Tuesday, January 31, 2006
...will be playing over on the side bar for a couple days. Yeah, I know how annoying embedded sounds are. You're welcome. I'll nuke it soon enough.
posted by Mentok @ 4:40 PM, ,
Dallas (FN) - 7-Eleven Stores, the self-described "pioneers and undisputed leaders" in convenience retailing made a dramatic move today to adopt a radically different business model.
"We were among the first to introduce the convenience store concept in 1927, but now the market is flooded. In an era of 24-hour grocery stores and pharmacies that sell everything from soup to nuts, we have had to question whether there is still a place for us in the convenience market," said Dale Johnson, public affairs spokesman for 7-Eleven.
The international franchise will instead move towards a model based on inconvenience.
"You hear a lot of people say that things are moving too fast these days. The inconvenience model will give people an opportunity to slow things down and really think about their shopping experience with us," Johnson said.
Among the innovations included in the inconvenience model:
- Fountain drinks will now be served in ridiculously large sizes that don't fit in standard automobile drink holders
- The minimum size of bottled soft drinks will be increased to one litre
- In-store microwave ovens will be pre-set at outrageously high levels so as to almost instantly incinerate any food item
- A new "tight pack" system will be introduced for the potato chip section in order to "increase the per-bag chip count"
- Cash registers will carry so little money that it will be difficult for cashiers to give change for anything higher than a $10 bill. "We've heard that some people are afraid of change, so why would we want something in our stores that will scare customers?" Johnson said
- A new human resources policy will require all franchisees to hire only high-school drop-outs who can't do math or old people easily confused by electronic cash registers
Johnson noted that the franchise has been experimenting with these systems for many years with no apparent negative effects on sales.
"It may take people awhile to get used to the new system, but we are confident that they will see that, in this world of convenience of ours, there is something they've been missing, and that thing is inconvenience."
posted by Mentok @ 11:31 AM, ,
Monday, January 30, 2006
A quick note to alert my loyal readers about two new blogs that will change your life and forever alter the destiny of the human race:
- Mentok Movies - My new animated movies blog, as promised
- What's His Blog - A blog by my son, l'il Mentok Jr., age 11. They grow up so fast, sniff :-(
posted by Mentok @ 8:42 PM, ,
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Rome (FN) - Yoda, Gollum and Pope Benedict XVI have teamed up to form a new kids' safety message charity.
The three celebrities announced today the formation of The Terrific Trio, a charitable organization that will conduct a world-wide tour aimed at delivering a series of positive message to school-aged children.
Jointly, the three will deliver a message about feeling good about yourself. Each celebrity will also deliver their own special message.
Master Yoda will focus on kids' literacy.
"Good grammer have one must," said the 900-year-old Jedi.
Gollum will deliver a hard-hitting, 'scared straight' style lecture on the dangers of addiction.
"Staying clean is the most pree-cii-oouusss thing of all," said the creepy ex-hobbit.
The Pope is rehearsing a rap music routine on the topic of abstinence before marriage.
"Love is fine when it's blessed by the Divine," chanted the pontiff.
Performing rap music is a dramatic departure for Benedict XVI, whose previous musical ventures included touring with a Catholic doo-wop group who performed a cover of "You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful and You're Mine."
At the media launch in Rome, the trio joked that the idea for the charity developed when the three celebrities, who are frequently confused for one another, started receiving each other's fan mail by mistake.
posted by Mentok @ 10:37 AM, ,
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Toronto (FN) - First the FBI, then the CIA and now FAB magazine has put Al Quaida leader Osama Bin Laden at the top of their 'Most Wanted' list.
The Toronto-based gay and lesbian lifestyle magazine gave the terrorist leader top honours in their annual readers survey of hottest celebrities world-wide.
"On the one hand, he's got that very butch beard. On the other hand, he's got those dreamy eyes and those flowing Princess Leia-style robes. So he has both a masculine and a feminine appeal. Add to that his fit physique and you can easily see why our readers picked him," said FAB editor Guy Landsing.
Spokesmen for Bin Laden said the terror leader was humbled by the honour, especially after having been recently rebuffed by handlers for singing sensation Hillary Duff, who refused to allow Bin Laden to open for Duff's 'Most Wanted' tour.
posted by Mentok @ 1:00 PM, ,
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Regular reader Ash Chairiet once called her new digital camera her "digital Lolita". In keeping with the Monkey Principle, I now have a new geek monkey.
No doubt you've been wondering why I haven't been posting as much. Part of it is that January is a gloomy month in Canada, so I just haven't felt like it. A big part is that my freelance communications work includes political clients and it's election time in Canada, so it's been a busy harvest season for me.
But there's a third reason: I have a new obsession that's been consuming my free time.
Machinima. Short for machine animation. Simplified, user-friendly, almost dummy proof computer animation programs that allow anyone to be a film maker.
The big commercial product out right now is a game from Activision called The Movies. As games go, it's boring. It's one of those very tired old sim type games. In this case, the premise of the sim is that you are running your own movie studio, hiring stars, building sets, etc.
The cool part is a little utility called Advanced Movie Making that is slipped under the surface of the game. It allows you to access hundreds of stock scenes (two people talking; people walking down a corridor; two people in a fist-fight, etc. etc.), piece them together into a plot and then put in your own (custom-sculpted) actors, backdrops and props. You can even voiceover your own dialogue.
If you're the kind of person who enjoys the self-expressive empowerment of blogging, you will love machinma.
The Movies is not the last word in machinima. It has many design flaws, not least of which is that it's buried underneath a bad game. But it's a start.
Soon, I will get back to the comedy blogging, but probably only two or three times a week. Eventually, I'll start a new blog to share my machinma productions.
I've already made four shorts (each approx 3 minutes in length):
- A Room Full of Angels - my first crude experiment, the "plot" involves a comedic romantic triangle among a giant chicken, a robot and a space vixen.
- Loveblind - an Elvis-style romantic comedy set in Hawaii, involving a huge catfight between two girls competing for the attentions of a hip dude named Mentok
- The Pirates of Nebulon - a '50s style sci-fi short in which a weird alien besieges an Earth ship that is commanded by a dude named Mentok and run by a crew of original-series Star Trek style mini-skirted space soldiers
- Stinky - a Russ Meyer style '60s comedy in which a whacky bon vivant chases girls at a crazy party (this time not involving a dude named Mentok. I only cast my Mentok actor as the male romantic lead in features in which I cast Mrs. Mentok as the female romantic lead, which is not the case here)
See? Doesn't that sound like fun. So keep checking back and await word on my soon-to-be-launched machinama site.
posted by Mentok @ 8:57 AM, ,
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Some of you might remember my Great Canadian Insult contest. With your indulgence, we're going to do another naming contest.
Esmikos, as linguists like to tell us, have over 100 words for snow. The point of this sophomoric piece of wisdom is that languages evolve to describe the environments in which people find themselves.
Unfortunately, modern TV/internet society seems to find little reason to find new names for anything except different types of websites. This is a shame, because English is poor in words to describe the life experiences of northerners (not just Canucks, but also northern Americans - hi Yak, hi sabatkes).
Take today in my town, for example. It's been unseasonably warm the last few days, so the snow on the ground had that crunchy texture when it's been thawing and freezing repeatedly. Then we got (shudder) freezing rain, so the snow got that hazardous shiny candy-glaze quality. Then, at night fall, the temperature plummetted to minus 10 celcius, so the rain turned into those really sharp-edged, crystalline snow-flakes.
Whaddaya call all those things? OK, 100 words is probably way too many, but there have to be at least a couple dozen environmental experiences of northerners that we can't adequately describe.
In my life, I've heard exactly three alternate words for snow:
- Powder - the skiing term for the light, moist type of snow that typically occurs around -5 degrees celcius.
- Slush - mixture of semi-melted snow and ice mixed with dirt on heavily travelled roads.
- Snard - little-used term to describe the lumps of snow, dirt and ice that accumulate under tire wells on cars.
So my challenge to you readers is to identify a category of snow or snow-ice and then come up with your own colourful term. Let me start you off:
- Crunch- the above-described long-standing ground snow that has melted and frozen repeatedly
- KnifeIce - sharp, crystalline minus-10-celcius-type falling snow
I look forward to your creative responses.
posted by Mentok @ 10:13 PM, ,
Friday, January 13, 2006
Under the category of "truth stranger than fiction..."
The principal at my kids' school is a woman who can only be described as the female version of Seymour Skinner.
She's had many whacky, anti-fun initiatives over the years, including a (failed) attempt to level a toboganning hill as a safety hazard.
Her latest campaign is against Krazy Karpets, the ubiquitous mini-tobogans loved by Canadian children everywhere.
It seems our principal doesn't approve of the name. Therefore and henceforth, during school hours all neighbourhood children are required to refer to the plastic sheets as....
I kid you not. No, I'm not making this up.
It is difficult to fathom the kind of anti-fun brain that would come up with something like that.
posted by Mentok @ 9:58 AM, ,
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I've been cleaning out my basement lately (hence the prolonged absence). In the course of sifting through old memento boxes, I've come across some old news gags.
In the early '90's (before the internet, you know), I had a job in the research department of a political office. One of my tasks was to help maintain the old-fashioned physical newspaper clippings files. To break the tedium of this job, I stayed on the look-out for funny-looking pictures, to which I would then add my own captions for the amusement of my co-workers.
So here you go. I think the humour of these pieces is timeless enough that they shouldn't need much explanation:
posted by Mentok @ 2:42 PM, ,
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
"This bill is designed to fill an important void in women's health protection," said Wasylycia-Leis.
It is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 Canadian women have breast implants...
Breast implantation is used in cosmetic or reconstructive surgery and is considered elective. It is generally performed in private health clinics outside of the monitoring capacity of the public health system.
"This bill would set up a registry [so] that ...women can be alerted quickly to any health threats that develop. This is a public health issue and a federal government responsibility."
Yeah, that's right. We want to know where all the big-breasted women are so, uh, we can warn them, yeah, warn them about all the serious "health risks". For example, did you know that improper massaging of breasts can lead to health problems. Here, let me show you the correct way ...;-)
posted by Mentok @ 12:10 PM, ,
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Halifax (FN) - Conservative leader Stephen Harper continued his charm campaign with voters with the official launch of the party's 'Stand Up For Canada' slogan in Halifax today.
Speaking in front of an old brick factory, Harper sought to soften his image while also delivering a strong message about accountability issues and Liberal corruption.
"Hey, you're a great looking audience. I just flew in from Vancouver and boy are my arms tired. Have you ever noticed how the Liberals are always stealing our money and getting away with it? What's up with that? Did you hear the one about the honest Liberal? He died of lonlieness! But seriously, I love to kid the Liberals, but really I think the Liberals are a great party....for me to poop on!" Harper said during a 30 minute monologue.
The Tory leader's Stand Up For Canada tour continues on January 6-7 at Just For Laughs in Montreal, January 9-15 and January 20-23 at Second City in Toronto and January 16-19 at Yuk Yuk's in Winnipeg.
posted by Mentok @ 10:25 PM, ,
Monday, January 02, 2006
Toronto (FN) - Canada's approach to guns and gun violence probably lessened the loss of life during the Boxing Day shooting spree in downtown Toronto, says one leading criminologist.
"If this had happened in the United States or, God help us, Germany, I think the evidence is clear that the bloodshed would have been much worse," says Dr. Galen Thistle, Ph.D., professor of criminal psychology at Concordia University.
Thistle pointed to an exchange from the incident caught on home video to prove his point.
Victim: "I'm sorry. I seem to have run into one of your bullets."
Shooter: "Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing. I was aiming for one of my old gang chums across the way. Could I offer you a tissue?"
Victim: "On no, please, don't trouble yourself. Would you happen to have a knife or some sort of a shiv on you? I'd like to dig this bullet out of my shoulder so I can give it back to you."
Shooter: "Oh, heavens, that's really not necessary. Really, I've got other bullets. Please, you keep it. It's the least I can do."
This Alphonse and Gaston routine continued for a further 15 minutes, saving untold lives, says Thistle.
Others disagree and suggest that the uniquely Canadian approach of elevating post-Christmas shopping into a civic holiday probably worsened the violence.
"Forget about gang violence. If Best Buy has big screens on for $500 and some cracker butts in front of me, you're damn right I'm gonna bust a cap in him and I don't care how many gun laws there are," says Father James O'Malley of Toronto's Blessed Virgin Catholic Church.
posted by Mentok @ 5:56 PM, ,