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Christmas in the Vic – 3 New Juggling Videos

Well, Christmas is almost here and I am about to leave the freakin’ country for a whole year. To say farewell to Victoria and to capture some of the tricks I expect to completely forget (jet lag), I have created 3 (THREE) new videos. The first is just tricks. It’s a series of impressions of what I want to capture. The second puts some of those ideas and images as well as a bunch of other material into a sequence (through the magic of editing). The third is just the failures. The horrible, horrible failures.

Go to my Juggling main page HERE or just click on one of the following links:



Christmas Vic 3: WMV VERSION
A Serious Essay on the Plight of the Indigeonous Eggplant Farmer (or IEF).

“No Bonus”: The Plight of Inuit Eggplant Farmers

An article by Christopher Bortatwerk

The wind strikes a hard cold slap across my face. I can feel the sharp sting as each blast prickles as hard as the first one. The man across from me is unaffected. He wears an open, furred, woad-dyed parka. His name is Popo Tulugaq and his is an eggplant farmer.

Popo prods the broken earth by his feet. Claw marks, chopped earth are all I see at first, and then Popo points them out. Scraps, here and there, of the Japanese eggplant. Just scraps.

“None left,” Popo says, “The last one, out of the sky there, it took every last of them.”

Popo hasn’t always been an eggplant farmer. Years prior he left the desolate ice mountains of his home to study law in Whitehorse, but after finding few clients in the big city for “some Eskimo kid” he returned to his mountainous home to raise eggplants with his family. Then, the enormous condors came.

“The condors carry our eggplants to the top of these mountains, see,” Popo’s sister Lala explains, “Past the strange looking birds, the polar bears in boxer shorts, and those bright white creatures that look somewhere between the hairy Kiviuq and Gary Coleman.”

I stared up the icy cliffside. It was treacherous terrain. There were ledges that easily cracked at the swing of a hammer, icicles that seemed to fall from the clouds themselves, and for some reason, lines of conveyor belts. Seriously. Lines of conveyor belts. “There was a construction boom in the mid 80’s” Lala explains, “But factories found it cheapest to build the conveyors out of ice. On the edge of the mountainside. I don’t know. I’m reaching.”

I asked Popo and Lala about the mortality rate in their villages. It is commonly assumed that the high Inuit mortality rate is based on the large number of toxic waste dumps, plutonium mines and poverty exported to Inuit land by the Canadian government, combined with low Vitamin D count, a history of Fetal Alcohol syndrome, and toxicity from water-bourne chemical deposits in local women’s breastmilk. While this is largely true, the high mortality rate from desperate farmers and their families ascending these fortress-like ice mountains is largely discounted in official statistics. “Condors store the eggplants near the peak of each mountain,” Popo explains, “You can see them nested in among the rapidly circulating clouds.”

“Eggplants are about more than a source of living for our families,” Lala adds, “They’re about pride. While else would countless youth ascend these death-traps with nothing but a hammer. I mean, otherwise it would make no sense.”

Eggplant farmers are having a tough-time making ends meet. Even without the condors, the eggplant market in the high tundra is slim, with only a few specialists really into vegetarian moussaka. Some of these eggplant eaters are ready to cash in on the condor plight. “There’s these two Italian dudes,” Lala admits, “They run a fight club near Yellowknife. We’ve been there, yes.” Both Lala and Popo have turned to these big-money bouts to get by, where they fight as a pair. “They don’t even call us by name,” Popo states, “Guys like Marth and Ness have names, we’re just the ‘Ice Climbers.’ Just a couple of ‘Eskimos to beat down.” To pay the bills, the Ice Climbers team even competes in harrowing 4 on 4 match-ups where swords, flaming balls and even guns can get tossed into the ring. Officials will often continue a match even if one of the pair has fallen from the ring. In the off season, the “Ice Climbers” return to their Cliffside homes.

And it isn’t just eggplants these condors will steal. Carrots with caricatured faces on them, heads of what appear to be lettuce or maybe cabbage, whole, pickled, English cucumbers. It has become a sport among brave men and women of the community alike to try to catch these condors at the very peaks of their mountain sanctuaries. Not catching one is considered a huge blow for these diminutive mountaineers, who often leap to their death attempting to snag one. “We don’t always see ice climbers die from missing their condor,” Popo admits, “It’s just such a big bonus, almost more important than collecting eggplants, that when they miss it, they’re driven to tears.”

Conservationists are concerned about the direction this condor hunt is heading. “It’s not just the condors,” environmental analyst and ice builder Kohn Troler states, “While a rare species in their own right, the condors are rarely killed. It’s the other wildlife, the birds and hairy Sasquatch-like Gary Colemanesque things—they get the heavy end of the mallet.” Kohn adds that these climbers tend to openly wound the white-furred things and crush birds with their ice hammers, sometimes simply while jumping to a higher ledge. “As often as not it’s an accident,” Kohn states, “But that doesn’t mean these rare mountain birds aren’t going to become endangered. And can I just mention that I have no idea how those polar bears get up there?”

Popo and Lala share the concern of the conservationists but stress that the eggplants are their livelihood. “I don’t know how Japanese eggplants got here, or why in the name of the ancestors a condor would carry them up the mountain-side, or why we are willing to die for them, or why I chose bright pink for my outfit considering the difficulty of producing a natural vegetable-based dye of this shade, but every one of those vegetables is worth at least three of our lives trying to get,” Lala says. Popo adds, “It’s tough climbing. There are nearly 32 mountains in this area, and the only reward for scaling them is more mountains with more or less identical perils. Time runs slim at the top of those mountains, and but if we, as a people, can’t get up to those eggplants, it may just be game over.”

The plight of Canada’s inuit and innu people is know well-known on the world stage. Poverty, family conflict and toxic radioactivity are all important issues facing our nation’s indigenous peoples and it is important that our leaders provide funding and work with native leaders to develop indigenous-based initiatives to build a more affluent and healthy future. On top of this struggle, however, is the move to protect native produce. Until we can find a way to protect ambiguous fruit/vegetables, Popos and Lalas are going to continue to ascend those unforgiving peaks and probably get hit with those damn birds just as they are in the midst of a key jump again and again. And again. On the virtual console too, those bastards.

Christopher Bortatwerk is an editor for Maydup Naim Magazine. Also, Gary Coleman jokes aren’t funny anymore. Stop them. Seriously. It’s over. Done with. Done with and over.

NEW UPDATE : Matt Damon Speaks (and new video shows his dramatic genious)
Hi all! It’s me! Matt Damon!

I guess I should tell you that I’m writing for Blake now, just on and off. This is my first ever update! I’m very excited, but let’s not overuse our friend the exclamation point. Instead, I will demonstrate my excitement through selective diction and internal rhythm. As so:

Yo, check it peeps, I be writin’ [email protected]@@!!$!$%!

Anywho, I wouldn’t be writing if I didn’t have something important to say–after all, this is the internet, where no frivolous time-wasting is permitted. All valuable content, all the time 24/7.

I have produced a video, featuring my own beat-boxing skillz. This is not just to show off that I am a multitalented performer/actor/writer/director/scuba diver/golf player/football player/activist/student/Ikebana artist/cow creamer collector/pie maker/ South American Chiclid geneticist (no breeding). The video actually depicts one of the most difficult periods of my life, trumpet cancer.

I guess I first realized something was wrong was in one of the famously deleted scenes from Mystic Pizza. In the end I only had one line, the now infamous “Mom, where’s my f*king bike?” but in the beginning, there were 11 brass instrument solos each bridged by my onscreen mom Ann Flood (a great woman, her death meant so much more to me than even I am aware) wailing on the guitar. They were meant foremost as comic relief, but also as a return to the film’s vaudvillian roots, being loosely based on Burt Williams travelling “Sandwhich” show (a classic, though Ben tends to disagree, SHUT UP MAN j/k). I was playing “Geh’! du sagst mir eine Fabel” from Bastien und Bastienne when I suddenly recognized a disturbing lump on the side of my trumpet. At the time I dismissed it as another valve thing, but over time, the “bump” became more and more pronouced, speaking out during rehearsals of my many movies, even one time getting into a violent confrontation with Rob Williams. Not THAT Robin Williams, THIS Robin Williams. Eventually the problem got so bad my fingers used to swell up and my teeth elongated. I began to thirst for blood. Sunlight lit my hands on fire. I could transform into a bat, a wolf, a cloud of smoke, a hedgehog, a panda and a girl dressed as YULE BRENNER. As the problem got worse, I did my research.

THE MORE YOU KNOW : Did you know that over 34% of brass instruments die of cancer related illnesses, and another 28% from rust, considered a related disease by most reputable doctors? And yet, 73% of such diseases are entirely preventable with some beer, baking soda and 4 jars or so of boiling WD 40. I won’t tell you how (that would be irresponsible, but I will tell you it has something to do with dousing yourself in beer, eating the baking soda and spraying your eyes with the burning grease. Obviously I’m lying, but it’s the kind of thing that I do. I’m MAAAAT DAAAMON.

Anyway, this video has nothing to do with that. It’s about BANACEKWOJEKKOJAK!!!!


Banawocekak in MPG format ————————————————————————— Banawocekak in WMV format

Well, it’s about fucking time I updated this stinking cesspool of a website, and boy do I have something to report. But only for boy. All the rest of yous can just hide your head in shame and then cry to mommy and then maybe dress up as a baby and wear a diaper, and then maybe go poop and then that would be funny! Ha ha! Funny man/woman baby! Ha ha, decensitizing usage of slashes! Ha ha!

Anyway, believe it or not, there is actually a point to this update, two or three, in fact, although it isn’t a proper humour article, and I promise to do one of those soon.

No, it is the preamble to an important story illustrating the beauty and futility of life and also uh… some guy has sex… with uh… some supermodels that are uh… dinosaurs or something.

You see, I recently discovered that the number-one search term for this site is “hats” or “wacky hats” or “funny cakes,” “hilarious hats.” That’s right baby, not a single one of you ingrates cares about rambling comedy articles, political comentary, 4th wall breaking cartoons or juggling. Although some of you care about juggling, preferrably while wearing a wacky hat. That means that people want hats. Wacky ones. And lots of them. I have hit the core of the American psyche, and it brimmeth over with hats (see, that was a pun! Therefore : comedy!)

So first thing, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to update the juggling videos page, upload a mess of new comics, and link to my new subdomain for my artsy juggling team PROPELEVATOR.

But then I got thinkinA cruel bareheadg, which is rare for me, being a sack of particularly unininteresting tablecloths, and I realized, wacky hats are just the beginning. There are tonnes of things (metric) that people look for on the internet, including (apparently) sex. And naked pictures of Yule Brenner. Now if I could only tap into that powerful resource the “id” (like the softwear company! See I’m hip, cool and you should love me. Physically, preferrably violently. Freudian slip) within the human mind, the desperate force of ovewhelming desire brewing within each 19 year old female dance instructor’s loins, I could take this zero profit website and transform it into an even more heavily bandwidth sapping zero-profit website. DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I ADDED A DASH THE LAST TIME! THAT MEANS IT’S IMPORTANT!

Then I remembered, I just happen to have a story that illustrates the power and sexual libido of the human spirit and contains one or two of the words that people really want to search for.

The story is this:


A story.

By Blake Speers and the Cardboardlogic team.

Which is just Blake Speers

Copywrite, 1995-1924, Cambodia only.

Once, when I was just a fuzzy-haired blonde fat kid, I had a pet monkey. We lived in a small prarie town in Southwestern Saskatchewan where having a monkey was not the norm. The vast majority of BREASTS people there thought it an oddity, to say the least. This monkey was the NINTENDO ROMS FREE XBOX 360 FREE FREE JESUS SEX ROBOT FUNNY FLASH ANIMATIONS YULE BRENNER to me, and we used to play HOT HOT PLASMAA cruel barehead SCREEN AND RIDICULOUS HATS in the garage, until I learned (through my non-existent older brother YULE BRENNER) that what we were doing was kind of DIRTY KINKY WEIRD FRESH DOUGHNUTS MONTY PYTHON MONTY PYTHON SQL SERVER UPDATES. Nonetheless, that monkey was my constant companion, alongside JESUS GOD JESUS my personal savior. FREE DOWNLOADS. Of course, monkeys attract fleas, and fleas attract XBOX 360, and it wasn’t long before I was infected as well. You can imagine what it was like, a kid in a small town, already ostracized due to my pet monkey JESUS, the weirdo living with the two-ex-hippies (POT MARIJUANA POT POT DRUGS DARE D.A.R.E RECOVERY FREE BEER XBOX 360 YULE BRENNER) and my brother YULE BRENNER, NUDE ALL YOUR BASE HOMESTARRUNNER CHUCK NORRIS. Well, of course, the XBOX 360 teasing became so bad that I was called up to the 13TH CENTURY TILLING METHODS office with YULE BRENNER my monkey in tow. My principal was the sort of SEX NAUGHTY TEACHERS STUDENT RAW HARDCORE homey sweater-vest wearing Reaganesque fatherly figure that thought of himself as the CLASSMATES.COM LOST LOST SEASON I PEOPLEFINDERDAD WHERE ARE YOU DAD, OH GOD WHEN YOU DIED I MISSED YOU DAD, ARE YOU REALLY IN THE ARMY? YOU’RE A SPY RIGHT? DAD? I’M LOOKING FOR MY FATHER. HELLO? SUSAN? OH GOD, JESUS, NO, XBOX 360. Basically, it was the monkey or me. I already had enough FREE ALSACHIONS, NUDE CHAINSAW SAFETY LESSONS HILARIOUS OH GOD JUST SOMETHING TO DILUTE MY EMPTY EXISTENCE, SOME FUNNY HATS OR FAT GUYS ON MOTORCYCLES OR SOME MENTALLY CHALLENGED KID ON A COUCH I CAN LAUGH AT AND THEN FOREVER REGRET DEEPLY THROUGHOUT MY REMAINING ADULTHOOD, MAYBE SOME CHEERLEADERS DOING IT WITH CHUCK NORRIS, ANTHING TO HELP ME FORGET. MY LIFE IS SO EMPTY, WEARING A FUNNY HAT FOR A FEW SECONDS IS THE ONLY THING I HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO. OH JESUS FOR THE SWEET SOLACE OF THE GRAVE XBOX 360, YES I KNOW IT’S JUST THE SAME OLD CRAP WITH EXTRA LENS FLARES AND REALISTIC FREE PHYSICS ENGINE FREE FREE FAMOUS HELP ME SOMEBODY PLEASE OH GOD MAKE IT STOP I’M SO EMPTY INSIDE I SOMETIMES WORRY VIAGRA RITALIN THERE’S NOTHING THERE AT ALL. BASICALLY THE ONLY THING THAT FEELS REAL THESE DAYS IS PHYSICAL PLEASURE AND INTENSE PAIN, CHEAP RAZORS BOOZE FREE BEER FUNNY HATS JESUS GOD KING MOMMY? DADDY? WHY AM I ALONE! XBOX 360.

And so it was then that I realized I truly was the Sex Jesus God Monkey Yule Brenner. XBOX 360.


I think that pretty much covers it.


Whew! I just got back from the pre-screening of EMWH (WH8), and I’ve got so much to report on, my livers are just bursting!

Where to start?

Well, firs t of all, let me just be among the first to finally kill off the rumours, EMWH is not a musical. I still stand by what I said in my post on alt.movies.discussion.wackyhats.m, that WH *would* have been a great musical, and would not nearly sucked as much as people were saying. Mike Dersden is actually an accomplished musician (he has his own Blues band as many whatters seem to have forgotten), and with Turbotson’s direction, I think it could have been a real landmark for the series. We can only keep one of our fingers crossed (and some toes!) that the next WH will go in that direction. MD was understandably vague in that degree during the waaay too brief question period after (he didn’t even handle the “fedora” fiasco, though I don’t blame him for it).

Another WH, you ask? A certainty. I can say right now from what I’ve seen that EMWH is one of the strongest in the series.

A cruel bareheadBut first, for those non-whatters out there (or bareheads as we sometimes call you, 🙂 ), some background. Most of you will have heard of the first Wacky Hats, 1991, the film that re-defined a generation. WH was the first movie to really delve into the universe of wacky hats and build a cohesive narrative around it. Looking back, it maybe wasn’t the best in the series, but it broke so much new ground that most whatters recognize it as a classic. Who can forget the checkered top-hat’s fall from grace, or the jester hat dance (jingle jingle, jingle jingle!) After the underdog success of WH1, Dersden and then director Michael Smith (the two Mad Mikes) followed it up with the simply titled Wacky Hats 2 : This Time Its personal and hot on its heels, Wacky Hats 3 : Midnight Special. Most fans saw these two as interesting follow-ups (I still thing WH3 had some great potential), but ultimately, while WH2 was a hit in its own right, neither of these films were able to capture the magic of Wacky Hats. Some of the hats, I would reckon to venture, were more unusual than wacky, and the attempt to outdo the jester dance in WH3 with Bowler Kung Fu was just sad.

Wacky Hats fans were not to be disappointed with Dersden’s follow-up, the brilliant Interesting Hats. With help from new director Paul “Turbohat” Turbotson, the series took a well-needed departure from the wacky hat genre, picking up a more muted, introspective tone. Although initially met with resignation by true whatters, most began to recognize it as probably the best in the series. Who can match the poigniency of the derby with the feather in it (whose feather IS that anyway?) and the initial shock of the “all bald” scene. I even laughed at the scarf salesman sketch, which admittedly had little to do with hats). A year later, the lackluster Somewhat Less Interesting Hats actually blew apart the box office, bringing legions of new fans to the franchaise, many of whom hadn’t even seen WH. Although mostly selling on star power and marketing, SLIH was not a terrible WH installment, it just didn’t stack up against IH and the original WH. Plus, it didn’t have either Dersden or Turbotson at the wheel, thanks to the now infamous hatrack mishap and the now (thankfully) forgotten lawsuit by one of Dersden and Turbotson’s assistants (he who shall remain nameless). SLIH also led to a slew of bad spinoffs and poor copies by other production companies. Sleepers like “Incredible Caps,” “Earmuff Bonanza” and the abysmal “Amusing Shoes” series (including “Amusing Shoes,” “Silly Shoes” and “Sillier Sneakers” — come on guys, who are you trying to fool?) However, WH was back on track, and the Dersden and Turbotson pumped out more of what fans were coming for — hats. SLIH was followed up by Wacky Hats Return, More Wacky Hats and Insane Completely Mad Totally Wild Craaaazy Hats (or ICMTWCH). Each of these picked up on the energy of the original WH and branched off into some really interesting areas. The only real failure in this period was the weird sequel in the Wacky Hats Return vein, Wacky Hats Came Back. In my opinion, despite whatter opinion to the contrary, WHCB does belong in the WH pantheon, despite some very poor and very strange decisions (half the movie doesn’t even have hats at all! I mean cats? Cats? What do they have to do with hats, apart from the rhyme? And no, Mr. Dersden, putting a hat on a cat doesn’t make it a hat movie–unless, maybe the hat was a lot bigger than the cat, or got as much screen time). Turbotson also moved on to his own movie, Funny Cakes, which, while ambitious in its own right, never quite reached the level of WH. Mostly it’s just shots of cakes from different angles and filters so it looks like it has different colour icing. Also, there is one scene with a man wearing a cake on his head, obviously inspired by the cake hat in SLIH, but otherwise the movie is pretty unremarkable. Judy Dench does a pretty convincing performance as a piece of slightly melted chocolate.

By now, though, WH had a deep fan base, always looking out for the next WH installment, discussing the series, etc. In most good toy stores (though not where I live, in the backwoods, it seems), you can buy cool mini-hats themed on the movies (can you imagine carrying around your own Rainbow Sowester? Awesome!), Hat shaped wind-ups, and of course in Japan, Hat candies (which are actually very good). It has been four years since the last WH installment, however, and fans were beginning to lose hope.

Hope no longer friends, the hatsterpiece you’ve been waiting for is here! I won’t go as far as to say that this is the best WH installment, but having seen the preview, I’d have to say it ranks among the top three.

I’m still reeling over this one—I had been half expecting another WHCB hatastrophe, but it blew away most of my expectations. I’ll probably give away a lot in this review so SPOILER ALERT.

And just one more time, SPOILER’S BELOWW!!!11!!

The film starts off with some dude doing tricks of some kind with one of those cake hats. He’s twirling it and rolling it and stuff. I guess he was pretty good, but I think it gets in the way of the hat although at least it’s not a cat! I didn’t quite get it at first, but then the camera pulls back and we see the guy’s in this room FULL of hats. It’s clear that Dersden is making use of his CG budget, because there’s NO WAY he could have got that many hats in one scene, especially without falling on each other. After the hat tricks, we cut to a hat salesman (wearing like 100 hats!) who realizes he can’t sell anything because he loves them too much. It’s a really touching scene and there are some hilarious hats, including one shaped like a dinosaur with teeth and everything—and not just a hat with a dinosaur put on it—that at first I thought was the real thing. But of course, the hat salesman meets a beautiful girl wearing three sunhats and a kooky umbrella cap, and he starts to really consider what should be sold and what shouldn’t be.

As the film continues, the hat seller realizes that he is in fact an artist, and that his act of abandoning a hat is giving up the idea that he started with, basically a letting go while creating, allowing a work to unfold naturally. The woman is convinced to run away by a villain called Sinaxis, who wears this really cool 2 storey hotel hat—it’s black and has a working elevator in it. The woman becomes a metaphor for the hat seller’s life, and he chases her through a mental hospital, in an ever closing concentric circle of his own madness. There is this huge car chase with all these cars wearing hats (!) and at the end the woman disappears and we see that he is being filmed. The hat seller realizes that he was never an artist, but the director is the one with all the hats, and the audience itself is *actually itself a hat*. We are left with a sense of total disillusionment and the whole question of what is delusion and what is reality is left unresolved.

The plot has a lot more to it, but true whatters don’t care about the plot so much—that’s always secondary to the hats! There are some really fabulous hats in this movie. I would say some of the wackiest since Wacky Hats III. There are bowlers, and cowboy hats, and sombreros and toques and sports caps, nacho hats, a crown that spins, a giant pill-box hat, and many more. There’s even an awesome tour of a factory where silly/wacky hats are made, which is pure whatter fan service. However, there is more than enough exposition to allow any non-whatter to get what’s going on. And, there aren’t any major faux pas like in Hats Off America (Dersden’s post 911 WH movie) with all the police and firemen’s “hats” (hey, researcher, know the difference between a HAT and a HELMET??? LEARN IT!!!”) I wouldn’t say that this is the best movie to start a non-whatter’s initiation into the universe of wacky hats, but it’s certainly better than SLIH or WH1.


Overall I rate this movie 23 hats out of 25. I like to be a tough but fair marker, and while this was worth the wait, I would say it could have been edited just a little better. Also, *no Fez and Busby*–they would have been the best part of the musical. They were the best part of More Wacky Hats, and were hilarious in ICMTWDH. There’s absolutely no reason not to write them in here, despite the darker tone of this one. They could have been in one of the dream sequences, easy.

Apart from that, I’d say this is an awesome movie, and I heartily recommend it to whatter and non-whatter alike.

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