Cabbages & Kings

"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things; of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings."

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Caption Challenge V3.0

Time for another photo caption challenge (mainly because I can't think of anything else to post on here right now).

You know how it works... Look at the picture. Think of a funny caption. Click on COMMENTS and post it for everyone else to laugh at...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Random ideas for discussion

Turks & Caicos
Todd McGinnis told me about Turks & Caicos a while ago and the struggle continues.
In 1974 a private member's bill was introduced in the Canadian Parliament, proposing that Canada annex Turks & Caicos, a small group of islands in the Caribbean. Sadly, the bill was defeated. In 1988, Canada was approached by a delegation from the islands seeking a similar arrangement. Again, nothing really developed. In 2003, Edmonton Centre-East Member of Parliament, Peter Goldring, put forth a motion (M-474), proposing that Canada look into the possibility of annexing Turks & Caicos as Canada's 11th province. He'd already spoken to the government people on the islands and they were ready to open talks, also.
The first couple of times the idea came up, it was presented as, "Hey, let's do this." Apparently, this felt a little un-Canadian at the time. This time around, the idea was presented as, "Hey, let's think about doing this sometime." Gotta hand it to that Peter Goldring. He certainly knows how to appeal to Canadian sensibilities. He even got the attention of the CBC.
What, I hear you ask, is the deal with these Turks & Caicos? Well, the deal, as you so quaintly put it, is that if we make them Canada's 11th province (or 4th territory), there will be a Caribbean tourist destination within the Canadian economy. The Canadian dollar will be the currency. Canadian vacationers will not need a passport to fly down there in the winter. It'll be just like flying to Vancouver (except probably quicker and definitely sunnier). Air Canada already flys there. English is the predominant language, though there a lot of french spoken also. The total population is less than 20,000. The boost to the Canadian tourist economy will easily off-set providing Canadian-style socialized medicine for such a relatively small population. They want to join Canada. We don't have to convince them.
Write to your Member of Parliament and encourage them to get behind this idea. Do it for Canada. Do it for Turks & Caicos. Do it for me. Because, frankly, I could use a nice vacation.

Ink Monkeys
I've been reading "Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail" by Christopher Dawes. Dawes is a freelance music jounalist and the book chronicles his adventures with his neighbour, Rat Scabies, the former drummer for the punk band, The Damned. Scabies is, apparently, stark, raving mad, but in a really enjoyable kind of way. Scabies drags Dawes along on his semi-serious (but probably just to combat bordom) search for the Holy Grail. Obviously, they don't have a hope of actually finding the Grail, but it is an interesting and funny journal of the people they meet along the way and various things that distract and side track them from their goal. At one point during a lull in their search, Scabies latches onto another idea entirely: importing and selling Chinese Ink Monkeys.
According to legend, Chinese scholars in the 13th century were assisted in their writings by two-inch tall monkeys, that had been trained to carry inkpots, arrange pens and turn pages. Ink Monkeys had long been believed extinct, but recently there have been claims of new Ink Monkeys being discovered in remote parts of China. These claims are so dubious that they only rate a brief mention in cryptozoology forum at the Fortean Times website.
However, if Ink Monkeys have indeed returned, then I certainly want in on the ground floor of this marketing goldmine. They're small enough to be the perfect pet for families with new babies and easliy trained to help out with diaper changes, baby-feedings, etc.
The possibilities are almost endless. If only Ink Monkeys existed.
Curses! Foiled again.

Full Contact Bowling

The safety conscious bowler wears elbow pads and a helmet with a visor. A modified skateboard is strapped to the bowler's torso and both knee pads have wheels attached. The idea is, simply, don't let go of the ball. The other bowlers can, of course, release their bowling balls as they try to prevent to "bowler-in-play" from reaching the pins. Advanced players also have barbed wire at the end of the lane.
Who wants to join the league?


Funny Photo Caption Challenge - Week 2.5

Gather around, my children.

It's time for another funny photo caption challenge.

The rules are still simple. Look at the picture. Think of a funny caption. Click on "comments" and post your caption.

This picture is from my favourite Volvo commercial.....


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A bit to the side and down a little, but generally close to top o' the world, Ma! ... Well, I can see it from here, anyway... I think...

I bought a new car last week. It was time to retire my old van. The brakes were going, the windshield was cracked, the driver's seat was broken and the bearings were going, resulting in a really dramatic wobble on the front end. I felt somewhat vulnerable while driving that van. The best treatment for "vulnerable driver syndrome" is a new car. I felt invincible with my new wheels under me. It was great.
Which means it was time for the puppeteers of the universe to step in and take me down a notch or two.
I drove my car into the parking of the "townhome community" in which we live and parked in my designated space. Some of the neighbourhood kids were playing soccer in the back area. As we were walking away from the car, the soccer ball got away from one of the kids and he called out to my son to get the ball, since it was moving rapidly towards him. However, the ball was only a few feet away from him when he heard the call, so Robert didn't have a lot of time to react. He put his foot out and caught the ball on the side, sending it off in a different direction, past me. I jogged after the ball and stopped it as it bounced up a small grass verge at the edge of the parking lot.
I turned, with my foot on the ball and saw one of the kids coming after the soccer ball. He stopped and hesitated when he saw that I had the ball. I smiled, made a challenging gesture and said, "Come on." He moved towards me and I, still feeling invincible, tapped the ball with my left foot and moved to my right, following the ball. Turns out that this young lad is a devious mix of Pele and Tie Domi. He was in front of me before I knew it, captured the ball with his feet and turned his shoulder to block me.
Just make sure you have the complete picture, let's recap. The grass verge upon which I had stopped the ball sloped upward so that I was standing about a foot and a half above the asphalt of the parking lot. I am six feet, five inches tall. This kid was about eight years old. When he blocked me with his shoulder, he essentially took me out at the knees. My feet stopped moving forward. The rest of me didn't. I was airborne.
Fortunately, my internal verbiage filter kicked in as I flew through the air. I've had problems with my internal filter lately; it hasn't been doing its job, which is to edit and review things before I say them. Recently at work, I was talking on the phone with a woman from one of the companies we deal with. It was a pleasant conversation and after we'd dealt with the actual business of the call, we just chatted for a minute about life in general. As we broke off the phone call she said, "You have a good one." An acceptable response to this would be, "You, too," or "Have a nice day," or something like that. I was shocked to hear myself actually saying, "Thanks for noticing." Fortunately she saw the humour and I'm still employed.
It seems I've been a parent long enough for my internal filter to be more finely tuned when children are around. As I flew through the air, a Tarantino-esque slew of profanity danced through my mind, but the words that came out of my mouth were simply, "Oh, you got me." Then I hit the ground. Hard.
Oh, asphalt, sweet asphalt.
My feelings of invincibility quickly evaporated as I realized that I had, indeed, been, uh, vinced.
Slowly climbing to my feet, I did a brief inventory of body parts. Everything was still there, but I certainly wouldn't be getting my deposit back. I'd sprained my wrist, scraped my forearm and dented my knee. A week later and my knee is still sore.
Nothing makes you feel your age quite like being beaten down by an eight year old.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Dangling a carrot

Years ago, before "motor-cars" and "auto-mobiles," when horses pulled carts and carriages, various techniques were used to motivate the horse. One of the most common efforts involved dangling a carrot from a string, tied to a stick. The horse would see the carrot hanging about a foot or so in front of its face and would walk forward, trying to get the tasty snack. This worked so well because horses are best known for their love of carrots. The general concept was adapted as a management technique in the twentieth century business world. Managers would motivate their employees by offering rewards, such as bonuses or wage increases. Often, as with the carrot and the horse, the promised reward was never actually obtained.
This is how the term, "Dangling a carrot" entered the common vernacular. (In the mid-1970's, in a certain sub-set of the film industry, "Dangling the carrot" had an entirely different meaning, but we're not going there.)

Every once in a while I will log onto to check out the jobs listed for writers. Although I enjoy my current job as "Supreme Allied Commander" (aka Operations Director) for a major security company, if I can find a writing gig that pays twice as much, I'll jump on it. So far, however, I haven't found it and I probably won't. I'll have to settle for sporadic royalty cheques.
However, amongst the job listing I often find things that make me laugh. It seems that people who are looking to hire writers, usually are doing so because they can't write themselves. I mean, at all.
Here's an example. On August 17, a job was posted on Workopolis. I won't name the company, but just say that it is a major Canadian broadcaster, without government funding and not owned by someone with a biblical name. The job title was "Overnight Continuity Writer" and it was a role in the news department. The job description, as listed in the ad, is shown below...


· Combine visual and editorial elements to write the most up-to-date script possible for on-air presentation

· Ensure continuity in coverage of breaking and developing stories and communicate these developments to all concerned

· On occasion chase produce

· Find appropriate sources for on-air interviews

· Monitor wires and video sources

· Serve as a liaison for the Broadcast Producer

Did you catch that? No? Let's check it again.

· Combine visual and editorial elements to write the most up-to-date script possible for on-air presentation

· Ensure continuity in coverage of breaking and developing stories and communicate these developments to all concerned

· On occasion chase produce

· Find appropriate sources for on-air interviews

· Monitor wires and video sources

· Serve as a liaison for the Broadcast Producer

Chase produce? They seem to be taking this dangling carrot concept rather literally, don't you think?
Personally, I prefer the pursuit of cabbages.


Friday, August 19, 2005

The sort of weekly photo caption challenge V2.0

Yesterday I had a post with a photo attached. The text was this...

A while ago (ok, last week) I sent a picture (of elephants at the Globe and Mail) to a bunch of friends with the challenge of coming up with a humourous caption for the photo. Super-Bill stepped up and had about half a dozen lines in a few minutes. Everyone else wimped out and completely failed to even try being creative. As Phil Collins sang, oh so many years ago, "No reply at all." So I decided to open it up to the world. Or at least as much of the world as this blog actually reaches. The rules are simple... Look at the picture. Think of something funny. Post it as a comment. So, let's get started. Here's this week's photo:

Then there was no photo. I followed all of the proper steps for posting the photo, and it displayed everytime I when to the blog and looked. But no one else could see it. I tried reposting it half a dozen times. I'm still the only one who can see the damn thing. I saw that movie and it didn't have a good ending, so I've deleted the entire post and I'm starting over, with a different picture.

Can you see this...?

If you can see it, post a comment with a caption suggestion. I'll even accept the obvious Woody Allen reference.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blog-a-palooza, Blog-a-doodle-doo, Bloggeration, Blog-o-rama, Nous allons bloggerions...

In a comment to my last post, Pint O' Guinness asked what blogging is.
Actually he wrote, "I don't understand blogging. I've asked people to explain its purpose or function and received vague bafflegab in return: "Blogging? Where you been livin' Guinness? Under a rock? Blogging is where you blog. You know... BLOG! I blog he blogs, she blogs, they blog, nous allons bloggerions, etc. etc." Now my friend TGA blogs. I apparently blog too. I still don't get it."

I've been blogging since Sunday (and boy are my arms tired). Drawing on my wealth of experience in the field of blog (watch where you step) I will attempt to explain blogging (with a minimum of italisized, parenthetical asides).

Technically, there should be an apostrophe at the start of the word "blog", like so... 'blog.
It's actually a shortened version of "weblog" an ancient Welsh word meaning, "Put your diary on display; someone will read it." Sadly, in common usage the word is missing the apostrophe, cuz the net isnt rily gud 4 spllng, gramer or punk2ashun.

Guinness (can I call you Pint?), if you go to the top of this page, off to the left you'll see a funky white B in a red logo, with the clever phrase "I power Blogger." Scroll up and look. Go on. We'll wait.....

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, la dee dadum, da dum da dee, dee da abraca-pocus. La dee dadum - Oh, you're back. Did you find it? Good for you. Here have a Scooby snack.

If you click on that really cool logo that our hosts at spent millions of dollars developing, you'll find your way, through the magic of the internet, to (surprise, surprise) where you can set up a blog of your own. It took me about five minutes, so within an hour, you, too, can be a blog-aholic.

As you may have noticed, I have avoided (and will hopefully continue to avoid) taking the Welsh meaning literally. No on-line diary entries for me. Frankly, my inner-most thoughts, feelings and emotions aren't that interesting. The good stuff is all on the surface.

To help in the continuing education of Pint (though, when I stand beside him, he looks more like Half-Pint), I plan on having some more Blog-related blogs in the future. I'm going to disect the "Terms of Usage." That should be fun. It was written by lawyers and they are comedy geniuseses.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Creatures of the night... Shut up!

Last Friday night, around 11:30 we heard a skritchy-skritchy noise in the ceiling while we were watching television. Off goes the TV as the wife and I stand and strike our individual "Vogue" poses, tilting our heads at odd angles trying to determine where the noise is coming from. As is always the case, once we actively focus on the sound, it stops. A little while later, I went upstairs with plans of turning in for the night. That's when I found Lefty Stitchnibbler, our faithful wonder-cat, voguing on his own, staring at the wall in the bathroom. The skritchy-skritchy noise now seemed to be coming from inside the wall. Then under the bathtub. Then in the wall. Tired and wanting nothing more than to just ignore this and deal with it in the morning, I suggested that a small squirrel had come in through the roof and managed to get inside the wall. Not much you can do about that at midnight. Morning is the time for such matters. So off we went to bed.

Around 2:30 in the morning, the cat went nuts. He was literally bouncing off the walls, running up and down the hall outside our bedroom, leaping, bounding, pouncing, landing heavily with a great thud. Lots of great thuds. The wall-squirrel really seemed to be getting to him. I heard my son get out of bed and I saw a sliver of light in the hallway as he opened his door to see what was going on. The door quickly shut again. My wife called out to him, to tell him the tale of wall-squirrel and nutty-cat. He didn't hear her. Next thing we know, he's knocking on the wall adjoining our rooms and calling out, "Mom, Dad, there's a bat in the house!"

Well, that got my ass out bed.

"What's he talking about?" I think to myself as I move down the hall. "A bat? That's stupid. It's a squirrel in the wall. That's all it is. What bat?" >SWOOP< "Oh, that bat. Holy crap!" My eyes darted around but the bat had vanished. Great. A bat that turns invisible. Damn you, Charles Darwin.

Then I spotted him, peeking over the top of the open closet door. There was just enough of him showing to look like a giant freakin' spider. Keeping my eyes on spider-bat, I told my son, "Robert, go downstairs and get me the blue toy baseball bat." Dutifully, my youthful sidekick left and returned with a comical blue club that had recently been used specifically for its comedic value in a stage play. "Great," I said. "Now go get me some night-vision goggles." He actually went down two steps before stopping and looking back at me. "Oh, right," I said. "We don't have any night-vision goggles. Nevermind." Robert then screwed up his courage and bravely went downstairs to lock himself in the other bathroom.

I opened the window in Robert's bedroom, because it has no screen. I closed the doors to all the other upstairs rooms, leaving only the path to the outside world. The cool night air drifted in. I stared at spider-bat. Spider-bat stared at me. I silent challenge passed between us and he launched, swooping over me, circling back and swooping again. With the blue comedy baseball bat I tried to encourage him to fly into Robert's room. Standing in my underwear, swinging an over-sized club above my head, I must have looked like a middle-aged Bam Bam Rubble. Eventually spider-bat flew into Robert's room and I quickly closed the door.

Now it was time for the second part of my cleverly ill-conceived plan. First of all, however, I opted to get dressed, as it occurred to me that naked bat wrestling is a stupid thing to have to explain at the hospital in the middle of the night. Or at anytime, for that matter. I even put on a hat, lest the bat be tempted to perch upon my comb-over. Armed with two flashlights, I summoned Robert back upstairs and told him to close the door as soon as I was in the room with the bat. I smoothly slipped in action-hero mode and crouched by the door. Throwing the door open, I rolled into the room and Robert closed the door behind. There I was, low to the floor, sweeping flashlight beams around the room like some poorly trained Jedi Knight with a couple of dollar store light-sabres. I did this for a full minute before deciding to just hit the light switch on the wall.

Batty was gone. I'd been in an empty room, displaying my dubious heroics to no one. With an anti-climactic sigh, I closed the window.

I have spent the days since trying to figure out how the bat actually got in the house. My from-the-roof-into-the-wall theory only goes so far. I have yet to find any way for him to get from inside the wall out to the "open" area of the house.

There is only one possible conclusion. Not only can this bat turn invisible, he can also move through solid objects.



Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Kevin Smith of Brampton theatre

I was recently interviewed regarding one of my plays. The interviewer, confirming his facts before starting the camera, said, "So you're the director of this play, right?" I replied that I was the both the writer and director of the play, as well as being one of the actors. With a chuckle, I tried to put it all in context for him and said, "I'm the Kevin Smith of Brampton theatre."
While efforts to claim such a title may seem a dubious endevour to some, others may well feel justified in saying, "Hey, what about Todd McGinnis?" (Still other would be perfectly warrented in asking, "Who the heck is Todd McGinnis and where the hell is Brampton?" - To them I say, "Read or don't read. Your choice. But whatever you do, please keep reading.")
So, is Todd McGinnis the Kevin Smith of Brampton theatre? Or is it me? Or is Kevin Smith moving to Brampton just to foil all our hopes and dreams? Let's compare...

Kevin Smith is a talented and funny writer of films, focusing mainly on comedy but having a knack for significant and touching drama.
Todd McGinnis is a talented and funny writer of plays, focusing mainly on comedy but having a knack for significant and touching drama.
I (T. Gregory Argall) have been told that I am a talented and funny writer of plays, focusing mainly on comedy but having a knack for significant and touching drama.
Round One - Points Even

Kevin Smith is an experienced director of movies with a film resume that reaches back many years. While he enjoys working with the same people on different projects, he will often seek out new talent to incorporate new faces into his films.
Todd McGinnis is an experienced director of stage plays with a theatrical resume that reaches back many years. While he enjoys working with the same people on different projects, he will often seek out new talent to incorporate new faces into his shows.
I (T. Gregory Argall) have been told that I
an experienced director of stage plays with a theatrical resume that reaches back many years. While I enjoy working with the same people on different projects, I will often seek out new talent to incorporate new faces into my shows.
Round Two - Points Even

Anyone who has read or heard Kevin Smith commenting on his own performances in "Clerks" or "Chasing Amy" or "Dogma" knows that he considers himself to be a passable actor and gets screen time mainly for the perposes of narccisism.
Anyone who saw Todd McGinnis performing in "The Wild Guys" or "Knave of Hearts" or "Gone Fishin'" will agree that he is a fantastic actor.
Anyone who saw me (T. Gregory Argall) performing in "Cheaters" or "Eric's New Job" or "The Secret Lives of Sketch Artists" will agree that Todd McGinnis is a fantastic actor.
Round Three - Points - Todd 2 - Me 3

There you have it. I think even Mr. McGinnis and Mr. Smith would concur that, based on the criteria, I can claim the singularly insignificant title of "The Kevin Smith of Brampton theatre."

The real question is whether Bill Poulin is the Jason Mewes of Brampton theatre.


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