Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bucking The Trend.

There's been a lot of talk in recent years about the future of the print newspaper.  Even The New York Times has faced questions about its very existence.  But Saskatoon's daily paper, the Star Phoenix, apparently doesn't have to worry.  An article in today's edition states that readership is actually increasing.  A survey by Newspaper Audience Database Inc.  shows that readership for both the print and online editions has grown more than 8 percent in 2011, the highest gain of any Canadian newspaper.  Newspaper readership in Canada reportedly remains high, with more than half of Canadians over 18 reading a print or online newspaper daily.  It would seem people find something in the written word they can't get from video newscasts or things posted to Youtube.

Meanwhile, a new paper is about to hit Saskatoon streets.  Paper boxes have begun to appear for a Saskatoon edition of Toronto based  "commuter" newspaper Metro, which will launch its debut issue April 2nd.  However, it seems they may want to be a bit careful where they put their boxes.  The other day I saw the maintenance staff at the Centre at Circle and 8th grab pick up and haul away a Metro box that had been placed by the bus shelters at the bus mall in the rear of Centre East.  I'm guessing they didn't bother to get the permission of mall management to put it there.  Not a good way to get in the good graces of a potential advertiser.

A More Important Worry.

Actress Alicia Silverstone has recently gotten attention for her parenting methods.  She prechews, or to use the fancy term for it, premasticates, food for her baby.  It's no surprise that a video of her doing this has gone viral, for it seems odd to most folks, although the practice is common in some cultures in Africa and elsewhere.  Silverstone is also a vegan, so food practices different from the mainstream aren't new for her.

Personally I think people should be more worried about the fact her kid is called Bear Blu.  Sounds like a name for a cartoon character.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sound Of Thunder.

It was kind of a wacky Winter, with Saskatoon having unusually warm temperatures for most of it.  And the end of March seems a bit wacky as well.  This afternoon we had a thunderstorm pass through.  You couldn't see any lightning, but there was a bit of thunder.  It will be interesting to see if odd weather patterns continue.

And speaking of the sound of thunder,,,,,

Gas In Saskatoon, March 30, 2012.

The price held here for a month, but Monday saw it go up again.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 126.9 cents a litre a t most locations.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Go, Before It's Too Late!

If you're in need of pennies you'd best get them now.  Today's federal budget included the news that the Canadian penny is being discontinued.  The last ones will roll out of the Royal Canadian Mint in this fall.  They actually cost 1.6 cents a piece to make, so the government has decided to drop them as a cost saving measure.  It will be interesting to see how long it will be before prices of goods in Canada change subtly.  There will be no point in offering things at prices that lead to an odd number like say 73 cents.  Prices could stay at their current values and the stores could round down or up to the nearest 5 cents, with the latter much more likely.  But doing that is bound to upset some consumers, who will think they're being ripped off.  It will also be interesting to see if there's a sudden flood of pennies onto the market that have been hidden away in drawers, jars etc.  The fact that so many pennies end in such places, not circulating, has been one of the reasons calls for the penny's end have been around for years.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Small Busriding Pleasure.

Having a couple who were involved in an increasingly loud argument decide to get off the bus early, preventing me from having to listen to said argument for the next 15 odd minutes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sign It.

I'm not normally one to sign online petitions, but this one is an exception, especially since my MP probably is too much of a backwards thinker to suppor this idea.  Bill C-279 will prevent discrimation against transgendered people, who currently are not protected from discrimination in various forms.  Sounds like a good idea to me, so I signed this petition in support of the bill.  The petitioners are looking for 10 thousand signatures, but they've got a long ways to go.  So if you think this is a good idea, sign it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Need A Different Accent.

It sometimes seems that all you need to get a reality show on channels like TLC and A&E is to have a cool accent.  I doubt my rather bland Canadian Prairies accent would make the cut.(The bit about having a boring life probably wouldn't help either.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Attention, US Republican Voters!

Rick Santorum is a Catholic.

Just thought you should know.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I just logged into Pokerstars to see what freerolls are playing tonight.  I found they've got a new feature in beta.  It's called Zoom Poker.  Each hand you play takes place on a different table, with a different group of players.  When you fold or win a hand you are instantly transferred to the next table. 

Sound familiar?  If so it's because you played on the ill fated Full Tilt Poker, which debuted this idea back in 2010 as Rush Poker.  This brings up the obvious, did Pokerstars pay for the rights to use the concept?  Of course given that Full Tilt is currently in limbo because of last year's US crackdown on online poker there may be no one to pay any fees to, assuming they would actually have to.  Some might also wonder why it took them this long to take up the idea given that there's no sign Full Tilt is coming back soon, or at all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Straight Only.

This morning I heard a bit of a CBC report on the YouTube based campaign to get Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan terrorist group Lord's Resistance Army, captured.  One of the people being interviewed mentioned that Lonely Planet, the well known travel book publisher, had named Uganda one of its top ten countries to travel to in 2012.  This made me raise my eyebrows given a major problem Uganda has.  A look at LP's website turned up an article on these picks, which does mention the problem.  It quotes the UK Foreign Office warning:

There is very little social tolerance of homosexuality, which is illegal. There have been moves, initiated by a Ugandan MP, to introduce reactionary legislation that would further criminalise homosexuality and introduce the death penalty for some activity… you should be aware that homosexuality is generally seen as taboo and exists on the margins of society.
Uganda's treatment of gay people has generated a lot of negative press for the country.  Equally disturbing is that much of the recent prominence of the issue in Uganda is due to the work of US evangelists, who have been pushing the issue of late.  One of them, Scott Lively, is being sued by an African group,  Sexual Minorities Uganda, that advocates for gay rights.

Althougfh they do mention that Uganda is not a gay friendly destination, Lonely Planet still chose it as one of their top ten travel destinations for 2012.  You'd think this major human rights problem would keep it out of the top ten, but that's not the case.  You'd also think they'd be worried about this creating a perception problem amongst its target audience, which one assumes is more likely to be the kind of crowd that thinks anti-gay sentiments are a bad thing than buyers of some of the more traditonal travel guides.  Apparently that's not the case.  They apparently also don't seem to worry that a significant percentage of their readers might be gay, and might reconsider their patronage as the result of this recommedation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When I Rule The World 13.

When I rule the world going all in with ridiculous hands like 8-5 offsuit during the first few hands of an online poker tournament will be severely punished.  If you're dumb enough to play hands like that you probably shouldn't be playing poker.  This rule will be for your own good.

Rise Up!

It's that time of year in Canada again.  Time for the changing the clocks foolishness.  Except in here in Saskatchewan, where common sense prevails.  Seriously, why are the rest of you putting up with that nonsense?  Get off you butts and force your politicians to end the silliness of Daylight Savings Time, which doesn't save any time and just causes problems. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Caffeine, Ugh!

I really need to stop drinking the damn crap.  It seems to get me hyped up in a bad way much of the time after I drink it.  And I'm drinking it in Coke Zero, not cofffee, so I can only imagine the effect it would have if I did drink coffee.  Coming off the stuff is annoying, but I'm sure I could do it.  Time to kick up the will power a bit I guess.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Pay Up.

This morning I decided to pay the overdue fees I owed to the Saskatoon Public Library.  Doing so made me think about those fines.  SPL is mellow about fines.  As long as your fine amount is under five bucks you can still take out stuff, and they don't pester you to pay the fines.  Given that I assume there must be a lot of unpaid revenue to be had.  Just imagine all the new material they could buy if everyone paid up.  So, how about it?  If you've got fines how about paying them, so your library system has more money to buy material for you to take out?

Friday, March 02, 2012

More Loonies Abroad?

Here's an interesting possibility I found out via James Nicoll.  Iceland, which has been severely effected by economic problems since the 2008 collapse of its banks, is considering adopting a foreign currency to replace its current krona.  Surprisingly, it seems that not only is the Canadian dollar one possible choice, it's a very popular idea amongst Icelanders.  And Canada's ambassador to Iceland, Alan Bones, is going to tell them tomorrow that Canada is interested in the idea.  Iceland won't get a say in Canadian fiscal policy, which will limit how much they could control their economy.  But given the problems with the krona apparently many in Iceland are willing to take the risk.

The possibility is a bit ironic given that there have been various calls over the years for Canada to adopt the US dollar as its currency.  Unlike with Iceland however Canadians who supported the idea believed it would have to involve joint US-Canadian control of fiscal policy.  That always struck me as a highly unlikely possibility, and is why I never saw such a union happening.  Funny to see the shoe on the other foot.