February 27, 2011

February 25, 2011

It's Not a Lie If You Believe It.

A point I never hear many people address:

The reason, Americans, that you have so many of the North America's best doctors is because you have a disastrous private system that sees a third party system regulating people's health at the expense of the patients. Who regulates it?
The Insurance Companies.
Funded by Pharma.
Paying your doctors.

And it pays well.

When the patients are able to pay, that is. And very few are now. Businesses are cutting health coverage and people haven't the expendable cash flow for things like a broken bone or a C-section.










Canadians flee to the US occasionally for doctors who are paid what our country and our system simply can't afford. But us Canadians also simply could not afford to live there.

Maddow: "Ask any Canadian which system they would prefer to have."

Abso-fucking-lutely.

Happy Friday! Best Drunken Interview Ever.





"I'M GONNA GET RACIAL HERE!" is officially the "Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife..." of 2011.

February 23, 2011

No News is Good News.

Yeah, I know, Facebook is still being a bitch and hasn't given my ball back.
I feel like I've been grounded.



Some people have gotten their accounts back after 4-10 days, and others have fallen prey to the technical bullshit that comes with a site that has 500 million members and their accounts have been lost permanently and people have had to start over.
This is not a big deal for me when it comes to my close friends and family, but all of my comedian friends have gained in popularity and are now big shots with 5000 friends and couldn't accept my request even if they wanted to.  I will have to settle for being their "fan".
Oy.

I have been trying to get better at Twitter in the meantime, but I gotta tell ya... it's no Facebook.  Not only do I have a very limited network of friends on Twitter (due to my using it mainly to track comedians, writers, unheardof musicians, and artists) but I find it a lot less exciting.  It is reads as just a page of words on my Blackberry, as oppposed to the excitement of pictures, videos and personality that was Facebook.  Sure, Twitter LINKS to cool shit, but I don't have that kind of time.*

Artist: Scottie Young. Greg turned me on to him when he bought me his work 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'.  He is amazing.

In the meantime, it has freed me to pay a little more attention to my blog that very few people read, and it has reminded me that I do not feel alone or abandoned without Facebook.

That is a relief to me.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows I was really really good at Facebook.
I spent a good deal of time ensuring that people were entertained, educated, and excited when they refreshed their home pages.  It is not due to me thinking of myself as a minor celebrity (where would Facebook celebrity fall?  Just above porn extra, but below reality star ?)  It was because I found Facebook to be used by many people as a source of entertainment for themselves only.  They would complain that Facebook was boring or that their friends were boring but they, themselves, would do little to offer others a little nugget to brighten their day.  No videos of kitties playing with an ipad, no pictures of the cake they made, no music video they found entertaining, no witty statuses, no LIFE.
They are, not coincidentally, the same people who sit around complaining that they are bored.  No, you're not; you are boring.  There is a difference.
So I decided I would try and change that. It was a great way of connecting with people far and wide, it kept me searching for awesomeness, and it encouraged me to see the world through the eyes of another's enjoyment of life.

And THAT is what I miss.

I am okay with not knowing what others are up to.  I have a large enough social network in reality that I haven't needed to supplement it (replace it?) with a cyber world.

But sometimes I wasn't so sure.  (The monster looks back at you, yes?)
Until I lost Facebook, I WAS a bit afraid I would be one of those people who would cry and throw their phone against the wall if Facebook ever shut down or our government took our internets away.  I hear people all the time try and convince me that they ENJOY smoking and could quit at any time. I never did believe them.
And here I was, chain-Facebooking.  I could have ended up just like them.

Can I get a collective "PHEW"?


So, here is my Twitter link, although I don't recommend it:
http://twitter.com/#!/Arbitral


I will connect with you all soon, and in the meantime:
-Watch 'Away We Go'
-Get the new Radiohead album 'The King of Limbs'
-Listen to the podcast 'WTF with Marc Maron' (if you like comedy and greatness)
and miss me.

Because I miss you.
And I actually mean that in a non co-dependent way, even.




*I totally have that kind of time.  I think I'm just not doing it for spite.  I have a bit of a hate-on for Twitter and what I think it's doing to people.

February 22, 2011

Your Video of the Day.

The song is nothing more than a really unnecessary remake for an equally unnecessary movie, and the video is just a cluster-fuck panoply of stale 80s references, but at around the 2:27 mark, it redeems itself and then some.  Topher Grace as Marty McFly.
GOLD, Jerry.


February 19, 2011

Vote With Your Dollar.

People say this and I am a big believer in it.

There is a reason I do not shop at the Walmarts. It is not that they are evil (though some are) or that these places are too pedestrian for someone as sophisticated as I.
It is because the Mom & Pop stores are dying and I adore those places. I miss bodegas and markets and the lovely gems you'd find when going for a stroll. It's hard to miss a Canadian Tire or Sobey's.
Lately, I have seen the numbers and the amount of independently owned businesses are at an all-time low. ("Mommy, what's a record store?") This makes me sad, and the only thing I can really do, besides signing online petitions and joining facebook groups that do a little bit less than nothing, is to ensure my dollar goes to support these stores before they are closed down to become cupcake shops.*

Here's my issue with this concept, though... (you knew it was coming):

The voting is done by those who have been SPENDING the money, not making the money.


This is an important distinction. Like the difference between the consumer vs the customer. This is why most commercials are tailored to the women of the house. They are the customer, but any number of people of the house could be the consumer.
This is the end of that same rope.

The people out there spending the majority of the money being made now are the children, teenagers, and adult children (ages 18-30) of the money makers.

And they are fucking asshats.
















They are a marketer's dream because they are still convinced that you are what you can show off and you can be anything with minimal effort or talent.
They will buy the shiniest piece of shit for the most inflated margin and they will treat everything like a temporary fix and be back tomorrow for the newest installation of tout in the social ladder olympics.

And don't get me wrong, I am aware that teenagers have always been ignorant. They SHOULD be. They are still learning what it means to be a douchebag, and there is never a point in telling a teenager anything they must learn for themselves. The problem is that they are constructing a society with this lack of knowledge. They are taking their ignorance and parlaying it into music, media, movies, and morality.

And it is fucking awful.
















The parents are making the money, passing it off to the ass hats, and then sitting down on the couch to drink scotch and forget they ever had dreams. The kids then go off to tell the big business machines what the little people are willing to spend their lives on.
And have you SEEN it out there? It is garbage. Almost all of it. And it SHOULD be. As an authentic reflection of the customer base it caters to, it is extremely accurate.

Once the adult children are out of the thick haze of celebrity envy, cock shafts, and Kokanee, they end up having children of their own and I see the cycle starting again. They are letting their children pick the toys, pick the TV shows, pick the clothes they wear, at less than three years old. No guidance... just the path of least resistance.
And it is all enveloped in the ironic guise of self expression.
Except it isn't they who are deciding what they wish to express. They barely even had time to decide who they wanted to be let alone how they wished to express it. They paid the people to tell them how they should be behaving and who they should be emulating. Kim Kardashian made 65 million dollars last year.

People are being touted as movie stars and music icons before they even have their first single out. We don't have to decide who is important enough to worship anymore; it is decided long before we even know who Justin Bieber is. And then people sit on the computer waiting for the next "big" thing.
Not the next great thing. That is no longer important.

And when you are a teenager, being excellent isn't important. Being liked is. Being popular is. Being desired is.

And look around. This is what our society is now trying to sell US on.



Us, the ones who don't give a shit about that anymore.
Us, who do not want to pretend to be lesbians and dance to auto-tune at clubs.
Us, who know what good beer tastes like.
Us, who do not think porn stars are actual "stars".
Us, who know when a label is doing nothing more than using us as a walking billboard.
Us, who can read an article more than 500 characters long.
Us, who think beauty is a little deeper than lip gloss.
Us, who want our news scrupulous, not sensational.
Us, who do not think that showing your tits is empowering to women.
Us, who think our kids should be eating real food, drinking water, listen to artist's music, reading the classics, and playing in the mud.
Us, who are trying to make our voices heard.

Not much is designed for the Gen-X anymore. Ironic that when we would have been the ignorant, shopaholic teenagers I am talking about, we were too busy being broke-ass grunge punks on broken skateboards and listening to skipping CD Walkmans to notice the impact we could have had... if we had the money.


Now I do have money.
But my vote doesn't count anymore.








*What the hell is with the cupcake craze? Is it due to the reality show about Heather and Lori's cupcakes, because they ARE divine and the girls ARE amazing, but honestly, it's nuts. Cupcake boutiques are EVERYWHERE.

And On That Note...



Heather Russell is from Toronto.
She has been writing her own music since she was 7.
Simon Cowell just signed her.

You'll be hearing more from her...

February 18, 2011

"Please deny your children their dreams. "

"Dear Parents,

Please deny your children their dreams.

The child stars you keep complaining about? The ones who go off the rails? That happens because a parent, with stars in their eyes and dreams of fame and living vicariously, decides it’s all right to let the child pursue acting, or dance, or whatnot – and that way madness lies.

I hear you though -- “But she just LOVES to sing and dance! How can I get in her way? How can I prevent her from doing what she LOVES?” I’m not saying you have to lock her in the basement. Let her sing! Let her dance! But why does she have to be an employed professional? Most of the people – good or not – who try out for American Idol are adult, or close to it. Their passions, which I’m sure they had since they were kids, are still alive. Why do you have to drive your kid’s for her?

Let’s say your child wants to be in showbiz and you say yes – what if she doesn’t get hired? What if it’s a long slog of no work and his self esteem gets bruised? Or what if she does get hired, and then all your time and energy goes into taking care of her career? How will your other kids feel? How will you feel, now that you’re just a chauffeur? What if your kid works once, one show or commercial, and then never gets a day of work again? All washed up? That? What if you have to move across the country for him to get work? Is that going to affect your family? How many parents of child stars are divorced? Take a good guess…

Lest you think I’m a hypocrite – yes, I’ve worked with child actors. Key word being actors. They are not stars. Every last one of them would tell you that Canada is different. You can still grow up here and make mistakes and be a normal teenager. There isn’t paparazzi. And none of them have their faces on bedsheets and mugs and toothbrushes.

And no, I’ve never been a parent- but I’ve been a kid. And I had Dreams. And you know what my parents said? ‘Absolutely not. You can try when you’re an adult, if you want to.’ My passion was real. My talent was not. So I never became an actor. Instead I discovered my love of being in charge and bossing people around, which you can do quite well as a writer. Or Producer. Or Director. Or anything where you aren’t Famous. But I know that fame hunger eats away at people…

There comes a level of fame where it’s Just. Too. Much. And it’s a lot closer to the beginning than I think parents think. No wonder the kids can’t handle it. No wonder they’re acting out – in completely normal ways, by the way – and freaking out parents across the nation.

But OK, you say to me – my kid isn’t going to be a ‘child star’, she’s going to be a serious actor. Look at Natalie Portman! She was a child actor, and now she’s an adult actor! Yay!

To which I say: Annette Bening. Julia Roberts. Penelope Cruz. Nicole Kidman. Julianna Marguelies. Alison Janney. Salma Hayek. Tina Fey. The list goes on. You can be successful as an adult even if you haven’t been as a kid. If your kid has a passion for acting at 12? Great. Chances are she’ll still have that passion at 22, and she can pursue it, after you’ve spent her childhood teaching her to be a good, smart, savvy kid who can take care of herself in the professional world. I promise you she will not suffer for not having worked for 10 years already.

And of course there are exceptions to what I’m saying. I know a few of them personally. But so much depends. On who the family is, on when the fame hit, on what’s expected of the child at home. But we’ve seen the ‘child star has too much ‘ story play out waaay too many times for it to be a coincidence. The exceptions, of whom I’m very, very proud of, prove the rule.

So what about hockey moms and dads, Duana? What about them?

Look, I know less about the hockey and other pro-sports worlds. I do know there can be an immense amount of pressure. But the difference is, at the very least, that you can’t go pro until you are (nominally) an adult. Who’s the youngest, most successful hockey star ever? Gretzky? Crosby? They can’t begin to have the same amount of wealth and pressure that Mary Kate and Ashley did. Those two had how many employees by the age of six?

And while I’m at it?

Please, please stop making TV actors your role models for your children. It is bullsh-t. I hear it so much. “I used to think that Hannah was a good role model but now she isn’t!” You’ve forgotten the natural progression of things, i.e. – people grow up. Teenagers do things the world cannot like or understand.

Explain to your children the difference between characters and actors. I know they can figure it out. Explain that entertainers are fun, but they’re not who we look up to and want to be like. That’s saved for (insert role model of your choice, but I highly recommend it’s not someone who’s famous). Explain to your kids that celebrities are Just. Like. Us. So sometimes they make bad choices and do bad things and that’s okay because nobody’s perfect.

Remind your kids that people are on TV because someone liked them, and made the choice that the rest of us would also like them. That it doesn’t mean they’re the best, overall, at everything. It just means they got chosen once, and that could all change. Way too quickly.

Again, I don’t have kids. Maybe I’ll be running out to open calls and talent searches if one day I do. But I would be very very surprised.

And you can yell at me if I do."



source: http://www.laineygossip.com/Child_stars_and_saying_no_to_dreams_Written_by_Duana_.aspx?CatID=0&CelID=0

February 16, 2011

Facebook Deactivated Me.

... possibly due to being too awesome for them to handle, but I can't prove it.

  

For a moment, I was pretty upset by it.
And then I thought...



... shut the fuck up, Sheena.
Some people have real problems.

In the meantime, the "ohmyGod, where did you GO?" emails and calls and texts have been crazy sweet.  It's nice to know that I am not only missed, but missed because I brighten people's day.
Hopefully, I will catch up with you all soon.

February 13, 2011

I Go Through This Every Year.



Random Facebook Stranger (actually a friend named D, but for this particular post, he shall remain anonymous):

"I actually celebrated it last year with the girl I was seeing at the time but honestly, if you aren't acting loving during the rest of the year one day ain't gonna make a difference..other than to retailers and restaurants and flowershops and jewelry shops..."

And Sheena goes off on her yearly Valentine's Day defiance rant:


"See, this is always the argument, and I always call bullshit.
It doesn't mean that people who celebrate Valentine's Day are not romantic the rest of the year. It is not an either/ or scenario.

Greg got the weekend off. We haven't had a day off together since I started at this job.
We went out and I had a Lush shopping spree, he bought comics.
We splurged on food we would not normally eat for financial and health reasons.
We saw a movie in Imax rather than a regular theatre.
We ate popcorn and chips in bed. And made crumbs.
We went to an Indian restaurant that was all decked out in hearts and cupids and I had a girlie drink.
We went to bed at 7pm only to get up again at 9pm.
We dressed up more so than we normally would have.

It is but a reason to be a little extra indulgent. Love is there 365, but sometimes money isn't. Opportunity isn't. An excuse to be ridiculous and irresponsible isn't."

I'm getting tired of it all. Either you are romantic and exceptional ALL year round (no one is), or you are only romantic on Valentine's Day. There is no AND. You are either compensating for your lack of love and appreciation the rest of... the year or you are buckling under the pressure of social convention.
It is ridiculous and every year I get to listen to the 'fuck, V-Day' bullshit. 

You celebrate birthdays, yes? 
Then stuff yourself and let me enjoy this day in peace.

February 4, 2011

Your Ari of the Day. Also, I am a Racist. (UPDATE)

Ari, a former comedian and now aggressive Conservative, and his Republican supporters defend name calling by name calling. I get involved.  It goes on for a while.  And it ends as I probably should have known it would.






























Well that spiraled out of control rather fucking quickly, dontchathink?

For the record, the only thing I "judged" was their tone and their communication style, and would have done the same to a group of rowdy Liberals.  I also never told them how I summarized my experience of dealing with them.  The most fascinating part of it all was how they interpreted everything I DIDN'T say.  Reading between the lines of this is like trying to build a castle with doughnut holes.

UPDATE:

















I then changed my profile picture to a less than flattering picture of "Annie" and ended the conversation for good. It was clearly no longer a discussion, but a bunch of angry women in an angry room together being angry.













Also, "cat" is my hero.