Thursday, March 31, 2005

What an annoyance! I've been trying to find out what the import duties on electronic musical instruments into Canada are. But could I find such info on the Canada Border Services Agency website? Nope, a big fat no. You'd think they'd have such data available, but no such luck. At least they indicate that you'll have to pay GST on the value of goods imported to Canada, which is useful.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Well whatdayaknow! For once this actually worked and generated a hit. I may actually have to try it again.
Thanks to Orac for a heads up to this description of why Apple is evil. As someone who uses a PC clone, and hasn't touched a Mac since my university days, who am I to disagree?
Here's another discussion page for guitar nuts, The Gear Page. Its interesting to read all the people obsessed with boutique stompboxes and such. Me, I like getting cool old stompers for cheap.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Anyone wanna lend me 5 or 6 grand American? Thats probably what the new limited edition Pete Townsend Les Paul Deluxe costs. I think its neat that it even has the much derided "pancake" body common to the Les Paul Deluxes Townsend used in the '70s.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Here's an interesting essay from the Harpers website about the ludricrous Left Behind Christian fiction series, thanks to Amygdala via Pharyngula. (Boy, hows that for a mouthful!)
Its amazing the kind of things people with too much time on their hands come up with. A Japanese Powerpuff Girls fan has stuck the PPGs into various situations as parody here. A typical example is this one based on the cover to Robert Fripp's The League of Gentlemen album.
And from the "you're not asking for much, are you?" department, a hit I got today on the blog came from this Google search: guitar tabs for all tv shows played on ytv Frankly I doubt you'll find even 1 in 10 theme songs of the shows played on YTV that have any sort of tab version online.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Here's another one from the "religious weirdness" files. An auction for an Ibanez acoustic guitar that's described as having a "Jesus face" in the figuring on the back. Personally I see some sort of weird clown, or member of Gwar, or some such, above something that looks kinda like an owl.
It seems there are more than a few people out there that like Teletoon's current teen mall comedy 6teen. The couple of mentions I've made of the series here keep generating hits for me. And it seems that Teletoon must be doing well ratings wise with the program, as they've apparently decided to purchase a second season of episodes according to Emilie-Claire Barlow, who has been doing some of the voices. Perhaps they're considering it as a potential replacement for Braceface, which they've beaten into the ground pretty heavily with repeats, and which has apparently ended its production cycle. I do have to wonder about Teletoon playing 6TEEN 6 nights a week when they've to date only played 14 episodes, with the 14th premiering this week after a couple of weeks of no new episodes. Then again this is the same station that managed to play the 13 episodes of Undergrads over and over again for long stretches.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I was just listening to side 2(as it was on the original LP) of King Crimson's Lark's Tongue in Aspic. It had been a long time since i'd listened to "The Talking Drum," and tonight I found the first 2 or 3 minutes of that track sounded a lot like Can, which I'd never noticed before. It was the combination of the drum sounds and what Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir were playing, along with John Wetton playing a repeating bass figure, that reminded me of Can, although the track eventuals moves in a less Can-ish direction as Fripp makes his prescence felt. Its probably nothing more than coincidence. I've never read anything from the members of Crimson that indicates they were influenced by what Can was doing, although I would hardly be surprised if they crossed paths with Can along the way. Then again Bill Bruford was always a big jazz fan, and Can's Jaki Liebezeit was a jazz drummer before he hooked up with Can, so perhaps some parellel influences were at play.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus smelled like? Well, now you can find out, as a couple have developed His Essence candles, which they claim smell like Jesus. (This example of nonsense comes via a post at Stupid Evil Bastard.)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Here's a suggestion for Canadian Tire: Partner up with other companies and allow them to take Canadian Tire money. I'd love to be able to buy junk food, batteries, and so forth with it other than at a Canadian Tire store.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I came across a rather amusing review of the film What the Bleep Do We Know? Sounds like the typical new age crapfest of stupid ideas and credulous thinking.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hmmm, I just realised that the use of a sexual slang term in my last post may get me hits from people looking for porn and related material. Hopefully they'll hang around and read some of the content.
A new study indicates that abstinence only sex education programs may not have the results their backers want, leading to some teens engaging in higher risk behaviours. Personally I found this statement from the linked article amusing:

'Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D., called the study "bogus," disputing that those involved had pledged true "abstinence."

"Kids who pledge abstinence are taught that any word that has 'sex' in it is considered a sexual activity," Unruh said. "Therefore oral sex is sex, and they are staying away."'

I think Ms. Unruh is rather naive if she believes that teens won't engage in semantic wordgames and other philosophical dodges to get their rocks off. "Its not really sex because you can't get pregnant" is sure to be the attitude of many towards things like oral and anal sex, and if you use an euphamism like blowjob the term sex won't even come into things.

Friday, March 18, 2005

American visitors to this blog who've read my Dr. Who post are probably wondering when the show is going to debute on US tv. Unfortunately it may not. The new series has yet to find a home, with a number of stations, including the Science Fiction channel, taking a pass. So it seems US viewers may have to wait for a DVD release. As a result CBC will be showing the exclusive North American premiere of the series when it airs the first episode April 5th.
If you've ever wanted to visit New York's famous CBGB's nightclub, focal point of the '70s punk and new wave explosion in the US, you may want to do it now. The club is in danger of closing due to a rent dispute. Kind of hard to imagine that a club thats been around for more than 30 years and is world famous would still be renting its space from a landlord, but hey, I know nothing about the intricacies of the New York real estate market. Reportedly other NYC clubs are facing problems for similar reasons.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Today's cover of the Toronto Globe and Mail was rather interesting. Dealing with yesterdays acquital of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri in the Air India case, it showed pictures of the two accused with "Not Guilty" printed beside them, while the rest of the page was taken up with a list of the victims below the word "Innocent." A rather interesting presentation, and I can't help but assume the subtext was supposed to be yes, they may have been acquited, but they may have gotten away with murder of these poor people. Are they truly guilty? I don't know. But the fact they've been acquited makes me wonder if a front page like that isn't putting the Globe at risk of being sued for defamation.

In somewhat more ridiculous news the Supreme Court has ensured that no one in Quebec will accidentally confuse butter and margarine by upholding a Quebec law that requires magarine to be white. Quebec's dairy industry claims that if margarine is coloured yellow people will be confused and it will hurt butter sales. At one time you could buy uncoloured margarine here in Saskatchewan, and perhaps still can, since you really don't need coloured margarine for most baking. I remember my grandmother having some once back in the mid or late '70s that came with a dye package so you could make it yellow.
Here's an early heads up for Canadian science fiction fans. The new Doctor Who series will be debuting Tuesday April 5th on CBC. You'll need to check your local listing for the precise time. Interestingly the reason CBC got it was supposedly in part because BBC wanted the series on a major network instead of a speciality channel like Space.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Its amazing some of the things people come up with. Tonight, I present the X shaped guitar speaker cabinet. 4 12 inch speakers is an industry standard configuration, but not arranged like this. I would imagine its a complete pain in the rear to get into most vehicles.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ah, Canada Post. Wonderful, inconsistent Canada Post. I finally got a DOD FX80B compressor pedal I won off eBay back on Feb. 20 in the mail today. I sent off payment for it the day of the auction, which ended on a Sunday. The letter I sent arrived on the 23rd or 24th of February given that the shipping date on the package was February 24. So it took 3 days for a letter sent on a Sunday to reach its destination, and an apparent 20 days for a package to reach me. Most peculiar.
Hmmm, time for one more attempt at what to date has been a failure: the random search engine attractor phrase. This week's attempt: Jene Yeo.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Here's a tip: if you have a profile someplace that includes a link to your homepage or other pages you control please make sure you keep them current. There's nothing more annoying that hitting a link to a homepage only to find the page in question no longer exists. I've been looking at the profiles at Looper's Delight lately, and a number of them have dead links.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Its not a good week to be a New York cop. Two former NYPD members have been arrested on various charges, including contract murder allegedly conducted for the Mob. One of the accused is Louis Eppolito, who is the author of Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob. The book included discussions of allegations Eppolito retained ties to the Mafia, his father and grandfather being connected with organised crime. But now authorities have actually built a case against him after years of suspicion, making me wonder half jokingly if his book should be moved into the fiction section.

Of course writing fiction about yourself isn't unheard of. Some people even write material acknowledged to be fiction with themselves a major or minor character. One example is Richard Marchinko, a former US Navy SEAL who followed up books on his days with the Navy with action adventure novels with himself as the main character. Other writers produce characters that are subtly, and often not so subtly, based on themselves or their fantasies of what they'd like to be. For example James Bond has been speculated to be based both on people Ian Fleming knew while an operative for MI6 during WW2 and perhaps some of Fleming's own experiences.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Its amazing how far the idea that Dungeons and Dragons, the classic roleplaying game that's been around for more than 30 years, is bad for you has travelled. The Israel Defense Forces frown on those who play the game, and give those who admit to playing it a low security clearance. I guess they've never stopped to consider those who take part in such games might have more imagination that other people, and that such imagination might be a valueable trait.
As usual I received a lot of spam for sexually related products, including Cialis. Seeing the latter over and over again made me wonder why no one markets erection reducing products. After all if you've taken Cialis and had your fun maybe you want your "little friend" to become not so big afterwards, allowing you avoid embarrassing questions about that odd bulge in your pants. Or perhaps a better market would be women whose partners take Cialis and other similar products and don't want to deal with their horny husbands.

Nah, I don't think we'll see such things on the market either.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Internet allows criminals to expand their activities to places they've never actually been. But sometimes it does the same for police officers. Joshua Hardman of Acworth, Georgia has found this out the hard way. He's currently facing charges of possessing and transmitting child porn. The charges result from what Hardman alledgedly thought was a conversation with a preteen girl in an online chat room, a girl who he then sent child porn pictures to. Unfortunately for him the "girl" was actually a Saskatoon vice cop. The Saskatoon Police Service contacted US authorities, and Hardman was arrested in February.

While we're on the subjecting of law enforcement it will be interesting to see if this week's America's Most Wanted makes any mention of last week's RCMP shooting tragedy. There was no mention of it on the Mar. 5 broadcast, but given the apparent production cycle of the show thats no surprise. AMW has been involved in Canadian cases in the past, so a mention wouldn't be a surprise.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

There are rumours floating about that Quentin Tarantino may be the director of the next Friday the 13th movie. Is he on a nostalgia kick or what? He'd been trying to convince Eon Productions to do a version of Casino Royale that would be largely faithful to the original 1952 Ian Fleming novel, and now he's being associated with a long running horror franchise. What's next, a potential Ma and Pa Kettle movie? Nah, probably not. I doubt even he'd make them a pair of gun toting septegenarians.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ooops! Teletoon didn't play the first Delta State episode tonight. They played the episode "Labyrinth" instead. Hopefully that didn't disappoint anyone.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

As I had guessed earlier this week the first Delta State episode "First Contact Pt. 1" will be airing tonight, so if you're interested in checking the series out from the beginning tune in.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I've been watching bits and pieces of Austin Powers in Goldmember. Lame is an appropriate description for a film thats largely jokes that a horny teenage boy would likely find boring and old hat. Double entendre? More like single entendre. Not that the non-peepee and crotch humour jokes are much better, like Fred Savage's character and his mole.
Things seem to be going well for Velvet Revolver. The "supergroup" will be doing some more touring this spring and hope to begin production work soon on their second album for a possible Christmas release. Not bad for a group that has always had the possibility of disaster nipping at its heels due to the histories of its members, especially vocalist Scott Weiland, who is still struggling with substance abuse issues. While he's staying away from the drugs he should eat more. He's never been Leslie West but the shots I've seen from the last year or so make him look really gaunt and kind of sickly compared to his Stone Temple Pilots heyday. It will be interesting to see in 20 years or so if he'll be like Iggy Pop and look the same as he does now. Iggy's face has aged, but he still has the same kind of body he did in the mid '70s.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I just found out Martin Denny has died at age 93. I guess that means I should listen to Yellow Magic Orchestra's version of "Firecracker" tonight.
Congratulations to Saskatoon comic artist Tom Grummett. He's been nominated for a Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award in the outstanding Canadian comic book artist category. The Shuster is named after Joe Shuster, the Toronto born co-creator of Superman(and cousin of Frank Shuster of famous Canadian comic team Wayne and Shuster). Another nominee, Kaare Andrews, grew up here in Saskatoon but lives in Vancouver. Other nominees in the category are David Finch, Pia Guerra, Stuart Immonen, and Cary Nord. Grummett is currently artist for DC's Teen Titans.

Regretfully its been a while since I've done this, so once again its time to mention some blogs I'm likely to get people refered here from. There's Orac's Respectful Insolence, PZ Myers Pharyngula, and a new one, Brent McKee's I'm A Child of Television, on which he's posted a link to here.

Most interesting search that resulted in a hit here this week? Probably the one from someone who wanted to know "did Jerry Orbach wear a hairpiece?" Couldn't tell by me I'm afraid.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I would imagine most Canadian visitors here have heard about this, but for those who haven't and for foreign visitors here's a link to coverage of todays horrible RCMP shooting in Alberta. 4 officers were shot dead by an armed man at a rural marijuana grow operation. The gunman is also dead, but its not clear yet if it was by his own hand or by return fire from the dead officers.

It will be interesting to see what effect if any this shooting has on efforts to decriminalise or even legalise pot in Canada. Some folks will no doubt argue that this shows the dangers of loosening pot controls, while others will argue that things like this only happen because its illegal. From a personal standpoint this hits slightly close to home, as my cousin's eldest son is a rookie RCMP officer serving here in Saskatchewan. I imagine any anxieties he and his wife have about their child serving in a potentially dangerous profession will be somewhat brought to the fore for the next little while.
The Catholic Bishop of Calgary stated on a radio program this week that if it were up to him Prime Minister Paul Martin would be excommunicated because of his government's upcoming same sex marriage legislation. Strangely I've heard no indication of the Catholic Church considering excommunicating those of its clergy convicted in various sex abuse scandals in recent years. You'd think abusing people and bringing harm to the public image of the Catholic Church would be an appropriate reason to excommunicate someone.
Here's an interesting little diet tidbit. According to the labelling on one I drank today a standard can of Coke(355ml) contains 160 calories. More interesting is that it contains 42 grams of sugar. Thats equivalent in weight to some candy bars. Hmmm, maybe I should invest in the sugar business.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Just as a followup to my last post here are links for Boss, Electro Harmonix, and Behringer.
I read some interesting news from the music biz this morning. Japan's Roland, one of the world's major manufacturers of professional musical equipment, is suing Germany's Behringer for product infringement. At January's NAMM show Behringer introduced a new line of ridiculously cheap guitar effects pedals that were very obviously cloned from products produced by Roland, as part of their industry leading Boss line, and New York based Electro Harmonix. Behringer claimed at the time they were created in conjunction with Roland. Roland says this is not the case and is suing. It will be interesting to see if Electro Harmonix, a much smaller company, will take any legal action. This is not the first time Behringer has been accused of violating the designs and so forth of others, a fact that has soured the attitudes of many towards them.
Anyone want my cold? I'll give it to you for free.