Isis Oh Isis, You Mystical Terrorist

Bush Government Vows To Hunt Down Katrinal-Quieda Leader Known as “God”

With a handful of papers and documents under his arm that he claims show undisputed evidence of the connection between the devastation caused by the recent hurricane attack and a new Al Quieda off-shoot terrorist cell known as Katrinal-Quieda , White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan today vowed, on behalf of “the good and suffering people of America, and all the free world nations that are free and suffering along with us in our time of need and suffering and freedom”, to use all available military and intelligence resources to “hunt down and capture and kill the leader and all high-level members of the terrorist group, conveniently named and pictured here in this newest package of Terrorist Bubble-Gum Trading Cards” ™.

When asked by a reporter for the names of the terrorists in question, McClellan said “Well, we know they were in allegiance with Saddam Hussein, and right now we are concentrating on extrapolating that information from Saddam.  So far, we have four names.  First and foremost on the list, at the top of the list, is the terrorist known as God.  He has a number of aliases, of course, but here in America, he’s known as God.”

Research indicates that God has been suspected in many previous natural disaster attacks all over the world, including a massive world-wide flooding that devastated all of civilization except for one family and a menagerie of animals, led by a man who called himself Noah.

McClellan went on to warn that if any so-called Americans knew of God by any of his other aliases, such as Vishnu or Allah, they “could well expect to be visited for questioning and possible detention”.

Other terrorists that McClellan mentioned in today’s press conference that “America is dutifully and single-mindedly searching for… well, single-mindedly except for, oh, what’s his name?  That other guy we’re supposed to be hunting, the one that claimed to be responsible for Saddam Hussein’s attacks on the World Trade Centres and Philadelphia?  What is it, I’m serious.  I honestly cannot think of his name now… Pretty sure it had, like, three names in it, kinda like Tiffany Amberson Thiessen.  It’s right there, on the tip of my tongue… Starts with ‘K’?…  I wanna say Kevin Bacon, but I know that’s not right… Osama!!!  Osama Bin Laden!!!  That’s it!!  It’s been so long since he’s even been mentioned anywhere, that I’ve almost completely forgotten his name.  And that’s funny, because he’s like a pretty serious dude we should be getting, right?  I mean, not as serious as Saddam Hussein, but still, not one to forget the name of.  Sorry ‘bout that,” are “an Iraqi named Poseidon, who we believe may have been responsible for the rising of the waters, and Thor, who most likely had something to do with the dramatic increase in wind.  The fourth of the terrorists we have a handle on is Isis. To be honest, we’re not really sure if Isis was involved, or really, what Isis would have done to assist in the devastation.  There are solid facts that indicate that Isis may have caused a snake to come out of the dust.  Possibly a snake full of weapons of mass destruction.”

At this point, Press Secretary McClellan allowed only one more question from the press corp, then drew two eyes and a nose on the side of his fist and began moving his thumb as if it were a lower lip, and asked himself, “Mr. McClellan, how serious is President Bush taking this latest attack against freedom, and how serious is he upset about the loss of life thus far?”, to which he replied “Well, President Bush is totally serious in his devotion to go after these guys in his total pursuit to save freedom, and is also seriously upset about the loss of life this far.”

The Agency for Homeland Security asks that anyone who may see God, or the other suspected Katrinal-Quieda terrorists, or anyone who looks suspicious or foreign, to immediately shoot them and then phone for cartage pickup.

The Greater Wow

Answer me this:
Would a person from, say, the year 1749 be more impressed with today’s indoor plumbling-slash-toilet, or more impressed with the toilet paper on a roll?

Now, on first flush, one might think that the toilet would make a greater impression, but when you think about it, you might be inclined to say the toilet paper would make more of an impact.


Three-Fifths of a Fist of Chicken

Remember the good old days, when I’d update this site fairly regularly, with sometime entertaining (at least attempted), sometime inane postings about Nothing In Particular?
Then I kind of fell off the Blog Bandwagon.  I began to have trouble justifying to myself the bother of writing my stupid little bits of uselessness, and my number and regularity of posts dropped dramatically.
But, now, though, I feel I must return a bit to the old days and report on the saga of the chicken fingers.

It had been quite a while since I went back for chicken fingers to that place where the guy treated me well (or did he?  perhaps he treated everyone equally well…) by giving me 5 big fingers of chicken and copious amounts of fries.  Why did I stop going?  Well, I got tired, for one, of eating chicken fingers once a week, and for two, sometimes I went and they didn’t have chicken fingers.  That was enough to keep me away for a month or two.
Yesterday, I went back, and the Generous Guy was nowhere to be seen (in fact, I noticed as I’d walk by that he’s been there less and less lately, usually replaced by a early-20’s girl). Now, there was an older woman who waited on me and an older guy who was kind of hovering.  It had a real feel of New Management.
How would that affect my chicken finger supply?  Well, as the title of this post suggests, I got three fingers only.  And not big fingers like Generous Guy used to give me.  Three piddly little chicken fingers (but still a large amount of fries).  I almost complained about how I used to get 5 fingers, but I didn’t bother.  I didn’t like the vibe of the new people and the chicken fingers’n’fries thing had been not doing if for me lately, so instead of complaining, I figure I’ll just not go back much, if at all.
While I was there, an old guy ordered after me.  He was probably in his 80s and walked around with one of those four-footed canes. I liked him right away, because he was on the ball.  Whenever I see older people like him at fast food places or take-outs, they often seem distressed trying to figure out the food and ordering, etc.  Not this guy, though, he was totally in command of his faculties and very fast-food savvy.  His order was ready before mine (as it took a while for the fingers to cook) and I saw he would have difficulty with carrying his tray, plus the package he had, plus the cane, so I offered to help him by taking his tray to a table.  He was thankful and I felt good.
When I got back to the counter, my food was ready.  I noticed that the fries were covering the fingers, and I assumed that they did that to hide the lame number of fingers they had given me.

Anyway, this may be the final entry in the saga of the chicken fingers.

Canada Rocks! A First Act Review

So, I had just spent about an hour writing a long detailed review of Canada Rocks, the new Confederation Centre musical.  I went into detail about those things that I liked (not a lot of things, to be honest) and those things that I didn’t like (the majority of the length of the post).  Just as I was finishing up, a brief power outage caused me to lose it all.  With it was lost my desire to review it again.
But review it I must!

What I liked:
– I thought the band was fantastic.  A really sharp, great, tight band.
– I thought most of the songs were performed really well.  Most of the singers have great voices and overall, they did a great job of singing the songs in the style of the artists who originally performed them.

What I didn’t like:
– The show was waaaaay too long, with waaaay too many songs included.  So long that I couldn’t bear to stay for the second act.  Yes, I left at intermission.  Admittedly, the show I saw was the very first preview performance (a glorified dress rehearsal, I suppose) and I understand that since that performance, the show was scissored and cut to a more managable length.
– The real reason I left, though, wasn’t because of the length, but because of the stuff that took place between the far-too-many songs.  The dialogue and story (hard to call it a story, with plot and all) was terrible and pointless.  It was about some fakey-fake Old Canadian Rocker taking the train across Canada.  He meets up with vain, young Canadian Icon (get it?) starlet who declares all those old Canadian Rock Songs to be Ancient History!  Old Rocker says "Oh Yeah?  Listen to this:  Sooooooo  oooooooo    ooooooo     ooooooooo maaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaa  aaaaaaa!".  They then travel across country in an uninspired, unappealing  travel-rock-ulogue that highlights All The Great Canadian Songs, Old And New!  Along the way, there’s an Entertainment Reporter who checks in with them to see how things are progressing.
-Reporter uses a potentially cool gimmick:  a live video feed, projected onto the two video screens that adorn the wings of the stage.  The coolness of this gimmick, though, was quickly diminished as it became evident that the camera operator wasn’t a cinematographer in any respect.  Most of the live shots were nothing more than unfocused shots of actors asses and the floor and the wings.  When there wasn’t live video, the screens on the side displayed various boring photos and uninteresting stills representing the artists whose songs the performers were singing.  It was very Canada Post Vignettes/Hinterland Who’s Who in that respect.  Very dry and uninspired use of the video elements.
-The set itself was also dry and uninspired.  A too-large platform upstage for the band to play on, a couple of flats that had some colour designs on them, and the absolute puzzle of the set:  a couple of dozen hanging hubcaps.  What?  Why?  Are they supposed to represent travel, like the travelling across the country by train?  Okay, but hubcaps are on cars, you know, not trains.  But, whatever.  Boo on that set design.
-Remember I mentioned how I didn’t like the dialogue between songs?  Here’s why.  First, it was that crappy type of sing-songy, rhyming couplet type shit of dialogue:

And now the train sets down the tracks
Our Rocker’s finished with Halifax
The East is more than bodhrans and fiddles
And more to eat than chowder and viddles
As now where will our next stop be?
The great Rock Town of Shubenacadie.

Just terrible.  (that of course, wasn’t real dialogue from the show, but I think it’s accurate in a satirical way)  I really felt bad for the actors for having to say it.  Secondly, the dialogue was awful because it was irrelevant and pointless.  Because the ‘story’ had no gravitas or import, the dialogue for it was also worthless and unimportant to us, the audience.
– I thought the dancers were wasted.  When I go to see a musical (I guess this is more a Musical Revue, though?) I expect to see a bit of dance.  I’m not a big fan of dance, but I do enjoy it every so often.  I believe when I allow myself to enjoy it, I can usually ‘get it’.   Not so with Canada Rocks, though.  The real problem with it (from my admittedly neophyte perspective) was that there didn’t seem to be any direction in the choreography.  People were dancing whatever moves they wanted, it seemed, whenever they wanted.  I can’t believe I’m about to type this but:  Would it have killed you to include even one artsy-fartsy interpretive dance for even one of the songs?
– That leads me to another fairly big complaint I had:  I was really bugged by the lacksadaisacal way in which the actors seemed to wander around the stage, onto the stage, off the stage, at apparently random on bizarre times.  This applied to bit actors/dancers right up to the main players of the show.  Someone would be singing a song, more or less alone on stage and various people would kind of wander out, kind of listen for a moment or two, then wander off, or across the stage…??  What? The?  Hell? Was? That?  Oftentimes, when people were on stage for any period of time, (to ‘dig’ the music, I assume, like fans or groupies) they’d eventually end up looking like they were bored.  Groups of three or four people, sitting on the stage, or leaning against the band’s platform, looking like they’re not paying attention to what’s going on.  Was that just me projecting my disinterest onto them?  Who knows, but they often looked bored.  Too many people needlessly on stage doing nothing really, just being there.  I didn’t like that.
-Apart from the one segment of comedy which I saw,  the show is totally devoid of humour.  I don’t mean there aren’t enough jokes.  I mean the show takes itself and its subject far too seriously.  Loosen the hell up.  It’s a show about rock and roll, and it’s presented in a kind of button-down shirt style.  Rip the shirts off a bit and flash your wangs and tits! (metaphorically speaking)
– There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the list of songs and to why they were performed when they were.  Song selection seemed totally arbitrary and pointless.  There was a vague east to west thing happening, but that concept was broken so often as to become valueless.  Bryan Adams and Sk8trBoi were performed, for instance, while the Rock Train was in Atlantic Canada.
-And of course, there were way too many songs.  In the first act.  Show started at 7:30 and first act was over at 9:10.  That’s one big act.  Again, though, I understand that cuts were made, so perhaps it’s better now?  Unless, though, they cut a pile of songs, and totally cut or rewrite the ridiculous between songs crapola, the show is still a pile of trouble, in my opinion.
Which is too bad, because there is some incredible talent in the production.  Only a few of the songs in the one act I saw were on the down side of good.  Most were fantastic.
As the act progressed, and as it continued to Not End, I started getting angry at the performers for singing another song.  About three quarters of the way through, every time a new song was started, I convinced myself that it was the final song of the act.  Still, though, they’d segue into another and I’d get angry again as they continued to Take Forever!  Near the end of the act, it seemed to have taken so bloody long that I had started to believe that they combined the two acts into one and were going straight through to the end.  No such luck.  Intermission came and it wasn’t a difficult decision to make for the exits.
During a couple of the intervals when I wasn’t wishing the act would end, I began thinking of the ways I’d improve the show.  Here’s what I came up with.
1) Perform the show at the MacKenzie.  This is not a MainStage show.  It just isn’t.  How great it’d be in a more intimate setting, especially if they improved the story.
2) Improve the story.  Do this by giving the peformers actual motives and conflicts and plot progressions. Give the actors something to invest some emotion into.  The bland, humourless fluff that sits between the songs now is pretty awful.  It wouldn’t take much effort to inject some life into the script.  How about picking and choosing songs a bit more carefully, and make the contents/lyrics of the songs part of the story/plot.  Or not.
3) Failing that, I’d scrap entirely the between songs shit, and totally make it a song-fest.  "Canada’s got some great songs, folks.  Here they are for the next two hours, performed by some pretty talented people."  Each night, mix up the playlist a little bit.
4) Don’t make it a show that Senior Citizens might enjoy.  I know they’re an important demographic to the Centre, with the bus tours and whatnot, but designing the show as one everyone might like just turns it into one which nobody will like.  Get some balls, Centre, and produce a show that has some balls.
5) Change the name.  Canada Rocks! as it stands now, is a lie.  A suggested name for the show as it was the night I saw it:  Canada Has Turned Up The Volume On Some Songs Made Popular By Canadian Pop Entertainers And Presents It In A Bland Non-Threatening Way For All To Enjoy But None To Love

The Best Poker and Blackjack Hand

Okay, so you are playing cards in some weird environment where the hand you play in the poker game must be the same hand you play in the blackjack game.  In other words, the same five cards in your hand (I know, sometimes blackjack hands are more or fewer than five cards) must be used for both the poker and blackjack hands.

So, what is the best possible 5 card hand for both poker and blackjack?

I have surmised that it is the four 5s and an ace:  21 in blackjack and a four of a kind, ace high for poker.

You cannot beat that hand.  Can you?

Tar Zan Rub Ber Band

The folks over at Screenhead called this video "possibly the greatest thing we’ve ever seen."  That statement, of course, is one which begs to be brought down.
However, watching it, I may just have to agree.  It is possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

The Anti-Courtesy Call

A couple of weeks ago, the phone rang, during our dinner, I answered and it was some customer service representative from one of our banks or credit cards.  He explained this is a customer service call, and asked to speak to my wife (since, I assume, the credit card from that bank happens to be in her name).  I told him she wasn’t home, which was true, and would he like to speak to me, since we share the bank account and the credit card.
He said no, he has to speak to Karyn.
You *have to* speak to her?  (I was put off by the urgency and insistence in his voice.)
Well, is it something important, that you *have to* speak to her?
"No, nothing like that.  It’s simply a customer courtesy call."
A courtesy call in which you *have to* speak to my wife?
"That’s right."
Well, she’s not home.
"Is there a better time to reach her?"
"Maybe tomorrow at the same time?"
I don’t know when she’ll be home, specifically.  I mean you can try, but I’ll not guarantee anything.  Okay, bye.
"Thank you."

That bugged me.  I wanted to grill him on the definition of ‘courtesy’ and how I didn’t think cold-calls like this were much of a courtesy to their clients.  Oh well.

Tonight, the phone rings.  Long distance.  Oh good, I think.  I answer, and it’s a pleasant, professional sounding woman on the other end.
"May I speak to Karyn, please."
Karyn’s not home right now.  Which, again, was true.
"Is there another time that would be more convenient to speak to her?"
No.  Is there something I can help you with?  I’m her husband and we share the account.
"No thank you. I really must speak with Karyn.  It’s just a courtesy call from {blank} bank to see if there’s anything we can do for her."
I see.  This is the third time (I lied, it was the second only, but three sounds like more trouble) I’ve received this call for her.  Doesn’t really seem like much of a courtesy to keep bothering your customers like this.
"Maybe I could just call back another time and try to get her again."
Yeah, no.  You’ll probably just get me again. It’s not very courteous to keep calling us.  Is there any way you can take her off this call list?
Because it’s not really a courtesy to be receiving these phone calls from you. In fact, it’s the opposite of courtesy.  It’s a nuisance.  Can you remove her name so she doesn’t get called again?"
"Yes.  Yes, I can do that."
Thank you.
"Okay. Bye."

Does This Thing Still Work?

Yeah, so I’ve been really busy at work.
Too busy to keep in touch with your online friends, Rob?
Well, yeah, kinda.  There’s a lot of stuff happening and some of it doesn’t belong on this blog, so I kinda took a hiatus from here while it sorted out.
You mean "from us".  Did you even consider how we’d feel during this so-called hiatus?  Listen to you, with the big Hollywood word.  Is that it?  Have you gone all Showbiz on us now, Rob?  And we still don’t buy it, this ‘too busy’ crap.  Are you seriously saying that you couldn’t find a moment or two to touch base?  A minute out of your jam-packed day to say "Hi friends."  One minute?  You know, we honestly don’t believe it takes you much more time than that to come up with most of your posts anyway.
Hey, that hurts. Sometimes I take a lot of time to come up with these posts.
Not this one, I’ll bet.
No, not this one.
So, you’re back?  You’ll be posting again.
I hope so.
We missed you.
I missed you all too.

U B Me

Okay, my posting has fallen way off.  I apologise. Or apologize (I can never be sure about the ‘s’ ‘z’ thing).
A few reasons why I’ve not been blogging:  to be honest, I feel like I’ve kinda run out of things to say.  Then I get that "I’m in a slump" feeling and think I need a good posting to get me out of the slump. Then, whenever I begin to write something, I get into it, then an overwhelming "this is a stupid waste of time post" despondency comes over me and I erase it.  Then I build it up in my mind to where the post has to be fantastic before I deem it Monster worthy. Boo hoo, me.

So, I’m in a slump, and who does one turn to when one is feeling down?  Why, one turns to the anonymous and not so anonymous friends who frequent one’s blog.  And so I turn you do, dear reader.  I turn to you with an offer. 

How about you write a post (or two, or three) for me?  The only stipulation is that you need to write it as if it’s me who’s written it.  In my voice (or lack thereof).  Write your The Annekenstein Monster post and email it to me at my email address on the left hand side there… "send it 2 me at gmail dot com"
If I receive any, I’ll most likely post them.  I’ll not indicate, in the posts, which ones were not written by me.  It’ll be a little secret between you and me.  Only I get all the glory, because people will think your excellent words will have come from my brain.

To write like me, I suggest you follow these guidelines:  1) have bad plumbing in your home.  Bad plumbing holds a wealth of blogable material.  Actually, I’m thinking of nailing some holes in the toilet, just so I’ll have something to post about.  2) when driving to work, look at something totally innocuous and vow to write about it.  Good ‘somethings’ are birds by the side of the road, signs, a solitary glove stuck to a branch of a tree (actually, don’t take that one, ’cause I’m writing a great post about the very thing.  oh, what the hell, you can have that one).  3) take a trip to Moncton and then type the boring details of the trip, as if it was interesting. 4) make the Miami Dolphins your favourite sports team.  The disappointment you feel, loss after loss, should be sufficient to encourage you to write "my" blues away.
Remember, I’m rather proud of my "clever" post titles, so if you’re going to submit an "authentic" Rob MacDonald TAM post, please include the sharp title.

Thanks for your help.  I’m sure you all will have no problem out Robbing Rob.