Thursday, November 23, 2006

Losing your sense of humour

Did I ever rant on about my thoughts about interconnectivity and coincidence that's too common to be coincidence. I think so.

It's happening again. Maybe it's because I have so many ideas on the blotter waiting to be edited and posted here that it's just a matter of time until blog thoughts and ideas criss-cross or meet with current events. When they do, the result is oftentimes a more potent message that the subject presented individually.

Comedy, humour, the lovely laff.

I've finally got my head into podcasts. What was the immediate attraction for me was the comedy content, especially from my home country. I loved watching the Secret Policeman's Ball ages ago when there were wonderful acoustic performances by the likes of Pete Townsend intertwined with laff splatters of Pythonesque. I had assumed the Ball had gone away (maybe it never did), but now it's back and can be enjoyed via a(free) podcast subscription. Some great stuff and even some American comedians getting some air time. Weird how American accents seems so "foreign" and strong when mixed with a majority of British voices !

Funnily enough, what I really found interesting was a comment made by Chevy Chase of all people. He wasn't really funny at all, but what he did say, I loved.

A sense of humour is the same thing as a sense of perspective.

I like that. I like it a lot. (Chevy went for the easy laff by saying that of course George Bush was lacking in this area !)

The other standout snippet I've heard so far was Steve Merchant (of The Office fame) taking the mick with Jimmy Fallon (of SNL fame) - funny stuff.

So working backwards a little, I've got to provide some comment on Borat. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've only heard great things. What I like about it is Cohen's utterly convincing alter-ego, which he's done previously with the brilliant Ali G character and has another one waiting to be fully introduced.

But this is where I'm going to tie-in to this blog title. The anti-semitism humour. Is it just too real for some (unknowing) observers ? I say unknowing because Cohen apparently follows his own Jewish faith quite seriously. Or should this make a difference ? They always say it's ok to laugh at your own kind ! Is he perhaps too convincing or have people lost their perspective ?

Unfortunately I have to end with the most recent news of an off-the-rails comedian. Michael Richards. What he said earlier this week on stage was just plain racist and completely inexcusable. But you've got to wonder where those hateful words come ? I think he lost his perspective somewhere along the way. I loved watching his physical comedy even from early appearances on Fridays to the brilliant Kramer on Seinfeld (which, in my opinion is the best ever American comedy TV show). Now, the idiot's gone and ruined it all.

So getting back to Chevy. Perspective and don't forget....timing - the secret of good comedy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The music downloading wars continue

Yes, I'm still downloading music and yes, my pseudo-illegal habits are quite controversial in this house. But isn't that one goal of a blog - to spark controversy and get a healthy argument going ?

Every now and again I check on news about my vice - allofmp3. I just noticed there a number of
blog threads hosted by Some of the things recently discussed include:
  • The actual cost of producing CDs
  • The decreased value of your music collection when DRM (digital rights management) is being enforced
  • The controversial blocking of by Visa and Danish ISPs - what line does this start to cross ?
Note that the blogs do cover a broad spectrum beyond just allofmp3 and do include outspoken comments against allofmp3 !

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shall we play a game ?

Some of you may remember that famous movie line, boy have things changed in the computer gaming world.

Today was the North American launch of
Sony Playstation 3 (PS3).
Sunday is the launch of Nintendo's Wii.
I think Microsoft Xbox have something planned for January.

My son wants them all.

I'm not helping the situation, because I've got caught up in the hype.

The pictures are from the Game Fest happening today at Yonge Dundas Square. Yeah, I was there, looking over shoulders at the latest in game technology and trying to win a PS3 for my son.

PS3 HD graphics are fab and it plays Blu-Ray - more reasons to break the bank for the HD TV.

Wii interactivity is definitely worth talking about. Get those lazy kids off the couch
(although that's not a prob from my son - latest count: basketball 3 times a week; soccer once a week, swimming, house-league game-of-the-week and full live action game replay of every Raptor, Leaf and NFL game on right now). The latest marketing angle I just found is brilliant.

I'm sure previous releases have been as big, but perhaps it's the attention of my son that is focusing me a little. Although, all us guys like a cool toy ! Here's a a little
snippet on the sub-text of the line-up story this week.

But all isn't oows and aahs, I recently caught a segment on Toronto's edgy Edge 102 radio where the guys were wooping it up about the latest fight/war game -
"the new weapons are so cool; pretty graphic stuff; you can really do some damage with...". That's when this phenom starts to grind a little - how easy is it to cross the line of fiction and end up as a CNN moment ?

But, what's more fun the gyrating your pathetic excuse for a bod trying to beat some malformed head of an animated character hitting a phosphorous tennis ball trailer at you - in the comfort of your own home with a beer in your free hand ?

What ever happened to
pong or a good board or parlour game - charades anyone ?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Great Waste of Time


WARNING - massively addictive - like channel surfing through time and across the world !

I've probably lost your attention already (oy, back over 'ere).

There is just so much great stuff on YouTube. Yes, there's lots and lots or crap too, but there is really good stuff too. For instance, can't remember where that mime of Torn is -
here it is.

A few of my fave's (but I keep finding new stuff):

Music Video - gotta be
Ok-Go. This one was so big, this single is now playing on top 40 radio !
Comedy - A Warm Welcome. I'd only heard this one on CD previously.
Made-up - Male Restroom Etiquette.
Get this sidenote - I actually heard these snippets of CONVERSATION between two chaps in their stalls in the office loo this morning - the cost of flying, Kyoto and LG televisions. Forget the etiquette from the vid, that surely has to break some basic low level rule of decency.

And a few big categories to browse through at your leisure:

Anything by
Dane Cook - gotta be one of the funniest, visual American comedies today (even my wife thinks he's funny). He's hosted SNL at least twice with great monologues. He made a weird reference to in the last one - "you'll find anything on YouTube, just randomly bang on the keyboard, get A:F6 and search for that in YouTube and you'll get...".

Anything from
The Secret Policeman's Ball. For those not familiar with this event, it's a great charity benefit that has some top notch musical performances and the best of Brit comedy - all for a good cause. The podcasts are available here too, but more on that later.

Anything by
Jon Stewart. Arguably American's funniest. Smart, topical, observational.
Anything with
Ricky Gervais. Arguably Britain's funniest. Smart, irrelevant, awkward.

Plus lots of great TV commercials, car stuff and sports.

This posting took a little while longer to write because I got caught watching a lot of videos while doing the "research".



The Soup Man is back and my belly has never been happier.

Schumi didn't win the F1 world championship. Spaniard Fernando Alonso won his 2nd. Get a load of this tidbit I just saw !

I got to play a few final games of golf over the last week. Saturday's game for my buddy's 40th was the worst weather I have ever played in - about 3c , windy, rainy (wet hands by the end), swamp-like conditions (wet feet after the third hole) and we almost lost daylight ! Lots of laffs though and a few decent shots here and there. Next up some golf with Micky in Disney in January.

Latest great movie -
The Departed.
Latest great TV -
Life on Mars (BBC link, just premiered on Showcase in Canada).
Latest great music - John Mayer - Waiting on the world to change.

A belated happy anniversary - celebrating one year of blogging

To me, well my blog.

I posted the first entry on October 3rd, 2005 and 84 posts later I'm here.

I'd like to thank....

Well, thank the world for being such a crazy place and giving me lots to comment on. Special thanks your comments, always welcome and it gives me an audience to write for.

The pace of posting has slowed a little, but I'm still committed to sharing my thoughts on subjects near and dear to my heart and hopefully causing a laff, a moan or a yeah (he's right you know) !

A reminder that this blog is not indexed on the web, so if you think another friend may find this blog of interest, please feel free to forward the link

I'm going to take this opportunity and recent surge of topics to extend an invite to some newer friends and remind others that the creative musing of their old friend is just a click away.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Remembering war veterans

I attended a Remembrance Day Ceremony with my son's class at the university of Toronto earlier today.

It was a moving and beautiful ceremony.

I believe Remembrance Day is a day for remembering the sacrifices of so many people during wartime in the last 100 years, incl. the Great War, WW II and the Korean War.

But somehow, it's harder to think of today's wars in the same sense. The great world wars that serve to tell stories of valour, national pride and steadfastness are ones I am proud to tell my children about and make sure we remember those that protected our families and friends for all time. Can we say the same about the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan and dare I say Iraq ?

I was in
Halifax, Nova Scotia this summer for a business trip and during one of the mid-morning breaks I went outside to the harbour (famous for the massive explosion in 1917) for some fresh sea air. At that moment, HMCS Athabaskan was returning home from the Persian Gulf (a colleague of mine who's father had built the ship helped identify her and a few locals I talked with told me where her mission had been). The local lady emotionally said "it's good to have the boys home (her son had served in Kosovo in years past)". Her simple words and seeing the sailors proudly standing rail side onboard was a moment I don't want to ever forget - a proud moment to be a Canadian.

Now, a few months have passed and debate is heating up on the mission in Afghanistan. Canada's troops are supposed to be there until 2009 and casualties and fatalities are becoming weekly occurrences. The battles and dangers seem to be ever increasing. The latest comments centre on whether the war can actually be won ! Shouldn't this have been part of the decision process to engage in Afghanistan ? What made the military leaders think they could win ? What has changed ? Personally, I am not a fan of the military, but It think it is an important investment for world security. So if we're doing a good job and making a difference we should be there to help with the fight against terrorism. Are we afraid to show the Taliban they may have won this time ? Have we made it worse by challenging them in the first place ? Canada has always been known and respected as a conscientious ally in world concerns, and I don't think we should back down from that commitment.

Sitting hear in my comfy office, about to head home to my wonderful family in my safe and secure world, I wonder about the men and women out there putting their life on the line for us.

So today is a time for me to remember those who have served their country in the past and also recognize the dedication our troops have today to securing our world.

Some interesting historic links -
British military conflicts; List of wars; and the Military History of Canada.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nice cuppa

Yes, the car is resting on teacups !

SEH found this beauty on a great photo blog site called Daily Dose of Imagery.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Middle East - simplified

I've had enough horror movies for a while, so I got around to watching Kingdom of Heaven tonight. I really enjoyed it and I think I actually got a little more understanding of the Middle East and the everchanging face of the religious war. I am sure I'm grabbing too much from this, but here goes...

What "should be" important is what is in the minds and hearts of people, not what a piece of land means (or once meant). Jerusalem is worth nothing...and everything.

Wow, that's big. But I'll leave it at that.

Yes, lots more ideas (and big topics) scratched down and waiting for an impulse.

I hope I have a few readers left, please stay tuned.