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Games and Puzzles



A new channel from Nova Scotia. They have their own way of doing things.

She pronounces "since" properly. It sounds like six. Alas, there is no h in "Australia".


If you care about board games and language, you've come to the right place.


The New Abstract Games

A newly-revived online magazine about abstract strategy games. Check out the photos! This is heaven for the right kind of person. Why don't you donate to them?


I'm quite excited about the Atlantis Chess game (on the Stuff page). I think it would be just great, attractive to people, with the mechanisms as well as the name and look and something resembling a theme. However, it has not been tested. Let's watch for catch up mechanisms, which could be a clue for how good this will be.

I wonder what size it should be.

How else could Possession be made? It would be neat to make out of wood, with dice-sized cubes for pawns and short circular columns for knights. Wood staining would differentiate the teams. The crown would be shown by a colour on the bottom of all the pieces, which is an advantage of making it this way.
Another way to do it is 3d printing. Do they do colours? Some sort of indentation could be used to show the crown. The 7 x 5 inch board could be plastic.
How do you make the lines for these boards? A line, or a groove?
I think it's best to stick with the glass and dice, but have a white three-dimensional printed board, with grooves for lines.

Are board games bad for the environment?


Language and Culture


Americans have switched from using the short i sound to the short e sound. The words "him" and "discover" use the short i sound. The vowel switch is done only for some words for some reason, so at least it is done for the word "since". It, uh, doesn't make sense to me.

Say this: "Pence makes no sense since he's prince."


More where that came from.

(bending) / beginning






naive American

Foreigners are weird.


Military / History


1978: Radioactive Soviet satellite falls in Canadian arctic

(Are those soldiers Canadian Rangers?)


Because I Can


This section is for things that are over the line eccentric.


What if you took a bunch of shows, chose the best episode from each show, and made a package out of this, maybe a dozen hours? Get the best episodes of the shows you like, your genre. Or .. maybe a variety of shows, broaden your horizons, only one episode.

Let's look at the practical side of this, if one were to actually do it.

One episode per show. On the other hand, The Simpsons can throw its weight around. Star Trek is a big sprawling franchise. Friends, The Big Bang Theory and certainly Seinfeld have a lot of muscle. Doctor Who has the excuse that there is a number of doctors in that long-running show. Choosing a best episode might require a King Solomon decision, involving dilemmas, sacrifices and differences of opinion. Having more than one episode would solve problems.

So you've got the shows you like. Also the shows that are not for you; variety is good. And Ralph wants to have his anime show. Ehhh .. The list of programs could become a ballooning mess. How do we control that? I'm thinking use numbers to put a ceiling on things.

You will wind up with x number of episodes, say 42, no more. You have y number of people (a variety?) selecting episodes, say 7. These selectors, presumably fans of shows, would start the process of staking claims to shows, particularly the heavyweights. Each selector can select z, say six, episodes, from ~ z shows. Since the selector has freedom to choose shows, especially the less popular ones, Dad's Army is not out of the question. All of these things can be negotiated and decided, so someone should be in charge of this swirling mess.

One person is responsible for choosing the best episode for a specific show. Does that mean that Jamie selects Jamie's favourite episode? Not necessarilly. Jamie could get it from A) Jamie's personal favourite B) opinions from "the group", whatever that means and C) hitting Google to find out what is considered the best episode is allowed. But Jamie is the individual responsible for the final answer.

To start to get an idea of what this would involve, there would be north of thirty television shows.
Ten or more sitcoms, cop and crime shows, and dramas.
Ten or fewer speculative fiction shows. Speculative fiction covers a wide range of science fiction, paranormal, superhero, horror, fantasy and magic.
Six animated shows.
Four miscellaneous (food, The Amazing Race, kids, non fiction).
Probably closer to fifty episodes. It would take a week to chew through.

So you've assembled a list of episodes. You plop it out there somewhere. Realistically you and your people would watch it, or claim they will watch it, by themselves when convenient.

This could be a promoted Internet event. On Youtube - my slice of the Internet - people could make their videos showing their own lists and opinions, reactions. Others could comment. It's ideal for a discussathon. Like this video where multiple people provide their favourite Star Trek episode.

In theory you could have people come over to a house, for a haphazard, long viewing party.

There are firm dates for this event. One date shows the list of episodes, while another date is the recommended date to (start to) watch these. Can you think of a catchy name? Programarama?

If you were to actually watch these, that means legal, access and technical issues :-(

Any thoughts on how this should be presented, what order? Random? Pairs of related episodes? E.g. two sitcoms, two spacy science fiction, two animation etc.

I have a hard time picturing cop and crime shows being part of this, with the exception of The Sopranos. Then again, I don't watch these shows.

Music, film, television



What is the best episode of The Simpsons?

What is the best episode of any animated television show?

Let's have an imagination exercise. This is going to be fun.

What if you took a bunch of shows, chose the best episode from each show, and made a package out of this, maybe a dozen hours? One episode .. or maybe a bit more.


Movies, animation shorts, Youtube videos are out. Miniseries, with all their quality, are probably out. Variety shows (Muppets, Carol Burnett) and sketch shows (Saturday Night Live) are out. Concatenating nice clips, bits of movies and shows is fascinating, but will have to wait for another day.

So get the best episodes of the shows you like, your genre. Or .. maybe a variety of shows, broaden your horizons, only one episode. A fairly fun viewing party?

Let's start with my viewing habits (not that this revolves around me). I went through a phase where I liked certain animated programs, so that's my area of expertise. There's going to be a focus on spacey science fiction shows, but I'm not a Star Trek watcher. I've run into some kids shows. There have been countless sitcoms and cop shows in my time. I'm the only person in the world who has never cared about sitcoms and cop shows.

I used to consider making a list of all the productions that everyone else was talking about but I never touched (movies are out of scope here). Never a big Seinfeld watcher, and I didn't catch that Sopranos that everyone was talking about (I did watch clips years later). Mad Men, Walking Dead, never saw any Breaking Bad. You name it, I didn't watch it, like X-files and Twin Peaks, Firefly, Buffy the Fluffy. It was many years before someone dragged me into watching some Game of Thrones, then I stopped. Not saying it's bad, but for some reason no.

I can think of good shows I like, but not the best episode. I can think of standout episodes from shows that I do not love.

I avoided Family Guy for years. I wasn't happy about the cultural phenomenon of negativity, shock becoming popular. Since then I definitely became a fan. The best episode of Family Guy is the one where they flash back to the past, including the 1920s (not to be confused with the Great Gatsby episode, which is also worth watching).

The best episode of Ren and Stimpy is Ren's Retirement, where Ren suddenly becomes old. In fact, I think this is the best episode of any animated show. The Monkey See Monkey Do episode where they wind up in a zoo is very good too. The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen provides entertainment.

My most beloved animated show is the semi-scripted Home Movies. The best episode is Renaissance Fair.

So what is the best episode of The Simpsons? People will have different opinions. Humour is subjective. I do have an answer for which is the best episode, in my opinion. After that it gets fuzzier.
I think the best episode of The Simpsons is the bigfoot one in Season One. I like the first season.
The clown college one doesn't exactly have depth and character development, but it's a funny Dan Castellaneta fest. Lisa the Vegetarian doesn't land heavy punches, but there is an accumulation of nice little bits. The one where Homer stays in bed rather than church is appealing. Actually with The Simpsons, and most of these animated shows, it's often a matter of nice little clips rather than a whole episode. I have a soft spot for the Treehouse of Horror bit where they make clones of Homer. Even the bigfoot episode is good in the last two thirds.

There is a Mission Hill episode that certainly gets the thumbs up from me. That's the one where the brothers go to a science fiction convention with a girl. The girl is wearing a Geordi La Forge band over her eyes, so you don't know her reaction to the two competing brothers.

There was an episode of Duck Dodgers that I figured was best. They are on vacation and play laser tag in a cave. I believe this is Till Doom Do Us Part.

I'm not exactly glued to the television watching Spongebob Squarepants (originally Spongebob Squareboy). One episode stood out as funny. That was when Patrick started working for the burger joint, and was prone to eating burgers. There was also a notable episode with the Texas squirrel about stereotyping.

Do you remember Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends? Squeakerboxxx, where boo is envious of someone who has a squeaky toy, is a standout episode for me.

10 best Seinfeld episodes

variety.com. One of several subjective lists on the topic. Not my department.


For classic Doctor Who, I know exactly which story is best: the aptly named Genesis of the Daleks. On the other hand, no, this is a multi-episode story. Hmm..


One episode of Farscape kind of stood out for me, the one where an event happened and it is portrayed a number of times, each time from a different character's point of view.


What is the best episode of Black Mirror (which I've never seen)?


Do you know the old British comedy Dad's Army? A different scene. A long time ago I caught the episode "Time on My Hands" (1972) on VCR tape where a German parachutes on to a clock tower. This nice episode is my favourite. It's also the only full episode I've seen.

For the old Mary Tyler Moore show I'd certainly go with the one where Chuckles the Clown died.

Betty White is in the mix there.



Space 1999's Top 10 Scariest Moments

Death's other Dominion has nostalgia, a story behind it for me. Dragon's Den ranks high as one of the best episodes (I don't remember seing it).


There were horror shows during the 1980s. I watched very few and I don't know the best, but one episode really struck a chord with me. That is "Hush", from Tales From The Darkside, where a roboty machine that resembles an old vacuum cleaner sucks up anything that makes sound, threatening a boy and his sister/babysitter.

For The Amazing Race I think the best episode was in The Amazing Race Canada, Season 1, taking place in Saskatchewan. I can't remember why it's good, but it is.

For Anthony Bourdain's food show I quite like the one they did in Vancouver. That was a triumph of stitching together a narrative, editing. He has good stuff from Quebec too, but that's complicated by the fact that it's two episodes, actually two different shows.




a sunny disposition


best treehouses



Tiny Canada

tiny and Toronto-centric



It's funny the way the pandemic blorps up and down, here and there, then and now.

During the pandemic over the past year, Canada was dependably doing about 40% as badly as the United States. Much better than the United States. We could always look down on the chaos there. Not to be confused with us doing well. Canada has done an especially bad job with caring for the elderly.

Now the United States has steamed ahead with their vaccinations, with a majority of people vaccinated at least first shot. We are behind because we weren't getting as many vaccines. Now Alberta has the worst rate of infection in North America, followed by right here in Manitoba. Canada is .. well, for the sake of a neat story let's say it's doing worse than the United States for infections.

Now we have lot of vaccines coming in and going into arms, helped by the United States loaning us a bunch.

Here's where it gets interesting. Canada might do better longer term because of less vaccine hesitancy. Only time will tell.

Actually Canada, and everywhere else, won't get real herd immunity. Vaccine hesitancy is one factor. Vaccines, and also getting covid-19 (multiple names for that) do not guarantee immunity. And then there is the matter of children. You may have heard figures like 70% for herd immunity. Well, with the virus ripping through big populations there are many of them. There are mutations because of random mistakes in the virus. If the mutation makes the virus easier to spread, that mutated virus will spread and reproduce. As a result of the still-occurring mutation of the virus, we'll need more like 90% of the population immune, and that ain't gonna happen.