Elvi and I watched a lot of comedy tonight and our biggest laugh came, ultimately, not from a writer but from an actor.

The second season of “The Tournament” has been workmanlike comedy: good enough to watch, but not as inspiring as the original stretch of episodes. This year’s season has gotten better as it’s gone on, however, and tonight’s episode 9 was easily the best of the lot.

The introduction of Barry McConnell’s dad was a genius tactic. The guy was scary enough to have an effect on Barry, but was multidimensional enough to feel real. He wasn’t the cartoon that Hank Hill’s dad is. If Robbie wants to dance, let him dance, this mean dad says. And he does teach Barry a thing or two about keeping your lady happy.

That’s all fine. So is the admiration and pity that Barry’s hockey buddies – yes, even Singh – throw his way when they meet his dad.

But our biggest laugh came from pure acting. You can’t write “Barry’s face expresses disgust, despair, and ‘I should’ve seen this coming’ all at once.” Well, you can – but unless you have an Alain Goulem to play it, it’s not going to mean squat.

Briefly (well, it started that way)

I wanted to post a short note to keep Jakob Nielsen happy (see #7, and ignore the rest with respect to this post).

I’ve been working on characters for “72 Virgins” most of the weekend. Most of the inspiration came at a Havdalah performance that Child Two and her classmates put on Saturday night. Remember, monkeys: never travel anywhere without pen and paper.

Right now, I’m going to hop in the shower, do carpool, and go vote. I find this particular election exciting, because the Liberals always pull more votes than polls predict. The margins in Canada’s parliamentary system are fine. A swing of a few percentage points can tip ridings. How big will the swing be today?

I predict a Conservative minority government. The Tories (the Conservatives) won’t pull in as many Quebec votes as predicted and won’t have enough MPs to control Parliament outright.

The Liberals will clean house and get rid of all visible remnants of the Chretien/Martin power struggle/structure. Once the Liberals have a new face/facade in six months or a year, they will topple the Conservatives and waltz back into power.

This prognostication assumes that:

a) Stephen Harper is the Stephen Harper we knew and avoided before the campaign, and is not the new improved version we saw during the campaign.

b) Harper and his party avoid the tendency of all elected parties to slide toward the centre. If the Conservatives stick to their guns, they will alienate the other parties enough to lose confidence.

My vote? I live in the western half of Montreal. My riding will vote Liberal. I like the Conservative platform and I would like to see the Liberals clean house. But I can’t help recalling that Harper has said he’d have sent Canadians into Iraq. I’m not a big believer in pre-emptive war, so that gives me pause. Afghanistan? Sure. Iraq? No.

Gosh. Politics is something I actively try to avoid on this blog. Dang.

Powerful Western democracies – and Canada – can kick ass militarily. To maintain favour in the global eye, however, they must wield that big stick with caution. The US can’t be a bully and expect weaker countries to fall in line.

Nobody faults the US – and Canadian – invasion of Afghanistan, because that was retaliation. Even if Iraq had planned an attack on the US, the US has to stand and take it. Once hit, any country would have global support to hit back. Look at Gulf War I.

It’s braver to face the threat than it is to push first.

Even though I know no one in the Canadian military, even though I would have no personal investment in Canadian forces in Iraq, I’m glad my country isn’t involved there.

It’s gonna have to be a quick shower….

The roof, the roof, the roof we will hire

We found a roof, provided by another TriggerStreeter. It’s the top of the DeWitt Theatre in Auburn, Calif. It’s not quite the urban setting we had in mind, but it sure beats a hill. Marior has admitted that his hill just won’t do, so it looks like cast and crew will be making the three hour drive to Auburn. You can see the roof in a small image at that link.

In the meantime, Nearmiss pitched four shorts this morning:

“The Apple”: A morose teenager young teenager is the target of his family’s criticism even after he eases his grandmother’s passing.

“72 Virgins”: A suicide bomber finds himself in limbo with his victims and has to convince them to pass to the other side before he can attain Paradise.

“Do No Evil”: Three sixth-graders take shortcuts as they summon a special demon to do their bidding.

“Weeping with the Fishes”: Fish in one tank launch a surprise attack on another tank only to be greeted with an escalating response.

Looks like they want to buy “72 Virgins”, so Nearmiss and I will spend this weekend writing outlines. I had already roughed out a synopsis for the pitch.

Bonus search engine referral:

A netsurfer in the Islamic Republic of Iran found 101 with a search for “sexy poster” on Blogger’s Blog Search.

Now, if that won’t tip the scales to get this post tagged in Echelon, nothing will.

Off to chip the front walk. We can’t have the G-men slipping as they assault my home.