So now even books have advance trailers? Well, it's working. This is one of the coolest pop-up books I've seen, but I think it will be some time before I'd let Tristan get his hands on it — it would be demolished in moments. Think of it as a kids book for adults. From graphic and book designer Marion Bataille, it is another example of typography brought to life.

Great moments in farting: The whoopee cushion

Are farts funny? Canadians once seemed to think so and the country's finest contribution to flatulence is the invention of the whoopee cushion.

We're an odd country sometimes, always taking pride in the oddest of things: annoying singers (Céline Dion, Bryan Adams, etc.), over-the-top comedians (Jim Carrey, even though I think he is getting U.S. citizenship) and fake breasts (hello Pamela Anderson!). But now it has been discovered we are the inventors of fake farts too.

I feel strangely proud of that. And here I thought our biggest fart joke was Terrence and Philip.

Music From Outer Space

Who would have thought the original cast of Star Trek would turn out to be such a musical bunch? Likely no one, after the spoken-word stylings of William Shatner and the unintentionally hilarious Leonard Nimoy.

Still, that hasn't stopped George Takei from joining their ranks, not with an album but as a country singer on the upcoming Secret Talents of the Stars on April 8. Yep, CBS is essentially reviving Circus of the Stars and everything old is new again.

Seeing as we will soon be hearing Mr. Sulu's dulcet tones, why not a review of what has come before? Most people, when they think of Shatner and music probably think of his over-the-top rendition of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. While it is a camp classic, I've always been more partial to his interpretation of Elton John's Rocket Man at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards.

I actually listen to that one voluntarily — it has a way of growing on you. But Nimoy? Not so much. Highly Illogical is painful.

For even more on the song stylings of the Trek casts from Next Generation to Voyager, read The Collective's Star Tracks - Trek Stars Sing.

World's Toughest T-Shirt

The Righting Wrongs Dream Team: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Steven Seagal, Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood.

Looking at it will likely result in some sort of roundhouse kick. From Upper Playground via Film School Rejects.

March of the Bunnies

In the harshest place on Earth, the 30-Second Bunnies find a way. It's been awhile since I've linked to my furry little friends, but their mini-version of the March of the Penguins did the trick. Somehow the travails of the little suckers seemed a lot less grim and austere when whole cycle whips by in a blink of an eye. Be sure to indulge in the whole archive over at Angry Alien. Coming up later this year: Goodfellas. I can hardly wait — it should get a full minute.

A Way With Words

If a picture is worth a thousand words does it follow that it takes a thousand words to make a picture? Not if the words are used in kinetic typography, the art of combining typography with motion. It's one of those things that is easier to see than have explained, so here is a scene from Fight Club done only with type and audio.

If your tastes run more to comedy, Abbott and Costello's famous Who's On First routine is another great example.

I'm enough of a typography geek that I have a favourite font (Palintino) so I think these videos are amazing. Always Watching has a great collection of some of the best of kinetic typography, which I found through a Neatorama link. (Small aside, Neatorama's link to my Last Supper collection caused an avalanche of visitors and links.) You can check YouTube for more.

Go, Cobra!

From Cracked's 20 Insane Supervillain Schemes In Flowchart Form. Very funny stuff. If you haven't thought about Cracked since you were a teenager, check them out. They have changed.

Eye TV vs. Ear TV

All television is either Eye TV or Ear TV, argues Entertainment Weekly columnist Mark Harris. "Eye TV is intense: You care about it so much that not only do you know when it is on, you actually watch it when it is on. And you really watch it -- forks down, phones away, laptops idle.

"Most television os Ear TV. It's what you have on in the background while you are surfing the Internet or answering email or cleaning up... it never matters if it is a repeat or not."

That's as accurate a description of how I watch TV that I've ever heard. I'd say 90% of the shows I watch are done with a computer on my lap. Most of them either aren't compelling enough to give my full attention to or just don't require that much concentration.

There are, of course, exceptions. Lost requires that I close the laptop and watch closely. There is so much packed into each episode that if I look down I inevitably need to rewind to find out what was said, and I have to do that enough on the show to piece together all the connections.

I also give both by eyes and ears to 30 Rock and My Name is Earl, two shows that pile on laughs and clever lines so thick that it is impossible to do anything else but watch.

While not in the realm of this shows, the now-lamented jPod was quickly becoming Eye TV for me. Quirky and sly, it was a show I made a point of paying attention to. But not enough people were and it wasn't granted a second season. Now there is a growing group of people trying to save the show, of which I count myself as one. I don't know if it will work, but it is worth a shot.

Save jPod!
Save jPod petition
jPod ipetition
Facebook: jpod
Facebook: Save jPod Now!
Neotronic Arts
Cowboy's blog
VanCity Players
Ebay Neighborhood
Kam Fong Blog
JPod Info

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Danny Boy

Ok, if the Swedish Chef, Animal and Beeker don't do it for you, then how about a little Pogues?

Now keep away from that green beer.

Adventures in Reporting

Global Toronto reporter Rob Leth gets nailed by a toboggan while filming a segment, but still manages to finish his report. Points off for not sticking the landing though. This hill is just a few blocks from my house, and is covered in ice.

Reporter Owned By Sled - Watch more free videos

Geek Love

A circuit diagram from a New York Times tribute to Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax. It is way above my geek level, but I can relate to it more than I'd care to admit. Click on the image for a larger version.

Save jPod

Can fans really save a TV show from cancellation? The CBC had barely pulled the plug on the adaptation of Douglas Coupland's novel about a group of pop culture-spouting, cube-dwelling, Vancouver video game designers, when campaigns to save it started sprouting up.

It has been done before. Most recently fans of the show Jericho deluged CBS with tons of nuts in their successful campaign to revive the show. We've seen Family Guy and Futurama saved by robust DVD sales and Arrested Development is at least getting a big screen treatment following its premature demise. Fans of other shows on the cusp have purchased billboards and ads in Variety. Campaigners for Everwood set up a ferris wheel outside the executive's offices while Veronica Mars fans deluged the CW network with Mars Bars (to no avail as it turned out). Even the original Star Trek got a second life from a fan letter-writing campaign.

So it's not that it can't be done, it's just that those are the exceptions, not the rule. For every reprieve there are dozens more consigned to the dustbin every year. I've seen many of my favourite shows get the axe before their time: Andy Richter Controls the Universe, the aforementioned Arrested Development, The Critic and Sports Night just to name a few. But unlike all those other times, I want to try and help this time. So I have called the CBC, emailed audience relations and signed a petition calling for jPod's return. I can see those domains popping up in my stats, so I know somebody is reading.

That being said I don't think we should start sending crates of Robitussin to CBC headquarters — read Denis McGrath's excellent Emily Post's Guide to Save-Our-Show Campaigns post for exactly why — but I think it is worth trying something. It may not save the show, but there is no chance at all if we do nothing.

And if I can't convince you, here's what Raugi Yu, who plays Kam Fong on jPod, has to say:
Dear Friends,

Hi all, Raugi Yu here. I play Kam Fong on jPod. Okay, so you have heard that jPod has not been picked up for a second season by CBC. I got the call a couple of days ago about it.

At first I was upset and disappointed and immediately thought of the great times and experiences I had shooting jPod and how much I would take from that… There was one problem though… I kept wondering why. Why not have a season 2? I started to hear what others were saying. I heard anger, resentment and frustration. So many of you my friends along with thousands, yes thousands, of strangers have expressed outrage over the cancellation of jPod.

I got angry too.

One may think that, “Sure, I’d be angry too if I lost a steady gig like that”. Well that’s not what I’m angry about. Gigs come and go. It is no huge hardship for me to go back to auditioning and booking and living my life as an actor. It is my passion. No. It angers me that the CBC our nation’s television station (yes I know among other things) chooses to cancel a show that is so cutting edge, fun, smart and CANADIAN. So many viewers have gleaned joy from watching jPod week after week. We look forward to it; I dare say we yearn for it.

I’d like to go down swinging. Many of you, who know me well, know that I am quite a loner and I don’t ask for help often even when I need it. I guess I‘m asking now.

I’m a pretty chilled out go with the flow kind of guy, but I recognize that there are times in my life when I’ve got to fight. In surveying the land I recognize that I need a lot of help.

If you feel you can, please call CBC at: 1-866-306-4636, choose option 1 for English programming and choose option 1 again for the “Attendant” then ask for “Audience Services”. Audience Services will answer and at that point tell them how you feel about jPod being cancelled and how you would like to see a season 2.


E-mail them at

I alone can reach out to all of you and if all of you can reach even 2 people and we get that people ball rolling… we could possibly be jamming up some phone lines at CBC. Am I being naïve and hopeful? I hope so; it feels better than lying down and taking it.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all of you for watching the show and for all the great things you’ve all been saying about it.

Longevity and persistence is the key. Phone or e-mail, if you can do it everyday.

I send my love to you all and just to be clear, that love stays whether you phone, e-mail, write or not.

Thank you all!
Raugi Yu
A.K.A Kam Fong

There are are two petitions floating around: Request that CBC continue jPod and We the undersigned ask CBC to renew jPod over at Save jPod. There are also the request Facebook groups, jPod and Save jPod Now!

It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

CBC in a Coma

jPod has been sacrificed on the alter of TV ratings, as the CBC ignores the rest of its cultural mandate to "tell compelling, original, audacious and entertaining Canadian stories in a way that Canadians want to watch."

Based on Canadian author Douglas Coupland's work of the same name, jPod took place in Vancouver and was produced by a Canadian crew. With grow-ops, video game productions, Hollywood North and gangs (both Asian and biker) it was certainly telling an original and audacious Canadian story. Whether it was entertaining is a matter of taste (I'd say it was), but the numbers weren't to the network's liking, so down came the axe.

So what should that number be? A couple of years ago CBC TV Executive Vice-President Richard Stursberg suggested the network would need to attract audiences of a million for drama or comedy programs, which is a high bar for the CBC. Only the Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque on the Prairie crossed that barrier during the latest ratings periods.

The CBC is also trying to attract a younger audience to replace its aging demographic, which led to a slate of youth-skewing launches this January, which included The Border, jPod, MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives and Sophie. The Border has been renewed with an average audience of 700,000, as has Sophie which had 389,000 viewers in the most recent ratings (though that was reported as a lower-than-usual number).

The ratings for jPod ranged from 159,000 to 312,000 (it is hard to find average Canadian TV ratings), so it was obviously not a hit, but is that the business that the CBC should be in? Clearly they shouldn't be losing money, but if the mandate is telling Canadian stories and reeling in younger viewers, shouldn't it get more then 10 episodes before being put out to pasture?

TV writer Denis McGrath over at Dead Things on Sticks argues that the CBC needs to adjust its expectations and be happier with smaller numbers, especially if it is the right audience. TV critic Bill Brioux over at TV Feeds My Family says he liked the show but it's just business, and that's a good thing.

For my part, my wife and I never missed an episode and I heard people talking about jPod at work, one of the few times I'd ever heard people talking about CBC TV, outside of the news, hockey or Rick Mercer.

I just don't know what is going on over there — perhaps they ought to put the radio people in charge.

The Waldo Ultimatum

His identity erased. His past stolen. His whereabouts unknown. Where is Waldo?

I'm fresh out of ideas, so I'm posting another great parody I came across. This is from The Impondrables, a Toronto improv group.

Pulp Muppets

I may be the last one to have seen this, but I must share this digital mashup, Pulp Muppets. Some clever folks over at replaced all the faces of the Pulp Fiction actors and behold, you have Kermit as Vincent Vega, Fozzie as Jules Winnfield and Miss Piggy as Mia Wallace. Great stuff.


Is it wrong that this just makes me want to go out for Eggs Benedict? Gotta love a Calvin & Hobbes-inspired yoke - thanks to Ariel Bariel Long for the eggcellent work.