Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Eenie, meenie, miney, no.

The government is mailing ballots to begin the process of destroying the Canadian Wheat Board. Fortunately, in their effort to be tricky about it, they may have undone themselves. Or is the point to lose the vote, thereby ridding themselves of another troublesome policy plank? That strategy worked for gay marriage, after all.

The vote, which is a plebiscite (and therefore non-binding), gives farmers three possible recommendations for the future of CWB's role in the barley business. Farmers can elect to keep everything as is, to shut down the CWB's barley business altogether, or to have the CWB continue to operate, but in an open, non-monopsonous, non-monopolous market.

Any farmer who knows anything about their own business knows that the second and third choices are actually the same choice - in an open market, the CWB is castrated into uselessness. The only lever it has is the lever of being the only buyer and seller of Canadian barley. How big an advantage does this situation give Canadian farmers? Big enough that Americans appeal the CWB's existence under NAFTA. Big enough that Canadian farms are able to survive in the face of huge American subsidies (albeit overwhelmingly on corn, but the farmers are the same, even if the crop is not).

Why do I think the Tories might be trying to intentionally lose this one? There was a time when there were two parties on the right in this country, and neither of them fared so well. When you give people two choices that are too similar, that's called vote-splitting. No one knows this better than the Tories. In the meantime, although there's a vocal group who think otherwise, farmers aren't going to ruin a good thing. The open-market thing looks tempting, it might appeal to a sense of fairness, but in the end, farmers know which side their bread is buttered on. They know how the butter got there in the first place. They know who made the bread. They aren't going to screw themselves for the sake of some Fraser Institute free-market experiment.
Is it April 1st already?

It may be remembered as one of the greatest internet hoaxes since I sent that guy some money to help get him out of a Spanish Prison. This hoax, however, costs nothing but your time and eventually some self-esteem.

What is it? Why, it's Google TV! And despite my warning that this is just a little joke at our expense, some of you will watch the video and then try it out. I know - I did. It's detailed, it's plausible, and it's attractive. Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can't be conned.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gosh, I wish it wouldn't suck

The CBC is promoting the hell out of Little Mosque on the Prairie, claiming worldwide media attention, and certainly it's been recieving more than most of the CBC's sitcom clunkers over the years (that is to say, a little). They may be overselling the point, however, since they claim attention from Stephen Colbert, while the No Fact Zone, a regular watcher and documenter of Colbert, can't recall ever seeing anything about it (see near the bottom of the linked page). Perhaps Colbert's attention was attracted, until he realized that there's nothing more likely to encourage death to comedy than an earnest CBC sitcom, unless it's the Air Farce.

(Yes, I know, they've reanimated the corpse of the Air Farce with the sacrifice of some young new talent. But slightly better celebrity impersonations doesn't improve the writing one whit.)

It's generally true that Canadian sitcoms through the years, with a few notable exceptions (Corner Gas, Twitch City, The Newsroom) are just very, very bad. There's a simple rule that's served me well - the opposite of "funny" isn't "dull" - it's "earnest". Canadian sitcoms sure do like to try for "earnest".

So here's a tip for Zarqa Nawaz, as she's writing more episodes of the series: instead of worrying if Colbert is paying attention to you, pay attention to him. When you have a choice between making a point and going for the joke, go for the joke. Pay attention as well to Jon Stewart, who wisely moved the Daily Show away from mocking the stupid but powerless. Don't make characters, even those that show up only briefly, into gleefully rednecked straw dogs in order that you can poke fun at them - as Krusty once explained to a hopeful Sideshow Cecil, the pie-in-the-face gag only works if the sap's got dignity.

Please, please don't suck.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

RevMod Year in Review

It started with an election, and ended with a hanging that I believe brought an end to the threat of terrorism, or something (Osama who? Whaaaaa?) - I was still too fat and lazy and marginally hungover from Christmas to figure out the details, so I skipped blogging that last one. Check the archives. Seriously - I keep them there for a reason. Damn lazy readers.

Instead, let me point out my newest distraction: Kevin Baker, freelancer (I'm guessing) often published in the Journal and Post, is Running to Ruin. I found him in a Google search for "The Legend of the Chevy Farm" (don't ask why), with an article about returning as a listener to CBC radio after the strike in 2005, his tastes forever changed by his months listening to commercial radio.

Bottom line, anyone who is that consistantly sharp and funny, and has as his very top link The Great Eastern web archive is a winner in my book.