action for another year.  I think I'll like the new qualifying setup they implemented this year.  I don't have much hope for Villeneuve, and expect this to be his last year.  Guess I'll just try to enjoy any TV name-time he gets this season.  Hoping him to finish in the points in more than a few races, but nothing much more than that.  Looks like it could be a 3-way race for the driver's title, between Alonso, Raikkonnen and Schumacher.  I don't believe Button has what it takes to be considered a contender.  Montoya is done, I'm afraid.

Bonus:  I like the goaltending move the Canadiens did at the trade deadline.  Cristobal Huet is standing on his head for them now, but he needs rest and a solid backup is required.  Getting David Abeischer (sp?) from Colorado, a streaky starting goalie is a great move when all you need is a competent backup.  Now, if the Habs could only find a way to score a few more goals, they'd have a legitimate shot at going a few rounds into the playoffs.

Tuesday, March 14

I Want My SUV

Okay, I've been away for a few days, but I just got back from wherever I was, and I read all this kerfuffle about a kid who found a Tim Horton's cup in the garbage and asked another kid to help roll up the rim, as the contest is wont to have you do.  Turns out the kid wins the top prize, an SUV.  Okay, great, but the another kid who helped roll up the rim claimed entitlement to share in the prize, for helping to roll up the rim.  Okay, personally, I think that's bollocks and it should all be awarded to the kid who found the cup.
Now I hear that the the person who threw out the cup in the first place is demanding a part of the action.  Again, that's bullshit.  But, it got me thinking.

If these people are able to make their claims based on baloney, then I should make my claim too.  And here it is:  I demand a portion of the prize, because, you see, I was in line just in front of the person who bought the "winning" cup.  Amazing, I know, but as true as true can be.  Now, normally when I'm at Tims, I buy two coffees (one for right away and the other to nuke later at work), and that day, for some strange reason, I only bought the one.  So, by rights, since I usually buy two cups, the cup that the guy bought should really have been mine.

No?  Okay then.

Friday, March 10

Those Who Hate Them, Hate Them A Lot

Two of the more annoying TV pitchmen in recent Canadian television history have recently ended their run.
First, a couple of weeks ago, the very annoying Fake Scottish bloke who rudely confronted drinkers of Keiths beer was released from his contract, due to alleged dalliances into child pornography.
While I wish it could have been for something far less seedy, I am, of course, thankful that he's gone from the airwaves.  Because Those Who Hate Him, Hate Him A Lot.

And yesterday it was announced that The Canadian Tire Guy has been retired from the Canadian Tire advertising cycle.  Again, good news, I think, as I suspect that the shark has long been jumped by that campaign.
The Canadian Tire Guy has, actually, become quite a national phenomenon.  Especially the Hate that many people feel for him.  This very site happens to be the number one Google search result for "Canadian Tire Guy" and "I hate the Canadian Tire Guy".  Ironic, I think, since the post referencing him 'Why I Hate That Canadian Tire Guy' has very little to actually do with him.   I find it curious that so many people actively enter the search parameters "Hate Canadian Tire Guy", and I find it kind of funny that when they come to my post, they get a post that must leave them a bit miffed, due to the lack of reference to him.

And still the Curiouser keeps getting curiouser.  Today I received an email from a woman at The Ottawa Citizen asking if she could interview me for an article she's writing on his retirement.  My initial response was "no thanks. I have nothing of value to add to such a story."  But then I stopped and asked myself "What's the more interesting and potentially, more exciting thing to do?  Be interviewed or not be interviewed?"  Since the obvious answer is "be interviewed", and even though I still believed I had nothing of value to add to such an interview, I decided to do it.
So, I just got off the phone with the journalist.  We had a nice little chat about The Canadian Tire Guy, and also about the weirdness of how such an innocuous little post on such an innocuous little blog can lead to an interview (admittedly, on a rather innocuous little topic such as the Canadian Tire Guy's retirement).  I think I ended up offering a few interesting sound-bites.

And, what the whole thing has taught me is that I'm pretty tired of saying, hearing and typing the phrase Canadian Tire Guy.

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Tuesday, March 7

Jesus' Face? Or Too Much Detergent?

Did you see the South Park episode where a statue of The Virgin Mary starts bleeding?  First it was thought to be bleeding from the vagina, then it was discovered to be bleeding from the anus.  Regardless, people flocked.
Well, Tignish, long-thought to be the anus of PEI, has at least a few people flocking to see the Religious Wonder Of It All. 
SideBar: How many sheep must congregate before it's considered a flock?
Perhaps due to chewing one-too-many moldy Communion Wafers, someone in Tignish has looked upon a cloth in a church and Has Seen The Face Of Jesus.
The first question, of course, is "Is it too late to get this into this year's Tourist Guide?"  Gentle Island, indeed!
Second question, of course, is "Why in the hell would Jesus and His crew ever bother to manifest His visage on a cloth in a nothing (universally speaking) town like Tignish?"  And why would He make it so blurry and hard to discern whether it even is a face (let alone the face of Jesus) and not just residue left over because of too much detergent in the wash?  Why be so unclear?
Some, I suppose, may say "It's a test.  Only the true-believer will accept it as Jesus."  Okay.  To what end?  To see who is truly worthy of ascension?  If so, why go about it in this way?  Is there a space-problem in Heaven?  Are Heavenly souls starting to have to double-bunk?  No?  Why be so subtle, then?
Why not make a more emphatic presense of Yourself, something everyone can get behind, so that there can be no doubt that This Is Jesus And We All Believe?
Either Jesus has a really bad marketing team, or He has a sense of humour and is toying with the believers (if so, I think he needs a new gag.  This joke has been seen enough, thanks.  Maybe he's waiting for Bruce Vilanch to die before he gets new material), or (and this is what I believe) it's absolutely nothing.

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Weeping Willy Wet-Vac

Even back when he was being nominated 3 consecutive times for a Best Actor Oscar, I didn't really like William Hurt.  I always found him to be, I don't know, too... simpy.  I suspect him to be too much an "act-tah", taking the filming process much too seriously, and keeping others on set from enjoying their days.  What I imagine as his Dogged Pursuit of Art and Dedication To Craft must just suck up the pleasure of making a film.  Just like a Wet-Vac.
This quote from him, in a recent Entertainment Weekly, about his experience on the film Altered States, sums it all up nicely.

"When I read the script, I couldn't stop weeping for half an hour, and I couldn't stand up for 45 minutes."

Shut up with that.  I'm not a violent man, but that kind of sentence deserves at the least a slap on the face.

Monday, March 6

Oscar Results

That was a pretty straightforward Oscars telecast, don't you think?  Jon Stewart had some pretty funny lines, but mostly seemed irrelevant to the proceedings.  I don't think he really won the room over.  Don't think there's any special reason to invite him back for another hosting gig next year, though.  I liked the Daily Show-like negative personal-attack ads for some of the nominees, but on the whole, the comedy-entertainment portions of the evening were nothing special.
Dolly Parton still looks fabulous.  Of course, I don't want to imagine what she'd look like close up, outside of her wig and makeup and girdles and happy-go-lucky stage-persona.  Shudder.
Only two surprises in the night, I suppose.  "Hard to be a pimp" winning was a surprise to me, and I guess Crash winning Best Picture was a surprise to a lot of people too.
Not to some of the 30 people who took part in The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool, however.
Here, then, are the results:

Three submissions came in after I had closed the pool, so I didn't even look at those.  Sorry.

3 correct:  Calico Cat
6 correct:  Kratz & Orca (one submission, two names), Kris, Mary
7 correct:  Uberdiva
8 correct:  Frankie
9 correct:  Chester Pryne
10 correct: Tracy, Graham the Conquerer, Coda
11 correct:  Paella, Laura, Steverino, Sprague
12 correct:  DaveS, Rob MacD, Third Dead Girl, DW
13 correct:  Dylan Miller, DaveM, J-Ro, Peeshie
14 correct:  Fraser, Elvira 'I Know Popcultured Sucks' Kurt, Armchair Knowitall, Dina
15 correct:  Ghislaine
16 correct:  Matt, RhiannonJF
and with an excellent 18 correct:  Curt

Truly an astounding feat, Curt.  Well done.  If you want two tickets to see Sketch22 this summer, send me an email, and I'll send you off some kind of redeemable print-off, or something that says you won two tickets to the show.

Thanks everyone, for playing.  See you all next year.

Sunday, March 5

Oscar Pool Closed

I'm not accepting anymore entries for The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool.

Good luck to everyone who cares.

Saturday, March 4

The Fleshy Simpsons

For the longest while, I thought it'd be neat if someone was to do a live-action version of an episode of The Simpsons. You know, take an existing episode and reproduce, shot for shot, angle for angle, an entire episode, using real-life actors.
With this video, looks like somebody's one step ahead of me.

The Seal Deal

Sir Paul McCartney and his wife, Lady Heather Mills McCartney, were on our little province island of Prince Edward Island this week to speak out against the annual seal hunt.  They were asked to come, I assume, because Loretta Switt wasn't getting it done anymore, publicity-wise.  In truth, Hot Lips was barely getting it done.  Even when she was The Big Name Celebrity Speaking Out Against Cruelty, we all knew she was really The Former Big Name Celebrity, Etc.  Still, every year, here she'd come, with fewer and fewer reporters caring, stay a few days, get her waxy face on as many news publications as she could, climb into her own M.A.S.H unit (Mobile Anti-Seal Helicopter), take a spin out to the Maritime Killing Fields, spend 3.2 minutes out in the cold for another photo-op with a specially selected (probably) bleached-white baby seal. 
I have reliable information that the PETA Laboratories (which is a contradiction of terms if I ever heard one) have recently begun to try breed seals and parrots, hoping that they can create a baby seal that sounds like it talks.  The goal, of course, would be to show us humans how human these defenseless baby seals are when they're capable of saying "Polly wants a sturgeon".  Nobody would dare kill them, then.  Except, I guess, the Anti-Sturgeon Hunt people.  Unfortunately for the anti-seal hunters, as of this writing, all attempts to create a parrot-seal hybrid have failed.  Closest they came to getting a seal to sound human only ended up sounding a bit like Terry Shiavo in her final weeks.  Ironically,  Terry Shiavo, in her final weeks, sounded exactly like a baby seal.  Two steps forward, two steps back PETA Labs!
So, for the past decade or so, they'd Calogen Loretta's lips up (my Hollywood sources say that in certain circles, she's now known as Fat Lips.  Of course, in most Hollywood circles, she's known as "Who?"), and give her a one-way ticket to PEI to do her thing.  Yes, a one-way ticket.  We'd always, naturally, return her, free of charge, because, well, would you want her around?  The thing is, is that lately, we all knew Loretta's Spotlight Time was up when, two years ago she said "Do I really have to get out of the helicopter again this year?  Can't we just use stock footage of me from last year?"  The reply to that, everyone suddenly realised, was "You are stock footage, Miss Switt."  Yes, dear reader, the anti-sealers needed a new spokes-person, and so, the search began for the next Soap-Box Celebrity.  And the word went out, far and wide:  "Which washed up vegetarian has a new movie, album, or reality show coming up?"    The answer:  Paul McCartney. (and his new album is pretty darn good, too).   And, yes, his wife has to come too.  (probably because his new wife doesn't sing on it, like Linda did)
Well, The McCartneys have certainly stirred up the controversy, and injected a much-needed jolt of outrage into the annual seal hunt.  They even got an hour on CNN's The Larry King Show.
For the anti-sealing lobby, this has to be seen as a huge victory, and lots of money will come their way, in the way of donations of support.  Of course, in four weeks, it'll all be forgotten.  Until next year.  Memo to Gillian Anderson:  want to try to resurrect your career?  Well, what are you doing in March, 2007?  Ever hear of PEI?  How 'bout Nova Scotia?
Actually, Paul McCartney is an inspired choice to be anti-sealing spokesperson.  He's long been a supporter of animal rights, and hasn't eaten an animal since that time he accidentally bit the leg of Eric Burden in a London orgy club in 1967.  Some people may think that Paul is new to the seal protest, but actually has been anti-seal-hunt for a long, long time.  I'm pretty sure I read once where, back in 1961, when The Beatles were performing in Frankfurt, Paul actually refused to play in the Reeperbahn bar known as Die Dichtung Holzhammer.  Loosely translated, means The Seal Club.  Also, Paul has a certain connection with seals and their ilk, ever since the late 60's when it was discovered that Paul was The Walrus.

And what do I think about the seal hunt?  Well, I'm a pretty cold-hearted guy and I don't buy into the whole "killing cute baby seals is wrong" thing.  The focusing on the 'cute'  is sensationalistic and makes me only hear that side of the debate as propoganda.  It bugs me the way, as Lady Heather Mills McCartney did, the anti-seal hunt people persist in trying to humanize the seals.  On Larry King there was a clip where she was saying how wouldn't it be awful if you had your baby taken away at one month old and killed in a vicious way.  That is exactly the kind of bullshit, sentimental, propoganda crap that I hate.
I have no strong convictions either for or against the seal hunt.  But I do think Prince Edward Island can benefit from it though, in terms of global recognition.    Every year, it's like a free tourism ad.  "PEI- The Gentle and Viciously Cruel To Seals Island"  PEI - Winter or Summer, all you need is one bag:  In the summer, fill it with golf clubs.  In the winter, fill it with either seal clubs, or outrage.  We'll welcome you all!
My solution to the seal hunt:  offer all the sealers 70% of the income they would have made, on the provision that they don't show up.  That way, only the serious sealers will be there.  You know, the ones who really want to kill seals.
Of course, PEI still has a long way to go to get the global recognition we desire.  On Larry King, when the Premier of Newfoundland invited Paul and his wife to come to Newfoundland to get that province's perspective on the debate, Paul, ignorantly said "we already are here.  We're in a studio right now, in Newfoundland".  The premier had to inform Sir Paul that he was, in fact, in PEI.
Damn, that hurts.  Like a club to the head.

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Friday, March 3

Blog Party

Blog Party brings bloggers together by providing blog resources all in one place, and just a click away...  the link to click is

I am posting this because they have a contest where a blogger will win $250 by linking to their site.  So, that's what I'm doing.

Thursday, March 2

Everyone Into The Oscar Pool!!

Alright, okay.
This is the final reminder to join in The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool.

Click that link above, answer the questions and submit.  If you win, you could win great prizes, like:

An announcement on this site that you won!
A moment of consideration of your existence by the dozen or so people who might read your name in that announcement!!!
And, I've just decided, the winner will win (if it doesn't end up being more of a pain than it's worth) two complimentary tickets to the very next Sketch22 performance (currently scheduled for this summer).

Wednesday, March 1

25% Funny, 40% Shocking, 35% Bad

About a month ago, I was, inexplicably, asked via email if I'd like to review Comedy Central's Roast of Pamela Anderson - Uncensored.  Apparently because of what I write on this blog, I "seem like a reputable influencer".  I guess one of my posts which mentioned Sarah Silverman (who appears on the roast), was the bridge between my blog and the company M80, which, according to their website, "is a unique Entertainment and Lifestyle Marketing company specializing in online grassroots marketing, online publicity and promotion, creative services, lifestyle and offline marketing, fanclub service, market research and consulting."
Intrigued by the process and by the absurdity of the whole 'reputable influencer' concept, I agreed, and a couple of weeks later, I received the DVD in the mail.  I watched it yesterday and today.
Here's what I think:
I used to be a fan of the Dean Martin roasts, years ago, that would occasionally air on television.  I enjoyed the idea of celebrities and barely-celebrities coming together to insult the roastee.  I always thought they were rather tame, though, and quite likely heavily censored.  That, of course, was par for the era.  My curiousity was further piqued a couple of years ago when I had heard about the existance of Friars Roasts.  Apparently, these were anything but tame, and I'd read all kinds of articles and reviews of No-Holds-Barred insults and bad language and filth and foul, etc.  I'd always wanted to see one of these roasts.  Not because I wanted to be entertained by filth and foul (although I have nothing against it), but moreso, because I was curious to see if my limits and sense of "crossing the line" were on par with those of so-called professional comedians and entertainers.
So, that was kind of my history and experience with roasts, before I put this DVD into the player.
And how was the Pamela Anderson Roast - Uncensored? 
I knew of most of the comedians who roasted Pamela - Jimmy Kimmel (host), Adam Carolla, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Eddie Griffin - and didn't know others - Jeffrey Ross, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Lisa Lampanelli, Lady Bunny (a female impersonator.  Actually, a Divine impersonator, if you ask me). Some of the guests weren't comedians, but acquainted with Pamela Anderson - Tommy Lee and Courtney Love-Cobain, and for some strange reason, Bea Arthur was on hand too.
Rather than go through each performer's performance, I'll just say that, like the title of the post says, I'd guess that 25 percent of the jokes were funny, 40% shocking and 35% simply bad..  Some jokes made me laugh out loud, but there weren't enough really funny jokes to make me glad I watched it.  Of the 40% shocking, some of it was very vulgar, and a lot of it was pretty personal.  Honestly, I was rather fascinated with these personal, shocking, vulgar jokes, and while many of them weren't really funny, and a lot of them covered the same ground - Tommy Lee has a huge penis, Pamela has a large vagina and is a "loose" woman - I was interested to see how far, how personal, the comics would go.  Of course, a lot of the material fell completely flat and was rather painful to watch.  But even that was somewhat interesting to me, because it seemed that a lot of this material was written specifically for this event, for Pamela.  So it was interesting to see comedians trying out what I assume to be new material.  Some of the comics are naturally funny and made jokes work despite themselves, and some of the jokes didn't work because you could tell the comics didn't have the timing quite right yet.  So, that was interesting to me.  Not funny, for the most part.  But interesting.
Part of the tradition of roasts, I believe, is to also make fun of the other guests.  So, through this tradition, I now know that Jimmy Kimmel has a small penis and large balls.  Andy Dick is gay and Bea Arthur may be a man.  Again, some of this was funny, some was interestingly shocking and personal, and a lot of it was just boring.  It was usually interesting to see how the various people reacted to insults that you just know had to hit a personal nerve with them.
Specific things to mention:
Courtney Love-Cobain is a mess.  And not a funny mess.   There's not a lot of humour to anything Courtney Love-Cobain does.
Andy Dick's bit wasn't very funny.  He pretended to be Pamela's plastic surgeon, and the bit didn't work very well.  I'm usually a fan of the characters and bits he does for things like the MTV awards, but you could tell not much effort went into this bit.
Tommy Lee performed a song, which I fast-forwarded through, because, well, why would I watch it?  He also had a monologue that was painfully unfunny and boring.
Sarah Silverman was funny, but not as funny as I had hoped she'd be.
Bea Arthur was pretty funny, surprisingly.  All she really did was read excerpts from one of Pamela's novels (she's written two, apparently).  So, it was funny seeing Bea Arthur, with what's left of her dignity (there were a lot of pretty mean jokes recited about her throughout the night), reading these rather soft-porn soft-literature passages.

If you enjoy base humour and a lot of it, you may like this more than I did.  As I said, I laughed out loud a few times, but mostly I was intrigued by the oddity of it, and interested in it from a professional standpoint. It's a wonder, the depths of degradation that celebrities are willing to go, both roasters and roastee..

The DVD extras were terrible.  Some "rehearsal" footage of Courtney and Andy talking.  Far too much "red carpet" interviewing and banter that was pretty excruciating to sit through.  And a few snippets from other Comedy Central productions.

The funniest thing on the whole DVD, which happened to be the very last thing I watched, and which happened to symbolise, to an extent, my experience with the DVD, was a clip from South Park.  Paris Hilton had just opened a new store in town, called Stupid Spoiled Whore.  As she's leaving the town in her limo, with her little dog, she's talking inanity on the phone, and being very preciously spoiled.  The dog, desperate to get away from the blackness that is Paris Hilton's very being, steals the limo drivers pistol and attempts to commit suicide with it.  The dog tries a variety of positions and finally succeeds in blowing its brains out.

Now that's comedy!