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Friday, January 13, 2006

And Leon's Getting Larger!

Some posts to note at FoodNews, Amber's food policy blog:

"This is the only major industry in the world that is getting more and more energy-inefficient ..." As fish stocks thin, the fishing industry burns more fuel.

And fish farming isn't a solution ...

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

I'll see you in Hell, NERDS!

Seeing the hornets' nest, Sam Bulte gave it a whack ... on video:

People support me because they support my voice for the artist and I will not allow Michael Geist and his pro-user zealots, the Electronic Frontier Foundation members to intimidate me into silenc(ing) my voice.

And the slip of the corpo-speak suddenly made it clear that she really has been bought by the Big Money: we're not users, we're citizens and Geist and the EFF have been reminding us that our rights are being trampled by corporations who are in a frenzied state of wanting to own everything, using the filesharing boogeyman as leverage.

You have to have some sympathy for her for two reasons: 1) she's a Boomer, didn't grow up with computers and lacks an intuitive sense of what's going on in the culture, and 2) was probably made a little dizzy by so much close contact with the entertainment industry. Who, in her position, wouldn't have been seduced by the glow of showbiz?

Anyhow, a few weeks ago someone in the Globe observed that the sort of blog mobilization seen in the US hadn't yet occured during this election campaign. Well, here ya go ...

11:10 PM , # ,


Of course, the whole plan kinda falls apart if you elect a Conservative majority ...

11:57 AM , # ,


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Hey, it's that guy! The global influenza pandemic will be marked by outbreaks of severe over-acting, stilted dialogue and hackneyed, horror-movie cliches.

CBC's Fifth Estate aired a docu-drama called Black Dawn: The Next Pandemic tonight (Patrick Swayze not included). You know you're in trouble when a show is given an ominous-sounding but meaningless title like 'Black Dawn'. Black Dawn? But it's not a movie about an invasion of blow-up sex dolls (I WISH!), it's a show about the flu.

The program is a mix of DOGME 95-style dramatizations and Errol Morris-inspired interview segments (except there's no person behind the camera yelling questions like "Why are your ears so BIG?" at the experts) and the result is a show that is slightly less believable than the Dawn of the Dead remake and not as funny as Shaun of the Dead.

"Don't sell the gawddamn Oseltamivir Phosphate, punk!"

The main character in the dramatizations is Jane (read her 'pandemic blog'), candidate for the 'Worst Nurse in a Pandemic Dramatization' Oscar. Jane is a downer who's secretly happy that there's a pandemic because it finally gives her a chance to indulge in some drama and she indulges ... constantly. You know the size of the Grinch's heart? That's the size of Jane's sense of humour.

The subtext hints that she has issues with her teenage son because he reminds her of the ex who has left her to fend for herself with two kids during a global flu pandemic ... but she never confronts those feelings because civilization is collapsing and people at the hospital where she works are bleeding from their eyes and ears. It should be noted that in War of the Worlds, Tom Cruise's character not only survives an alien genocide, he also reconciles with his family unit. Oh, those Americans are so superior!

Worse than the nurse are the constant mock media reports spread through the program. They're annoying because the Fifth Estate accepts them at face value as a serious cultural expression and offers no critique of that aspect of a global disaster. Most irritating is the voice-over at the end of the show when a fake anchor talks about the world being 'one world' or some crap like that not ten minutes after an expert told us that the poor will die in much greater numbers than the rich.

This program is a victim of a general trend of overselling the drama on CBC news programs with scary music and over-editing. In the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, every other episode featured music that expressed the 'awe and wonder' of space exploration but because there was awe and wonder around every corner, the music became a joke because it was out-of-scale with the experience of the crew. The same thing is happening on CBC news: nothing is dramatic if everything is dramatic.

Finally, the show did not entertain the scariest thought of all: can you imagine Prime Minister Stephen Harper dealing with a global flu pandemic? OH MY GOD, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:45 PM , # ,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yam Burritos and the Secret Mitts that Destroyed Civilization

Kensington Market

AMBER: Mmmmm, burritos.

BLAMB: These yam burritos are burritorrific!

AMBER: Smile. I'm taking a picture of you with your burrito.

BLAMB: You should start a flickr account. You can show the burrito photo to everyone.


BLAMB: You can post the picture of my alien gloves there.

AMBER: But aren't the alien gloves classified? Isn't the government is trying to supress all evidence of their existence? Wouldn't public knowledge of the alien gloves completely upset our society?

BLAMB: Anyone who watched Star Trek is prepared for the confirmation of civilizations on other planets. Those who didn't are going to have their entire existence upset ... that'll learn 'em.

AMBER: I don't think it's up to you to make that judgement.

BLAMB: Ha ha, but it is! I have already posted the picture of the alien gloves on my blog .... !

AMBER: Was that a scream outside?

BLAMB: Society if collapsing!

AMBER: Wait, listen ...


AMBER: Ha! You failed!


9:37 PM , # ,


Slow Ride to Back to the Beginning of the Future

Union Station, Toronto

Over the holidays, Caroline & I took the train to London ...


CAROLINE: Are you okay?


CAROLINE: I think you need to calm down.

BLAMB: [ starts to cry ] Peanuts. I only want a tiny, little packet of peanuts!

CAROLINE: You're making a scene!

BLAMB: Peeeee-nuts ... [ sob ]

CAROLINE: Relax ...

BLAMB: Peeee ... [ sob ] nuts.

CAROLINE: Relax. Relax.

BLAMB: Sorry. I think I was just hit with a spell of 'train rage'.

CAROLINE: Train rage?

BLAMB: Or maybe something milder. Train discomfort. Train distress. Train drain ...

CAROLINE: You don't want the people who read your blog to see you like this.

BLAMB: Nobody reads my blog. [ sob ] I want peanuts.

CAROLINE: How is your blog?

BLAMB: You would know if you read it.

CAROLINE: I would, wouldn't I?

BLAMB: Well, it's about to become a whole new blog!

CAROLINE: A whole, new blog ...

BLAMB: One day, it's just going to change and 'boom', it'll all be different and new. It's going to be glorious.


BLAMB: Yeah. I'm consolidating all of the changes from the past year.

CAROLINE: That's nice.

BLAMB: You don't care.

CAROLINE: I don't care.

BLAMB: Don't you see?

CAROLINE: I don't see.

BLAMB: Don't you see that a new blog will only bring me more internet glory? It will increase my power and spread my story.

CAROLINE: That was terrible rhyming.

BLAMB: That's okay, it's a hurdle I'm climbing.

CAROLINE: It's not your jokes, it's your timing.

BLAMB: You want to complain?

CAROLINE: I can't. We're on the train.

BLAMB: Maybe you should ... oh, um, er ...

CAROLINE: Maybe I will check in on your blog sometime. Do you ever write about anything interesting?

BLAMB: I write about everything interesting!

CAROLINE: Star Trek and stuff like that. Do you ever write about anything else?

BLAMB: I think I'll write about how I couldn't get a damn pack of peanuts on this train!

12:06 PM , # ,


Run Away! Run Away!

After tonight's debate, the decision seems to be unanimous across the blogs: Steve Paikin will be the next Prime Minister of Canada!

During the debate, Harper was leering and trying to make it obvious that he and Jack are soulmates and that ... THAT ... that was the moment when I decided to vote Liberal. Turns out I would rather have another Liberal minority that risk giving any power to Harper and his creepy collection of Reform Party social conservatives.

I rented the 40-year-old Virgin movie over the holidays and it was funny. But having a group of forty-year-old virgins running the country would be a nightmare. That's right, I was never great at playing chicken.

Speaking of stuffed dinosaurs and Jesus, isn't it odd that Kinsella has the time & skillz to stick text ads on his site but not permalinks? Aren't those Paul Martin-esque priorities?

Don't let Sam Bulte off the hook. She's still gotta be replaced by Peggy Nash. Accordion Guy is continuing to campaign against his incumbent and posted a response by indie artists:

Furthermore, CRIA's boast that they represent more than 95% records produced and sold in Canada is misleading. In fact, they represent the interests of the "Canadian" major labels, who are in fact cultural importers (largely of US acts) rather than exporters of Canadian artists. Very often Canadian artists like Danko Jones have to sign to foreign labels in order to export their own music. CRIA's close ties to MP Bulte ("they are my friends", she explained) are questionable and objectionable.

If any non-Canadian readers are still left, I promise NO Canadian politics for the next few posts. Sorry, I got a little carried away.

12:34 AM , # ,


Monday, January 09, 2006

I guess we gotta keep in mind that a moderately-run campaign is not the same as moderate policies. As the cheeky photo in the Saturday Globe reminds us, Stephen Harper is still Stephen Harper.

btw, coming up, I have completely overhauled both comic strips: new style, new work process and all characters have been completely redrawn and rethunkified ... however, they have not moved closer to the centre.

2:05 PM , # ,


Friday, January 06, 2006

Three to Turf .... cont'd

In the comments, trawna defends Mario Silva:

However, re: Mario Silva, I'm involved in a community group in our hood, and he & his office have been very responsive and supportive.

That's fair ... ok, I'm taking him off my turf list. I'm gonna stay undecided 'til I've heard more about the issues.

Meanwhile, Paul has a whole site dedicated to Tony Ianno, "Canada's Laziest MP". He posted this funny quote from Urban Sherpa:

"Actually, no. We're voting for Olivia Chow. We just think it's time for some new blood in this riding ... Are you kidding me? Isn't Tony Ianno the most ineffective MP in Parliament?... No, I didn't read that in the Annex Gleaner, it was in the Globe and Mail ... Well, I don't think that Hansard Notes is totally erroneous. Okay. Merry Christmas."

The Annex Gleaner? I don't recall him receiving that criticism in the Gleaner. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you; I have a critical Ianno editorial cartoon in this week's Gleaner. If anything, Ianno has managed to fly under the radar for far too long, all things considered.

And Dave complains:

I still don't see the point of hoping for more NDP seats at the expense of the Liberals. This just makes it more likely for a Conversative win (the greater of the two evils). And Layton's management of his campaign has instilled less confidence (if possible) in my with regards to the NDP's ability to govern. What's the logic in attacking Martin (his closer idealogical ally), only to grant greater likelihood of a Conservative government and greater national instability? His poor strategy and failure to see the greater issues at hand don't convince me that he would be an effective leader on the world stage. This isn't a municiple election... (Please note, I don't think Martin is particularly charismatic, but he's the best of the three... Actually, Duceppe is the most charismatic of all, but I can't vote for him)

Well, I think the growing consensus is that a Conservative minority kept in check by a strong NDP would punish the Liberals just enough, force them to dump Martin and really clean house. That would also remind everyone why voting for the Conservatives is a bad idea so that the Liberals could form the government in the following election, forcing the Conservatives to dump Harper and really clean house.

But then, I'm an optimist. I thought the Star Wars prequels were going to be really good.

7:59 PM , # ,


Sandwich '06

Lily Smitson enjoys her first sandwich of the new year.

10:39 AM , # ,


CanCon Comedy Crisis

Be sure to read this post [ via PAVED ] about how un-funny the CBC is:

"I remember when The Newsroom came out, having discussions with CBC publicists who were...mystified! They couldn't understand why this show was good -- why it was drawing such positive audience response. They were a little giddy, and a little sad. They had a critical (and at least for that first season) an audience hit -- and they didn't know what to do."

Three things on Canadian 'humour':

1) In the summer I did a quick, secret redesign job for a Canadian humour-ish mag (the work never saw the light of day because it was sharp and the publisher didn't want to hurt their lackluster art director's feelings) and one of the things that struck me was how the mag never embraced how shallow it was intended to be. And whenever it approached off-colour, there was always an apology tacked on ...

2) Driving back from Algonquin Park the other day, Shelagh Rogers was on Radio 1 discussing the topic of "Canadian Comedy" with that guy from CODCO and Mike Bullard. The CODCO guy and Rogers were having a grand ol' time and he told stories about dealing with CBC bureaucracy and how some of CODCO's censored sketches wound up being aired the following season in a special "censored sketches" episode ...

... and Mike Bullard seemed to have some sorta breakdown on-air, sobbing about his insecurities and half-frightening Rogers and Mr. CODCO.

3) Doesn't the voice-over guy on the Comedy Network sound like one of those annoying, too-cool frat boys who never understood why anything was funny? Frat boys run the media, that's why nothing's funny.

12:22 AM , # ,


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Three to Turf

Mmmmm ... election is in the air, can you smell it?

With Liberal support on the wobble, here are three Toronto Liberal MPs who shouldn't be sent back to Ottawa:

Sam Bulte, Parkdale-High Park
Against all odds, this mild-mannered MP has quickly been elevated to the Pantheon of Internet Villains for being pwn3d by corporate entertainment interests, as lamented by Michael Geist. More, here, here, here ... it goes on and on.

Instead: Peggy Nash looks like a better vote.

Tony Ianno, Trinity-Spadina
He helped found the dysfunctional Toronto Port Authority ... isn't that enough? Oh, and there are murmurs of shady fundraising, but come on ... the Port Authority! Remember the bridge that wouldn't die? His fault!

Instead: Olivia Chow almost beat Ianno last time and is poised to win it this time. And Jack probably gets lonely in Ottawa all by himself.

Mario Silva, Davenport
There's nothing really wrong with Mario: he usually says the right things and takes the best side on most issues. But that's also the problem, he's a career politician and often it seems like there's not much more to him.

Instead: It's my riding and I'm happy that there's a rabble-rouser like Gord Perks to vote for. Remember the guy who followed David Peterson around with the bullhorn? That was Gord Perks! If any riding needs colourful representation, it's the one that's home to the Dufferin Mall.

And finally, one to send back:

Alan Tonks, York South-Weston
Sure, the city has its problems but the general level of tension has eased since we packed Tonks off to Ottawa where he sits on his hands and mostly stays out of trouble. I say, SEND HIM BACK! Having Tonks mucking around in the city's affairs, as he did when he sold out the city to the Harris Tories, is the last thing we need.

Send along: Royson James, the Alan Tonks of the Toronto media.

9:34 PM , # ,


Ad Insanity

How Viacom violates its contract with the city. [ at the TPSC site ]

4:24 PM , # ,


Bloggies '06

Nomination time!

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2:32 AM , # ,


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's Back!

Wow, Doc Soup has been crazy this year with every screening selling out. The next one is a week from tonight ... A State of Mind, a doc about North Korea.

And Hot Docs is only four months away ...

3:47 PM , # ,



11:24 AM , # ,


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Chatter '06

Maria landed the first conversational post of the new year. It's New Year's Eve with Eva and the Ice Queen. Eva used her new cam to provide video. Now she's a viddy blogger!

11:28 PM , # ,


On the tube ...

Mike Harris has been mentioned and maligned here recently, so why not indulge in a few more memories from the Common Sense Revolution tomorrow night?

11:19 PM , # ,


Mike's Kids

Jim Coyle recalls the Harris years.

2:20 PM , # ,


Caught on Duff!

I was grabbin' a coffee at the Duff when a reader named Sanj spotted me and snapped this pic ... too bad I wasn't wearing my big, fuzzy hat. Damn!

Speaking of the blogs, there's a gazillion quickie movie reviews at the Dead Robot, a yummy place at the Daily Dose, Dooce was in Glamour, Accordion Guy has a Sarah Silverman musical post (I still can't believe MESI was canned) and Spicer considers guns and politics and guns and politics and guns and ...

1:24 AM , # ,


Them Holidays

Merv has a recap of the holidays and photos: Zack gets a bath, JT1 gets a present, I had some sort of weird visitation, Shad gets dog action, more dog action and tree stuff.

Coming up this week: A NEW BLAMBLOG ERA BEGINS!

12:44 AM , # ,


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