Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blogtrolling? Trollblogging?

PZ Myers and Orac have been getting a bunch of hits over the last couple of days because they discussed US Presidential candidate Ron Paul. So I'm gonna mention him too and see what happens. I have done this before, and the thought just came to mind that maybe this kind of activity needs a name. So, which do you think is better, blogtrolling or trollblogging? Of course I could just stick with my existing term for this activity, shameless hit mongering.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Baby, What A Name!

Today the Saskatoon Star Phoenix published a supplement featuring various children born in Saskatoon over the last year. So of course I'm going to comment on some of the names. If these are your children please realise I'm not criticising them. I'm criticising YOU. After all the kids are innocent victims in all this.

Jerrica-Is someone a fan of '80s cartoons perhaps? Jerrica was the civilian identity of Jem, the title character of the cartoon of the same name. Of course I'm assuming that the j is pronounced as such, and not as a y or an h, or worse is silent, which isn't impossible these days.

Camilla Elizabeth-Presumably inspired by the current wife of Prince Charles and our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.

Jayla-I'm not much on the name Kayla, and Jayla comes across as even more jarring. And of course the poor kid will be saying "No, not Kayla, Jayla" regularly for the rest of her life.

Ayvee-Where they going for Ivy, and didn't know how to spell it? It's not hard to look spellings up, folks! And spelling it that way deliberately is just punishing the kid, who will be spelling her name and/or correcting its pronunciation over and over again forever. Just look at my last name, I know what it's like. And Ayvee is baby sister to Daireli. An ethnic name, or just something the parents made up?

Deagan-An Irish family name apparently. No doubt Deagan will be correcting his name a lot as well, unless the family uses his middle name Joseph instead.

Kynyn-I have no idea where this one comes from, and I suspect there might be a bit of confusion for him(the middle name is Christopher), as I'd guess a lot of people will assume it's a girl's name.

Ebony-Kind of an odd name for what appears to be a white girl. After all ebony is generally black.

Weylen-I think they were looking for Waylon, unless its a surname.

Ruari-An old Celtic name. Nothing wrong with honouring your heritage, but it's still a name that will be a bit of a bother for the boy.

Autumn Trinity-Oddly enough Autumn was born in May.

Kali-Hmm, you might be tempting the fates giving your daughter the same name as the Hindu embodiment of death.

Jaslene-Another made up name?

Jeirus-Another odd one. His parents are Jhun and Lovelee, so funky names apparently run in the family.

Maximus-Is this a possible trend? I had a post on here a good while back about a Saskatoon child given the name Maximus. I still think it sounds like a name for a Roman gladiator, not a 21st Century Canadian boy, but presumably everyone will call him Max.

Jaxon-There are several of these. Jackson looks better to me, but at least it's a name most people will pronounce easily.

Kazden-Another head scratcher. His middle name is Matlock, presumably a family name. I doubt most folks would name their son after a geezerly TV detective.

Breeze-A name that might get the poor girl called Airhead or something equally nasty when she gets older. One of her five siblings is named Reo.

Tawny-Likely to make folks of a certain age think of Tawny Kitaen, Whitesnake video chick. Another one of those names that sounds more appropriate for pets than offspring.

Ireland-Giving kids place names as first names is not uncommon, and at least it will be easy to pronounce. It will cause her less trouble than her sisters Sydnea and Jazmine.

Bree-Seems to have some popularity these days, but it always makes me think of a secondary character from the original Battlestar Galactica, and no doubt makes others think of cheese.

Alexus-Most folks spell that with an i, not a u.

Silas-Funny to see such an old fashioned name on a contemporary kid.

Jet-Hey, I like planes, but I wouldn't name my kid after one.

Well, I wasn't as mean as I thought I would. Of course there weren't any really horrific monstrosities to bemoan. For real horrors check out Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Oscar Peterson, RIP.

One of the greatest jazz musicians to come out of Canada has died. Oscar Peterson died in his Mississauga, Ontario home Sunday at 82. Born in Montreal Peterson came out of that city's music scene in the early 1940s. When famed jazz promoter Norman Granz heard a Peterson live broadcast while taking a taxi to Montreal's airport in 1949 he was so impressed he made the cabbie head for the location of the broadcast. He signed Peterson to perform at a concert at Carnegie Hall on the same bill as various jazz greats of the era. Peterson's US debut proved a success and the start of a decades long career as one of the best known pianists in jazz. Although he suffered a stroke in 1993 that disabled his left hand Peterson continued to perform into the 21st Century, and leaves behind a recorded legacy of dozens of recordings with a wide range of artists.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Good Luck.

If you haven't finished your Christmas gift buying yet I hope you manage to find what you're looking for tomorrow. Fortunately I have only my parents and brother to buy for, and I got it done a week and a half ago. Of course some of you probably bought some of your presents for this Christmas at last year's Boxing Day and other post Christmas sales.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Don Chevrier, RIP.

A familiar TV voice to many Canadian sports fans has been silenced. Don Chevrier died today in his home in Palm Harbor, Florida, apparently as a result of a recently diagnosed blood disorder. He was 69. He worked for various Canadian networks, including CTV and CBC, and was the broadcast voice for the Toronto Blue Jays and Ottawa Senators. This comes on the heels of reports that Don Wittman, another veteran of Canadian sports broadcasting and contemporary of Chevrier's, is currently fighting cancer.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Whimper For The Buck.

Forbes has released a list of who they consider the most overpaid actors in Hollywood. The calculation is made based on the amount they're paid per film versus the amount of revenue the films generate. Topping the list are Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman. Their most recent films have done poorly, and it's looking like this might include Kidman's latest, the just released Golden Compass. Presumably if this keeps up they won't be getting their huge salaries for long. But even if they take a pay cut they'll still make more per film than most readers of this post will in a lifetime. It would be interesting to know who the most overpaid TV actors are currently, a calculation that might be a bit more difficult to determine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


(click on the pic for a bigger view)
I went for a visit to the local Long and McQuade this afternoon. Amongst the new gear in stock they had the new Fender Joe Strummer Telecaster. Thinking about it the whole idea of a mass market Joe Strummer tribute guitar, including the "Revolution Rock" engraved in the neckplate, seems kind of contradictory towards the kind of things Strummer believed in. Even the fact it's part of Fender's Mexican produced line has it's contradictions, as while it's far cheaper than guitars like the Andy Summers Telecaster made by the Fender Custom Shop one has to wonder what Strummer would have thought of Fender's use of Mexican labour to keep production costs down, no matter how good Fender may be to it's Mexican employees. I doubt if he was currently alive we would have seen this guitar hit the market.
If you're not familiar with the current guitar biz the picture may be a bit confusing given that the guitar looks all beat up. No, it's not a mistake, rather the Strummer Tele is based on his favourite Telecaster and duplicates the wear and tear on that instrument. This kind of thing, commonly refered to as relicing, has been done a lot in recent years, to much controversy. Many people think the idea of artificially wearing an instrument is silly, while others like the idea of playing a guitar that is already broken in. Of course it's not exactly a new idea. For example copies of famous violin designs such as Stradivarius have often been produced with the appearance of aging to mimic the originals, and the same kind of thing has been done with furniture as well. Although I would generally prefer a new condition instrument or a carefully used one I wouldn't turn down an artificially worn guitar if I liked the way it played and sounded.

Will They Or Won't They?

That's the question many are asking after Monday's Led Zeppelin reunion gig. The reaction has been entirely positive from all I've seen, with comments about the band being in good form, so speculation about a tour is no surprise. But I wouldn't hold my breath. After all it was 2 years ago that 20 some years of emnity were put aside by the members of Pink Floyd, who reunited to play at the Live 8 charity concert. Similar speculation of a new Floyd tour popped up at the time. But as we all know it didn't happen. Roger Waters and David Gilmour went back to their solo projects, and Gilmour has subsequently pretty much said that Pink Floyd is done. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Zep's reunion turns out to be a one off as well. After all Plant recently released an album with Allison Krauss that has been getting positive reviews. It's not like the members need the money, and I don't get the impression they feel the same "we still have things left undone" kind of thing that helped lead to this year's Police reunion.

Wednesday Dec. 12 addenda: This post originally included a YouTube video of the group's performance of "Stairway to Heaven." Since it was pulled from YouTube I came back to remove the link. Apparently someone connected with the group or their record company has been very aggressive about removing vids of the concert, which may be evidence a DVD release is in the offing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Here She Is Again.

The past couple of days I've been getting hits due to the image in this post from earlier this year about Jene Yeo's post Undergrads activities. For some reason it's turned up on Google's image search engine when you enter Jene Yeo's name. So, in the spirit of shamelessly trying to get yet more hits on my blog here's another Jesse picture, and a sexier one at that. Just don't expect me to make a habit of it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


With the demise of the Saskatoon Free-Net's e-mail service at month's end I needed a new e-mail account. I decided to get a Gmail account, since I wanted something easily accessible from public terminals when I want to look at e-mail on the go. Having done this I've just been changing from my old e-mail address to the new one on various forums and so on I take part in. It's a bit of work, and I suspect I missed a couple of things along the way. Once I transfer some save messages over the SFN account will effectively be dead, and when it goes offline entirely hopefully it will cause problems for the various spammers I get. I do have a Shaw e-mail address, but I want to keep it reserved for certain uses, and besides I already use Google for a number of things, such as writing this blog, so why not get e-mail through them as well?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I Hope They're Not Your Neighbours.

We've all heard of people who take their fandoms too far. But there's obsessive, and then there's out and out nutbar. And unfortunately the Internet allows such people to get together, such as the people described in this Fandom Wank entry. These very delusional women think they're "astrally married" to Severus Snape, a character from the Harry Potter series. You know, someone who never actually existed. And now they've had a falling out. How they've avoided a visit from the local boys in the nice white outfits is beyond me, especially since at least one of them apparently is married and her spouse knows about her Snape obsession. Hopefully when these ladies have a complete mental collapse they won't harm themselves and/or others in the process.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Psychic? Yeah, Right.

Poking around some old posts on here I came across this one, which predicted that a supposed release date for Guns N' Roses next album, Chinese Democracy, would come and go without the album actually appearing. Here we are in December and I was right. But it's in no way evidence I have precognative abilities. You didn't need to be psychic to guess that an album that has given multiple release dates, none of which it has met, isn't likely to come out when advertised. Reportedly sessions for the album have cost 13 million bucks, meaning the album will have to sell at least 13 million copies, if not more, to even have a chance of making a profit for the label and Axl Rose. And in today's music market that's an even more dubious proposition than it was when work on the album began way back in the late '90s.

The Price Is Wrong?

A fire early Sunday destroyed a minor Saskatoon landmark. A restaurant has been operating under the Commodore name on Saskatoon's Second Avenue since the 1940s. In recent years it had been operated as Chau's Commodore, a Chinese restaurant. Also destroyed was a coffee bar, Gotta Hava Java, located next door. And smoke and minor water damage have put a number of other businesses temporarily out of action, including the neighbouring Olympia Restaurant and the McDonalds Express. Yep, there were four restaurants side by side. The preliminary damage estimate is one million dollars.

But a peculiar fact came up in today's Saskatoon Star Phoenix article on the fire. Realtor Bob Adam said that he put Chau's on the market in September for $55,000, and that a previous attempt by another realtor had had an asking price of $125,000. Frankly 55 grand strikes me as low in the current Saskatoon market. Like other property commercial real estate prices have gone up in the past year or so. This includes in the city centre. The increase was enough to prompt one local business owner to finally close her Second Avenue gift shop after decades and sell the property, whereas she had considered previous offers insufficient. Chau's was only half a block from the condo development in the old Bay store, which looks like it's finally getting close to completion, and the recently started transformation of the KG Hotel into yet more condos, so you'd think you could get a better price for the restaurant than $55,000. One would assume that more people living in the area will result in increased restaurant traffic, and hence make existing restaurant properties more valuable, but perhaps some other factors were involved.