Top Five Videos of 2011

5. Randall’s nature vids went viral early in 2011 and I still get belly laughs listening to his educational yet over-the-top-flamboyant descriptions of local and exotic fauna.


4. Bad Lip Reading is giving Autotune a run for its money this year, especially since finding a perfect home in the circus that is the GOP leadership race. “Hairy chests destroy our power” is probably the most honest thing that has come out of Newt Gingrich’s mouth in years.


3. Want to encourage someone to take an interest in complex political, social or scientific theories? Then this is the way to do it. These painstakingly crafted, stop-motion animations are both fascinating and informative to watch.


2. That this Onion news report has been making the rounds on Facebook for the better part of a year shouldn’t come as a surprise. Some see it as a clever critique of news media’s penchant for trivialities, others see it as just frickin’ hilarious.


1. It’s hard to believe they could top Jizzed in My Pants, but the boys at Lonely Island did it again this year by teaming up with Michael Bolton to produce this ridiculously funny club mix. I would have expected one of RSA’s animations to be in the top spot – or at least something of substance – but this is, a little tellingly, my most-played video for this year. Sigh and giggle.


Other People’s Poetry

Second Series

Yannos Ritsos 1909-1990


In the white egg,
a yellow chick
a blue song


The new moon
hides up its sleeve – you saw it? –
a knife


Naked, astride an elephant,
the moon crosses the river.
Dewdrops shimmering at its feet.


Guatemala, Nicaragua, Salvador.
Where did so many bodies go? On a tree, wind-swept,
a pair of worn trousers.


Where is the time to light a cigarette,
to look at a star, to speak with a turtle,
to scratch your nose, and fart?


Seek not, want not, be not.
I bite – he says – a bitter apple.


They tagged you an illiterate, those idle bureaucrats.
Unaware how on arid islands you memorized
the twelve Gospels of the Struggle.



An Open Job Application to the National Post

Dear Human Resources Department.

My name is Rocco de Giacomo, and I am a published poet, blogger and personal essayist. I have always been a fan of your newspaper and I am very interested in becoming a full-time editorialist on your staff. Please note that the National Post is the first website I visit in the morning and the last one I read before I turn in after a long day. I believe, after many years of reading your opinion columns, that I have what it takes to make great contributions to your team. Did I mention that I am a fabulous team player?

To be honest, the idea of acquiring gainful employment at your publishing enterprise is a recent one, but make no mistake, yours is the only newspaper in Canada that I have wanted write for. Although I am also a fan of the editorials in The Globe and The Star, their columns seem so bland, without an ounce of punch. For my part, what interests me is anything strident, combative and totally from the hip, so to speak. In other words, a man talks about a cure for cancer: snore city; but if he beats up the whole orchestra, I’ll read it! And nothing too involved or complicated! I hate it when things get complex – that makes my head hurt!

As I said, my decision to join your ranks is a recent one. Though thinking about it, it must have been brewing in the back of my head for a while. I remember reading Barbara Kay’s piece on male circumcision, “A painless, live-saving surgery” – Ouch! Just kidding; it’s painless! Anyway, there’s a part where she says that though circumcision is known to reduce sexual pleasure later on in life, in her opinion this is a good thing because it would reduce male promiscuity and make them more inclined to stay in long-term, meaningful relationships. Well, I have to tell you, when I read that, I thought to myself “hey Rocco, wouldn’t that have been a fun and easy thing to write? Just punch in whatever comes to mind and blammo! Paycheque!” Then there was the time when I was reading a column by Rex Murphy – host for the government–funded CBC Radio, commentator for the government-funded CBC Television, and an all around self-reliant SOB who would never take a dime from Big Government! Well, he had written an column entitled The Heroism of the Unsung Self, and in it he reminisces about the Canadians of old, and how tough and rugged and independent they were and how if we could only get these lazy bums off the government teat – my word, not Rex’s! – they’d toughen up and be able to build a boat with their bare hands like some old guy he knew back home. Well, gosh. I read that and I was like “hey Rocco, the boss just gives you a blank cheque and a Dell laptop and says ‘have at her, hoss’. Awesome!”

But what really made me shout “sign me up!” was this week’s column by Tasha Kheiriddin, The welfare state isn’t pleasing anyone, where she theorizes that all these government programs have made Canadians politically apathetic and spoiled, and if we could only scale back Big Government, then all these welfare-collecting couch potatoes would be forced to get off their butts and get involved! A phenomenal theory and thank God Tasha said “screw it” and posted that bad boy before she did any fact-checking. If she had, she might have learned that the Netherlands – a far better example of a nanny state than Canada – has a voter turnout of 75%, while the US – the Grand Poobah of small-government states – has a turnout hovering around 40% (Canada’s turnout is smack-dab in the middle, around 60%). Now, having to take that into consideration would have spoiled everything. I tell you, you can always count on facts to throw a monkey wrench in all the fun.

And that’s what I like about you guys: you don’t let facts get in the way of opinions, proudly born and raised in the gut.

So how about it? Could I have the honour of joining your team? I’ve even got some column ideas in mind. How about something like “We’re All Addicted to Big Government”? The whole government-as-illegal-drug angle? Or how about something a little more subtle like: “Occupiers should pack up their tents and go home.”

Well jeeze, I know Lorne Gunter has already got dibs on those titles, but tell you what? How about me and him arm wrestle for them, the way editorial columnists used to do it back before the whole researching and fact-checking thing?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

ps What’s with having no capital letters in your headlines?