Monday, July 31, 2006

No Way, Mann?

The reviews are in. Michael Mann's big screen version of the classic '80s TV series Miami Vice has hit the theatres, and so far the consensus has tilted towards the negative. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 47% rating, hence rotten. Frankly the idea of Colin Ferrell as Sonny Crockett just seems off to me, but apparently the movie version has little to do with the TV version played by Don Johnson except for the name. And Jamie Foxx as Tubbs? Seems to me some rapper would make a better fit. The new version may be closer in intent to what Mann wanted to originally do with the series, but that ironically may not have been the best thing to do with it, as it loses what made the show interesting in the first place.

Robert Butler of the Kansas City Star has a great line in his review: Miami Vice is like watching a great chef boil a hotdog.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I was hoping for a nice, watcheable thunderstorm tonight. No such luck. Instead all the cells went north of us. Hopefully I'll get to see something cool again before the summer ends.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


George Michael is in trouble again. A News of the World photographer captured Michael on film having sex with a stranger in a London park. This apparently threatens his planned marriage to long time boyfriend Ken Goss. When I saw that last name I couldn't help but wonder if he was a member of Bros, a highly popular late '80s British boy band. (Bros had multiple top 40 singles in the UK, but did very little on this side of the Atlantic.) That turned out not to be the case.

Its pretty obvious Michael gets off on the potential of being caught, as surely someone with his money could have anonymous sex with strangers elsewhere besides public places. He was arrested by LA cops back in '98 for having sex in a public washroom.

You can add another member to the gay celeb list, although admittedly he's kind of low on the celeb list these days. Lance Bass of boy band N'Sync has come out as gay. He said he waited until recently to come out because he was worried doing so might hurt the group's popularity. This would seem to indicate he realises the group's day is done, which I suspect most everyone else who cared already had. Bass says he's in a strongly committed relationship to actor Reichen Lehmkuhl, who won season four of the reality series Amazing Race. Hopefully Bass is smarter that George Michael.

Bass and fellow N'Sync member Joey Fantone are working on yet another take on The Odd Couple, with Bass apparently going to play a gay character, and I can't help but wonder if it will be the Felix Ungar role. If so that's kind of redundant, since many people perceive Tony Randall's portrayal of the character in the classic '70s TV version as being that of a closeted gay man. There were rumours Randall himself was gay, despite being married to the same woman for more than 50 years, then remarrying and having two children after she died.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Mako, RIP.

I just found out that Japanese born actor Mako has died at age 72. His distinctive gruff voice will be familiar to many, including many cartoon fans given his voice work in recent years on shows such as Samurai Jack and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

An Unknowable Number.

I was just listening to Magazine's Real Life, their debut album. As I did a thought came to mind. I wondered how many different albums I've listened to over the years. There is of course no way of knowing, but its a more than reasonable guess that it must be verging on close to a thousand, if not more. I have in my possession hundreds of LPs, cassettes, and CDs, have owned others that I traded off, have listened to various albums belonging to relatives, taken stuff out from the public library, and even listened to a few LPs in the last few years in the University of Saskatchewan library. So a thousand titles isn't a wild guess. There are many in my own personal collection I really need to listen to again. If only I would stop buying new ones.

Hot Weather For Sale Or Trade.

If you're in need of hot weather I'm sure the people of Saskatoon would be willing to trade ours for some cooler weather. This has been quite a hot summer, and some cooler air would be nice. It also seems to be a more humid summer. My aunt and uncle(the owners of Dudley) bought my parents a portable air conditioner as an anniversary present. It has a dehumidifier in it, and its amazing how much moisture its been pulling out of the air. The water tank for it has been emptied several times, and it holds I'd guess something like 4 or 5 litres of water.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Improvised Music Link.

In the past I've made references to the Paris Transatlantic web magazine as a good site if you're interested in jazz and improvised music. Since I've been reading it the past few days I figured it was time to post a link to another site with similar content, Bagatellen. It covers similar material to Paris Transatlantic, and comments from PT's Dan Warburton can frequently be found in the comments section for various articles. Although I doubt PT would feature a review/commentary about the heavy metal band Venom.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bad News, Shea.

You petulantly end your time with the Toronto Blue Jays, calling the team a sinking ship. What happens the next day? The Jays beat the Yankees in extra innings when Vernon Wells hits a walk off two run homer. Something tells me they aren't going to miss you for very long.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Truth In Shelving.

Looking at the book section of London Drugs today I spotted a book called Alien Encounters. It was a cheapy paperback, probably produced by the same folks who cook up quickies to cash in on issues of the day, overpublicised trials and so forth. But what caught my attention is that it was shelved as fiction. I thought maybe it was just placed there by some one thumbing through it. A quick check showed several copies in the same slot. If the book shelver at London Drugs put it there deliberately hats off to them.

Truth In Advertising.

This morning I received one of those spam e-mails where they use a bunch of random words to try and get past spam filters, and the actual message is presented as an image file. But this time the subject line was quite appropriate for what they sent: gobbledygook.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hey, Reed Johnson!

If you're looking for a nickname this one came to mind after seeing you get hit again: Targetman.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I Feel Sorry For These People.

Les over at Stupid Evil Bastard made this post after coming across this webboard. Reading through various posts I couldn't help but feel sad for these people. They believe in various irrational things, and are happy at the thought of a massive war because it supposedly means Jesus will come. Just like so many others over the last 2000 years they will be disappointed. Some will eventually fall away from this vision of the future, and find themselves wondering what harm it has done to their lives. Others will hold onto such beliefs for the rest of their lives and let them determine what decisions they make, many of which will ultimately lessen the quality of their lives. One of the more disturbing statements was from one poster who can't see in their mind their kids past the ages of ten and under, which is coming in the next couple of years. So they hope this is a sign of the Rapture coming and not something else. I can only imagine what kind of stress this person will be under as time passes and it becomes obvious that no one is getting sucked up into the sky. Others must live in states of more general discomfort given that they believe these things and others close to them do not. I saw several mentions of spouses who don't share the beliefs of posters, which must be stressful on a marriage.

I found it amusing to see comments about how too many churches aren't teaching the "right" things about Biblical prophecy. I wonder if people who make comments like that even know the history of Rapture theology. It only really dates to the first half of the 19th Century, and is the product of interpretation. The concept is not mentioned explicitly in the New Testament. Many denominations, including the largest ones such as the Roman Catholic Church, do not accept the idea at all. A modern Rapture believing Christian transported say to the era of Martin Luther would likely find themselves rather dismayed if they described the concept to Luther, who would likely ask them where they heard such foolishness. Given the human capacity to find new interpretations in a text I'm sure 200 years from now some new interpretation will have come along and prove highly popular with millions of believers.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Bit Too Close.

Hmmm, if this keeps up I'm going to have to start a Saskatoon Transit System blog.

As mentioned a while back on this blog my dad's car was hit by a deer. It was a near thing, but it proved repairable. My parents drove out to Kitimat, BC last week for my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary. They had no problems going there or coming back.

But what happens today? A bus drives a bit too close to the car and breaks the driver's side rear view mirror. A bit further over and it would have been back to the autobody shop. Talk about bad luck!

In a way its surprising I haven't heard of more bus related accidents. Some of Saskatoon's bus drivers can be very aggressive. After all most vehicles will come out second best went going up against a bus, and the drivers no doubt know this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Imaginary Friends Are All Right, Yours Aren't.

Yeah, a second post within a few minutes of the last one. I just figured having the two separate was more appropriate.

Some Christians in Calgary are upset because Ghanaian village chieftans invoked ancestral spirits at Sunday's Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show. Minister Gord Smith is worried they may have brought the "wrath of God" upon the city by this happening, and wants folks to pray for Calgary. Mark Sorell, a local missionary who works in Africa, claims his mission groups see "demonic invasions into people's lives" from such invocations in Africa.

It amuses me when people take the religious beliefs of others so seriously. Instead of taking the sensible position that weird behaviour is the result of mental illness, substance abuse, or other factors these guys think that the spirits are every bit as real as the Ghanaians do, except they think they're evil instead of good.

I wonder what the response would be if it had been one of the local tribes making such an invocation? Probably not much different. These guys are just as likely to see aboriginal beliefs as products of evil as they are African ones. In fact there are apparently tensions in some of our First Nations communities between those interested in their traditional beliefs, and their counterparts who have adopted certain forms of Christianity that see other religious beliefs as possibly being the products of Satan.

As for Sorell's claims I bet you wouldn't see him trying to make such claims about say Shinto rituals held in Japan, which like the African tradition in question often deal with the spirits of one's ancestors. After all unlike most of the parts of Africa Sorell and his people work in Japan is a modern industrialised country where people who act irrationally will likely receive treatment from competent mental health care professionals.

Syd Barrett, RIP

One of the sadder chapters of rock history has come to an end. Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, has died at 60, possibly from diabetes related complications. Barrett helped found the group in 1965, and played on its debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But his time with the group was short lived, as he became increasingly unstable due to heavy use of LSD. He was eventually kicked out while his friend David Gilmour, who had been brought in to fill in for him, became the group's new guitarist. After a brief solo career he faded from the limelight, with persistent questions about how much in touch with reality he might be.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Dudleyness.

Poor dog. We had a fairly heavy thunderstorm tonight. Since his home is on Vancouver Island in the Victoria area he has had little experience with such storms. He was very upset several times, barking, growling, and whining at the noise. Hopefully we don't get another storm later this evening.

The Truth About Me and Dogs.

This charming gentleman is Dudley. He's my aunt and uncle's English Springer Spaniel. He's currently a house guest here. And living with him has convinced me I should not own a dog, or indeed other sort of large pet. I like dogs, but only in relatively short doses. Having one all the time would be just too much. I spend too much time worrying about where he's been sitting, what he's touched, and so on becaus of hygene issues. Then there's the fact that he wants attention frequently. You can't tell a dog that you'd like to be alone for a while. If he's decided he has to be around you he will be whether you like it or not. Unfortunately for him and other dogs there are times I just don't want him under foot. Not to mention the effort of feeding and watering a dog, taking it for walks and so on. You can think of a dog as sort of like a toddler or slightly older child, but one who will never get any older and will never get any more intelligent or understanding as it gets older. I'm just not the right person for such a creature. And from the experiences of friends and relatives with cats I doubt I'd find them much better. A pet is a responsibility, one that for me would not be one I'd have the ability to accept.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Blame the Heat?

Since I didn't post anything yesterday I wonder if I should blame the heat. Nah, it probably didn't make any difference.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The New (Bus) Order, Reaction.

This morning's Saskatoon Star Phoenix has an article on some initial reactions to the new bus routes. As you can imagine there is a lot of confusion, and customer service is fielding a lot of calls. Dan Bichel, head of Amalgamated Transit Union local 615 comments in the article that he thinks some stops may have to be moved. A good example I know of is the new bus stop on Acadia Drive just at the intersection with 8th Street. Whoever decided it should go there really should have spent some time watching the traffic patterns there, as it is right beside the exit to a strip mall that contains a Tim Hortons, resulting in lots of traffic coming out of that exit. Then you have the people who go across 8th on Acadia in the right hand lane, where the bus will be stopping. In other words they've taken an intersection that's already got considerable potential for accidents and increased that potential. Sure, the bus might only stop at that stop say once an hour, but its still likely to cause trouble.

As for me the new route through my area actually makes things a little bit more flexible. If I catch the bus on one side of the street I can go to Circle Park Mall as I could on the old route. Catch the bus on the other side and I can go downtown through a bit of Sutherland and via the University of Saskatchewan, where I go occasionally to use the main library. A much better scenario than those folks who suddenly have to walk several blocks because the bus stop they previously used is no longer serviced by the new routes. I did get on the wrong bus yesterday, but that could happen going certain places on the old routes as well.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

UN Lottery.

Bet you didn't know the UN is in the lottery business. Me neither, but I received an e-mail this morning stating I won on the UN Lottery. It would be interesting to know if using the UN in your scam e-mail will make potential suckers any more likely to bite. All it takes is one I suppose when you send out 8 zillion scam letters every day.

While I'm here let me wish a happy July 4th to my American friends, and say hello to the Singaporeans my last post seems to have attracted here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Say Singapore!

I just received something like 16 hits in about 15 seconds from an IP address in Singapore. Obviously much too fast for any human to be doing. I'd sure love to know what's up with that.

I survived... first day with the new Saskatoon bus routes and schedules. It was kind of weird riding downtown via a totally unfamiliar route, but I'll get used to it. One piece of advice though. Don't trust the trip planner on the Saskatoon Transit site. It doesn't seem to work too well, at least for me. You can also still find the old routes on the site here, if you want to compare them with the new ones here.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Juan Valdez.

I received a hit from Columbia today, and it made me think of Juan Valdez, a character from a long running series of coffee ads in the 1990s. I'd bet that no one in Columbia has ever heard of the character, other than perhaps the advertising department of whoever promotes Columian coffee abroad.

The use of "ethnic" characters makes me think of the Malibu Rum ads that have run in Canada in recent years. I've never been able to decide if they're entertainingly silly or borderline racist.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

I hope you've had a good Canada Day so far. I have, pretty much. Not that I had anything planned other than sitting around the house.

What A Night!

Since signing up for PokerStar's blogger tournament a few weeks ago I've been playing some freerolls on their system. The one I started mid evening Friday just ended for me a few minutes ago. To my amazement I came in 55th out of a field of 8106. Several times I thought I was done at the late stages, only to luck into a hand that kept me going. Not bad for someone who has only been playing the game, in this case the Texas Hold 'Em version of poker, for a few weeks. Maybe some day I might actually make the "prize" level, which in this case was the top 27. The top 27 will take part in a 1000 buck online event.