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This Internet Person Thinks Your ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Memes Are Terrible

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Jason Richards is known as @Seinfeld2000 on Twitter, where he explains what the world would be like if “Seinfeld” were on TV today. He messaged me recently to explain that he was incensed by the misuse of a meme that he says he popularized three years ago. This meme consists of adding the theme music from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to an unrelated video clip, often zooming in on someone who is visibly trapped in an awkward situation and thereby making light of the person. In 2019, he said, he is looking to help end the meme. I invited him to tell me more, so he did. (This interview was stitched together from many, many direct messages, and a telephone conversation, and edited for clarity, coherence and grammar.)JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Jason Richards: Thank you. Before we get into it, I just want to preface this by saying I’m glad you’re taking some time to discuss this serious subject.

I understand that this is a confusing time for digital media. Instagram keeps adding widgets and baubles nobody wants in an effort to make us spend more time staring into Kylie Jenner’s vacant eyes. Most of Facebook’s users are dead. News publishing start-ups are struggling, with companies like Mic being sold because they spent their funding on a gold foosball table that says WOKE on it that doesn’t work because every player is a replica of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. These days the desire to create shareable content is stronger than Stephen Miller’s desire for hair that looks as real as it does on the outside of the can.

So I can see how whenever there’s an awkward moment that happens publicly — any awkward moment at all — people working at media companies would immediately rush to make it into a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme, without putting any of the love into the content that made it such a beloved meme to begin with.

So can you give me some examples?

Sure, let’s start with this one.

First of all it’s a vertical video. You know, let’s have the wherewithal to record horizontally here, this isn’t Aunt Linda using her Android for the first time. Let’s rein it in, let’s be calm enough to hold the phone in the correct position, first of all.

We’re recording a flat-screen and not even facing the TV at the correct angle; it’s off to the side. This is so haphazard. We see someone’s disgusting cupboard above the television. Now we’re zooming in manually. This is pathetic.

And also … this is funny on its own. One thing I make sure of is the person we’re zeroing in on has some philosophical situational kinship to Larry David. This guy is trolling Trump. He’s not in an uncomfortable situation; he holds the power here. I can’t really think of an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where Larry David emerges victorious and is getting his reward as the camera swoops in on him. It’s a complete inversion of the “Curb” formula. It’s just fundamentally wrong. This meme isn’t about just identifying anything, isolating it and putting in the music.

But is it just this one guy? Or are there lots of these bad uses?

Mr. Richards quickly found four more examples as well as “the one that really set me off,” which came from The Daily Beast’s Twitter account.

It’s not just people working at media companies who are abusing the meme. Celebrities (or “celebs” for short) are now exploiting it for their own viral success.

Jaden Smith? I would expect this type of online self-indulgence from Will, Jada, Willow or even Trey, but I thought you had more integrity than this. I guess I was wrong.

Why do so many of these include the president?

The not-very-funny answer is that Trump is such a dominant figure across all media. And a lot of people on Twitter want to see him look like a loser.

How can you get mad at people for ripping you off when the meme is taken from somewhere else?

I’ve sort of appointed myself the social media guardian of Larry David and HBO slash Warner Media’s intellectual property. I justify that by being something of an originator, I might go as far to call myself a pioneer of this meme, much like Marie Curie or Alexander Graham Bell, spreading knowledge of a pre-existing truth.

I suppose maybe the best way to say this is that within the territory of Twitter, I am the gatekeeper of this meme, this particular way of using this content. Larry David has no social presence. In a way, I’m his unintentional surrogate and I like to think that he would absolutely agree. In fact, if you happen to reach out to Larry David for this article and he declines to comment or doesn’t respond, that silence would qualify would as absolute consent and complete agreement with me.

Mr. David did, in fact, respond, when asked to comment on the phenomenon. “I don’t know anything about this,” he said in an email. “Every now and then someone will send me something with ‘Curb’ music at the end. Some of them I find mildly amusing, some not. Have never really given it any thought except for wondering why anyone would do it.

I wonder if you can retire a meme. It kind of reminds me of the cartoonist who drew Pepe. (Matt Furie’s creation, Pepe the frog, was appropriated by white supremacists, leading him, in one memorable phrase, to go “legally nuclear.”)

Oh yeah Matt Furie … but I think that kind of worked in the long run!

I am retiring the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme on Jan. 1, 2019.

Beginning next year, no one will be allowed to make a video where they zoom in on an uncomfortable moment and add the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme song to it capped with an abrupt end credit.

And you might say: @Seinfeld2000, how ever will you enforce this ban? As usual, I’m already 100 steps ahead of you. I’m working with disgraced Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey to ensure that anyone who attempts to post one of these memes will be immediately exiled from the platform. Just to give you an update on this plan, so far, I have DM’ed Jack with the proposal and I am awaiting a response. As soon as he reads my DM, I’m sure he’ll make this initiative his top priority, over adding an edit button or banning Nazis, people who send death threats, and worse, people who link to their SoundCloud accounts the moment a tweet gets over 500 RTs.

If this plan doesn’t work for WHATEVER reason, here are three tips for when you’re attempting to make your own Curb Your Enthusiasm meme, which will never be as good as mine, to seem less pathetic:

  • Choose good moments. In today’s always-on culture, cringe-worthy events happen all the time. Be a good editor and pick only the moments that will work best. Usually these will have to be drawn out and painful enough to accommodate the first 12 seconds of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme and have a character suffering in the center of it all. Have you found a moment where an athlete laughs awkwardly for a moment? That’s not quite right. I know, but everyone on Twitter is laughing about it. Still, be strong. A better moment will come along soon. Let the hacks take this one on.

  • No sloppy iPhone screen records. Download the video and open it in iMovie and use the Ken Burns effect, just like the professionals do. This is the Curb Your Enthusiasm meme, not amateur hour at Captain Johnny’s Two-Cent Peanut Circus. Have some respect.

  • Stay true to “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” No juxtaposing credits over the video or cutting the shape of the video square. Is that what the show is like? No. Do you even watch the show?

Lastly, I just want to leave you with a thought. One thing I’ve always tried to promote on my Twitter account is the idea of imagination. I ask what “Seinfeld” would be like today and like to make my own suggestions, but there’s really no wrong answer. The only real answer is: “Seinfeld” today is whatever you want it to be. Is it imaginative to just use the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme anytime something slightly weird happens on TV or social media? That’s a rhetorical question, and so I’m not obligated to answer, and yet I will: It simply is not. And so that’s why I am leaving this tired meme, which I am largely responsible for, in 2018, which is almost over.


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The 3 Best Canadian Tech Stocks I Would Buy With $3,000 for 2021

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The majority of the Canadian tech stocks went through the roof in 2020 and delivered outsized returns. However, tech stocks witnessed sharp selling in the past 10 days, reflecting valuation concerns and expected normalization in demand. 

As these high-growth tech stocks shed some of their gains, I believe it’s time to accumulate them at current price levels to outperform the broader markets by a significant margin in 2021. Let’s dive into three tech stocks that have witnessed a pullback and are looking attractive bets. 

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS (TSX:LSPD)(NYSE:LSPD) stock witnessed strong selling and is down about 33% in the last 10 days. I believe the selloff in Lightspeed presents an excellent opportunity for investors to invest in a high-growth and fundamentally strong company. 

Lightspeed witnessed an acceleration in demand for its digital products and services amid the pandemic. However, with the easing of lockdown measures and economic reopening, the demand for its products and services could normalize. Further, it faces tough year-over-year comparisons. 

Despite the normalization in demand, I believe the ongoing shift toward the omnichannel payment platform could continue to drive Lightspeed’s revenues and customer base. Besides, its accretive acquisitions, growing scale, and geographic expansion are likely to accelerate its growth and support the uptrend in its stock. Lightspeed stock is also expected to benefit from its growing average revenue per user, innovation, and up-selling initiatives.     

Shopify 

Like Lightspeed, Shopify (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP) stock has also witnessed increased selling and has corrected by about 22% in the past 10 days. Notably, during the most recent quarter, Shopify said that it expects the vaccination and reopening of the economy to drive some of the consumer spending back to offline retail and services. Further, Shopify expects the pace of shift toward the e-commerce platform to return to the normal levels in 2021, which accelerated in 2020.

Despite the normalization in the pace of growth, a strong secular shift towards online commerce could continue to bring ample growth opportunities for Shopify, and the recent correction in its stock can be seen as a good buying opportunity. 

Shopify’s initiatives to ramp up its fulfillment network, international expansion and growing adoption of its payment platform are likely to drive strong growth in revenues and GMVs. Moreover, its strong new sales and marketing channels bode well for future growth. I remain upbeat on Shopify’s growth prospects and expect the company to continue to multiply investors’ wealth with each passing year. 

Docebo 

Docebo (TSX:DCBO)(NASDAQ:DCBO) stock is down about 21% in the last 10 days despite sustained momentum in its base business. The enterprise learning platform provider’s key performance metrics remain strong, implying that investors should capitalize on its low stock price and start accumulating its stock at the current levels. 

Docebo’s annual recurring revenue or ARR (a measure of future revenues) continues to grow at a brisk pace. Its ARR is expected to mark 55-57% growth in Q4. Meanwhile, its top line could increase by 48-52% during the same period. The company’s average contract value is growing at a healthy rate and is likely to increase by 22-24% during Q4. 

With the continued expansion of its customer base, geographical expansion, innovation, and opportunistic acquisitions, Docebo could deliver strong returns in 2021 and beyond.

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Manitoba to invest $6.5 million in new systems

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WINNIPEG – The province of Manitoba is investing $6.5 million over three years to replace technical systems used in healthcare facilities, including replacing current voice dictation and transcription services with more modern systems and upgrading the Provincial Health Contact Centre (PHCC)’s triage, call-recording and telephone systems, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson (pictured) announced.

“Our government is investing in the proper maintenance of information and communications technology to ensure digital health information can be safely stored and shared as needed,” said Stefanson. “These systems will ensure healthcare facilities can continue to provide high-quality services and allow Manitobans to get faster access to healthcare resources and information.”

Dictation, transcription and voice-recognition services are used by healthcare providers to write reports. There are currently approximately 80 healthcare sites across Manitoba using some combination of dictation, transcription and voice-recognition services. Many of these systems are nearing the end of their usable lifespans.

“Across our health system, radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians use voice-dictation services to help create diagnostic reports when reading imaging studies like ultrasound, nuclear medicine studies, X-rays, angiography, MRI and CT scans,” said Dr. Marco Essig, provincial specialty lead, diagnostic imaging, Shared Health. “Enhanced dictation and voice-recognition services will enable us to work more efficiently and provide healthcare providers with quicker access to these reports that support the diagnoses and treatment of Manitobans every day.”

The project will replace telephone-based dictation and transcription with voice-recognition functions, upgrade voice-recognition services for diagnostic imaging and enhance voice-recognition tools for mobile devices.

“Investing in more modern voice-transcription services will help our health-care workers do the administrative part of their jobs more quickly and effectively so they can get back to the most important part of their work – providing top-level healthcare and protecting Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “The transition to the new system will be made seamlessly so that services disruptions, which can lead to patient care safety risks, will not occur.”

The new systems will be compatible with other existing systems, will decrease turnaround times to improve patient care and will be standardized across the province to reduce ongoing costs and allow regional facilities to share resources as needed, Stefanson added.

The PHCC is a one-stop shop for incoming and outgoing citizen contact and supports programs such as Health Links–Info Santé, TeleCARE TeleSOINS and After-Hours Physician Access, as well as after-hours support services to public health, medical officers of health, home care and Manitoba Families.

The current vendor that supplies communications support to the PHCC is no longer providing service, making it an opportune time to invest in an upgraded system that will provide better service to Manitobans, the minister said, adding the project will provide the required systems and network infrastructure to continue providing essential services now and for the near future.

“The PHCC makes more than 650,000 customer service calls to Manitobans per year to a broad spectrum of clients with varied health issues. This reduces the need for people to visit a physician, urgent care or emergency departments,” said Stefanson. “The upgrade will also allow Manitobans in many communities to continue accessing the support they need from their home or local health centre, reducing the need for unnecessary travel.”

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Telus and UHN deliver services to the marginalized

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Telus’s Health for Good program has launched the latest of its specially equipped vans to provide medical services to the homeless and underserved, this time to the population of Toronto’s west end. The project relies not only on the hardware and software – the vans and technology – but on the care delivered by trained and socially sensitive medical professionals.

For the Toronto project, those professionals are working at the University Health Network’s Social Medicine program and the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. The city’s Parkdale community, in the west end, has a high concentration of homeless and marginalized people.

First launched in 2014, Telus’s Health for Good program has delivered mobile clinics to 13 Canadian cities, from Victoria to Halifax. Originally designed to deliver primary care, the program pivoted to meet the needs of patients in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nimtaz Kanji, Calgary-based director of Telus Social Purpose Programs.

Angela Robertson of the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (CHC) asserted that marginalized people are particularly susceptible to the spread of COVID-19, as they don’t have access to the basic precautions that prevent its spread.

The clinic is located near a Pizza Pizza franchise; homeless people shelter under its overhang on the weekends, she said. Some have encampments under nearby bridges.

“The public health guidelines and requirements call for things that individuals who are homeless don’t have,” Robertson said. “If the response calls for isolation, that suggests people have places to isolate in.”

And in the shelter system, pre-COVID, the environment was very congregate, with many people in the same physical space, said Robertson. Some homeless persons, in order to keep themselves safe, have created encampments, and the city has opened up some hotel rooms across the city to create spaces for physical distancing.

Even proper hand-washing and hygiene becomes a challenge for the homeless.

“COVID calls for individuals to practice constant hand-washing. Oftentimes, individuals who are homeless use public washroom facilities that may be in restaurants or coffee shops, and many of those spaces are now closed. So there are limitations to accessing those facilities. It’s not like they’re in a community where there are public hand-washing facilities for people who are homeless.”

The mobile health clinic allows the CHC to take “pop-up testing” into communities where there is high positivity and where additional COVID testing is needed. The CHC can take testing into congregate sites and congregate housing to provide more testing, Robertson said.

“The other piece that we will use the van to do is, when the vaccine supply gets back online, and when the health system gets to doing community vaccinations … we hope that we can be part of that effort.”

COVID has contributed to a spike in cases of Toronto’s other pandemic: opioid overdoses. Some community members are reluctant to seek care because of the stigma attached to substance abuse; and COVID has a one-two punch for users.

The first rule of substance abuse is, don’t use alone; always be with someone who can respond to a potential overdose, ideally someone who can administer Nalaxone to reverse the effects of the overdose, Robertson said. “It’s substance abuse 101,” and the need for social distancing makes this impossible.

Secondly, COVID has affected the supply chain of street drugs. As a result, they’re being mixed increasingly with “toxic” impurities like Fentanyl that can be deadly.

The van itself is a Mercedes Sprinter, modified by architectural firm éKM architecture et aménagement and builder Zone Technologie, both based in Montréal. According to Car and Driver magazine, the Sprinter line – with 21 cargo models and 10 passenger versions – is “considered by many to be the king of cargo and passenger vans.”

Kanji said the platform was chosen for its reputation for reliability and robustness.

While the configuration is customized for each mobile clinic, it generally consists of two sections: A practitioner’s workstation and a more spacious and private examination room, so patients can receive treatment with privacy and dignity, Kanji said. The Parkdale clinic is 92 square feet.

“While the layouts vary across regions, they typically include an examination table and health practitioners’ workstation, including equipment necessary to provide primary healthcare,” the Telus vice-president of provider solutions wrote in an e-mail interview. The Parkdale Queen West mobile clinic is designed for primary medical services, including wound care, mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts, harm reduction services, mental healthcare and counseling.

The clinic equipped with an electronic medical record (EMR) from TELUS Health and TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network technology.

Practitioners will be able to collect and store patient data, examine a patient’s results over time, and provide better continuity of care to those marginalized citizens who often would have had undocumented medical histories.

The EMR system is Telus Health’s PS Suite (formerly Practice Solutions). It is an easy-to-use, customizable solution for general and specialty practices that captures, organizes, and displays patient information in a user-friendly way. The solution allows for the electronic management of patient charts and scheduling, receipt of labs and hospital reports directly into the EMR, and personalization of workflows with customizable templates, toolbars, and encounter assistants.

But like others tested for COVID, it’s a 24-48 hour wait for results. Pop-up or not, how does the mobile team get results to patients who have no fixed address?

The CHC set up a centre for testing in a tent at the Waterfront Community Centre. Swabs are sent to the lab. “We are responsible for connecting back with community members and their results,” Robertson said.

“This is the value of having Parkdale Queen West being in front of the testing, because many of the community members who are homeless we know through our other services, and there is some trust in folks either coming to us to make arrangements to collect their results, or we know where they are.”

This is a key element of the program, said Kanji – leveraging community trust. In Vancouver downtown east side, for example, where there is a high concentration of marginalized members of the indigenous community, nurse practitioners are accompanied by native elders in a partnership with the Kilala Lelum Health Centre.

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