Battle(star) of the Sexes, Part 1

New comic series typically take months before they produce a strip that makes you sit up, take notice and say “hey, that’s interesting”, and that goes double for webcomics. So when I discovered that the Home on the Strange strip shown below is only the fourth one in the series, I was completely surprised. The first four panels appear below; click the image to read the whole thing…

More later…

It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Blogstravaganza! (and a bit about echo chambers, too…)

Blogstravaganza in full swing! From left to right: Andrew Coyne, John Bowman, Yours Truly. Photo from A North American Patriot.

Let me begin with a shout-out to all the attendees of last Friday’s Blogstravaganza…

(If I missed you, let me know!)

My thanks to Bob Tarantino and Jason Cherniak for putting the whole thing together. It was good to catch up with old friends from previous gatherings and meet some new ones as well. The success of this event shows that the blogosphere is alive and well here in Accordion City.

It’s also compartmentalized.

Echo Chambers

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or a regular attendee of the GTABloggers gatherings, there’s a strong possibility that many of the blogs listed above will be unfamiliar to you. Likewise, this blog was unfamiliar to the bloggers whom I hadn’t met at previous gatherings of the local Vast Right Wing Conspiracy bloggers, despite recent links from a number of Technorati Top 100 sites and recent mentions in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Macleans. One attendee didn’t know who Andrew Coyne was, despite the fact that he’s one of Canada’s highest-profile newspaper writers, while another lamented that Toronto seemed to have more right-wing bloggers than left-wing ones, even though attending a GTABlogger party might make you think the opposite was true.

This sort of thing is to be expected. After all, the term “community” has the same root as the word “common”, as in “sharing some trait or quality”. There’s a natural tendency towards gravitating towards those who share your interests, and in these politically-charged times, towards those who share your politics. There are some advantages to this, not the least of which is that a community can often do what an individual cannot.

This also has its downsides. Consider the “echo chamber” effect, in which the voices of a community serve to amplify voices from within the community and diminish outside voices, forming a self-reinforcing “feedback loop”. This can lead to all sorts of problems, from a “tunnel visioned” mindset to a lack of new ideas within the community to the demonization of other communities based on stereotypes and prejudices.

I think that Bob and Jason did a very good job at attempting to reach Toronto bloggers of all political persuasions. Perhaps it’ll take a few more of these gatherings to bring out more local bloggers whose politics are “centre” and “left”.

Your opinions, please…


Kung Hei Fat Choy!*

(* That’s “Happy new year” in Cantonese.)

It’s been a busy weekend, with Blogstravaganza on Friday, a Chinese New Year’s party on Saturday and a big Chinese New Year family outing on Sunday. Today is turning out ot be a very busy day, It’s a busy day today an busier day, so today’s posting is a simple one in honour of Chinese New Year: a summer 1999 photo of a dog sitting in a Montreal apartment window, not far from the corner of Milton and Durocher, a location for many of my youthful indiscretions.


Happy Birthday, Mozart!

The Google logo has a powdered wig and a musical staff today because it’s Mozart’s birthday. Happy birthday, Amadeus!

Falco and Mozart — together at last!

I don’t have any Mozart here at the office, and it was much easier to find an MP3 of a fan remix of Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus [7.3 MB MP3] than it was to dig up a measly sample of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [266K MP3], which is a shame. Once I started uploading Rock Me Amadeus, I couldn’t help but post Help Me, Dr. Zaius [268K MP3] from The Simpsons.

It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

The Disturbing Truth About the Wonder Twins

The characters from 'Suerfriends' and 'Space Ghost' at an illegal underground monkey knife fight.

In response to the Monkey Knife Fight graphic that I posted along with my original announcement about Blogstravaganza (it’s the one pictured above), Damian”Babbling Brooks” Brooks wrote in the comments to Bob “Let it Bleed” Tarantino’s blog:

OK, the monkeys going all Jets-and-Sharks doesn’t bug me. Batman

standing over the little guy like that is a bit off-putting. But the

Wonder Twins swapping spit in the back? Ewwwww.

I pointed him to this Penny Arcade comic (click to see it at full size):

All this reminds me of a story which in turn reminds me of another story.

About a month or so back, I was in a conversation with a group of programmers when one posed a hypothetical business model question that started with “Is it evil if…”

Reg, one of the programmers and an all-round astute guy, jumped in before the guy asking the question could finish: “You know, if you have to ask, it probably is.”

What I decided not to bring up at that point is that I remembered once, back at Crazy Go Nuts University when someone asked me “Hey, Joey, is it, uh, incest if…if I…”

“You know, even though you haven’t finished,” I replied, “I’m gonna go with ‘yes’.”

I’m full of stories. Wanna hear some? Come to Blogstravaganza tonight!

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Blogstravaganza (a.k.a. "Monkey Knife Fight") Tonight!

The preponderence of images of knife-wielding monkeys should be a hint to you that tonight is the night of the Accordion City (a.k.a. “Toronto”) Blogstravaganza, a gathering of this fine city’s bloggers. It takes place at a pretty convenient location: Fiddler’s Green, a pub located at 27 Wellesley Street East, just east of Yonge and Wellesley on the south site, and right above Wellesley Station. For those of you who are driving, there’s a parking lot beside Fiddler’s Green.

Over at his blog, Let it Bleed, Blogstravaganza partner Bob Tarantino writes that Fiddler’s Green has given us the third floor room. This means that as soon as you enter the pub, go up, up, waaay up to the third floor…we’ll be the group with the accordion. (The odds against there being two accordions in the same bar at the same time are almost nil…we observe a Highlander-like “There can be only one!” code of honour in the Brotherhood of the Bellows.)

Postmodern Sass tells me that there might be karaoke there. You might get to see The Master at work, you lucky dogs!

I myself expect to be there around 8:30-ish. I’m taking Wendy out on our weekly “date night” ritual prior. If you’ve got questions for Wendy about her new gig as Editor-in-Chief of Top 10 Sources, this is your chance! If you’d like to make a page for Top 10 Sources — a great way to get you and your blog noticed by the larger blogopshere, by the bye — this is also your chance!

For more on the Blogstravaganza (including why I’ve nicknamed it “Monkey Knife Fight”), see this earlier entry of mine. In the spirit of that entry, I share a song with you — Stevie Wonder’s funkafied cover of the Beatles’ We Can Work it Out [3.0MB MP3].

See you there!


Katamari Hijinks

Still frame from the 'Katamari Idiocy' video.The “Katamari Idiocy” video [10.4MB Windows Media] shows the misadventures of a guy who tries to be the prince from the quirky and addicitive Japanese PlayStation videogame Katamari Damacy in real life. In the video, we learn that neighbourhood cats aren’t too keen on this idea, it’s no good for picking up girls and attempting to roll up a baseball diamond and all the people within works only in the game.