Thursday, September 28, 2006
Finally caught up with Gilmore Girls last night. They've changed writers this season and managed to wreck every character...except, thank goodness, Paris.
In this episode, Paris opens an SAT prep tutoring business. Her "interviews" with her clients involve lengthy harangues against the student's inadequacies. Finally, she delivers what is, for my money, the ultimate expression of mentorship:
Your daughter has a C average. That means she's either lazy or stupid. I can work with either. Frankly, sometimes stupid is easier. I can scare the stupid out of you, but the lazy runs deep.
Sometimes I have to remind myself she's only a fictional character to avoid becoming too enamoured with her.
The Smallville premiere was a let down. All the female characters were unconscious, hiding under desks or wearing burkas (I kid you not). Apparently, they decided to go in the opposite direction of last season. Aside from that, there's no dramatic tension in that show. "Oh no, it looks like Clark Kent is about to be killed." Uh, yeah, right.
Well, there's still Battlestar Galactica left to go.
Oh, and Lost. I think I forgot to mention that last time.
The new TV season, what a magic time. As the natural world slowly dies, the virtual world springs to life. Really, we need a new holiday and some new rituals to go along with this time of year. ..like Thanksgiving or Easter, only all about TV.
If I were to design a new holiday, I would of course begin with the rituals of Fesitvus. Where to go from there? Any thoughts?
posted by Mentok @ 11:00 PM, ,
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I missed the season premiere of the Gilmore Girls last night. I'm beside myself with anguish. I love that show. I've been hooked on it since the second season.
I know. It's a girly show. It couldn't get more girly if it tried. The men on the show are universally caricatures.
But for some reason I can't help watching it. I think more than anything it's one of the secondary characters, Paris (Liza Weil) who keeps me coming back. Her psycho-bitch, trainwreck-waiting-to- happen schtick is too funny to miss.
Still and all, I worry about myself when I watch the show. I can almost feel the testosterone draining out of my body. It can't be healthy. And there usually isn't a football game on soon enough after Gilmore Girls to counteract the cooties.
So maybe it's a good thing I missed the premiere.
In another month, the new season of Battlestar Galactica starts. That'll keep the cooties out. There's not an ounce of softness or sentimentality in that show.
The of course there's Smallville (as long as Tom Welling doesn't fall to the Superman curse.) The show seems to be trying to push the envelope on what they can do sexually. Last season they had Lois Lane (Erica Durance) in a bikini, a strippers outfit and wrapped in various towels. Most bizarrely, they had her visiting a breast-enlargement clinic. (!?!) They had Welling, as Clark Kent, making out with various chicks clad in foxy lingerie (Kent in those cases was of course under the influence of red kryptonite, hypnosis or some sort of mind control). So I wonder how they're going to top that this year without running afoul of censors.
That's my TV season. I try to keep a pretty limited roster of shows. How's about you folks? What are you into this season?
posted by Mentok @ 3:11 PM, ,
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I was thinking about one of my favourite subjects, bananas. I go crazy for banana bread and banana-based smoothies - don't get me started.
The thing about bananas that fascinates me is the origin of them. They are yet another of those great examples (along with Christopher Columbus's voyage of discovery) of humans doing profoundly stupid things which, through sheer dumb fluke luck, turn out great.
The natural banana is inedible because it's totally full of seeds. About 10,000 years ago, primitive humans used basic cross-breeding techniques to engineer an edible, seedless banana.
Why? What would motivate them to do that? It must have taken generations. Why would they have wasted their time fiddling with an inedible fruit when there were plenty of edible ones to grow? How did generations of prehistoric farmers convince their tribes that this was a worthwhile use of their time?
It boggles the mind.
posted by Mentok @ 4:12 PM, ,
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thanks to Bathroom Hippo for fixing some technical problems with the sites. If you use Explorer as your browser, you probably would have seen a blank screen here until yesterday. Believe it or not, I've been posting regularly in most of the sub-pages for the past week, but that damn Bill Gates was suppressing it. Hippo as always was a true blogger pal and johny-on-the-spot in getting the problem fixed.
If you had this problem, may I suggest you take a few minutes to catch up on the past week's posts and then go and install Firefox to avoid such problems with other websites.
posted by Mentok @ 1:40 PM, ,
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I'm getting some minor foundation work done to my house. This is quite common where I live. In this city, talking about foundation repair is like talking about the weather.
The reason is that this city is built on a swamp. Literally. Yeah, just like that swamp king guy in Monty Python. Let me tell you the story, because it's a wonderful funny story of human hubris:
Founded over a century ago, the city was intended to be the new territorial (and later provincial) capital. It is not a natural city; no previous settlement existed, it was not the centre of any established trade routes and it was not near any significant body of water.
Three other sites were considered for the capital. All were situated in rolling valleys on the shores of some of the most gorgeous lake country in Western Canada. Everyone assumed the capital would go to one of these three spots, so speculators got busy driving up the prices of the land in these areas.
On the premise of saving the taxpayers money, the territorial governor at the time decided to go with a totally different location. Oh, and by the way, he personally owned most of the land in that area and had got it cheap. Oh, and by the way, it was a swamp...which presumably is why he got the land cheap.
So the territorial governor made a fortune, the dozens of other land speculators lost their shirts, and generations of city residents since have wasted their savings trying to keep homes afloat on top of a swamp...not to mention the billions of civic funds spent on heaving roads, ruptured water mains, water treatment (to make the swamp water drinkable, you know), pest control (swamps attract mosquitoes, you know) and a host of other problems.
You might think this is a story about some no-brain corrupt politician making a decision on the basis of expediency without proper advice. But guess what this governor did for a living before he got into politics: He was an engineer. He would have known how technically impractical it was to try to build any sort of permanent structure in this area, much less a whole city.
There is a street named after that territorial governor, but it is an ugly, run-down old street full of crime, drugs and poverty. A fitting tribute to the old bastard, don't you think?
The governor himself pissed away all his money and alienated all his political contacts. He died friendless, childless and poor. (If he hadn't, I would be thinking about suing his heirs for my foundation repairs.)
The saggy, smelly city he founded hasn't fared much better. Ever since its inception, this town has had a culture of government interference and corruption.
Funny, isn't it, how hard it is to outrun one's foundations.
p.s. I exaggerate. This town isn't so bad. With a lot of expense and some serious feats of engineering, they've actually managed to make parts of it quite nice.
posted by Mentok @ 9:56 AM, ,
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
OK, this is never going to be a music blog. My sense of musical taste, once quite refined, has been on hiatus since 1989, swallowed whole along with fiction-reading by the insatiable maw of my former career. These days, I must rely on music bloggers like FiL, Rachel and the recently metaphorically-deceased Colin to tell me what to listen to.
But today is a special occasion. Today jazz crooner Dianna Krall and husband Elvis Costello announced they are expecting twins.
To Krall, congratulations on being such a shining example of Canadian motherhood.
And to Costello, me old mate, the man who kept me sane through my dreary, small-town adolescence ... congratulations on finally having sex with a woman, buddy. I always knew you could do it.
In honour of the happy couple, I would like to offer the following selections, a little story-in-song, un petit opera if you will. Enjoy!
Diana Krall - The Look of Love
Elvis Costello - Pump It Up
Elvis Costello - Accidents Will Happen
Diana Krall - Baby Baby All the Time
posted by Mentok @ 4:33 PM, ,
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Fresh stuff this weekend in Movie Reviews, wherein I review Rent (on video) and Opinions, where I discuss the emerging notion of teal conservatives.
On Sunday, appropriately enough, I spent an hour on a rant against C.S. Lewis in Attempts at Profundity.
While I have you here, does anyone have any clever recipes for using up mass quantities of jalapeno peppers or tomatoes? It's harvest season, you know.
This page will update as I add stuff this weekend.
posted by Mentok @ 9:27 AM, ,
Friday, September 15, 2006
Well, we got a nice burst of traffic on opening day but there are still a bunch of old friends and readers who have yet to check out the new design.
For my part, I'm totally loving the new design. There is so much more to write about now.
All the categories still have their opening-day content. There's also fresh content in Movie Reviews (a review of Little Miss Sunshine) and Opinions (my take on the politics of V for Vendetta).
It's all about the love, folks. Take, read, for this is my blog.
posted by Mentok @ 12:06 PM, ,
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Welcome to the new Mentok the Mindtaker!
I would like to thank all my readers for hanging in there while I got this done. I would especially like to thank my long-time readers for their loyalty and indulgence.
As you can see, I've made a few changes. What was once one blog is now six. The fake news thing is no longer the focus, although its still here. Here's how the line-up works:
Home Base - this is the mentokthemindtaker.blogspot.com address which, presumably, you have bookmarked. It now becomes a portal to the other sites and a place for me to write any unsorted odd notions that pop into my head.
Fake News and Such - just like it sounds, this is the same content you used to find here, except that I will only be posting it when something really funny occurs to me. This is also where the archives and links from the old site will reside.
Movie Reviews - those of you who know me in person know I'm a big movie buff. Have you ever looked through the movie listings and thought "I wonder what Mentok thinks of this movie?" Well, now you'll know.
My Movies - my repository for mini-cartoons I create on The Movies software. This won't be updated often, but I'll let you know here when I do.
Opinions - mostly political, some social commentary, some 'did you ever notice?' humour. For no particular reason, this section will be done under another guise - Propaganda Ghandi. That's still not really me but it's closer to the real me.
Attempts at Profundity - a section for spiritual, religious, philosophical type commentary. Those who know me know that, when the conversation turns religious, I practise what I like to call 'guerrilla spirituality'. In your face, asking tough questions, frequently crossing over the line of good taste and proper manners. This section won't be for everybody, but if you enjoy getting into heated, red-in-the-face arguments over these topics, then this is the place for you. This section also brought to you by Propaganda Ghandi.
I beg your patience with the links area. I would like to make the links themed to fit the page, but I haven't quite figured out what I want to do yet. Fear not, if you're a friend or regular reader you will get linked here by and by.
So, there you have it. All of this I do for you, my dear readers, because you are worth it. I await your verdict.
posted by Mentok @ 5:29 PM, ,
Monday, September 11, 2006
No, I'm not dead. This is my busy time at work but I'm also busy with the redesign. Wait 'til you see it! Any day now...
posted by Mentok @ 10:00 AM, ,
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Wow. A year of blogging. Hard to believe. Time seems wonky within the blogosphere, so it actually seems much longer.
(...and the Archives might give you that impression as well, but anything before in the Archives before September 2, 2005 is just an artifically created holding-tank area.)
Many bloggers take the opportunity of their anniversary to quit. I can certainly understand that impulse, especially for comedy blogs. Comedy is a cruel mistress. I won't keep you in suspense: I'm definitely not quitting. But, over the next week, I will be making major changes.
Bluntly, I think I've run out the rope on the fake news theme. The ideas are getting fewer and farther between, as are reader comments. The format has become so repetitive that I can no longer even make myself or Mrs. Mentok laugh regularly.
I notice that my fake-news colleague jamwall likewise has only been doing this style of comedy for about a year, so maybe that's about the time limit for any particular theme.
On top of all that, I'm finding the fake-news theme constricting. I've often wanted to blog about others sorts of things - political and social commentary, observations of life, etc. - but couldn't because of the theme.
So, what you will see over the coming weeks is a new multi-dimensional Mentok. I will be using that tabbed format you may have seen elsewhere. The fake news and other comedy will still be here under its own tab and occasionally updated whenever I think of something really funny. There will also be tabs for politics, religion and every other offensive topic. ;-)
Before I get started on all that, please indulge me in a big round of shout-outs to a few of the people who have been important to the Mentok the Mindtaker blog so far:
The Night - a solid pal in real life, he recognized that my opinionated, idea-guy nature was perfectly suited to this medium. He pestered me relentlessly until I started a blog. And now he's gone and stopped blogging himself, the hypocritical bastid!
Irish Eyes - Night's brother who was the first to link to this site. His blog was quite active and well-read at that time, so his link alone helped me almost instantly build a Canada-wide audience. As always, Irish Eyes, I am unworthy of your kindness.
Ash Chairiet - Crazy, charming, frustrating and totally addicting - those are just a few of the words that spring to mind about this inimitable blog junkie. She was my first American reader and her harem of readers has been one of my major sources of new blog contacts. Here's looking at you, kid.
Bathroom Hippo - a solid guy and a creative, quirky blogger. For all of his silly exterior, Hippo exemplifies the qualities of loyalty that I value highly in humans. Thanks for being a friend, Hip.
Mrs. Mentok - in the beginning, she wasn't always supportive of every aspect of my online life, but she came around...in a big way. Now she's a bigger blog addict than I am. Keep up the good work, honey.
Sabatkes - a real sweetheart, a colourful personality and a loyal blog fan. Thanks for sticking with me this long, babe.
Daibh - to be sure, Daibh is a first-rate prick. I know he thinks the same of me, but he's wrong and I'm right. But he was also once a prolific, multi-talented and thoroughly readable blogger. Before our falling out, I was a big fan of his. He's so stuck-up that it would probably annoy him to no end if I linked to his secret beta blog, so as a last sign of respect-between-enemies I'll refrain.
Jamwall - I nearly gave up on the fake news business months ago but jamwall supplied a source of inspiration and friendly competition. I've learned a lot about comedy and photoshopping by studying his technique. Rock on, brother.
FiL - although I've only known him a short time, I find his music blog a tremendous font of serenity and gentle, charming humour. His contacts with the music blogging community has led me to a whole new community that I'm enjoying getting to know.
To all my other readers - old buddy Dan Cheung, the Newfoundland guys, the people from Ontario who never left messages, anonymous readers in political offices across the country and the many thousands who (according to my statcounter) Googled "Jenna Jameson" or "porn" but accidentally ended up here - thanks so much for taking the time. I have sincerely appreciated each and every one of your visits.
So, have a good long weekend everybody. I'll see you back here soon with the new, improved Mentok.
posted by Mentok @ 1:52 PM, ,
Calgary, AB (FN) - Charges were laid today in a Calgary court in a bizarre incident that served to underline the problems of Alberta's overheated economy.
Guy McCadoo, owner of a chain of Smitty's Restaurant franchises and Barry LaRue, McCadoo's partner in a number of nightclub and brewpub operations, faced charges of fraud and unlawful misrepresentation in their efforts to bring residents of Cape Breton to work in Alberta.
The oil-rich Canadian province is in the grips of an acute labour shortage that has seen wages sky-rocket and has led employers to go on mass recruitment drives overseas and in economically-depressed areas of Canada. Chief among recruitment target areas is Cape Breton, an Atlantic region that suffers from high unemployment and is known primarily for fiddle music, inbreeding and the hit TV series Trailer Park Boys.
McCadoo and LaRue are alleged to have brought hapless Cape Breton men to work in their restaurants by deceiving them into thinking they were going to work in the sex trade.
"I answered an ad that said 'Service rich older women in Canada's boomtown'. I had visions of being sent to a cheap brothel where I would be given room and board and have sex with women 10 times a day. Maybe they would even give me a few dollars of walking around money. Instead, I ended up waiting tables at Smitty's for $4,000 a month plus tips. It was humiliating," said former Sydney resident Archie McCauley.
Social workers say that many Cape Bretoners lured into the Calgary restaurant trade find it nearly impossible to get out on their own.
"These so-called 'employers' keep control of them by making their victims dependent on monthly paycheques. Not only do these cheques become addictive but they also leave the Cape Bretoners ineligible for government support and welfare benefits, making it all but impossible for them to return to a normal life back home," says Elizabeth Barlow, a social rescue worker in Calgary's uptown core.
For many Cape Bretoners, shame keeps them from attempting escape and returning home.
"No one in my family has had a paying job for three generations. How can I go home now and face my family after I've had someone pay me to do something? I'm damaged goods," says McCauley.
posted by Mentok @ 1:49 PM, ,
Miami, FL (FN) - Fears of another intense hurricane season were relieved today when Ernesto was declared a tropical depression.
The announcement, surprisingly, did not go over well with some meteorologists.
"Oh, man, this sucks. You have to understand that studying hurricanes is my life. This is just the worst thing that could happen. I just can't deal with this right now," said Ben Proskow, a forecaster with the Florida State University meteorological studies department.
The tropical depression is also reported to be causing both residents and tourists throughout the Caribbean to experiment with drugs and drink large quantities of alcohol.
posted by Mentok @ 11:23 AM, ,