Monday, April 30, 2012

A heartwarming tale about Winnipeg's Uncle Bob

Archie and Bob. The dummy's on the left. 

When I was a kid, there was no bigger star than Winnipeg children's entertainer "Uncle Bob."

Uncle Bob and his dummy "Archie Wood" hosted Archie and His Friends, a locally produced daily kids' show that ran from the 60s to the 80s on CTV. "The friends" were Tammy True (Archie in a wig), Grandpa Wood (ditto) and sock puppets Petite the dog and Marvin Mouse (some of whom now reside at the Manitoba Museum).

Also featured prominently: the good children of Winnipeg, who Bob would call on their birthday live from the show. I recall playing in the sandbox on my fifth or sixth birthday, when mom called me: "Kenton - Uncle Bob's on the phone!"
The conversation:

Uncle Bob: Happy birthday, Kenton.

Kenton: Uh-huh.

Uncle Bob: What are you up to?

Kenton: Sand.
Even better, Uncle Bob had a cottage in Sandy Hook, where I'd go visit my friend from time to time. We'd hop on bikes and drive past the place, which had an Elmer the Safety Elephant flag flying in the front yard. If we were lucky, we'd see Uncle Bob mowing the lawn.

On one occasion, my friend's brother even got to go boating with his dad and Uncle Bob himself. Once on the boat, the kid couldn't contain his enthusiasm:
Kid: Uncle Bob! Tell me about Archie Wood. Does he live in your house? Would he like to be my friend? Is he friends with Tammy True? Where's Marvin Mouse?
At this point, Bob had had a lifetime of kids asking him these questions. Plus, he'd been consuming some "tasty beverages."
Uncle Bob: Be quiet kid - and pass me a brown one.
The kid shut up, reached into the cooler, and passed Uncle Bob a beer - his dreams dashed, but with a larger lesson about the importance of consuming adult beverages and telling kids to shut their pie-holes imprinted forever on his mind. Elmer would be proud.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take your resume to the future and beyond with these awesome online tools

Resume the resume! Oh, sorry, I didn't see you consuming the consume. 

Wipe your soupy mouth with your old paper-based resume, and have a look at these handy tools to bring your resume into the 21st Century, Fox or Buzz or Buck or whoever you are:

Mobile resume builders: 

A mere 99 cents at the App Store, and you're ready to start building your resume mobile-style, wherever you happen to be. Your resume is Word- and PDF-compatible, and you can email it to a job prospect or print it on a Wi-Fi-enabled printer.

2. ResumeBear

This resume-builder's niche in the marketplace is its ability to track your resume in real time, so you know when it's being read, printed, or downloaded and by whom, all from the comfort of anywhere. Available at the App Store for the low-low price of free.

Facebook/LinkedIn apps: 

Sign in with Facebook and LinkedIn, and watch them become a pretty awesome visual representation of your life and times. You could be just like Bob Smith:

2. BranchOut

BranchOut is like having LinkedIn on Facebook. Browse jobs, build a profile, meet, repeat. 

3. LinkedIn Resume Builder

The sales pitch: "Pick a resume template, customize the content, and print and share the result to your heart's content." Nice-looking documents that I imagine will one day be the default resume setting for anyone with a LinkedIn profile.

4. Facebook Timeline

Now the default profile page for everyone on Facebook, this isn't a bad way to show off who you are and what you do, as long as it's not posting naked photos of you at the bar, which I'm told some potential employers may frown upon.


1. Zerply

Its motto: "Killing the resume." Catchy. With Zerply, the resume goes social network - follow and be followed in an open network of clients, employers, and job seekers. 

2. DoYouBuzz

Another cool visual solution to the same-old resume, DoYouBuzz lets you choose a template and colors and make it interactive by embedding images, video, presentations, and documents.

3. VisualCV

A simple online interface, custom URL, and impressive gallery of examples makes this one of the most user friendly of the bunch.

4. ResumeBaking

Another great online resume builder, which comes along with job postings, stats, cover-letter templates, and share functionality.


Or, you could always forgo the resume and just pitch for funding at Kickstarter

The Greatest Story Ever Told (on a test)

We've all had to write tests in which every question looks like Latin.

Forced into a corner by our own poor knowledge and/or test preparation, we must fight back using only our wits, which is to say: "ability to bullshit."

For me, it happened on the eighth-grade religion test. I recall concocting an answer involving some key concepts: Jesus, disciples, fish, water, boats, and a miracle. I also recall the teacher's comment on the marked paper: "Very creative!" God bless the optimists.

For this poor person, it's "the economine," a complicated concept that only gets more complicated with the introduction of someone named "Abroce Obamo." Ba-boom!


With the disclaimer that this isn't or wasn't one of my students, let's enjoy:
"I think that the economine going so badly for the past month or so is very effective to the consumer because costs have gone up, the cost of living has gone up. And people are getting laid off of their jobs, so they cannot support their families, because of the economine.

"More and more people file of barrupcise and for close of their home. I saw on the new that she caries a bag with all of her stuff in it because she has no money and she is forsed on the street. And no one knows how to solve the problem of money. It's either people spend to much on things they don't need or they get fired from their jobs. The cost of gas does not help one bit either.

"More and more people are trying to get better jobs or try to get more hours at the job they are already at. As I think about food as gone up to, so the way of life is costing a pretty penny. That people have to work extra hard at so there is food on the table for their families to servie.

"Abroce Obamo says that he has a plan that will fix this problem. But he also said that it won't get better over night, but at lest he has a plan that I believe is working." 
Not the Star Wars crawl, then.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mothers, don't let your comics open for rappers

Fresh IE meets student Mike Trakalo

An emcee should never open for an MC. 

While it was a delight to see husband and wife Fresh IE (Rob Wilson) and Sheila North Wilson at Red River College a couple of weeks ago, it brought back the time I opened for Fresh IE at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Shudder.

If you think that the audience for a Grammy-nominated rapper would be happy to see a white, aged comedian with ironic glasses and an non-ironic receding hairline tell Scooby-Doo jokes, then you're thinking exactly like me when I accepted the gig.

I've blurred out most of what happened at the big event, but I recall looking out into the audience and thinking, "Boy, Fresh IE sure has lots of young, female fans." So I started mentally cutting jokes until all I had was the handful that I'd written especially for the occasion.

I'd forgotten what the jokes were, until I found this scrap of paper in a drawer the other day:

The dessert list, madam.

The jokes:
  • I once opened for a Jewish rapper: Fresh Oy Vey.
  • I once opened for a farmer rapper: Fresh EIEIO.
  • I once opened for a baker rapper: Pillsbury Poppin' Fresh IE.
  • I once opened for a homeless rapper: Not So Fresh IE.
Thank you. Good night!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Greatest Story Ever Told (in a community newspaper)

The humanity! And that's just the sentence structure.

This awesome article is from a Canadian community newspaper, which shall remain nameless. Paragraph breaks are mine. We can blame the writer for everything else:
"God Picks No Favorites is what comes to mind when you see the damage done to the First United Church on 3rd. Ave. N.W.

"Saturday nights winds left approximately Forty to Fifty thousand dollars damage to the Church which houses many memories for the people that accompany it.

"Upon walking inside the church the first thing you see is 1/2 of the North wall lying on whats left of the Floor. The area where the choir stands as well as the Priest was destroyed from the falling brick, also causing damage to the basement below.

"Nobody new about the damage until Sunday mourning and luckily there was no-body inside the Church at the time.

"By luck the Organ which is situated against the centre of the inside north wall received only a scratch while everything around it was crushed. There is also considerable damage to the south wall from the wind. The large front window will have to be rebuilt due to it being pushed and bent from the large gusts of wind.
"One person at the church was commented as saying that the damage in one word was shocking. It would be safe to say that the public should stay well away from the North and South wall of the church since there is still chance of more bricks to fall.

"Sunday service will now be held in the large Auditorium for now and if anyone may have any other questions concerning services you may call (number)."

Monday, April 23, 2012

A dozen new words as tough and transparent as the Tupac hologram

See number 11. Help me, Dr. Dre, you're my only hope.

1. Defibrilater - The device that provides therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart, only too late to bring you back to life.

2. Endsmeat - A generic term describing rump roasts and butt steaks.

3. Heat-seater - The person who left the chair you just sat on "uncomfortably warm and/or moist."

4. Intearn - The person getting a paid practicum.

5. Lostpostrophes - The missing apostrophes in writing, left out because the writer has no idea how they work.

6. Prodience - An audience reluctant to wake up and have fun.

7. Quaseating - Virtually nauseating.

8. Quition Statement - Your two weeks' notice in writing.

9. Romoney - I'm not just rich, I have "Romoney." And I'll bet $10,000 you don't.

10. Traintenance - The art of fixing trains.

11. 2Pac-D2 - The Tupac hologram's proper name.

12. Womenopause - The time in a man's life when his body goes through "the change."