Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goodbye, John.

John Wetton was a tough man.  For years he'd been fighting health problems, including heart problems, arm and shoulder problems that left his picking hand numb, and more recently cancer, but still continued to work when his health allowed.  It was the cancer that killed him.  He was 67.

Wetton came out of Bournemouth music scene, as did Robert Fripp, Greg Lake, Andy Summers, and various others.  After stints with Mogul Thrash and Family it was his time with King Crimson that brought him to prominence.  But after his time in Crimson, touring with Roxy Music and Uriah Heep, and being one of the founders of UK it was the band Asia that brought him the most commercial success.  The group's self titled 1981 debut would go on to sell more than 10 million copies, although they never managed to top that success.  He collaborated with many musicians over the years, both on his own solo material, as a co-leader of several projects, and as a session man.  For the last decade Wetton had been a member of a re-united Asia, and had been planning to tour with the group when his condition deteriorated. 

In memoriam here's "Starless," from King Crimson's 1974 album Red.  It's a great example of Wetton's bass playing and singing.  (Thanks to DGM Live for putting this up on YouTube.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Waiting For Mr. Bigmouth.

Last night I watched Bellator.  Tonight I've been watching the UFC.  With all that's been going on in US politics the thought came to mind of what fighter might open his big mouth about these issues after a fight.  I'm pretty sure Tito Ortiz had a "Make America Great Again" logo on his shirt last week, but he didn't actually say anything.  It's a reasonable guess the powers that be at both promotions have told their fighters not to bring this stuff up.  But there's always going to be people who don't listen.  And both Bellator and the UFC have fighters on roster who aren't Americans, and who might be worried about being effected by things like changed immigration rules. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, January 27, 2017.

The price of gas continues to drop.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 96.4 cents a litre at most locations, but some stations had dropped it another cent to 95.4 cents this afternoon.  I'm sure the others will soon follow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Weird Thought.

Bryan Ferry as James Bond.

Not now of course.  But in the '70s or early '80s.  Ferry looks a bit like George Lazenby, and certainly could have pulled off the sauve spy bit that became a standard part of the Bond mythos in the movies.  Ferry doesn't seem to have had much interest in acting, other than appearing as himself in a 1980 French TV mini-series, and as Mr. Silky String in Neil Jordan's 2005 film Breakfast on Pluto.  How he might have dealt with the action parts of the role is an obvious question, but Roger Moore was looking pretty tired and unconvincing by the time A View to a Kill was filmed.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Two Years.

That's how long I'll wait before I'm convinced Tito Ortiz fought his last fight tonight.  Too many fighters don't seem to know when to quit, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ortiz is one of them.  Meanwhile an obvious question is whether Chael Sonnen will fight again.  His fight tonight was his first in three years, and it was a loss.  On the other hand the fact he lost might keep him in the game, as having your last fight be a loss is a hard result to take. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, January 20, 2017.

My prediction of last week was correct.  Gas in Saskatoon has dropped to 99.4 cents a litre at most locations.  Will the downward trend continue?  It depends on whether Donald Trump starts WW3 over the weekend I suppose.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

O'Leary Leaps In.

Some American visitors are likely to be familiar with Kevin O'Leary.  The Canadian businessman has been one of the regulars on ABC's reality TV series Shark Tank since its debut in 2009.  But he may be leaving the series, as he announced that he is running for the leadership of Canada's federal Conservative Party.

The Conservatives are Canada's equivalent of the Republican Party, although it's fair to say a lot of Republicans might find some of their policies dangerously left wing.  Previous Conservative Party leader, and former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper resigned after the Conservatives lost the 2015 election to Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.  The campaign for a new leader effectively began at the beginning of 2016, with the announcement the leadership convention will held on May 27th this year.

O'Leary has not surprisingly drawn comparisons to Donald Trump, and has said his interest in running for the leadership was inspired by Trump.  O'Leary isn't as rich as Trump(although, like Trump, some claim he's not as rich as he claims to be), and doesn't have the same kind of baggage Trump does.  He's had a long media presence in Canada, including being on the Canadian business reality show Dragon's Den, and co-host of the CBC News Network current affairs show The Lang and O'Leary Exchange before leaving CBC in 2014.  He's also said some things that might remind one of Trump, such as questioning global warming, and calling the fact that the 85 richest people in the world own as much as the poorest half of the world's population "fantastic."

The timing of O'Leary's entry into the race has raised some eyebrows.  This morning's announcement followed the sole leadership debate of the campaign held entirely in French.  To lead the main federal parties in Canada one has to make at least a pretense of trying to speak French, and O'Leary admits his French is weak.  Of course this could be said about some of the other candidates, and they made an effort.  And in case you're wondering, a candidate that was effectively unilingual in French wouldn't get the time of day from those parties.

What are O'Leary's chances of winning?  It's hard to say.  He's the fourteenth candidate to enter the race.  Yep, fourteen people are running.  O'Leary is the most well known, and at the moment the vote is heavily split.  On the other hand it's likely we'll see someone drop out with his announcement, and of course some of those candidates probably don't have much of a chance no matter who is running.  A good example would be my former Member of Parliament Brad Trost, who is not well known outside Saskatchewan.  But there's also the chance an "anybody but O'Leary" movement might build behind one of the candidates.

If he does win the next step will probably be someone resigning their seat in Parliament so O'Leary can run in a by election..  Presumably he would get elected, but that's not a given.  Not getting a seat would partially put him on the sidelines, since he wouldn't be able to show Canadians what he can do in the House of Commons, and might be seen as a bad sign regarding his chances in the next election.  Barring a gigantic political scandal bringing down the government, or Prime Minister Trudeau randomly dropping dead, the next Canadian federal election is in 2019.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Big Earl Versus Billy The Ric.

A long time ago I had a Fender Stratocaster XII 12 string electric guitar, one of the original versions with a Fender Electric XII style bridge.  I never had to do any work on the intonation or action before I sold it to my cousin.  Which is a good thing because I'm not Mr. Mechanical.  But I'm sure it would be a lot easier to work on than a classic Rickenbacker twelve string.  Today I came across a pair of videos from Edmonton's Big Earl discussing his adventures changing the bridge on his Rickenbacker 12 string.  Boy, talk about a lot of work!  And he's not a gigging musician on the road with one.  Watch the videos, and then imagine having to restring one every day, as gigging musicians often do, or if they're really lucky their guitar tech does.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, January 13, 2017.

Some more relief to report this week.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 101.4 cents a litre at most locations.  A drop below the buck a litre mark seem fairly likely, but I suspect the decline will soon reverse itself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Do They Even Remember It?

Going about my business this afternoon I heard a song I know I haven't heard in 20 years, if not more.  "Notorious" was the single released off Loverboy's  1987 album Wildside.  Co-written by Mike Reno with the late Todd Cerney, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richie Sambora(something I didn't know) it sounds like an attempt at producing another "Hot Girl's In Love."  And it's "nah nah nah, nah nah nah notorious" line in the chorus was probably intended for having an audience sing along live. 

Not having heard it in so long I found myself wondering half seriously if the guys in Loverboy even remember the song.  Of course they might not want to.  Although "Notorious" did generate some airplay it didn't help Wildside, which became their first album not to go platinum, and the group soon broke up over tensions between Reno and guitarist Paul Dean.  Like some other bands that got lumped into the arena rock/AOR category they presumably just ran out of steam, not being pretty enough or having the right sound to keep up with the hair metal bands popular at the time.  In fact it could be seen as ironic that Bon Jovi and Sambora co-wrote "Notorious," since Bon Jovi probably sucked up market share that would previously have bought Loverboy albums.

See what you think.  Here's the promo video for the song. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, January 6, 2017.

Our first entry for 2017 sees a minor drop.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 106.4 cents a litre at most locations.  Not much help, but as always better down than up.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Mocking The Clickbait 6: Education Needed.

These Pictures Are For Guys Only.

Umm, yeah, you see, there are women who call themselves lesbians.  And bisexuals.  And pansexuals.  They might also want to see pictures of "the most beautiful women on the Internet."  Or maybe not, given the kind of pictures you might be showing.  I won't be looking to find out, so as not to give you traffic. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Goodbye, Mr. Barnsley.

Sad news to report.  Greg Barnsley has died at 83.  Anyone who watched Saskatoon TV prior to 1992 will be familiar with Barnsley.  One of the original on air personalities at CFQC TV Barnsley appeared in various roles for the station, including weatherman on CFQC's news broadcasts and host of Kingo Bingo.  In 2014 the newly renovated CFQC studio was named the Greg Barnsley Studio in his honor. 

You can hear Barnsley's distinctive voice in the following 1984 documentary.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Welcome to 2017.

Ugh, can I rewind time back about 15 years?  I really don't want to be this old.

In any case, here's hoping this year turns out considerably better than most of us are expecting.  It certainly doesn't look like a great year is in the offing.