Saturday, July 31, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Then there's the Gathercole building by the river. A former technical college in more recent years it had served as headquarters for the Saskatoon Public School Board. Lots of folks, for reasons that really don't resonate with me(the building has never had any real appeal to me, it looked like an old box), wanted the building preserved. But the consensus amongst city planners and others was that it should be knocked down to make way for the long planned and still nebulous South Downtown redevelopment project. And so down it goes. Of course things might have gone a bit differently if the tv series Body & Soul, filmed here in Saskatoon, including in the Gathercole, had been successful. Starring current garden products spokesman and miniseries favourite Peter Strauss it was filmed in 2002 for the US PAX Network, but was cancelled after 9 episodes were filmed. Given how minor league of a channel PAX is the series must have done really poorly. At the time production began the folks behind the series were optimistically talking about as much as a four year run. Of course no one will have much luck marketing a series if they don't make lofty predictions.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Monday, July 26, 2004
Its interesting to realise that despite the role the Internet has come to play in current North American society there are plenty of people who don't have even a lingering trace of their activities online. Just out of curiosity I looked up the names of a couple of girls I went to high school with tonight.(No, I'm not going to tell you who they are, although one might not be hard to figure out for some people I went to school with.) The only trace I found of them was a mention of the one winning a contest here in Saskatoon in the 1970s. Otherwise there was nothing. I know one of them got married a few years back, so she may not use her maiden name online anyways. The other I have no idea what she's up to. But whatever it is its not something that's generated an Internet presense under her name.
Hopefully this comment won't scare anyone off from visiting here.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Had another pleasant surprise tonight. Deborah Goldsmith has posted chapter 2 of her fanfiction Notes From Julliard. Its a continuation of the storyline started in Genma's Daughter, a fanfiction based on the popular Japanese cartoon and comic series Ranma 1/2. If you're in any way interested in fanfics based on this series read her stuff, its damn good. The basic idea has been done before, but the execution is what makes this series so interesting. Her fiction page is located here.
This whole mess once more makes me feel that a major, comprehensive review of Canadian defense policy is needed. Canadians need to decide what we want our military to do in the 21 Century, and develop a comprehensive plan of how to impliment these goals. This especially needed since various systems are coming to the end of their useful lives, and we need to decide what to replace them with, or even whether we will replace them at all. But with our current minority government we aren't likely to see anything along these lines happen anytime soon.
Speaking of military matters an interesting fact came to light this week. Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado has been coming off the field in American ballparks when they sing God Bless America during the 7th inning. This is a protest both against the current war in Iraq and a continuation of his opposition to the use of Vieques Island in his native Puerto Rico as a US Navy gunnery range. What I find fascinating about it is that he's been doing so without making a big deal about it. He's just been doing it, not throwing himself at the media and shouting, "HEY, LOOK AT ME! I'M PROTESTING!" like celebs tend to do. Very classy.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Monday, July 19, 2004
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
Thursday, July 15, 2004
The whole thing brings to mind Charles de Gaulle, the late French president. While in Quebec in 1967 he shouted "Vive la Quebec libre" during an appearance at Montreal's City Hall. The statement was seen by many as supporting the then fledgling Quebec separatist movement, and still pisses off many federalists to this day. de Gaulle advocating Quebec separatism is interesting when one considers that France ended its colonial rule of Algeria under his leadership only a few short years earlier, an act that split French society and lead to violence by the OAS, a right wing group opposed to French withdrawal from Algeria. The OAS attempted to assassinate de Gaulle several times, acts which served as inspiration for Frederick Forsythe's classic nove The Day of the Jackal. Some Quebec intellectuals even tried to draw a parallel between the Algerian independance struggle and their own desire for separation, an argument that ignored that Quebeckers had the same political rights as their counterparts elsewhere in Canada and were not ruled by a foreign power who suppressed their political movements by force.
Apparently there are enough people in Saskatoon who have fallen for this nonsense to make a go of it, especially since they're located in the Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon's premier hotel. I doubt renting space in the Bess can be very cheap. Unfortunately there's no price list given, the cost per hour I suppose depending on what they figure should be done to you. Too bad, as I'd love to know how much they're fleecing people for.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
of a mailing list I'm on sent me. You really have to wonder at the
thinking of some people in authority. Unfortunately I've read at least a
couple of similar stories elsewhere. You can bet they'd be a lot more
reticent to do crap like this if 911 had been pulled off by fanatical
"white" Americans of some stripe or another. I put "white" in quotation
marks because to the best of my knowledge the 911 hijackers were all
Caucasian. Mohammed Atta, the purported leader, certainly was.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Today I watched a film on cable that i've always been aware of but never actually got around to seeing, Streets of Fire. Definitely an odd little piece, blending as it does a '50s look and feel with an '80s look and feel. Its seems quite dated much of the time given the music involved, and things like a dancer in a leather thong dancing in a very Flashdance-esque way to a performance by the Blasters. Rick Moranis plays a character that easily could have fit in with the roles he played on SCTV. Willem Dafoe is the villian of the piece, and in a number of scenes wears vinyl overalls that look like they were stolen from a member of Men At Work or some minor league British New Wave band. Michael Pare, who would go on to do Eddie and the Cruisers, is the hero, and its not hard to guess that his career has been hampered by the fact he sounds and looks a lot like a second league Sylvester Stallone. Ry Cooder does much of the music for the film, and I smiled when Dafoe shows up for his final confrontation with Pare to the strains of a Cooder version of Link Wray's "Rumble." The film was a big flop at the time, which reportedly forestalled plans by director Walter Hill to make further films based around Pare's Cody character. I can only imagine what he planned to do in them. One thing you can say about Hill is that he's always had some interesting ideas lurking around in his head, even if they don't always work, as opposed to many film makers who make the same lame cliche crap as everyone else.
And to make one more film comment its interesting to watch the ads for the new Will Smith film I, Robot, which seems to share little more than a name with the Isaac Asimov material its based on. The ads remind me of Runaway, a 1984 (geez, I hadn't realised it was that old!) film starring Tom Selleck as a cop trying to figure out why domestic robots have begun to kill people. Yeah, Selleck was fighting mechanical props that looked vaguely insectish instead of the CGI'ed humanoids Smith will be contending with, but the plot seems damn similar. Runaway's villain was none other than Gene Simmons, this being the start of an attempt by Simmons to build a movie career. It didn't really work, although it lead to the amusing spectacle of Simmons, a Jew born in Israel, playing an Arab terrorist in the Rutger Hauer vehicle Wanted: Dead Or Alive. Ah, two mysteries of the universe, why Selleck never managed to pull off a career doing "straight" action adventure films(even Quigley Down Under has a streak of humour running thru it), and why Rutger Hauer hasn't been as successful as Arnie S. when he's a better actor than the Austrian muscleman and made the effort to lose his accent.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
The album in question is Elli, by French(?) singer Elli Medeiros. I bought this on a whim years ago after reading a review of it in Option magazine(remember them?). I bought it for the same reason I'm sure Option reviewed it, because trumpeter Don Cherry was on it. No, this Don Cherry is not the white hockey coach, he's the unfortunately dead black associate of jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. There must have been a really interesting story about how he ended up on this recording. Its not bad, sort of a funk rock kind of thing, with vocals mainly in French. I actually saw the video for the second cut on the album, "Vanille," on the French network of the CBC a number of years ago, and Cherry was in it. Other than that I know zip about Ms. Medeiros.
You may be familiar with Mr. Cherry's children. His stepdaughter Neneh Cherry had a hit with "Buffalo Stance" in the late '80s. His son Eagle Eye Cherry had a hit in '98 with "Save Tonight," and has done some acting.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
"War is the dirtiest word I know."
-Sgt. Mahmud Nadeh, Egyptian Army, Oct. 1973.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
The other CD, which I'm currently listening to right now, is guitarist Sonny Sharrock's Ask the Ages. Recorded in 1991, it features Sonny teaming up with his old employer Pharoah Sanders on saxes, Elvin Jones on drums, and the somewhat younger Charnett Moffett on upright bass. Great playing on this one, with all the tunes written by Sharrock. Sonny plays, for him, very straight ahead on this album. This year marks the tenth anniversary of his death, which was especially unfortunate given that he was about to sign a contract with RCA when he died. Elvin Jones left us a few weeks ago as well, so its kind of appropriate to be listening to this right now.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Hey, don't look at the screen like that, I didn't make this up, honest. Horn even has a website, altho' its rather short on content at the moment. As you can imagine I had to look at the cover date on the magazine to make sure I wasn't looking at their April issue.
Today's big news on the entertainment front is of course the death of Marlon Brando. Its kind of ironic he died today, as our local paper had a gossip column report that Brando was in financial trouble and might lose his house.
Brando was another one of those celebs who in the later years of his life became more famous for being famous than any work he actually did of late. It had been years since he'd been involved in a truly worthwhile production, and was more famous of late for his considerable girth and penchant for outrageous statements. Things weren't helped by personal tragedies, with his son Christian being convicted of in the death of his daughter Cheyenne's boyfriend in 1990, followed by Cheyenne's suicide in 1995.
But Brando will likely always be remembered for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Ironically the studio didn't want Brando in the film, as he had a bad rep after problems during filming of Mutiny on the Bounty years earlier.
Another unfortunate bit of news comes from the Star Trek front. James Doohan, who played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the original series, is believed to be suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's, at age 84. This is especially sad when you consider that he has a 4 year old daughter.
There was also a report this week that William Shatner will be making a guess appearance on Star Trek: Enterprise this fall. Can you say stunt casting? Its pretty obviously a gimmick to try and help the ratings of the poorly performing series, which may be gone by the end of next season if things improve. No word yet on who he's actually going to play, but if it isn't James T. Kirk one of Kirk's anscestors is a good guess. Shatner is going to be awfully busy for the next little bit, as he'll be starring in a spinoff of The Practice, set to premiere this fall.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Could this be a sign the world is coming to an end? Don Zimmer, who has worked for the New York Yankees forever, is now working as a scout for the Tampa Bay Devilrays. Incidentally this is Zim's 53rd year in professional baseball.
On a more serious note a member of a mailing list I'm on posted a link to a pdf file of the Texas Republican Party platform. I sure am glad I don't live in Texas. Did they chase away all the Republicans who aren't religious conservatives? Reading that they want to bring back anti sodomy laws makes me wonder if they'll be like the old ones, and not just apply to gays. After all "sodomy" usually was defined as any sort of sexual activity that wasn't procreative penis into vagina sex. So a married couple who liked to perform oral sex could be charged with sodomy if they were spotted doing so. And someone needs to tell these mooks that creationism and so called Intelligent Design are not scientific theories.