thinglets: Bimbo the Freakshow Birthday Clown

I grew up with this demented, surrealistic freakshow called The Uncle Bobby Show every day as a kid. I don't think it ever extended outside of Canada. You know that creepy, perv uncle in everyone's family... this is him.

If you want to subject yourself to a WTF? moment or two as you watch the daily Birthday celebration from a host I'm sure was polluted beyond belief and a guest "Birthday Picker" who looks like she rolled out of his dressing room two minutes earlier, you gotta check this out.

Bimbo the clown looks like a hobo on a ripple bender and the crazy marionettes that fall from the ceiling are the icing on the demented cake - enjoy!

thinglets: Frank the Wrabbit

In an effort to promote some of the incredible work by the National Film Board of Canada over the past century, I offer the following parable of Frank the Wrabbit. A touch subversive and wholly satirical, the short examines several themes and does include... yes, you heard it here, rabbit zombies... well, maybe wrabbit zombies. Give yourself a ten minute surreal break and enjoy Frank the Wrabbit.

thinglets: Some Snarky Observations on Cross-Border Top Ten Book Lists

Some snarky observations upon comparing the Top Ten Book lists between Amazon Canada and Amazon US.

  • Canadian list topped by a box set of books about soul-sucking vampires. US list is topped by a book authored by a soul-sucking vampire.
  • Both countries' readers have a whole lot of faith that Dan Brown has a brilliant storyline left in him.
  • Canada balances out US right wing political theory with Malcolm Gladwell.
  • Canadian list finished by a box set of books about soul-sucking vampires. US list is finished by a book authored by a soul-sucking vampire.
  • Number nine on the Canadian list is a book about "The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding...." Number nine on the US list is about the difficult choices a book buyer must make when an entertainer's demise is exploited by pathos and misunderstanding.
  • If Dan Brown is to get to number one on the US list, he must lengthen the title of his book to The Lost Symbol: How I Lost an eBay Auction for the Holy Grail to Mary Magdalene When That Bitch Bid Sniped Me While I Was Staring at the Proofs for the 25 Ambigrams I'm Gonna Get the Publishers to Fork Out Big Bucks For When They Print This Book. Guaranteed number one.
  • 7 out of 15 unique titles (that aren't box sets) rely on the overused colon for their titles.
  • None of the titles contain the letter "z".
  • Only one book contains a vanity self-reference to the author... actually, to the author's common sense.
  • Only one book name drops an American Revolutionary in the title (strangely enough not on the Canadian list). I wonder if the devout religious followers of the author know he's inspired by a man who said "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."

Top Ten Books at

  1. Sookie Stackhouse Boxed Set by Charlaine Harris
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  3. The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  4. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  5. Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller by Jeff Rubin
  6. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Three Cups Of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  8. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
  9. My Sister's Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
  10. The Twilight Saga Collection by Stephenie Meyer

Top Ten Books at

  1. Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine by Glenn Beck
  2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  3. The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet
  4. Sookie Stackhouse, Books 1-7 by Charlaine Harris
  5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  8. The Shack by William P. Young
  9. Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson by Ian Halperin
  10. Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin

lovehate: The Great Throttlewall of Canada

“Madness is badness of spirit, when one seeks profit from all sources” - Aristotle

For the past week the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission has been listening to ISPs press for the ability to regulate internet bandwidth based on their ability to soak every last penny from end users/customers across Canada. While I understand that the minutae of such hearings in an Ottawa committee room may not be of tremendous interest to anyone outside of Canada then I would urge you to reconsider. These considerations are not just national because the money that is backing much of the anti-net neutrality debate is coming from multi-national music and film conglomorates that don't only seek to enact such restrictions in Canada, but world-wide.

The end run of film and music lobby groups is in no small part responsible for a press to throttle the internet. If ISPs are allowed to eliminate your computer's throughput because you're downloading a video or music file using a bit torrent protocol, the hope, on the part of the studios is that you'll eventually stop doing it. But what about legal files shared through bit torrent technology? If I had a CD or independent film to offer up for free (or pay-what-you-want), the bit torrent protocol would likely be the only way I could afford to pursue such a practice, yet ISPs and studios want to shut it all down.

If there's one thing I've learned over more than 20 years of 300 baud dialups to BBSs to highspeed surfing through social networks, recommendation engines, and news aggregators, it's that the net is REALLY good at self-regulating. I'm not denying the illegal activities that go on with file-sharing, but where were all of these lawsuits against people making mixtapes 25 years ago?

Data are clusters of ones and zeros having no more or less intrinsic value than an ascii text string. To assume by the method which I choose to acquire data, that somehow it's automatically illegal, is idiotic. It analogous to saying that, because speed boats are used more often than canoes to smuggle cocaine, anyone who uses a speedboat can go no faster than those in the canoe or they must be cocaine smugglers.

I pay for high speed internet. Let's repeat that: I PAY FOR HIGH SPEED INTERNET!

I don't pay for high speed web page surfing or Youtube watching or email sending or podcast listening. I pay for bandwidth. I pay the same amount as anyone else pays with my provider. They have every right to use their bandwidth to its fullest potential. To imply that my downloading habits adversely affect someone who is choosing to use even less doesn't make sense. My basic cable and telephone subscription packages are a flat rate no matter how much I use them. Does this mean that if I watch less television, I should get a rebate? Should get a cut rate telephone bill if make only half the calls that my neighbour does while on the same package? To sell an upload/download speed and then throttle back the advertised speed I purchased, without telling me when or why, is an unfair business practice that is probably actionable... though I am far too lazy to hire a lawyer.

To put it in a completely exaggerated way, ISPs are participating in their own form of Neo-McCarthyism. It's like the great "Red" scare: "Have you downloaded or watched, or have you consorted with anyone who has downloaded an illegal copy of a Harry Potter film?" If we allow ISPs and media conglomorates decide that it's okay to punish those who use a TYPE of program they don't like, what's next: The Great Throttlewall of Canada?

Fight for your right to an open internet. And if anyone has the gumption to start up a class-action lawsuit for ISPs throttling my bandwidth without telling me, I'll sign up.

DyscultureD Podcast Thirty Eight: The Double Down

This week's episode!

My other web outlet is at DyscultureD where we do a weekly podcast on all things right and wrong with pop culture. Follow the link above to this week's episode... show notes below.

Full Dysclosure

  • The scratch ticket affair that is the MJ memorial
  • Bell buys Virgin Mobile and The Source
  • BNN buckles on IP and copyright video clips
  • Pirate Bay sells short
  • Alternate Bit Torrent options
  • Browser Wars Part @?$#%
  • Canadian made TV hitting US Big 3
  • Cheap Trick’s not-so-cheap trick in music promotion

Websites of the Week

  • Mike - - a simple recommendation engine for your NEXT read
  • Anth - - ever lost a user manual for a gadget or appliance? Find it here.


Laura Smith - I Spy a Monster -

thinglets: Ken Carter - The Mad Canadian

This short film from the National Film Board of Canada gives me such a 70's retro feel. Remember daredevils at the local fair or track. This 10 minute account of one man, one car, one jump is very nicely-paced. Shows the crazy life of someone trying to make a career from dangerous entertainment. Certainly not a feelgood film by any means. If you've got 10 minutes, and feel nostalgic for the Dukes of Hazzard, give it a watch.

lovehate: Top 12 Reasons I Love Canada

  1. The flag kicks serious ass. You know how the most effective logos and branding can be done with two simple contrasting colours, well the Canadian flag is it. For those of you who don't know the left and right red fields on the flag represent the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans while the eleven point Maple Leaf has one point for each of the ten provinces and the remaining for the northern territories. As cool as it is, it still comes a close second to the awesomeness that was the logo of the NHL's Hartford Whalers.
  2. Hockey. Okay all you haters, I know you may find the game boring or hard to follow, but in as much as 80% of the world mythologizes soccer and 19 of the remaining 20% worships football, baseball and basketball... or even Nascar, in Canada we bleed hockey. I love to watch it, but if I can't watch it, I'm just happy to know it's being played. It's part of the national identity and if you don't get, we don't care.
  3. We don't care. Yeah sure, we care about some things, but for the most part we're a laid back people. Foreigners often call us polite, but really we're just making fun of you behind your backs so we don't hurt your feelings... I suppose that's more tactful than polite. Let's call it diplomatic because it's not smart to piss people off when we don't have disproportionally huge armed forces.
  4. We don't have disproportionately huge armed forces. I've never been a "fan" of any army... especially not a fan in a way that would entail putting on a replica jersey and getting in the game, but I respect that the prime role of the Canadian soldiers have generally been peacekeepers in recent years and that those in the service generally get thrown into a shitstorm without proper backup, funding, and respect. While we have a proud military tradition in this country, our government really needs to reconsider risking young lives just to satisfy global expectations.
  5. Global expectations aren't too high. Sure you may think that's a bad thing, but it allows us to self-pace and largely concern ourselves with internal matters, like the national hockey and curling programs, exporting stand-up comedians, making Hinterland nature shorts, and advancing the latest R&D techniques to develop the most cost effective coffee and donut combo in world.
  6. The best coffee/donut combo in the world. Tim Horton's and it's competitors serve the most cost-effective, value for money, coffee and donut combos in the world. Most of this is due to the fact that the small coffee is small and the large coffee is large and even though Southern Ontario has the largest Italian population outside of Italy we still haven't allowed the elitist Starbucks to overrun our homegrown donut houses with crazy sizes like Grande and Venti. What's up Starbucks, do you think you're in a Puccini opera or something?
  7. Multiculturalism. You can have your melting pot for your chicken soup/nacho cheese/fondue gruel. I'll take them on separate plates and bowls forming a great mosaic across the dinner table that spans from Newfoundland to British Columbia, with lobster from the Maritimes, poutine from Quebec, maple syrup from Ontario, bread from the prarie wheat fields, beef from Alberta and smoked salmon from BC. Sure, it sounds like a crazy mix, but at least I can pick and choose instead of melting it up.
  8. Crazy mixes. This one deserves its very own reason. I quote from the source of all things - Wikipedia: "A Bloody Caesar, after the similar Bloody Mary, is a cocktail popular mainly in Canada. It typically contains vodka, clamato (a blend of tomato juice and clam broth), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and is served on the rocks in a large,celery salt-rimmed glass, and typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime." I did warn you.
  9. We warn people when we're coming. Why do you think we wear the Canadian flag on everything we wear while travelling? We want you to know our laid-backedness is on its way to charming your country's existence. Sure we may wear tuques and flop on your chesterfield for a bit and drop in "eh" a whole bunch of times for your amusement, but that's just so you'll feel at ease with us and give us your beer while watching Meatballs and Strange Brew.
  10. Strange Brews. We'll drink you under the table. Set up a mickey, a twenty-sixer, a forty pounder, and a palette of two-fours and we're ready to go to town... well, take a cab to town anyway. After all, no use hitting a poor defenseless moose while drinking and driving.
  11. Driving. Although getting around Southern Ontario can be agonizing at times, driving across Canada is awesome and I would do every year if I could. From Pacific to rivers to Rockies to foothills to prairies to forests to Great Lakes to plateaus to bays to Atlantic and up to the Great White North, you will never see greater diversity or meet nicer people.
  12. People. In 2004, the people of Canda voted Tommy Douglas as the Greatest Canadian ever. You may ask who Tommy Douglas was. He "was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician. As leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1942 and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, he led the first socialist government in North America and..." still waiting for the greatest part? He introduced universal public healthcare to Canada.


Happy Canada Day to all Canadians, wherever you are!

thinglets: Polka Dot Door - Polkaroo In Space

Okay, if you weren't from Canada (and specifically Ontario) you may have never seen the Polka Dot Door while growing up. And, if you never saw the Polka Dot Door, you never saw Polkaroo. Polkaroo was one of the best legal trips one could have as a kid. Always a bit surreal and bit insane, the Polkaroo could express a million thoughts with any number of well-placed instances of the ubiquitous "Polkaroo".

Take the three minute trip of this video clip, or, to translate: "Polkaroo? Polkaroo!"