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Friday, December 28, 2012

Gas In Saskatoon, December 28, 2012.

Yep, we get one more of these in after a period of stability.  Once more the price of gas has dropped.  It is now 106.9 cents a litre at most locations in Saskatoon.  I suspect the first price change of 2013 will be a price hike, but who knows with the supposed "fiscal cliff" in the US about to do us all in.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just Because.




I'm linking to this for no other reason than that it's fun if you're a Yes fan.  They did a very good job in my opinion of adapting it to the videogame music genre.

A Familiar Look.

The last couple of days I've been playing on the revived Full Tilt Poker, which is now owned by the same folks who own PokerStars.  They had an offer for PokerStars players that if you linked your accounts on both sites you would get a 20 buck ticket to use to play Full Tilt  ring games.  Interestingly any time the dollar balance on that ticket gets over 20 bucks you end up making money when you leave a ring game table.  At the moment my cash account is up to $3.17.

As for the game play itself if you played on Full Tilt before it will seem very familiar to you.  Pretty much everything seems to be the same as it was when the US government forced Full Tilt to suspend operations in April of 2011, including the familiar cartoon character avatars.  For example I use the cowboy one, which is what I used to use.  My old account was opertional, so if you're one of those folks who had their money frozen in a Full Tilt account you should probably sign on and see what your status is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Goodbye Gerry.

Veteran British TV creator/producer Gerry Anderson died today at age 83.   He first came to notice as the mind behind such puppet/marionette series, most with science fiction themes as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet before moving to live action with the 1968 movie Doppleganger, known in North America as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun.  Anderson's most successful live action production would turn out to be 1975's Space: 1999, starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.  Although he had been working on a number of projects in recent years it was announced in June of this year he was suffering from Alzheimers.

In memoriam here's "Breakaway," the opening episode of Space: 1999

Rumours Confirmed.

I forgot about it, so I missed the noon hour changeover.  But now we know.  Wired 96.3's replacement, as the rumours suggested, is 96.3 Cruz FM.  The format is "classic hits," apparently ranging from the early '70s to the early 2000s.  Interestingly when I checked their Radio Data System feed a couple of minutes ago they were still IDing as Santa FM.  Their website can be seen here.  Will this new format work?  It seems to have too much overlap with Magic 98.3 and Rock 102 FM to me.  I guess it's a case of stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Insert Applicable Seasonal Greeting Here..

Hope you're having a good holiday, becuase I'm pretty bummed at the moment, and expect to stay that way.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

There, It's Done.

It's December 22nd. You're still here, I'm still here. The Mayan Long Count Calender rolled over, and nothing much happened. No giant earthquakes, no asteroid strikes, no UFO full of aliens to rescue anyone. So now you can relax and shut up about the whole thing. And maybe next time those of you who fell for the interpretations of a bunch of paranoid, mainly white, cranks will think twice. But I doubt it.

I have to admit I was expecting we'd see worse as December 21st approached. But fortunately for everyone it mainly turned out to be a lot of talk and hand wringing from believers. There were no mass suicides or other outbreaks of violence. I suppose there were probably some folks who did things like sell all their worldly goods, but if so they were isolated enough not to get much press.

My late grandmother Margaret Carr used to say that the world ends for someone every day. And it's true. Yesterday was the end of the world for some, not because of some silly prediction, but because we're mortal beings. Perhaps that;s why so many people like end of the world predictions, because it will make their end part of a spectacular event, not the result of the slow decline or mundane bad fortune that will do most of us in.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still Nothing.

So here's a tune about someone warning aboiut the end of the world.  It's from Planet P Project's 1984 album Pink World, a concept album about a 7 year old boy, Artemus, who gains superpowers after drinkiing polluted water.  When WW3 breaks out his powers are used to save a group of "true believers" from the resulting nuclear wasteland.

It's OO:51 UTC...

...and the world hasn't blown up yet. 

Or do I have to wait until it's midnight someplace in Guatemala or Mexico?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Should Have Been.

It would be fascinating to know what processes bands go through when deciding to release singles.  Rush's 1990 album Presto produced 3 singles: "Show Don't Tell," the opening cut, "The Pass," and "Superconductor."  But if I'd had a say in the process, I would have tried to convince them to release "Available Light," the album's final track.



I really think this track could have been a hit.  For that matter it's a Rush tune that might actually do someone quite well if they covered it.  Unfortunately a hamfisted cover "Tom Sawyer" is much more likely to be in some artist's plans.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Waste Of Time.

I have a Livejouirnal account.  I use it to post and comment on several places.  But my own Livejournal page never gets posted to.  Today I got a spam comment to the test post I have up.  All the spammer did is waste some time given that I have few if any visitors, and given that I instantly deleted the spam comment. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Inverted.

How annoying.  As I write this the themometers we have say it's minus 7 outisde.  It's supposed to be warmest during the day, not late in the evening.  And that temperature is probably the warmest i's been in a week or more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Haha, I Win!

As of today I'm done with all my Christmas shopping.  Hence I have beaten a whole bunch of you out there to the finish line.  No "Still looking for gifts 30 minutes before closing on December 24th" for me.  No having to stress out about finding something.  It's done.  Too bad for you if your shopping isn't.

Big Whoop!

So Rush is going to be indicted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The only thing good I can see about it is the Rush fans who for some reason think this is important won't keep going on about it.  Being in the so-called Hall of Fame won't make peoiple who don't like Rush like them, or make their music sound even better.  So why should anyone care?

As you sit there thinking about what nasty thing to say to me for not thinking this is the most important thing to happen in music, EVAH! you can listen to one of my favourite Rush tunes.  Surprise, it's not "Tom Sawyer!"

Friday, December 07, 2012

What To Buy, What To Buy.

The F35 fighter is back in the news again in Canada, with reports the government is reconsidering the program given that it may cost as much as 40 billion dollars, versus the 9 billion the government had been claiming.  So, if the RCAF isn't going to buy the F35, what would they buy in its place?

In fact it is arguably a good time to be out trying to buy a fighter.  There are a lot of choices out there:

Boeing F/A18E and F Super Hornet.  It's the 21st Century version of the original McDonnell Douglas F18 Hornet the RCAF currently flies.  Along with earlier Hornet models the E(single seat) and F (two seat) Super Hornets are the backbone of the US Navy's air combat capability.  The Royal Autralian Air Force also flies the F model, which replaced its Lockheed F111s in the long range attack role, and may buy more of them given the problems the F35 is having.

Boeing F15E Strike  Eagle.  This early '70s design is still in production, and Boeing has proposed a more stealthy version, the F15SE Silent Eagle.  Given its age it's likely a long shot for a Canadian purchase, and no one has purchased the Silent Eagle version, making it a risk for Canada to buy it.  The choice would also be ironic given that the original F15A was one of the contenders in the late '70s in the competition that eventually saw Canada buy the CF18.

Saab Gripen.  Sweden's current entry in the world fighter market.  It's flown by Sweden, Hungary, the Czech Republic, South Africa, and Thailand, and the Swiss have a batch on order.

Lockheed-Martin F16.  It's still in production, but for how much longer remains to be seen.  Another aircraft that took part in Canada's late '70s fighter competition., but the currently offered versions are heavily upgraded from the early A model.  Buying a Lockheed-Martin product instead of another, problem plagued,  Lockheed-Martin product might prove politically iffy.

Dassault Rafale.  The latest design from France's famed fighter producer.  It's flown by the French A|ir Force and and by the Navy's carrier squadrons, and the plane got a big boost earlier this year when India decided to order 126, most of which will be licence produced in India.  The Indians may order more in the future, and it's considered one of the frong runners in Brazil's on again/off again fighter competition.  Several Middle Eastern countries are also interested. 

Eurofighter Typhoon.  Built by a consortium of several European firms, it was developed to a joint design requirement for the airforces of the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.  It has also been purchased by Austria and Saudi Arabia.

Sukhoi Su27/MiG 29 families.  I'm lumping these together because they're very unlikely choices.  Russia would certainly love to see more export orders for these aircraft, and no doubt would get a certain kick out of a NATO country buying them instead of an American aircraft.  But it would be quite the chore to modify them to meet NATO standards and take NATO weapons like the AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles Canada uses.

Avro Arrow.  There was some ridiculous talk earlier this year about the much ballyhooed late '50s Canadian design coming back from the dead.  Don't believe it.  Trying to make Arrows makes as much sense as startng a car company to make the 1958 Chevrolet lineup in huge numbers. 

No fighters.  Some folks would no doubt say this is the best choice.  It's not going to happen.  Canada will replace the CF18s with something.  Ironically the people who don't want to buy new fighters would be no happier with a possible result, namely the US demanding the right to station fighter squadrons in Canada to patrol Canadian airspace if we don't.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Last Take.

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died at 91. So in his hounour here is his best known piece, "Take Five." I got the chance to see him at the Sask Tel Jazz Festival several years ago. Even at his advanced age he still had it, even if he needed help getting on and off stage. Hopefully we'll all be still active in our late eighties.

Respite.

If you're in Saskatoon you'd better enjoy today's break in the weather.  After the predicted high of plus one it's going to get very cold again, and the long range forecast shows nothing approaching warm for the next week

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Removed For Safety Reasons.

Coming home this afternoon on the bus I spotted a Christian tract sitting on one of the seats.  I took it with me when I got off, so that some poor unfortunate wouldn't be warped by reading it.

In reality I suspect that tracts don't have much effect at all.  Religious upbringing, personal relations, and other interactions strike me as much more likely to have an effect on one's religious choices than an easily ignored piece of paper.  Of course part of the thinking of those who distribute tracts is that they, like the religious works they're based on, have some sort of God given power to effect others, that they're a magical talisman.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Snow...

...is sapping my will to post.

Help.

Come here and take it away.