Archive for the 'humourist' Category

Anum Khan and James Rubec, PB&J Mag in different parts of Canada

in Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger, Fashion Blogger, humourist, NWT, Photography, Toronto and Web Designer


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PB&J

Like the sandwich that is its namesake, this is a quick, tasty and unpretentious blog.  Its bulk – or the bread is in its commitment to quality content which chronicles local/world events and lifestyles in a down to earth tone. The protein – or peanut butter – is the hearty substance behind provocative articles like Three stories that prove racism is alive and well or A grave undertaking.  Last but not least, the flair – that’s the jam – of this online gem is in its entertainment and product reviews, recommendations and musings on the good old days, like When Tim Hortons took only cash.  Individually, the ingredients themselves are humble, but when they come together they create something that is nutritious, delicious and leaves you wanting more.

James Rubec and Anum KhanPB&J Mag is a lifestyle/ political/ social/ scientific/Canadiana blog that aims to “turn frowns upside down and get brains moving.” Founded by Anum Khan and James Rubec, both professional writers and marketers who have an aptitude for unique and buzz-worthy topics, PB&J is a general interest blog full of tips, recipes and useful information. The blog is uniquely Canadian: Anum, a coffee expert, lives in the heart of metropolitan Toronto, where she works as a social media marketer for Spark Internet Marketing Corporation in the biggest and busiest city in the country.  James, a photographer, lives several hundred kilometres below the Arctic Circle in Yellowknife, NWT, where he works in advertising for Kellett Communications Inc.

Anum loves cupcakes and James is into quilting; their interests and skills, which are alike and disparate simultaneously, fuse together to form a blog that is in turns funny, relevant and thought-provoking.

Yellowknife's Beer BargePB&J offers its readers insight into the diversity of Canadian geography and culture. For example, Toronto, often referred to as the New York of Canada, is a far cry from Yellowknife, which, situated so far up North, enjoys summer days where the sun never sets. “This isn’t the Yukon, the story isn’t about the Klondike gold rush that brought fools to stampede to their deaths for hope of riches,” James writes of the Northwest Territories. “It is a story of a community building something from nothing; on and under the hardest land in the world that was and is surrounded by untamed wilderness with winters that are maddeningly long and cold. If the story of the Yukon is about personal exploration and the great gamble that is life, then Yellowknife’s is about balanced risk and teamwork.” James’ posts about life in the NWT, such as Yellowknife’s Beer Barge, contrast between Anum’s coverage of events in the big city such as restaurant openings and Fashion Week. Writes James, “Cities have larger parties, with better beer served in bigger bottles, but they’ll never have an ounce of the unity that has been built in Yellowknife with gold, stone and heart.”

NHL lockout should be stopped by HarperIn addition to recipes from James and product review from Anum, you can count on PB& J to express opinions on politics in posts like NHL lockout should be stopped by Harper (“Why should the government stand by while important money for municipalities, charities and low-income workers is left idly sitting in the arguments of rich whining babies?”), Bruce Mau Design insults all of North America (“Canada has so much to do with Seth Rogen as the United States does with Michael Phelps. You can’t pin a nation on an individual as emblematic, you can only pin the nation on the individual as a factoid.”) and Republicans, Liberals and One Good Book (“I’m jealous of the power that voters actually have in America. I hope Americans feel lucky to be able to vote for their district attorneys, sheriffs and senators. Canadians are lucky if they have a chance to vote for someone once a year.”)

PB&J Mag offers both masculine and feminine perspective, urban and boonies, world news and Canadian content. Since both writers have a background in marketing, these two bloggers are great role models for people just starting out. There aren’t any gimmicks on PB&J; it’s good content on white bread to satisfy the soul.


XOXO Jes Pop Culture in Calgary

in Alberta, British Columbia, Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger and humourist

XOXO JES This is me sitting on a hay bale. Self-explanatory.

Jes of XOXO is a humorous and often sarcastic voice situated in Calgary, Alberta, or “Calgs” as she calls it. She’s a prolific blogger that’s always up to date on the latest entertainment and events in her hometown, and she shares celebrity gossip from around the world. A self-proclaimed hater of many things, Jes loves writing; her blog is nominated in the categories of Overall Humour, Best Post and Pop Culture Blog in the upcoming 2011 Canadian Blog Awards.

XOXO Jes tagline is “There’s something fascinating about things you don’t need to know,” is a pop culture roundup (in the crass and vulgar tradition) of current events – its the only one of its kind in Calgary. “If I knew the secret behind people’s obsession with fame and celebrity I would totally capitalize on it,” Jes says. Kate Gosselin“All I know is that there is a large group of people who seem to care that Justin Bieber cut his hair and I would like to be the one to tell them…with some added sass and a couple zingers.”

Jes graduated university a year earlier than her friends, and she found herself watching a lot of Friends reruns after work while her real friends plodded through their homework. She was restless, and even though Friends has the distinction of holding an infinite place on her Love List, she knew she couldn’t watch the same episodes over and over forever. So, she turned to Jon and Kate Plus 8 and the rest is history: “Kate Gosselin annoyed me so much I would rage about her for hours, literally, to my roommate’s dismay,” Jes explains. “I finally decided to put in in writing and that’s when the blog was born. No joke, you can go back to the beginning and see that Kate started it all. Thanks Kate, you did one good thing. Only one.”

Jes didn’t start blogging with any intentions to be the next Perez Hilton–“there was no deep thought behind my first post, or any of the ones after that,” she jokes. “If I were to stop blogging today there wouldn’t be a domino effect of destruction or any kind of Backstage with Ben and Tyler of Said the Whale at Junofest void left in the universe. No, honestly, I started blogging because I like to write my opinions and I keep doing it because I still enjoy it and for some reason people seem to like it, grammatical errors and all.” Since that fateful first encounter with the Gosselin family, Jes has written over a thousand posts, interviewed some of her favourite entertainers like Vancouver band Said the Whale, been called a “Fairy Godmother” by a Juno winner, and even scored VIP access to the Cowboys Tent at the Calgary Stampede. “Trust me, it’s a big deal,” she says, adding, “Just kidding…kind of.”

Celebrities and entertainers choose a public life, and in so doing share their talents (and shortcomings) with the world. But why blog about them? “There are tons of crass rude blogs out there in every form, and since entertainers are such easy targets there are more of those types than others,” says Jes, although she’s the first to admit that her blog was not an original concept. What makes it unique, however, is that it’s the only one of its kind based XOXO Jes with Kevin Costner at the Calgary Stampedein Calgary. “Calgs is an interesting city that has hidden relevant-to-what-I-write gems that I explore,” she says. Of course, Cow-town celeb gossip is not an every day occurrence so I fill with various other Canadian entertainment stories or the more general stories of the hour. Most of my readers come from Calgary; [I’m] not sure if that is because they know me, heard of me or have searched something relevant to the city which has led them to my blog. All I know is that I have many Calgary faithfuls. That being said, I could probably live in the Yukon and still do the same thing. Live show reviews may be difficult, but I am sure they have the occasional performer up there…right?!”

It isn’t always easy for Jes to keep on top of work, life and blogging, but juicy celebrity scandals keep pouring in along with new TV shows, albums and viral videos. To maintain consistency, Jes established the XOXO Weeklies, three posts her readers can expect week after week: Top 5 comes out on Mondays, and lists a Jes’ top 5 picks for whatever is on her mind on a given week. Out This Weekend lists movies hitting theatres, and Jes’ pick for which one looks best. #NowPlaying: MG’s Pick of the Week is written by MG, a woman from Halifax, Nova Scotia–the only guest blogger featured on XOXO Jes–who recommends a tune every Friday.

For Jes, a good blog is an honest one. She doesn’t necessarily have to agree with what the author says, as long as they say it with conviction. “Because my opinion is, more often than not, extremely negative I have a rule: I must always be honest,” she says. “I love what I love and hate what I hate, no compromise. I know not everyone is going to agree with me, but I’d rather be hard-hitting than a puff writer who blows with Meaghan Smith at the 2011 Junossmoke up people’s asses to get on their good side. I may not always lean with popular opinion, but you know it is always my opinion and not someone else’s.” Jes’ frank, fierce and fearless approach is part of what makes XOXO Jes so appealing, but she’s had her fair share of haters, too. “I love my hate mail. It keeps me real,” she says. “If you are going to dish it out you have to be able to take it, so I appreciate that not everyone agrees with me.” Some of these strong opinions can be found in blog posts like the letter to the girl sitting behind her at a Ke$ha/Rihanna concert, an in-depth analysis of why she hates Nickelback so no one would ever ask her again, or this completely reasonable request she Standex electronics reed switch made of Oprah.

Jes has no plans to write her last blog post soon, or any plans at all, really. In an ideal world “some rich enlightened person” would pay for her to blog full-time, but until then she’s fully enjoying what she’s doing. “Hopefully I’m around for awhile and don’t get burned out trying to keep up with the many jailing of Lindsay Lohan,” she says. “Maybe one day I will go big and get an XOXO Jes Facebook page. Or not, again…no strategy here.”


The Northern Star in Prince George

in Activism, British Columbia, Culture Blogger, humourist, News Media and Scholar


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The Northern Star Magazine, British Columbia, Alternative media print and online publication

Will Lewis, Northern Star Online writer, editor, publisher and daily bloggerWill Lewis is a loud voice, west of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He’s an alternative media print publisher in Prince George, British Columbia, with a well trafficked website and blog. Because storytelling runs in his blood, he writes news, comedy and political satire. His mother was one of the first aboriginal women in all of North America to get a university degree, and he has the same pioneering spirit.

The Northern Star is best categorized as ‘alternative media’, and has one goal – to entertain its readers. Every edition is filled with news stories, folk tales and funny observations. Will, and his wife Cathie, believe their job is to make readers think, smile and feel better about themselves. The Northern Star blog is an effective content repository, where they showcase the best articles and jokes from their weekly publication. Anyone is welcome to respond with their comments. Will says, “We actually began blogging as an afterthought. We first created a printed magazine, developed a readership, and then created the blog to build upon that audience.”

Will and Cathie produce The Northern Star in Prince George, British Columbia, but it’s enjoyed around the world. Even the local political articles, Will's Thoughts on The Northern Star in Prince George British Columbiaespecially Will’s Thoughts, wherein he gets very opinionated about actions and decisions of politicians and government, is enjoyed world wide. Beyond that, there’s plenty of human interest pieces, like the story on Purina’s new TV commercials for dogs, and how Knokkers is played in Missouri. They profiled Leonard George Casley, the independent micro nation known as the Hutt River Principality in Australia, and closer to their home is a fascinating overview of Spotted Lake, a volcanic water body in southern BC, that weeps mineral rich mud in an unusual spotted pattern. Will follows his own passion, and publishes things that makes one think – he shares a growing conviction that ‘We Are E.T.’ (Extraterrestrials) with his readers, in pieces relating facts that challenge the standard belief system regarding the origin of mankind. But don’t misunderstand, The Northern Star is a family friendly publication, that fundamentally respects the diversity of our multicultural world.

The Northern Star, valuing differences, celebrating diversityThe Northern Star is an Aboriginal Owned and Operated Print and Online Publication

Because The Northern Star is physically circulated in print, available online, and directly mailed to thousands of email addresses, Will and Cathie can offer advertisers a variety of different options, different platforms and delivery perspectives. They have more than a dozen long term advertisers, and get good return from their ad network, which speaks volumes about their business acumen. According to Lewis, however, …the biggest obstacle we run into is that many businesses are reluctant to do business with an aboriginally owned and operated company. That’s a fascinating statement, because it makes his own writer’s quest for racial and religious tolerance even more profound.

Unfortunately, Will can’t publish all of his opinionated beliefs, because Cathie is the final filter who won’t allow some of it. When we asked him the worst thing that’s ever happened to him since publishing, he alluded to creative differences with Cathie.

Mel trucker stories truck driver british columbia blog

One of the best things to come from the rise of The Northern Star, is the discovery and promotion of Mel McConaghy, an original voice found in a retired truck driver, who started life as a dyslexic eighth grade dropout, and is now an internationally acclaimed writer. This long journey occurred in part, because of the exposure he receives from his own website, My Life Through A Broken Windshield, Trucker’s Tales From The Road Of Life, which is truncated and published as a weekly column in The Northern Star.

BC truck driver navigates a mountain creek with big tractor trailer

Some terrific examples of Will’s writing occur in Will’s Thoughts, like this favourite, wherein Will confesses to being a belief-o-holic. He writes,

Hi, my name is Will and I am a Belief-o-holic. Beliefs have always been my best friends. I used beliefs to feel better, to ease my pain, and to end my loneliness. Sometimes I believed in public, but most often, I believed alone. I’ve suffered horribly, and caused others to suffer, because of my addiction to beliefs. I put beliefs ahead of my family, friends and community. Beliefs made me do things that I am ashamed of, and almost destroyed my life.

More wisdom in Will’s Thoughts when he writes about the moral ambiguity of the word ‘okay’; he says, …any time that you hear someone say ‘that’s okay’, pay real close attention to how it’s being used.

And this little gem, ‘The Problem With Education’, is a delightful look at a dinner party, where the truth about teachers is revealed to a money grubbing career driven corporate CEO. It’s immensely enjoyable, and like the rest of The Northern Star, it shares a simple mandate to make people smile and give them hope.


Canucklehead in London Ontario

in Canadian pop culture, humourist, Ontario and Personal Blog

Canucklehead Blog banner

Lincoln McCardle is a married father-of-two (awesome boys) who spends his days working full-time maintaining the VoIP network for one of Canada’s largest telecommunications providers, but who finds time to attend the University of Western Ontario in the evenings to complete his BA in English. On weekends, and when everyone else is asleep, Lincoln putters away as a humourist on a very unique web portal. There are two types of people out there, those who love Canucklehead straight away, and those who take a while.

Canucklehead blog buttonCanucklehead is the blog most central to the life of Lincoln McCardle, a working class guy who addresses all Canadians from the living room computer in his London Ontario home. The humour filled portal has a navigation bar that’s divided into seven categories, and all with names that begin with the letter ‘L”. They are Look, Laugh, Life, Love, Lists, Listen, and Luck and this of course is every Librarian’s nightmare, because it is quite impossible for readers to know what’s stored where, and so they have to explore the site and have the Canucklehead experience for themselves.

The first stop is Look, which indexes Lincoln’s favourite web photos of course, and Laugh is his collection of jokes and funny stories. Life is where he keeps his blog – this is the section most frequently updated. Love is a storehouse of assorted family memories. Lists is where you read about a hierarchy of Top Canadians, and Lincoln’s favourite Canadian city names. Listen is where you will find audio and even video clips, including Lincoln’s Torch Run Dec 22 2009 through Paris Ontario.  And Luck is a long list of local contests and charity raffles and things involving an element of chance. So it all makes perfect sense in a knucklehead kind of way.

Lincoln McCardle of Canucklehead, a blog in London Ontario CanadaLincoln was born and raised in London Ontario, and has spent his entire life in that city, save six years in downtown Toronto. The megacity is an awesome place for a young couple to meet and fall in love, but Lincoln didn’t want to have a family or career there, and so after the birth of his first son, the family returned back to his hometown. Who are the people Lincoln loves most? After his family, he treasures Homer Simpson, Haruki Murakami & Conan O’Brien. Who does he hate? How about Glen Beck, Justin Bieber & the Montreal Canadiens.

Lincoln isn’t trying to get rich with his blog, but there are some text link ads to poker sites now, and some affiliate marketing in the sidebars.

I hate sandcastles canucklehead

McCardle is convinced he’ll never be truly wealthy, but he’s content that he ‘leads a comfortable life by most people’s definition of the word, although very little of that is due blogging‘.  While excited about how popular his website has become, it will always just be just a favourite hobby, and not a vocation. For Lincoln, the blog is something to do while the rest of the house is sleeping. His web smorgasbord of assorted passions is created for people like him, and those who want to be more like him.  He writes, …it covers its own expenses, with a little left over for beer, Lego and a growing collection of Apple iGadgets.

Lincoln McCardle believes that all Canadians should receive one case of beer without taxes at the Beer Store on the Friday immediately preceding long weekend holidays. He writes about the necessity of implementing a Canucklehead Case Day.

Lincoln McCardle on a rope swing, Canucklehead

Lincoln admits he has led a charmed life – and he’s forever thankful to his family, friends and well-wishers who constantly provide support and encouragement.

There are also a lot of bloggers, too numerous to list, that Lincoln offers a heart-felt thanks for their advice and encouragement in those early years while he struggled away learning and blogging at the same time.

Because of his kids and his active disposition toward loving all people, Lincoln is an active community member, whether it’s being team captain for the Walk for Kids Help Phone, or as member of London’s local Movember committee @MovemberLondon. Lincoln has also recently decided to run for a position on CIRA’s Board of Directors; have a look at Lincoln’s nominee statement on the CIRA website.  CIRA is the organization that governs .ca domain names, and Lincoln now runs a few .ca websites. He’d like to be part of the establishment. Another one of his projects is a site for merchandising text friendly gloves (the index fingers are somehow detachable to allow easier texting with mobile devices) called Twittens. Its a brilliant idea and we wish him luck. Above all else one thing is certain, Lincoln likes to keep busy!

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