Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh You Silly Parents.

It's that time again. Time for some of the unusual baby names given in Saskatoon, courtesy of the Star Phoenix.

On the very cover of The Baby Block 2008 we have a little girl named Iscis. Okay, I don't know about you, but I haven't a clue how that would be pronounced. Like Isis perhaps? It's certainly a name the poor kid will be having to explain to people over and over again for the rest of her life.

How about Daxon? A variation on the equally jarring Jaxon perhaps. Sounds more like a name for a construction company than a kid.

A bit of a head scratcher is a girl named Akira. This is usually a Japanese boy's name, and neither parent's names indicate they're Japanese.

Then we have a little girl named Kenley. Personally if I saw that name on a list of people I'd assume it was a boy, and not a girl. Enver, the name of another little girl, sounds more feminine, but comes across as some oddball variation of Amber, or perhaps a take on Ember.

Young Theoren Smith was presumably named after famous Saskatchewan hockey player Theoren Fleury. Quite a namesake to live up to if he develops an interest in hockey.

Dravyn is kind of a funky name, but it's his middle name that gets me. Ronin. Do his parents know this is Japanese for masterless samurai? He has a big brother named Lysander.

Akre is another name I'd assume at first glance was a male name, but again it's attached to a girl. How you pronounce that is another question.

It's not hard to figure out how Deklen is pronounced, but why not use the traditional spelling Declan? You can say that about a lot of the names listed. Why come up with some oddball spelling which will just cause the kid, and for that matter the parents, annoyance for years to come as they spell it over and over again? It doesn't make your kid any more special. Or is it a case of people naming their kids without looking up how to spell the names they give them?

Koston? Someone's maiden name perhaps. I imagine the line, "No, it's Koston, not Boston" will become very familiar to this boy.

Of course we have the inevitable Nevaeh, which is Heaven backwards. Why do people think this is a good name?

Blayze. Note the added y. Another name I think is more appropriate for a horse than a child.

Neven, another odd and to my eyes masculine name stuck on a little girl.

Then we have the parents who named their little girl Saddie. I assume they were going for a "special" way to spell Sadie, but I suspect a lot of people will pronounce that first sylable as sad until corrected otherwise.

I'm guessing Ajay is supposed to be a variation on A.J., but usually that's supposed to represent two given names, not be a name by itself.

Seeing a little girl named Jorja makes me suspect her parents are CSI fans given long running CSI cast member Jorja Fox.

Hopefully, as they've done over the past few years, the Government of Alberta will release a list of the names given to Alberta children over the last year sometime early in 2009. I'm sure some real monstrosities will be listed. Perhaps someone can convince the Saskatchewan government to release a similar list for our entertainment and befuddlement.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gas In Saskatoon, December 27, 2008.

A day late this week, but I figured I should get one last one of these in before the year is over. Gas in Saskatoon is currently 74.9 cents a litre. With Christmas travel season coming to an end it will be interesting to see how much it might drop at the next price setting.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hope They're There.

I hope you're enjoying the holidays, and more importantly your family made it home. My brother managed to make it here before things really went bad this week. Hopefully your relatives aren't sitting in an airport someplace.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Disappointed.

Geez, Stevie old boy. You go and appoint a bunch of Senators so the Liberal/NDP/BQ coalition won't get the chance to if they by some miracle take over the House of Commons. That's bad enough, since you're supposedly all big on Senate reform. But what makes it worse is that you didn't pick me. Pam Wallin for Saskatchewan? Come on, isn't it time for some new blood outside the political classes? All you had to do was ask.

Friday, December 19, 2008


It had to happen sooner or later. The price of gas in Saskatoon is currently the same as last Friday. Perhaps with heavy Christmas driving they don't want to reduce prices.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Has M Been Notified?

Oh, the things you find on YouTube. John Barry and Howard Devoto are two names that don't normally come to mind together, or for that matter Howard Devoto and Shirley Bassey. But here for your listening pleasure is Magazine's cover of the theme from Goldfinger, originally performed by Shirley Bassey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ban It.

Admit it. There's at least one Christmas song you just don't want to hear. For me it's "The Little Drummer Boy." Someone take the kid's sticks away! Better yet, feed the poor boy, find him some place to live, and get him into school. After all he's a poor boy, and needs some better way to make his way in the world than banging on a ratty drum for whatever deity happens to decide to incarnate within walking distance.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Winter Tip.

If you're going to go through a fast food drive through, make sure you can open your window before you pull into line. Someone ahead of me just a bit ago didn't, and it caused them a bit of a problem putting in their order.

Less Bang, Less Bucks.

The current economic malaise is having effects on businesses that might not immediately come to mind. US firearms maker Smith and Wesson announced today that sales of its hunting line have fallen, offsetting growth in the handgun segment of the company. This lead to a second quarter loss for the company, and as a result their stock declined in trading today. S&W have been trimming jobs on their hunting rifle line as a result of the weakness in sales. You might think economic uncertainly might actually prompt some people to take up hunting again, hoping to save some money by eating more food they've acquired directly. But presumably most people who might do so aren't likely to shell out for a new gun, instead using an existing weapon in their possession or buying a used rifle or shotgun. The hunting market as a whole has been shrinking in the US, no doubt pushed along by an increasingly urban population and fewer young people taking up the hobby.

S&W report sales to law enforcement are strong at the moment, with a lot of interest in their M&P semiautomatic pistol, which has also seen a large order from the Iraqi government. No doubt they hope to increase their market share in a market that has in recent years been dominated by the Austrian made Glock, a large percentage of which are ironically chambered in .40 Smith and Wesson, developed in 1990 as an alternative to the 10mm load the FBI was then using, and which over the course of the '90s came to dominate the North American police market. Municipal police forces here in Saskatchewan for example all use .40 calibre Glocks, versus the 9mm Smith and Wesson pistols used by the RCMP.

Wanted: Heat.

Does your corner of the world have any heat to spare? If so, send it our way. We're really in the deep freeze right now, and the forecast calls for it to stay that way into the weekend and beyond. So send us all that spare heat that will just make you use your air conditioners too much. I'm sure you folks in the southern hemisphere can do without some of your summer heat.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gas In Saskatoon, December 12, 2008.

Gas in Saskatoon is currently 77.9 cents a litre. The price of a barrel of oil ended today at $46.28 American, and some analysts feel it may drop below 40 dollars a barrel before long.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hard Money.

The current issue of The Atlantic has a profile on UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, which you can read here. The article details Jackson's activities in the runup to his July 2008 fight with Forrest Griffin, and his subsequent July 15th arrest after an evening of vehicular mayhem. One of the issues mentioned in the article is that of money, with UFC frontman Dana White stating that something like half of the UFC's stable of fighters make 100 grand or more a year. Of course this also means that the other half don't make that kind of money. This made me curious, so I decided to look for UFC salary information online. Although there is some dispute how much certain fighters get paid the range of salaries is interesting, and rather disturbing on the low end. At the bottom you have fighters who are making 3 thousand dollars for fighting on a UFC undercard, while at the top end you have someone like Chuck Liddell who has made as much as 500 thousand dollars in base salary for his fights. Given the money involved in things like gym time and so on some of the lower end salaries probably barely cover expenses, if at all. But some say even someone like Liddell may be being short changed given how much revenue UFC pay per view events draw in. Still, such salaries do explain some of the luxuries Liddell was shown with in a profile I saw a while back, like several expensive vehicles.

As with some of the boxers I see on TV I really have to wonder why some of the older UFC fighters keep at it. They must realise by now they're never going to make it to the pay level of a Liddell or Canadian fighter Georges St. Pierre, who is making in the 100 grand plus range these days. Do they really want to fight for chicken feed when there's always the risk of a permanent injury? Because of the variety of styles and tactics involved there's probably a lower chance of the kind of debilitating brain injuries that can result from boxing, but having wrecked knees or a damaged shoulder isn't great either.

As for Jackson hopefully he's handled his money well. If he is convicted for what happened in July he could spend up to 3 years in jail, and I can't help but wonder if he might not have trouble getting back into the UFC with a criminal record.


As I stood waiting for the bus this morning a chickadee sat on the branch of an evergreen by the bus stop proudly calling out his "deedeedee" to whoever would listen. When you think about it it's amazing how these little birds survive. With little more than their feathers for warmth and whatever bits and bobs of food they can scrounge they manage to ride out winters that can sometimes hit -30 Celcius or colder. No doubt some do die, but many more chickadees, sparrows, and other small birds make it to see spring and another mating season. Of course it doesn't hurt that human behaviour helps them along, both by providing trees and other types of shelter, and by offering them food they wouldn't otherwise have.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Present From The City.

Originally uploaded by mr. gueguen
This afternoon city workers came by and left us this lovely little present. This type of garbage can will be familiar to many residents of Saskatoon, and presumably residents of other communities. They've been in use for years here in some areas of the city. But now the city is expanding their use to areas that had previously been served by large multiple dwelling garbage containers. Located in back alleys each was intended to serve 6 homes. Many newer areas never saw the larger containers since they lack back alleys. The intent of replacing the old communal containers with new individual ones is to eventually allow the city to charge for garbage pickup should that prove practical. Obviously it wouldn't be fair to charge a fee based on weight with communal containers, as there would be no way to know who was putting in what.
Another advantage of these, one suspects, is less chance for arson. The communal containers have been regular victims of arson attacks over the years. With the new containers being located in people's yards, and only rolled out onto the street when collection is scheduled, it should be harder for any little firebugs to casually set one on fire.

Pulling Double Duty.

When most people hear the name John Carpenter they think of the filmmaker behind such flicks as Escape From New York and the original Halloween. But Carpenter has also been composer or co-composer of much of the music used in his movies. Above is one example that has caught my ear over the past few days, the theme to 1976's Assault On Precinct 13. To my ears it sounds fairly contemporary, probably due to its minimalist nature and the sounds used. As for the movie itself it was made for 100 thousand dollars, a budget piece even by the standards of the era. Today some movies probably spend more on the female lead's makeup than that.

I came across this clip via this thread on the Vintage Synth Explorer forum, which has more Youtube clips of Carpenter the composer in action.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gas in Saskatoon, December 5, 2008.

This week saw yet another drop. Gas is now 83.9 cents a litre. It was interesting to see a Macleans(Canada's equivalent of Time and Newsweek)cover shot from mid June the other day on speculations of how your life might be with 200 buck a barrel oil. No doubt we will see oil at that price eventually, barring a major breakthrough in alternative energy, but it seems a lot further away now than it did when that issue was printed. Unfortunately a lot of economic ministries in various places, including here in Saskatchewan, were banking on the revenue higher prices was going to bring, so their budgets have gotten a wee bit screwed up as a result, as have the plans of anyone who bought a lot of petroleum product at price X expecting it to get a lot more expensive by now, not drop. Just goes to show that economics is far less predictable than some would like us to believe.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Doggy Dollars?

I had a bit of a chuckle today when I got a couple of twenties out of an ATM. The prefix on the serial number on one of them was ARF, making me wonder if the Bank of Canada has taken to hiring dogs. Last week I had one that had the prefix ALL.

Yesterday I saw a license plate that had a letter combination that I'm surprised got past whoever makes sure offensive letter combinations aren't used: FKK. I'm sure most readers can imagine how it could be pronounced like a popular swear word.