Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Muppet Movie Trailer

The Muppets

The first trailer for the all new Muppet Movie is out! How should I describe it? It's the most sensantional Inspirational Celebrational Muppet-ational This is what we call The Muppet Show! The Muppets stars Zach Galifianakis, Amy Adams, Ed Helms, Selena Gomez, Jason Segel, John Krasinski, Neil Patrick Harris, Jack Black, Rashida Jones, Ricky Gervais, Kemit, Fozzy, Miss Piggy, to name a few and is set for a November 2011 release.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Night - Film Review

It's not the end of the world... there's still six hours left. So goes the tag line for the film Last Night.

Last Night, released in 1998, is a drama laced with dark humour. Intersecting plots follow a number of characters' final hours before the end of the world. The movie stars a who's who of Canadian film, Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, Callum Keth Rennie and director, and sometimes actor David Cronenberg. Don Mckellar wrote, directed and stars in the film. What would you do if the world were coming to an end?

Before going off to meet his wife (Oh) for their final meal together, Cronenberg's character Duncan spends much of his last few hours calling his customers, assuring them that service will be maintained to the very end. Jennifer (Polly) plans to attend a world ending party while Craig (Rennie), tries to have sex with as many women as possible. A few roaming gangs is not enough to change the strange calmness that makes up the tone of the film.

Never having been a fan of Mckellar the actor, as writer and first time director, his cynical fresh approach to a subject that is usually expressed via the action film, rises above the trendiness that was the Y2K fear. Mckellar's film initially unfolds as a philosophical approach to the world's end and evolves into a romantic fantasy. Last Night was awarded prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival as well as three Genie Awards.
Last Night

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rupture

I am sorry I have not answered your emails. Please forgive me the unreturned voice messages. I have been in hiding these last few days. The world did not end. And, I misunderstood. I was in my bunker all weekend because I thought they said the raptors were on there way. This was not the first time my command of the English language nearly got me in trouble.

Dictionary.com tells me that the basic definition of rapture is "ecstatic joy or delight; joyful ecstasy". It further states "the Rapture, (in) Theology, is the experience anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth."

Now, since I went this far to waste my time, I looked up raptor as well. Raptor's origin is from the early 1600s and refers to "one who seizes by force, robber".  Which now takes us to the infamous preacher Harold Camping. Apparently, where I lack in language he lacks in math and perhaps, honesty. TV and newspaper reports indicate that those followers of his who were duped into donating as much as their entire life savings to Camping's ministry just days ago will not get it back.
Raptor indeed.
I have their money

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Urban Scrawl - Problems With Graffiti

Graffiti has always been a problem in the city. The latest problems related to graffiti may be far worse than anticipated. For lack of anything more convincing, let us blame the digital age for the drain on imagination. Good job Ron, whoever you are. The owners of the famed 'Panasonic' building at this busy Montreal intersection reacted quickly. Perhaps because they are slightly ahead of their time, they decided to clean this blight before I had the chance to go back and take a better picture.

After
Before
As you see the graffiti was not cleaned simply because of the mess it created but, likely because they did not want to be associated with such unimaginative work. Nice tag Ron.
Update - Driving around town this last week I spotted Ron's lousy tags on two separate spots. Although in relative close proximity, Ron gets around. The tags are in three different cities on the Island of Montreal. I am guessing it is a kid vandalizing various signs but it amused me to find three such tags in a short span of time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Flintstones Reboot

Coming to a television set near you is a retooling of the classic animated cartoon The Flintstones. It was announced today that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane will be helming the relaunch of the series. Production is expected to start in late 2011 with a planned air date of 2013.
The original Flintstones ran in prime time from 1960-66. Another thirteen television spin-offs ran mostly in the 70s and 80s. But it was the classic episodes which had the most success. Until The Simpsons came along The Flintstones had the record for longest running prime time cartoon at six years. The show continues to run in syndication and for years was a lunch time tradition for many children.
Seth MacFarlane started his career at Hanna-Barbera studios, the same house that first launched the TV series.

No subject has been beyond MacFarlane's scope for ridicule and lampoon, Flinstones included.


Do you think they will "reboot" the Flintstone theme lyrics as well or stick with these classic lines?

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones. 
They're the modern stone age family. 
From the town of Bedrock, 
They're a page right out of history.

Let's ride with the family down the street. 
Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.

When you're with the Flintstones 
you'll have a yabba dabba doo time. 
A dabba doo time. 
You'll have a gay old time.


The Flintstones

Monday, May 16, 2011

Need Help Moving?

Do you need moving tips? Do you or someone you know need help moving? Yes? Really? Well, don't ask me. You've used up all your credits with me. Are you wondering if I am referring to you? If you answered yes, my answer is probably also yes.
Moving season is almost here but I am not expecting any requests this year. Not because of the above. But mostly because I only know of one friend moving and he and his wife hired movers. If you are reading this, you probably helped someone, at some time move. And you probably have a bad story to go along with it. I have several bad stories, and they all involved one person. (I won't mention names but will allow him to confess via the comments section.) So, in honour of moving through a darkened alley, down a rickety rusted staircase here is The Oatmeal's take on that great tradition of friendship called Moving Day.
Click the pic for more Moving Tips...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Five Feet High and Rising

The rain has not stopped. Floods have been in the news since late 2010 with Australian state Queensland getting hard hit. Clear on the other side of the world, the Richilieu River breached it's banks and the already drenched region south of Montreal was further drenched with rain showers. In order to protect hundreds of homes, this weekend authorities in Manitoba cut a section of the dike along side the Assiniboine River in what was called a "harm reduction measure". Meanwhile the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are battling the great Mississippi to protect the likes of Grand Forks, North Dakota; Cairo, Illinois; and Memphis, Tennessee. Morganza through to Baton Rouge in Louisiana are dealing with the latest flood fears.
I started thinking of the 1960s Johnny Cash song Five Feet High and Rising.
Well, the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can't come back till the water comes down,
Five feet high and risin'

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says

CORUSCANT — Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mastermind of some of the most devastating attacks on the Galactic Empire and the most hunted man in the galaxy, was killed in a firefight with Imperial forces near Alderaan, Darth Vader announced on Sunday...

Lord Vader announced the killing of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Click the picture for the complete story. Awesome idea. If you are a Star Wars geek or just a casual fan, you will be impressed. If only there were more stories... Got me thinking, with all that advance technology, social networking was rather limited. Not that I expect Darth Vader to have a Facebook page. It's funny how portrayal of advanced technologies or societies often look like our past.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Typical Mother's Day

It was another typical Mother's day and it went something like this...

Everybody: "Happy Mother's Day Mom!", Happy Mother's Day Granny!"
Mother:   "Giggle, tee hee. Oh! You shouldn't have."
Shawn:  "Happy Mother's Day. We love you. You are a good mother."
Shawn turns to father and says,  "And Dad, you're one baaad mutha."

Brother laughs. Women roll their eyes. Mother tsks in disapproval. Father smacks me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! What do you do for Mother's Day? In my family the whole gang usually gathers at a restaurant or at someones house. This year it's going to be different. If you read my last post you wouldn't be surprised to know that this Mother's Day will be spent packing up my parents stuff for the purpose of getting them ready for their big move.

Whatever the plans, a card is essential. I went to the local pharmacy to search their selection and was utterly disappointed. It is not that they didn't have a large selection. Far from it, there were hundreds of cards. Just none that I liked. I do not like giving cards with flowery verses. I like funny cards. The problem is there are not many funny Mother's Day cards. I am guessing it's because most people don't consider funny Mother's day cards appropriate.

I don't want the card to say "You are the best mother and best friend". I do not want the card to say "I'm thankful to be the one who gets to call her mother". I want the card to say, "Happy Mother's Day, Fondly, Shawn" or, "Thanks for dinner".

Don't get me wrong, I love my Mom. On Mother's Day I will wish her well and tell her I love her. I just don't want to commit to anything in writing. If you are looking for that special card and can't find it check out Bald Guy Greetings. They have some of the funniest cards you can ever find. 



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life Changing Moments

Me & my parents when I was a Cartoon
Great news! My parents are moving in with me! Well, sort of. There are certain life changing moments in anyone's life. My Dad is in his 70s and still working. He expects to retire within the year. In the same year that they are celebrating their 50th anniversary my parents sold the only house they have ever owned and purchased a condominium five floors down from me. They are moving downstairs. My parents will be my neighbours.

I might bump into my parents on my way to work in the morning. I might bump into my parents as I stumble home drunk. I might bump into my parents at the end of a date night and have to introduce them to my girlfriend. I may bump into my parents a week later and have to introduce them to another girlfriend.

My parents are nice people. You would like them. But I would prefer if they lived five blocks away instead of five floors away. They did say that they will not intrude on my privacy. They said that I am welcome at their place at any time but, they will always call me before they knock on my door. I told them I appreciate that and, while I had misgivings at first, in my mind I have adjusted and welcome their move. And, any time they want to come visit me, all they have to do is go to the front desk and ask the security guard to ring me up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Canadian Election Results - The Day After

The Canadian election results of May 2nd, 2011 were historic. Anger and want for change motivated the voters. Federally the country elected a majority Conservative government after consecutive minority governments. The NDP moved to official opposition status for the first time ever and the 104 seats were the most they had ever won. The biggest change came in Quebec with the separatist BQ getting wiped off the map. Federalists Canada wide can rejoice that a loud voice to break up the country has been silenced. Not only did the BQ win only four seats, down from 49 in 2008, but party leader Gilles Duceppe lost his seat in parliament. Duceppe as a result has stepped down as leader. Michael Ignatieff, head of the Liberal Party of Canada, also lost his seat. Expect Ignatieff to make a decision in the days to come. If his party is behind him, someone will step aside so that he may sit in Parliament. Or, we may have a Liberal leaders conference.

Last night, before the results started coming in I projected different results. I am pleased I was wrong. Considering the political strengths and weaknesses this was the best possible scenario. A majority government, a new look opposition party and, of course the BQ returns to the fringes where they belong. The Liberals were going nowhere under Ignatieff. The downfall for them started at the end of the Jean Chretien era but took a big hit under Stephane Dion. Under a new leader they will rebound, perhaps even to opposition party status in four years. Four years! No elections for four years. And you can probably start calling Quebec the swing province. I would bet the NDP will lose a large number of their seats in four years. Considering the circumstances this was the best possible result.
The breakdown is as follows:
CONSERVATIVE 167
NDP 102
LIBERAL 34
BLOC QUEBECOIS 4
GREEN 1
INDEPENDENT 0


Media Coverage of the Elections
Switching to the television network coverage, the big three networks in Canada provided wall to wall coverage starting at approximately 9PM eastern time and broadcasted late into the night. Due to the laws governing the release of election results, each outlet across the country was forbidden to release information until all the polls were closed. The tweet the vote movement on Twitter attempted to spread the word sooner. And the CBC may have broken the Election Canada law by airing their feed from Newfoundland and Labrador in Toronto shortly after 9PM last night. CBC went off the air briefly following this.
What happened to the local coverage? I can only speak for the Montreal market. None of the three stations had any sustained television coverage. I flipped the three local English stations throughout the night, Global kept to the National feed, CTV's Lloyd Robertson stumbled through the coverage all night. And a nervous sounding Peter Mansbridge did a credible job at the CBC. I could have missed it on the other networks but the CBC was the only one of the three to cut away to the local affiliate, where Montreal anchor Andrew Chang raced through the local results in small amount of time he was allotted. The local coverage on CTV consisted of cutaways to the Toronto anchor desk. This is information I want, but what happened to Montreal?
Each one of the French stations provided the coverage of the province but this is the first time in my memory that the English stations did not provide any coverage. I stopped watching at 11:45PM local time.
The CTV's Lloyd Robertson announced his retirement a few months back. The 78-year old anchor is winding down his career and this is his last election as a full time anchor. Robertson stumbled through the results throughout the night and even made reference to being put in handcuffs. Did he giggle at one point? Robertson has always been a brilliant announcer but may have stayed one election too long. 
The CBC's Peter Mansbridge, Mister Smooth, the perfect voice, has always excelled in the 'Live' environment. Last night, while he stood as out as the best of the announcers, strangely, he looked nervous and unsure at times. 
Election Results Across Canada

Monday, May 2, 2011

Canadian Election Results

Here are the election results. Two things have been on the minds of Canadians for the last 36 days, hockey and the elections. Since I know something about hockey, I thought why not take that leap and write about politics? As such, I will use my hockey pool draft method to project the outcome of tonight's Canadian federal election. My plan is to update this space as the night progresses. Stay tuned here for election night results. I will not reveal the secrets behind my methodology, I will tell you though that I generally finish it the top three in any given year in my hockey pool. If you have not read my stories before, yes, I am joking. Sort of.

May 2nd, 8:22PM eastern - projection CON 145 seats, NDP 82 seats, LIB 52 seats, BQ 27, Green 1, IND 1.
Election Results
In the last election in 2008, the Conservatives were elected to a minority government with 143 seats. Up until a couple weeks ago, it was a surety that Stephen Harper would be re-elected, this time to majority government. The late surge in the polls by Jack Layton and the NDP may have put the hopes of majority government to rest. Layton would make a strong leader of the opposition. I fear his party's platform were he ever, my some miracle, elected to the Prime Minister's office.

Voter turnout in the last election was a record low 58.8%. With no new themes to the party platforms, anger over a fourth election in seven years, it was thought that this years turnout would rival the low levels of 2008. But something happened. At first it was a backlash against the opposition parties for springing the election upon the Canadian population. Then it was the spike of interest following the leaders' debates and then the collapse of the BQ in the province of Quebec that matched the rise of the NDP in the polls.

We should start seeing the results in a little more than 45 minutes from now. Feel free to post your projections. Just click the blue Response button below.

9:00PM eastern and we are anticipating some change. One hour from now we should see the official results from elections Canada.

9:10PM Late polls are showing the most seats the Conservatives could expect are 157. In a perfect world we will get a Stephen Harper led majority government. Anything less than 155 and look for the opposition parties to back Jack Layton to lead the country.
Watching CTV news, I am thinking this will be Lloyd Robertson's final election night coverage. Or should be.

9:43PM Conservatives are leading or have been elected in 25 ridings. Liberals 21, NDP 15, BQ 0, Green 0, Other 0...

9:45PM CTV has declared a Conservative win. Not exactly a stretch.

9:48PM CON 48, NDP23, LIB 21, BQ 3

9:49PM Peter Mansbridge on CBC is making more sense than Lloyd Robertson.

9:53PM York Centre - Ken Dryden is trailing in the early polls. Mind you, only 3% have reported in.

9:56PM CON 95, NDP 42, LIB 33, BQ 3
Popular vote CON 37% NDP 29% LIB 28%

9:58PM Government House Leader John Baird re-elected in Ottawa-West Nepean.

10:03PM Conservatives 133, NDP 69, Liberals 27, BQ 4
Popular Vote percentage Conservatives 38.2 NDP: 29.8 Liberals 27.9 Other: 4.1

What is bigger news? That the NDP will become the official opposition for the first time and will win a record number of seats or that the Liberal party will finish in third place for the first time? Or the possibility of two party leaders losing their seats?

10:10PM CON 137, NDP 87, LIB 29, BQ 6
So far, no results from my riding. The BQ have been blocked.

10:12PM Looks like my projections are off. Like I started off saying, I usually finish in the top three. I never said that I win.

10:23PM. Both Ignatieff and Duceppe are getting trounced in their ridings. Harper and Layton are doing fine.

10:30PM Majority government? CON 150 NDP 105 LIB 32 BQ 3

10:39PM I declare a Majority Conservative government. Unless the results are different.

10:47 A friend of mine, let's call him Stimpy, just admitted to me that he moved to Gilles Duceppe's riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie with the intention of ousting him. Stimpy didn't do much except for sitting on his couch and drink beer, but it worked. It appears that Duceppe will lose his seat.

Harper and Layton have been re-elected.

Conservatives leading or elected in 165 seats, NDP in 103 seats, Liberals 32, BQ 4, Other 1.

11:03PM The latest results from across Canada, the Conservative party has won a majority, Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister of Canada. And results from Toronto, George St. Pierre is still Welterweight Champion.

11:08PM Con 169, NDP 104, LIB 32, BQ 2, GRN 1
Looks like Green Party leader Elizabeth May won her seat. I saw her deputy party leader and former NHL hockey player Georges Laracque on Saturday.

Some of the Montreal Island Liberal candidates are re-elected. Justin Trudeau, Marc Garneau, Denis Coderre, Irwin Cotler, Stephane Dion. Too bad for Conservative candidates Saulie Zajdel and Neil Drabkin, both are good guys and would have represented their ridings very well.

Does this mean Ignatieff is going back to the United States?

11:28PM Montreal results are not quite final... but it is official, Gilles Duceppe lost his seat. Too close to call, the BQ are in two very tight races and are leading or elected in three. In this case, two out of three is bad.