Thursday Thirteen guest post. Best Comedies of ALL TIME!!!


Cover of "Office Space (Special Edition w...
Cover via Amazon

This week’s Thursday Thirteen comes to us from Elliott Hurst, CEO SoCast.  www.socastsrm.com

Knowing I’m not much of a movie guy, Elliott has provided me with a list of the 13 best comedy movies of ALL-TIME!

So grab the popcorn, put on the earphones and hope no one is calling you and let’s go!

In no particular order.

These comedies are amongst the best of all time, I have selected them based on how many memorable moments/lines they have in them to truly make them classics:

1. Office Space

2. Blazing Saddles

3. Superbad

4. Animal House

5. Groundhog Day

6. Ghostbusters

7. There’s Something About Mary

8. Bridesmaids

9. The Breakfast Club

10. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

11. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

12. Annie Hall

13. Christmas Vacation

 

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Honourable Mentions

14. The Big Lebowski

15. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut

16. The Hangover

17. Young Frankenstien

 

Sadly, I have seen three or 4 of them…

Do you agree with Elliott’s list or not?  Who makes your list for best comedy with the most memorable lines?

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Programming vs. Over-programming Children – From the Daddy’s Perspective


extracurricular activities
extracurricular activities (Photo credit: o5com)

How often have you had this discussion with your partner or friends?  Is this generation of parents over-programming our children?

I’m not sure there is a clear-cut answer here.  As parents we want to expose our children to as much as possible to see what they like and what they are good at – as well, let’s be honest – we force some activities on our children for their own good – like sports on the artistic children, or karate so they can defend themselves.  But when the kids are at school during the day and have programs each evening and on the weekends, when does it stop being good for the child and become too much.

If the kids are taking piano, swimming, karate, math enrichment, soccer, hockey, baseball, trampoline, drama… Then how do they learn to amuse themselves when there is downtime.  When do kids brains get to rest, or do they even need it?  At what point are we “helping” our children experience life or really putting them in programs which we wanted to take growing up, but our generation had 2 working parents so we came home from school and hung around entertaining ourselves with books and TV and playing with neighbours until our parents came home.

Funny how things have changed.

I’ll be honest here.  For me, all of the above apply.  I want my kids to experience life and I want them to do things that I never had the opportunity to do.  I also want to be able to take them to all their activities and share that experience with them.  I work full-time and don’t want to be the Dad who couldn’t make the one event the kids have, or the one school activity.  Being at these events even if it means coaching the sports teams, or being a beaver leader is a priority for me because I want to spend time with my kids.  Call me crazy.  Wouldn’t be the first time.

But all these activities are killing me too…

After a long week, there is no downtime.  I’m finding now with 3 children and between activities, birthday parties, household maintenance and participating at home instead of being a guest leaves me with very little time.  Thank goodness my wife who also works, takes care of everything!  It’s crazy… Well, you know what it’s like.  When the kids are in a lot of programs that means you are in a lot of programs and that means your schedule tightens up too.  Meals have to work around the programming as do additional activities and we’re not the fast food type of family so it means weekly meal planning and lots of fruit and vegetables.

It also means I need to be on top of my day job – or have an arrangement with my employer so that I do not have to stay late in the office or take the scenic route home because that might be the difference between getting the kids to a program on time or getting them there late.  It also means once the wife and kids are in bed, I guarantee you that at least 6 nights of the week I am catching up on some work assignments or teaching myself something new that I did not have time to complete in the office during the day for many reasons.

In our home, our kids attend; Karate, swimming, piano and this year Beavers.  In the early summer, baseball, t-ball and soccer (Linus, Stewie and Berry).  There were after-school activities for the boys, chess and wood-working – and then a school enrichment program for Linus and voila.  No free time.

After moving programs around to different dates and or times, there is no time breathe and now I understand why on the weekends we just hang out at home!  We’re too tired to do anything but let the kids play at home, catch up on rest and work at keeping the house clean, the laundry from taking over and the kids from going crazy doing too much.  We also have to balance this with playdates, summer visits to the AGO, ROM, CN Tower and various neighbourhoods in the city.

So how to you view extracurricular activities for your kids and for others?  Do you judge them?  Of course you do… We do.  🙂

How do you juggle?  I would love to hear from those of you with more than 3 children… How do you do it?  What gives?  Is it the meal, the activities, the job…

Stop the Presses: Going to “War” over Boobs… Really???


I found this post sitting in my draft folder from February 23rd, 2012.  I’m not sure why I never finished it and posted it, to be honest, but considering the topic – boobs – and the key person here, German figure skater Katerina Witt, I felt it was too good to go into the trash bin.  Where else can you find something completely out there from which I have a personal story to tie in?!?

So I apologize for the lack of current relevance in this post…

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The original post:

Forget war, hunger, death, famine, recession, subways, and all the talk around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weight… All of that is nonsense when you have a news story like this one I read about today via numerous sources.

The Brits and the Germans are on the verge of war…

This war is being fought over former Olympic figure-skating champion, Katerina Witt’s cleavage.

Oh yes.

Her boobs.

As an aside, I actually met Katerina back when I was 17-years-old.  One of my many jobs was working with my sister in the concession stand at the then North York Centennial arena (the snack bar for you non-arena folks) – for the City of North York, and Katerina and Brian Boitano were there practicing.  The Toronto Maple Leafs used to practice at Centennial arena too – different story here too…

Witt was incredible looking in person.  Tall, very fit and very busty.  Very nice too.  I was too shy to approach her for an autograph on her way out of the arena after one of her practices, so I convinced the arena maintenance staff to get it for me and according to them, she happily obliged.  The autograph came back like this; “To Warren and his sister”  Love Katerina.  Between the front of the arena and the change rooms in the back and after working there for 2 or 3 years, they forgot my sister’s name.  She was not impressed.

I still have it.

But I digress…

From all that I have read and heard, there is a “war” going on because the former Olympic figure skater has been wearing low-cut tops as a judge on a popular U.K. show called Dancing on Ice which has not been sitting well with the British tabloids who have been all over her.  In response, German newspapers have responded by publishing photos of busty British models, like Katie Price and Jodie Marsh.

It seems that there is a belief in Germany that the Brits have insulted Witt, forcing her to show too much cleavage, much in the same way the British Sun newspaper has the page 3 girl topless and over inflated woman like Katie Price are adored.

Witt won two Olympic gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 and later posed for Playboy.

In case this was not silly enough, British viewers took to Twitter to tweet that Witt’s cleavage and figure-hugging attire was distracting to viewers.  Since that outburst Witt started appearing on the show wearing much less-revealing clothing and she said she was not ordered to cover up, but rather it was a personal choice.  “Of course you read the comments,” she said.

Pictures below are Witt from the show and Price from… Somewhere.

What do you think?  Too distracting?

Thursday 13. Thirteen things that just bug the crap out of me!


fuck
I’ve never flipped someone this finger, but it says it all, no?

Funny how I can come up with a list of 13 things that bug the crap out of me but if I had to find 13 things that make me happy… Not so easy.

So sit back, take a deep breath, squeeze that tension ball really tight and let’s go…

13 Things that bug the crap out of me;

13. Drivers that do not signal – Do they not realize that by not indicating which way they are going they can cause accidents like the idiot driver who made a right turn on to the street I was driving along.  That right turn cut off a car coming through the intersection and that dumb ass, clearly frustrated, just pulled into my lane to go around this car.  Problem is that I was there.  I swerved, she quickly zipped into the oncoming traffic and made a quick left off the street (again without signalling).  I glared at the car that made that illegal right turn but they looked perplexed.

12. Lack of feedback – The world would be a better place if everyone spoke their mind and helped others succeed instead of surprising them with bad news.  Would you not want that same courtesy extended to you?  For sure!

11. Judging a book by its cover – I’ve done it and been shocked at how stupid that was.  Give people a chance and let them show you what they can do.  This leads into the next point…

10. Listening to others without making your own judgement – Another faux pas.  I have always taken into consideration feedback from others but never used that to formulate a decision about others.  In previous roles I found those people pegged as “loners” or “troublemakers” usually has as much to offer if not more than others but no one gives them a chance…

9. Pretentiousness – I see the Lululemon pants, and the skin and bones and I know when I see people walk around with their noses in the air that they are doing so to shelter themselves from having real conversations with real people.  Yes you may drive a nicer car, have more money, richer parents, wear nicer clothes, but the only people who think you are the cat’s meow are those in your clique.  The rest of us wish you would get real and stop being so unhappy…

8. No BlogHer for men (sorry Dadsummit 2.0) – How many Daddy bloggers will come to Toronto for an event?  Please raise your hands…

7. How creativity comes and goes – One week I post 3 articles and stick 7 in the draft folder and some weeks I’ve got nothing.  What’s up with that?

6. “Excuse me.”  How about using it – This one I don’t get…  I’m walking in a mall, or store and I’m carrying a basket and a child and out from an aisle walks someone right in front of me that it almost knocks me over.  No excuse me.  No sorry.  Where has etiquette gone?  No app for that???

5. Cutting me off in traffic then slowing down – Another pet peeve.  Me, on the road and very few other cars around when all of a sudden speedy Gonzalez comes up the rear, cuts infront of me, then slows down back to the speed limit.  Would it have killed them to pull in behind me?  Odds are I’m already speeding (slightly).

4.  Tailing me in the diamond lane when I’m doing 120km/h – It’s the diamond / carpool lane and there are specific spots to enter and exit it.  I’m doing 120km/hour and I cannot leave the lane so back the fuck up and stop sitting on my bumper.  Where do you want me to go???  These types of drivers are the same who pull to the left to look around me because they think I’m happy doing 20 under the speed limit.

3.  I told you so people – Yes, telling someone to “Fuck Off” can cause problem for you down the road but having someone over your shoulder telling you “I told you so” is not going to help.  Please take comfort in knowing we both know it do don’t say it.

2.  Those spots on my floor that creek and wake the kids – I have them, you have them, they’re the spots on the floor that creak when I’m tip toeing around at 2am checking on my kids.  One creek and the kids are up and yelling, waking up the rest of the house.

1.   Back fat – This one pretty much explains it self. but I saw a security video clip of myself and while I’m coming to grips quickly on the lack of hair the back fat caught me by surprise and was utterly gross.  UGH.

So what bugs you today?

Cooking With Astro Yogourt, Urban Daddy Style


We love Astro Yogourt in The Urban Daddy household.  It’s natural, contains no gelatin and is kosher and for quite a few years now, Stewie would have a bowl of plain 1% or 2% Organic Astro Yogourt with either some sugar-free apple sauce in it, or plain with some sunflower seeds and fresh or frozen fruit.  “Yogourt and seeds” was then and still is now a potential breakfast, lunch and / or dinner.  For many days in that time frame, it was all three.

We went through so much yogourt it was hilarious.  We would buy 4-5 of the large containers a week to keep him fed.

So it only made sense when the amazing folks at Fleishman-Hillard (www.fleishman.ca) reached out to see if myself and a guest wanted to join them for a morning at Nella Cucina (www.nellacucina.ca) in mid-town Toronto for an event called #CookingWithAstro.

Not being the best cook in the entire world but more than capable to read and follow a recipe or directions (ahem: baking class in high-school)  I went to the Astro Yogourt website (www.astro.ca) to choose three recipes to prepare in our two-hour alloted time slot.  I wisely enlisted the services of my wife, to assist me in planning a feast, since she thankfully does all the mealplanning and cooking in our household.

The three dishes we chose from the Astro website were;

Nearly No Fat Fudge Brownies – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/nearly_no_fat_fudge_brownies

Shrimp Corn Chowder – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/shrimp_corn_chowder

Tandoori Roasted Salmon with Biryani Vegetables and Coconut Curry Sauce – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/tandoori_roasted_salmon_with_biryani_vegetables_and_coconut_curry_sauce

Being kosher at home and my wife a vegetarian and well on her way to becoming a holistic nutritionist, she altered the recipes to make them more family-friendly for us.  For the brownies, we removed the water and added orange juice.  For the shrimp corn chowder, we removed the bacon, shrimp and clam juice and we used low sodium vegetable broth and tofu and a lot of colourful peppers instead, and for the tandoori salmon, the only thing we did was replace some of the heavy cream with yogourt.

So on the day of the event, we headed over to Nella Cucina – a high-end kitchen supply store with absolutely everything you could ever want or dream of having in a kitchen in stock and went upstairs to their professional teaching kitchen on the top floor.  There, we were greated by folks from Fleishman Hillard, Nella Cucina and of course, Astro Yogourt.

We chose our cooking station in the middle of the room, received a quick tour of the facilities from Nella Cucini’s Elyse Glaser and Professional Chef Mary Catherine Anderson  @mc_cooks (http://marycatherineanderson.com/) .  We then wasted no time in getting into the recipes, starting with the brownies first.

We sifted, mixed, stirred, cooked, roasted, chopped and zested away on our three recipes far longer than the 2 hours we were scheduled for.  We actually finished these fabulous dishes in just under 3 hours which meant a couple of trips downstairs to the parking meter, and a whole new appreciation for the fantastic meals that my wife cooks for the family at night.  After the three hours I was exhausted!  My wife was still motoring through the dishes, offering up her tofu corn chowder for sampling to everyone still around.

I was chatting with @SympaticoLife and Cynthia from http://www.delectablychic.com/  @DelectablyChic among others to see what fantastic creations they were making.  She put up a great post about the event and took some great pictures; http://www.delectablychic.com/2012/07/cooking-with-astro-yogourt/.  I wanted to take pictures but clearly underestimated the length of time needed to cook the dishes and once I realized I needed pictures of the finished products everyone else was turning over the classroom for the next group and we really needed to leave – not that I felt that way at all, but I know when it’s time to go.

Once all was done, we packed everything up in the Tupperware and cooler that Astro Yogourt so kindly provided us with and headed home with a delicious dinner in hand and smiles on our faces.

Of course we told everyone we knew of this wonderful opportunity to cook with a product we use almost daily, and for the opportunity to have a professional chef available to assist and answer our questions.  We thank Astro for reaching out in the community to promote their products and for giving us the time to attend this event together and cook.  My wife’s recipes were incredible and we ate so well for the next 2 days.  Even 7-year-old Linus loved the Tandoori Salmon.  The biryani vegetables were out of this world and now I have a new resource to go to when I’m helping with meal planning.  If all the recipes tasted this good, then you should consider bookmarking it too.

I encouraged my wife to head over to the Astro Facebook page and enter her altered (or original) recipes to their “Astro Make it Original” contest site; https://www.facebook.com/#!/astroyogourt.  She had to “like” that page, submit the three altered recipes we prepared, submit a picture of the dish with the Astro Original logo and share it with friends or strangers through whatever social media platforms we use.  By doing that she, and you, has a chance to win a Culinary Getaway to NYC for 2 courtesy of Astro Yogourt!  There are weekly prizes available too.

A huge thank you to the great folks at Fleishman-Hillard who assisted in getting this event rolling and including The Urban Daddy; specifically Megan Johnston, Megan Stoudt, Nare Tutundjian and Jacob Porpossian and to Angela Kanaris the Brand Manager, Astro Original.