Tag Archives: comedy

Sunday Afternoon Rainy Day Matinee’

Simon's Cat copyright Simon Tolfield UK

Simon’s Cat copyright Simon Tolfield UK

It’s a rainy September Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. The skies are a weird colour combination of lead grey and dull white clouds. The breeze is noticeably chilly, and the rain is hissing down loudly. There was even some thunder earlier today. We don’t get too many thunderstorms in southwestern BC; it’s a bit of a spectacle when they actually happen here.  I debated with myself about what kind of post I should write today. God knows there’s plenty of serious stuff I could comment about, but I’m always thinking about the balance I try to keep between serious topics and humourous ones. I don’t want to ignore the things that I think might matter to people. On the other hand, I want the blog to be enjoyable for my readers (Hi Mum!)

Today I’m going to keep things light. I was mucking about on Youtube recently, when I discovered an animated cat video.

Don’t run away! It’s not THAT kind of Youtube cat video!

There’s a British cartoonist named Simon Tolfield who has created some wonderfully clever animated videos called Simon’s Cat. How have I missed this guy? His videos are hilarious and spot-on. He absolutely nails the attitude and behaviours of cats I’m sure we all have known in our lives.

Our next feature for today’s rainy day matinee’ is a delightfully whimsical cartoon created in France by students from the Gobelins School of Graphic Arts. It’s called Pandore, and it’s based on the famous Greek myth of Pandora’s box.

The next feature is Disney’s beautifully poignant telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale The Little Match Girl that he wrote in 1845. It’s such a sad, yet sweet story that I sort of remember from my childhood. It strikes a strong chord in me today because the message in Andersen’s story is still very relevant to all of us in the 21st century. It reminds us all that ‘there but for the Grace of God go I‘. We must all do what we can for those who are desperately in need.

Speaking of the 21st century, our final feature for today’s matinee’ is a very clever cartoon called ‘Glued‘, created in 2012 by Israeli animation students from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. I think this piece speaks volumes about our obsession with technology.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday afternoon matinee’. I thought it might be appropriate on a rainy September weekend 🙂

The Grumpy Ferret (Hey! Who ate all the popcorn?)

People I Really Wish I Could Share a Cup of Coffee

The other day I thought to myself, if you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, who would you want to meet?‘ I’m not big on celebrities or insanely famous people, but there are some folks who have influenced my life and I genuinely wish I could just sit down with them over a cup of coffee for a half hour and just have a chat.

In no particular order:

Douglas Coupland

The man who coined the term Generation X and wrote all those books like Microserfs and JPod about modern day technology that kind of mirror my own life. He’s an author, a designer, and an all around interesting guy I wish I could talk to. I’d probably ask him if he had any useful advice for how to discipline oneself when it comes to writing a book, since that’s something I want to do but I’m not sure I have the will to see it through. Any advice he might be able to share would be very much appreciated.

John Lasseter

This man founded Pixar back in the 1980’s. I remember watching one of his first computer generated films in 1987 at a conference in Vancouver and being blown away at how imaginative it was. John is now chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation and a god to all those who worship at the altar of computer animation. What I particularly admire about him is his commitment to story development. Pixar spends alot of time fleshing out the story for its movies before they begin production. I would love to have coffee with him, if it were in any way possible.

Andrew Weaver

Andrew is a professor of climate science at the University of Victoria and the first elected MLA for the Green Party in British Columbia. He’s also a Nobel Laureate who was part of the United Nations InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I admire what he’s accomplished in his life – I would so very much like to talk with him about where he thinks humanity is heading as global climatic conditions continue accelerating ahead of what was originally estimated. In fact, the IPCC stated in its original 2007 report that its findings might be considered as ‘conservative’. Did anyone remember that?

JK Rowling

If there’s an author I really respect for sheer perseverance and not giving up on an idea for a fantasy novel, it’s JK Rowling. I watched a documentary on CBC News about her long journey on how she came up with the idea for Harry Potter, and what it took for her to create such a brilliantly fanciful series that re-ignited people’s imaginations. There are one or two people who feel I ought to be writing fantasy like JK Rowling. I’d love to just get some pointers from her about how to start the process and go from there, although I suspect she’d tell me that it all boils down to just getting on with it (I know, I know – it’s so blindingly obvious, but so hard to do).

Annie Lennox

I will never forget the first time I saw Annie Lennox. It was in the old Colony Motor Inn Tavern in Victoria, a known biker hangout. Me and my fresh-faced Uvic buddies arrived late on a Saturday night in 1983. I saw her performing in the music video Sweet Dreams are Made of These. I was smitten not only by her looks (oh God, those eyes), but her voice was incredible. I never saw her perform live (damn it!), but I’ve always loved her music, especially when she sang the haunting Into the West for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I saw Annie’s performance at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. She was still fiery and original. I would go anywhere, do anything, just to have a cup of coffee with my favourite diva.

Brian Greene

Brian Greene is a professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University. He produced a PBS special called The Fabric of the Cosmos, a brilliant layman’s introduction to the world of quantum mechanics and quantum physics. The series was absolutely mind-blowing – it changed my perspective about life, the universe, and everything. For example, when you look around, you see what your eyes tell you is empty space. But that space isn’t empty at all – it’s filled with particles that at the smallest levels of existence are popping in and out of what we perceive to be reality. Not wild enough for you? How about the concept of multiple universes existing right now? I really wish I could sit down and have a chat with Brian Greene.

Robin Williams

I wish I could be as funny as Robin Williams. His rapid-fire improvisation and satire have given me so many needed laughs over the years. There are still some times when I think I ought to give stand-up improvisational comedy a try (but I’m afraid I couldn’t be as profane and vulgar as what most audiences seem to prefer). Sure, Robin has had numerous ups and downs in his life with alcohol and drugs, but he’s a comedic force of nature that I really enjoy. I think one of his best stand-out performances was when he did voice-over for the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. Sigh. I would so very much like to have coffee with this man, caffeine be damned 🙂

So there we go. I would truly like to share a cup of coffee with any one of these fine folks. Who knows? Maybe it might happen 🙂

The Grumpy Ferret (Hey! A ferret can dream, can’t I?)

It’s OK You Can ‘Dare to be Stupid’!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think there are far too many serious, uptight, unfunny people out there in the big, wide world. One of the hazards of being an adult is losing your sense of humour – to appreciate the funny and just plain wacky. Of course, what’s funny to one person might be considered as lame to another. For example, I never understood the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld. I was living in Japan when his television show appeared in North America. By the time I arrived back in Vancouver several years later, irony was all the rage. But I didn’t get it. On the flip side, I’m still a huge fan of Monty Python, which puts me squarely at odds with alot of people who don’t get English style humour.

One of my comedy touchstones is the parody music of Weird Al Yankovic. His ability to take popular songs and twist them into satire is really comic genius. I think it’s time to shake up this blog and deviate from some of the serious stuff I’ve posted during the month of May. Let’s all ‘Dare to be Stupid‘ !

Canadians work too hard. We really do. I think we need a new national holiday. Luckily, Weird Al has the perfect suggestion:

Alright, by this point you’re probably getting an idea of where my sense of humour lies. I admire Weird Al’s ability to craft satirical parody with popular music. It’s an art form that’s definitely an acquired taste, which is why I wash down copious amounts of my favourite alcoholic beverages when watching his videos. I’m going to warn you that from this point onwards, the content is going to start getting more graphic. Beam yourself out of cyberspace while you can!

I’m going to share some of my favourite animated Weird Al videos They’re politically incorrect, so if you get easily offended, this is your last warning.

You have been warned!

Another great video Weird Al did was in collaboration with the folks over at the JibJab website. Jibjab is famous for their interactive animations, so Al did a parody called ‘CNR’, which are the initials of the late TV actor Charles Nelson Reilly. I remember watching him as a child on shows like ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir‘, ‘Lidsville‘, and of course, the famous TV game shows ‘Hollywood Squares‘ and ‘Match Game‘.

When Lady Gaga released her album ‘Born This Way‘ in 2011, Weird Al produced a parody called ‘Perform This Way’. There was initial confusion about whether or not Lady Gaga’s managers granted permission for the parody, but Mother Monster gave Al her blessing. The parody was a major hit – I think it’s one of his most original works.

This final video is NOT by Weird Al, but I think it’s a terribly clever parody of the famous AC/DC song ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap‘. I’ll let ‘ewe’ be the judge 🙂

If any of these videos made you laugh, then my mission was accomplished!

As for me, I feel much better now 🙂

The Grumpy Ferret (So very very close, but no cigar!)