Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bilbo's Labyrinth

New Line Cinema has confirmed that Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) will direct The Hobbit and its sequel. If you are a super Tolkien keener you can read his exclusive interview with The One Ring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The perils of karaoke

The Guys at Animoto (well, one guy anyway) discover a new kind of hurt. The karaoke kind. And I thought that sort of stuff only happened at X.O.

And while we're on the subject, have you ever wondered about the origins of karaoke? According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, the first karaoke machine was invented by Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue in Kobe, Japan, in the early 1970s. After becoming popular in Japan, karaoke spread to East and Southeast Asia during the 1980s and subsequently to other parts of the world in its modern state.

And looking to the future, will Korea Town ever evolve enough to provide us with these sort of karoke palaces?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Say it ain't so. Global warming takes a nasty, nasty turn.

If this doesn't get you doing whatever you can to help curb global warming, I fear nothing will. Pubs without beer in Oz and NZ?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Because you were probably wondering what Jimmy Fallon was up to these days

Rumour has it that Jimmy Fallon is set to take over for Conan O'Brien when the latter takes over the Tonight Show from Jay Leno some time next year. Remember how funny Fallon used to be as... (um, Church Lady? No), and all those times he made you laugh with his catch phrase... (um, 'I'm Rick James, bitch!' No). Well, there was always him not being able to stay in character, so that is something, right? Anyhoo, Conan is funny but I'm too old to stay up and watch his show. So, on the plus side, the chances of me ever seeing Fallon's show, even accidentally, are practically nill.

Admittedly we're not dealing with a lot of depth here, but this is Jimmy Fallon at his finest... talking it out, on the Barry Gibb Talk Show.

If the video doesn't load click here:

Note to self: I can't believe I didn't include, "I'm Barry Gibb! I will put you in the ground!", in my favourite quotes from 2007. And yet, NBC cuts off the clip JUST before he utters this line, AND before he sings the show's theme song (...talkin bout chest hair and crazy cool medallions). I feel cheated and so should you. What gives NBC?

The full skit can be found here (as of May 13th anyway):

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mad Hops

Check out this video of Kobe Bryant jumping over an Aston Martin. This is similar in tone to the Ronaldinho spot from last year where he kept shooting the ball off the crossbar. Nike is really doing some interesting things with their marketing. Very cool.

Ronaldo's response to Ronaldinho's spot is worth watching if you've never seen it (watch Ronaldinho's first).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Imagine the hangover

Jack Black's character (Dewey Finn) in School of Rock sang "You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore". This is living hardcore: A Russian man trying to sleep off a night of after-work drinking failed to notice a six-inch (15-cm) knife in his back - until his wife woke him up.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Caffeine: the original gateway drug. A Shocking Expose on our Nation’s Dirty Little Secret

A Supastar Collective Screenplay

Exterior - Camera pans scenes of skid row, signs of dereliction, homelessness and rampant drug use.

(Display on screen)
In Canada, illicit drugs cost the taxpayer an estimated $5 billion annually in crime, lost productivity, health care and enforcement.

63% of federal offenders have drug abuse problems.

Fade to black

Fade In

(Display on screen)
Gateway Drug: “A habit-forming drug that is not addictive but its use may lead to the use of other addictive drugs.” (source:

Fade to black

Interior - Doctor's Office:
Subtitle: Dr. Von Mergelas, drug prevention expert

Gateway drugs serve as social and psychological precursors to the use of other drugs. The decision to use coffee sets up a pattern of behaviour that makes it easier for a user to go on to other drugs. Social psychologists refer to this phenomenon as a “developmental progression”. Children who decide to accept the risks of drinking coffee later find it much easier to accept the risks of other, more destructive, drugs.

Fade to black

(Display on screen)
Almost 100% of all heroin users admit to having tried coffee before their first heroin experience.

Heroin addicts rarely, if ever, begin their drug use with heroin – they start with a gateway drug, such as coffee, and then progress, or regress, to heroin.

INTERVIEWER (off-screen)
So, in your opinion, what needs to be done?

From a public policy standpoint, coffee awareness programs are essential. Prevention of cocaine and heroin use begins with preventing coffee use. If children learn to make good decisions regarding gateway drugs, such as coffee, they are unlikely to begin using controlled substances.

I had no idea.

Most people don’t. Using coffee breaks down your inhibitions, changing the way you feel about drugs in general. It leads to alcohol and marijuana abuse, which leads to cocaine and heroin. It’s a hop, skip and a jump from sipping cappuccino in a trendy coffee shop to dying in an alley with a needle in your arm. Tim Horton’s has a lot to answer for.

What’s that smell?

I don’t smell anything.

(Sniffing, standing and looking through a partially closed door)
You’re brewing a pot of coffee in there!

(Standing and pushing the camera aside)
This interview is over!

Fade to black

(Display on screen)
The extent of caffeine usage far exceeds that estimated for alcohol and nicotine, and is the most widely consumed psychotropic drug worldwide.

(Display on screen)
1.4 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day worldwide.

Interior - High School cafeteria.
Interviewer and interviewee walking side-by side
Subtitle: Barbara Reynolds, High School Principal

I’ve proposed a total coffee ban on school grounds. It’s become a serious problem. At first I didn’t think much about it. Very few kids drank it, except for a few girls who wanted to look older. But now, since Tim Horton’s came along and offered to sponsor our marching band, everyone’s drinking it.

(starting to get angry)
Now we’ve got a goddamn barista sitting in the corner of our cafeteria filling our students full of this, this, this…crap! New marching band uniforms don’t make up for the fact that many of these kids’ lives are probably ruined!

The problem is that these companies are marketing directly to kids, the way the tobacco industry did in the sixties and seventies with Joe Camel. They got an entire generation hooked on cigarettes before the government regulated their advertising practices.

Do you really believe that the coffee industry consciously targets kids in its campaigns?

I have no doubt whatsoever. Can you imagine any self-respecting adult ordering a triple non-fat caramel macchiato with extra foam? Never going to happen. These coffee drinks are disguised as shakes and smoothies so they appeal to kids. And the message is, if you don’t drink coffee, you’re not cool.

(Display on Screen)
Coffee/caffeine experimentation by teens is far greater than that of marijuana, alcohol and even tobacco.

Cut to: Interior - Student Lounge
(Interviewer sitting down with three fourteen year olds)

So do you guys like drinking coffee? Do you feel any pressure to drink it?

KID 1 (male)
Well, I never buy coffee myself, but if I’m at a party and someone’s making a pot, I’ll use it.

KID 2 (male)
I think coffee’s stupid. I don’t know how anyone can drink that stuff. Everyone knows what it can lead to. People at this school drink it just to be cool, but it’s really destroying their health, and making their teeth all brown. People might call me a loser, but I don’t care, I’ll be laughing at them in university.

KID 3 (female)
Personally, I don’t know what the big deal is. My Mom told me that she drank tons of coffee at Woodstock, and she’s fine. She drinks it in front of me and my sister, and she let’s us drink it on the weekends if we want to. She knows she can trust us to drink it responsibly.

Fade to black

(Display on screen)
More than 40% of all teenagers 18 to 19 years old drink similar amounts of coffee as older generations.

Exterior - Trendy Queen Street West

We’re pushing for a complete ban on coffee sales and the closure of all the Tim Horton’s and Starbucks in the city. Youth unemployment, homelessness and the increase in violent crime all have direct links to coffee. I don’t need some professor in a lab coat to show me stats, because I know it makes our streets more dangerous and my job more difficult For three years I’ve patrolled this tough area of Queen street, which we call “the coffee beat”, and I can tell you without a doubt that there is a direct connection between what you see in front of you …
(camera pans the generally clean Queen West area)

…and coffee abuse.

Let’s face it, coffee doesn’t find these kids by accident. We all know that coffee comes from Colombia, and we all know what else comes from Colombia, right? Cocaine, and big business in Colombia is controlled by the cocaine cartels, including the coffee trade. The cartels know that coffee abuse is the first step in the progression to becoming a regular cocaine user.

Don’t major corporations, like General Foods and Nestle produce and sell most of the coffee we drink?

They might want you to think that, but you don’t have to be a genius to know that it’s all a front for the cocaine cartels.

Apparently not.

(Pregnant pause)
(Interviewer motions towards police car)
(camera zooms in on car interior)

What’s in that thermos on your front seat?

(Begins to pull out billy club)
Do you have a permit to be making this film? I suggest you move along.

(Display on Screen)
When Venice imported coffee beans for the first time in 1615, the Catholic Church immediately denounced it as 'the drink of infidels'.

Cut to: Interior - coffee shop
(Interviewee is behind the counter. He is the shop owner, a middle age WASP, no foreign accent.)
Subtitle: James McDurphy, coffee shop owner

Do I sell coffee to kids? Sure, if they order it. It’s not illegal. Most of my customers are lawyers and bankers from Bay Street. I’m fulfilling a need for my customers, and I’m not breaking any laws! I pay my taxes. But I get people coming into my store, calling me a criminal and threatening me with violence! They tell me to go back to my own country and peddle my drugs there…. to be honest, I don’t quite understand what they mean by that. My family has lived in lower Rosedale for five generations.

Fade to black

(Display on screen)
The number of Starbucks coffee shops worldwide: 5,886

The number of Tim Horton’s stores in Canada: more than 2,200

Interior - An upper middle class suburban home.
(Worried mother sitting at kitchen table)

It’s like I don’t even know my own daughter anymore. I mean she’s always bright-eyed, wide-awake and on the Dean’s list, but I’m deathly afraid for her.

(Camera pulls back to include daughter, sitting across the table, drinking a cup of coffee. Normal, healthy teen. Rolls eyes in disgust at mother’s concern)

(Close-up of Mother):
Sometimes I feel like I’m losing her. First she was drinking coffee, and then last week, I sent her to the mall to buy some new clothes for school, and she came home wearing these dangerously low jeans. She looked like some…some kind of…prostitute. I don’t even want to think about it. What’s next?! Drinking at parties, or staying out all night, or…or…or… having sex?! (closes her eyes and crosses herself) I just have so much fear that she’s going to end up another statistic living on the streets of Toronto, or worse, in jail, or dead in a ditch somewhere.

Fade to black

(Display on Screen)
--> Low-rise jeans
--> Alcohol abuse
--> Underage sex
--> Drugs
--> Prostitution
--> Crime
--> Jail
--> Death

Interior-Rehab Clinic, two people being interviewed, seated side by side, one a counselor, the other a rehab patient.
Subtitle: John Jenner, Drug Rehab Counselor

Our role is not to judge, it’s to help people get healthy. But – and I’m very clear with my patients – coffee is what put you in here, and if you drink it again you will die.

Fade to black

(Display on Screen)
Voltaire reportedly drank 50 cups of coffee a day.

Fade in to same setting as before

Camera moves from shot of both people to close up of patient, a disheveled 23 year old:
Subtitle: recovering addict

I know this wouldn’t have happened to me without coffee. I first smoked pot at 11, snorted coke at 12 and was free-basing by 14. But I had definitely tried coffee a bunch of times before I got involved in any of that other shit. Once, after a big night of weed, coke, and, like, twelve cups of coffee, I woke up literally lying in a gutter. That was the lowest I got. And then I looked up and I thought I saw God standing before me in the alleyway… turns out it was a dog and I was looking in a mirror. That was when I figured I better get off the juice.

Fade to black

Exterior - van parked in front of a high school

(Getting out of van, speaking to camera)
We tried to contact the Canadian Coffee Products Council to find out if in fact they are trying to capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of the nation’s children through advertising, effectively hooking them for life before they finish high school. They denied our requests for an on camera interview, but issued a written statement to us, denying any improper advertising practices by their members.

(holds up letter for camera to see)
(reads part of letter on camera)
‘Coffee drinking in moderation, around four to five cups a day, is perfectly safe and is increasingly being shown to confer some health benefits. However, it has been suggested that caffeine, that naturally occurring mild central nervous system stimulant found in coffee, is an addictive substance. This is simply not the case.”

We decided to take this letter back to high school Principal, Barbara Reynolds, to find out what she thinks of the coffee council’s denials.

(Mrs. Reynolds is across the parking lot, unlocking her car)

(Approaching Principal in a school parking lot, waving letter, calling out from distance)
Mrs. Reynolds, we’d like to get your reaction to a letter we received from… (voice trails off)

(now standing in front of Principal)
What is that?

(about to get into her car)
(defensive tone)
What is what?

What is that in your hand?

(clearly holding a Tim Horton’s cup)
What is what in my hand?

That’s a cup of coffee.

No it isn’t.

Yes it is. It’s a Tim Horton’s coffee.

No it isn’t!
(Throws the coffee in the interviewer’s face and sprints off)

Camera holds on drenched interviewer for a second, while Mrs. Reynolds sprints away in the background. After several seconds, a marching band drummer walks by in background with big Tim Horton’s bass drum (Tim Horton’s logo is featured prominently on the drum and the teen-age boy is wearing the Tim Horton branded band uniform). Camera pans from interviewer to bass drummer and follows him as he marches into the distance.

Display on screen (one at a time) with drummer in background:

(Display on Screen)
Caffeine is the planet’s most widely used drug, with a per capita consumption of 70mg per day.

The Coffee Association of Canada estimates that 63% of all adult Canadians drink coffee on a daily basis, with the highest percentage of usage in Quebec.

A CASA study revealed that young women who drink coffee are significantly more likely to smoke (23.3% vs. 5.1%) and drink alcohol (69.8% vs. 29.5%) than young women who never drink coffee.

In addition to leading to cocaine and heroin addiction, critics contend that coffee increases risk of osteoporosis, pancreatic and breast cancer, complications during pregnancy, indigestion, heartburn, and a variety of other conditions and ailments.

There are currently no treatment programs in North America for coffee addiction


Thursday, April 17, 2008

I think I've finally found the spa for me....

The Hakone Yunessun spa in Japan offers an entirely different way to enjoy Beaujolais Nouveau.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The greatest blog ever?

I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. It was much better than Cats and I'm going to read it again and again. Yesterday, April 15, 2008, my law-talking-guy friend sent me this link and I think I understood, for the first time, why Al Gore invented the internet. I now share his gift with you, my loyal slightly worn around the edgers: Stuff White People Like.

Without a doubt this is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Unscientifically I rate it in my Top 3 funniest things ever read (along with the 'Men vs. Women' viral email of the late 90s and The Truth About Belgium. My apologies to Damian Lanigan as his All sport is faintly crap article from 2001 gets bumped off the podium. He had a good run.) Enjoy, and try not to cringe when it hits home (again and again...).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lego in a whole new light

Amateur photographer Mike Stimpson has recreated some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century... in Lego.

Monday, April 14, 2008

South Park's "Canada On Strike" Episode

South Park's instant classic, 'Canada On Strike'. This is the full episode. The best part begins at the 8:47 mark... 'What, What....' Also be sure to check out the beginning of the episode through when Canada goes on strike (33 second mark through the 5 minute mark), and the big battle (well, one part that occurs at the 15:30 mark).

And for old time's sake, Cartman sings 'Come Sail Away'.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Harold and Kumar are back for more wacky hijinks

If you've seen Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle you'll know it is one of the funniest movies of this millennium. If you haven't, you should rent it. Tonight. Well, the pot-loving boys are back in a new movie being released on April 25th: Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. The trailer looks funny and the movie features current and past members of the Daily Show, so its got that going for it, which is nice.

In my best movie speak.... Harold and Kumar are back! And this time they aren't just looking for White Castle. On April 25th, Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

God 2.0

God gets online and joins the architecture of inclusion with Dear God.

From their website:

Dear God is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer.

It doesn’t matter what your version of God is…Jesus, Allah, Buddha or simply a spiritual universal energy… praying to a higher power soothes and heals. It’s scientifically proven that people who pray are healthier, happier and more resilient.

Share your prayers here and help us create hope one prayer at a time. Simply send us your personal letter to your God and/or a picture that sums up your message visually. (Dear God will source a picture if you don’t have one).

Disclaimer: This website is totally independent and non-denominational. We are not a religious or spiritual/new-age organization. We have no affiliation or relationship to any church or religious or spiritual group or organization.

For what it is worth I read about this website while listening to R.E.M.'s "Supernatural Superserious". Pretty good tune.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Point Break Live! Day

Well, this just proves that San Francisco is the coolest place on the planet*. The mayor has proclaimed April 11, 2008, to be "Point Break Live!" Day. What is "Point Break Live!", you ask? From what I've read it sounds like the greatest theatrical production this side of "Evil Dead: The Musical". Here's what their official website has to say:

"Point Break Live!" is the absurdist stage adaptation of the 1992 Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze extreme-sports blockbuster that tells the story of former College football star, Johnny Utah, in pursuit of the surfing, bank robbing, skydiving, bare-hand-fighting adrenaline-junkie-cum-Zen-master Bodhi Sattva.

(And here's the best part...)

The starring role of Johnny Utah is selected from the audience each night, and reads their entire script off of cue-cards. This method manages to capture the rawness of a Keanu Reeves performance even from those who generally think themselves incapable of acting. The fun starts immediately with the "screen test" wherein the volunteer Keanus (usually 5-15 men and women vie for the role) go through a grueling audition process. The part is then cast via applaus-o-meter.

"Point Break Live!" is presented by New Rock Theater Productions.

And, of course, here's some info on the greatest film of 1991, Point Break.

* Seattle deserves some props since that is where the show originated... but they didn't give the show its own day. Ha! Seattle, you got pwned by SF.

Bodhi, this is your wakeup call! I am an F...B... I... agent....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are those hints of vanilla or vanilla extract in my coffee?

Have coffee lovers finally lost their minds?

Starbucks has nothing on this: $11,000 for the Clover?! This thing pulls down the French Press' pants and mocks it.

Is coffee the new wine? Is life too short to drink bad coffee?

Of course, no fear for most of you. The main answer remains the same, 'yes, it still contains caffeine'.... Sweet, sweet caffeine, giver of life....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One laptop per child

It isn't always just pop culture minutiae and pure frivolity here at Slightly Worn Around the Edges. Every now and then we like to take our slightly worn edges and highlight a good cause, particularly those that are accessible via the interweb. I recently looked up what was happening with the $100 Laptop since it seems to have dropped out of the news and it led me to the One Laptop per Child Foundation:

The mission of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) movement is to ensure that all school-aged children in the developing world are able to engage effectively with their own personal laptop, networked to the world, so that they, their families and their communities can openly learn and learn about learning.

Now, the "$100 Laptop" has turned out be just be a number designed to garner attention the to the cause (much like Wilt Chamberlain's boast that he bedded 10,000 women... but also totally different). Unfortunately that number also generated a bit of a backlash and the new number appears to be $200, which is still not a lot of money when you think about it. They used to offer a give one-get one program where you could buy one for yourself if you also bought one for a child in the developing world (so, $200), but now it is $200 to buy one for a child in need and it doesn't sound like you can buy one for yourself. The give one-get one program ended December 31, 2007. Still, a very worthy and interesting cause. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The best reason yet to love April?

If the warming sun of the slow arriving Spring isn't enough to melt your cold, cold heart (and yes, April can be the cruelest month), perhaps this will change your mind about the fourth month of the calendar: April is National Grilled Cheese Month. (!?!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Explanations for everything

Ever wondered why a football/soccer match between two local teams is called a "derby"? Well, wonder no more. Michael Quinion explains on his wild and wonderful website: World Wide Words.

Here are a few other, non-football, explanations for various words and phrases:

1. Truthiness - for fans of the Colbert Report

2. Going to hell in a handbasket

3. High Street

Friday, April 4, 2008

How we will watch TV in the future?

Can the future of TV really have a name like Hulu? Sounds a little too Star Trek for me, but what do I know? Interesting article on Hulu in Slate.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The cocaine tourist?

Or is that 'traveler'? Amazingly, this isn't just a clever euphemism for a tourist who covers a country in a frantic, mad dash ticking off sites without taking the time to appreciate them....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bringing back the mixtape

I stumbled across two websites recently devoted to the beloved mixtape and was intrigued by their promise. I'm not sure of the legal ramifications of what they are doing vis-a-vis copyright laws, but their Terms of Use would seem to indicate they pay royalties to the necessary places. I uploaded a mix to each site to get a feel for how each of them worked. In short, very simply. It is hard to imagine the process being much easier.

With Mixwit you search for songs online using a couple of different search engines, and then can upload/link them to your playlist. You can also add your own artwork and a number of other personal touches. Since you aren't actually uploading songs from your computer it is quite fast. The drawback is that some of the songs you find won't play (it flags this for you and advises you to test them out before publishing your mixtape). Here's the first one, on Mixwit:

And the second one, from Muxtape. With Muxtape you upload songs from your collection. I'm not sure if it was just a bad night, but it took forever to upload songs.

From their website: Muxtape is a service for creating mixtapes. Users may not upload multiple songs from the same album or artist, or songs they do not have permission to let Muxtape use. Individual users may not create multiple muxtapes. Accounts not meeting these restrictions are subject to termination without notice. Muxtape will never reveal your email address to a third party. Muxtape is alive.

Here's my Muxtape mixtape:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More baseball: revisting the greatest sports-related April Fool's joke of all time

Sports Illustrated's "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch"

I think the Jays could use Finch this year.

Baseball salaries

And in the "isn't baseball wonderful" category, we have news that Alex Rodriguez will earn more money this year than the entire Florida Marlins roster. And revenues continue to soar. Who needs competitive balance??