Sunday, May 21, 2017


Today I received my 1000th hit at Where's Willy.  It kind of snuck up on me over the last couple of weeks.  My next milestone will be my 900th bill hit, but that's a good way away, since today's hit was my 841st bill hit.  It's theoretically possible I could reach 1100 hits before 900 bills hit, but I'd have to see my re-hit rate go up quite heavily for that to happen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, May 19, 2017.

Fortunately my prediction last week was wrong.  Gas in Saskatoon has dropped to 96.4 cents a litre at most locations.  Hopefully it will drop some more next week.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stro Makes It Go.

If you're a Jays fan I hope you've been watching the game tonight.  Marcus Stroman hit the first home run of his career just a few minutes ago.  The only other Jays pitcher to hit a home run  was Mark Hendrickson back in 2003 against the Montreal Expos.  So cool.

"Superman" Crashes.

Kevin Pillar has been one of the most popular Toronto Blue Jays over the last couple of years.  He regularly makes spectacular catches in the outfield, and this year has been one of the team's best hitters.  But his popularity may take a hit after last night's game against the Atlanta Braves.  After striking out to Braves reliever Jason Motte in the seventh inning Pillar threw a number of curses at Motte, which reportedly included a homophobic slur.  After the game Pillar apologised, but Major League Baseball is investigating the incident, and sanctions may be possible. 

This is sure to remind some Blue Jays fans of Yunel Escobar.  During a 2012 game then Jays shortstop Escobar had a Spanish language homophobic slur written in his eye black.  The team suspended him for three games, and donated his salary for those games to gay rights groups.  There would later be speculation that Escobar's tenure with the team was cut short due to his behaviour, as he was traded to the Miami Marlins late that year. His contract was set to continue into the 2013 season, with options for 2014 and 2015. 

If Pillar were to be suspended for this incident, even if presumably only for two or three games, it would just add to the woes of the Jays, who have blown the momentum they gained with their recent five game winning streak.  It may also have an effect on the marketing of the team, given that Pillar has played a prominent role in that marketing.

How many gay players are there in the majors?  No one knows.  You can be sure that incidents like this won't encourage them to come out while they're players.  Such incidents may also discourage gay youth from considering a baseball career.  A lot has changed in pro sports in recent years regarding the way such things are treated, but the actual climate on the field is still questionable.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, May 12, 2017.

The recent trend of downward prices has ended.  Gas in Saskatoon has jumped to 98.4 cents a litre.  I suspect it will be back above the one dollar mark next week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Don't See The Connection.

For years after it become obvious the series itself wasn't coming back the official Undergrads website continued to be available online.  It's been a while since I've checked it out, so I wasn't expecting to find the URL now redirects to an Asian cosmetics site.  I'd love to know why.  Chances are most people looking for an Undergrads site aren't looking for cosmetics from a non-North American supplier.  I knew the webpage would go down sooner or later, but I expected to find a for sale notice up, not this.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Today's Cassette, May 9, 2017.

It has been a long time since I've done one of these.  And I should do them more often, since I still have a big pile of cassettes, and a couple of machines to play them with.

In the player today was Salmonmoose, released on saxophonist John Oswald's Mystery Tape Laboratory label.  It's a reworking of live improvisations Oswald, guitarist Henry Kaiser, and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo recorded in several places in Canada in 1978 and '79.  Instead of a strictly linear presentation of the material as recorded it was reworked in a montage fashion.  Some nice low key free improv on this one, and certainly one of the rarest cassettes I've got. 

Closer To Gone.

Pay phones have been slowly disappearing for years.  The cell phone has been slowly killing them.  And now two more in Saskatoon are gone.  The SaskTel pay phones in the lobby of the Saskatoon Public Library's downtown Francis Morrison branch have been removed.  There were a pair of them.  The library now has a free courtesy phone just inside the doors of the main floor.  It will be interesting to see how well that works.  It will also be interesting to see which pay phones here are the next to go.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Wish I Could Send Some.

Today's weather in Saskatoon has been lovely.  Sunny skies and temperatures more normal for July.  It's the kind of weather I'm sure some of you could use right now.  Large chunks of Eastern Canada and the US are facing heavy rains today, with flooding possible in some areas.  So I would love to be able to send some of our nice weather to dry things out.  Unfortunately no one has sent me a weather machine to do so.

Gas In Saskatoon, May 5, 2017.

Gas prices continue to decline in Saskatoon.  Gas is now 93.4 cents a litre at most locations.  It will be interesting to see if we go below the 90 cent mark next week, and how far we might go below that mark in the near future.

Not For Me.

It's amusing the product ads advertising algorithms sometimes produce.  For some reason I ended up seeing an ad today for Swimtails swimmable mermaid tails.  Yep, a company actually makes mermaid tails, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are others.  But it's an odd product to try to sell me.  I don't swim.  I don't have a thing for mermaids.  And the webpage I was looking at has nothing to do with mermaids, swimming, or anything else water related.  So it seems their algorithm needs some fine tuning.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, April 28, 2017.

We have a bit of relief to end the month.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 96.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Hopefully it will stay below the dollar mark for a while, if not drop even further.

Next Year Will Be Different! (Yeah, Right.)

In a couple of days it will be the deadline for many Canadians to submit their 2016 income tax return.  I just did mine.  Even though mine is simple I still waited until today to do it.  Every year I say around February or so that I'll do it early this year.  But of course I don't.  So I probably shouldn't bother saying so next year.

But I probably will.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Endurance Test.

Did you watch last night's Blue Jays/Angels game?  Did you watch it all the way to the end?  If you're a Jays fan the payoff was worth it, but getting there was quite the task.  Of course it was easier for those of us on the west side of the country, since it was only 8 PM or earlier when it started.  I imagine a lot of viewers in Ontario and east jumped ship pretty early, even if today is a Saturday, when they might sleep in.  Given some of what happened last night I wouldn't be surprised if the management in Buffalo got some very early phone calls today.  And hopefully today's game, besides being another Jays win, will be considerably shorter.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, April 21, 2017.

A small drop to report this week.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 100.4 cents a litre at most locations. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Strange Combo, Yet Not.

This morning I visited one of the local Dollarama stores.  I noticed that they had some CDs, and took a quick look.  There was nothing I wanted to buy, but one did attract my attention.  It was a karaoke CD of religious songs.  That's a bit odd.  Even more unusual was the cover art, which consisted of a young woman, drawn in an anime/manga style.  Not quite the combo you might expect.

But then again maybe you would.  Christianity and anime have met in the past.  Japanese animation firm Tatsunoko Productions collaborated with the US Christian Broadcast Network in the early '80s on Superbook, a series of cartoon adventures based on the Old and New Testament.  At the same time they also produced a series called The Flying House, which also used Biblical materials as the plots for its episodes.  Some years later Osamu Tezuka, revered as one of the giants of anime and manga, created In the Beginning: The Bible Stories, an anime series that told the stories of the Old Testament.  It was co-production with Nippon TV and the Italian government broadcaster RAI.  It was one of Tezuka's last projects before his death of cancer in 1989, and was not completed until after his death.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Gas In Saskatoon, April 14, 2017.

A bit of a respite this week.  Gas in Saskatoon has dropped to 102.4 cents a litre at most locations.  Hopefully it will drop below the one buck mark next week.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Exotic Weapon.

Just before midnight on Friday Saskatoon police were called to a break and enter at a garage on Cairns Avenue.  Although the suspect had left before they arrived the K9 unit soon tracked him down.  He was arrested and found to be carrying a firearm, switchblade, and crystal meth.  None of these by themselves are unusual, but the firearm he was carrying was.  Police say it was a 7.65 mm Skorpion machine pistol.

The Skorpion was a product of the Cold War era Czechoslovak arms industry, a weapon that could be carried in a holster, but capable of fully automatic fire.  It was intended for use by special units, vehicle crews, and others who needed a weapon more compact than a rifle, but with more firepower than a standard pistol.  It also reflected the Czechoslovak military's willingness to go its own way with weapons, not being a Soviet design and using a non Warsaw Pact caliber, 7.65 mm, aka .32 ACP.

The actual utility of such very compact automatic firearms has always been questioned.  They're bulkier than a standard pistol, yet their small size makes them hard to control on fully automatic.  Most people they've been issued to don't get the practice time to learn to use them effectively.  But the Skorpion proved popular, seeing a lot of export sales, including ending up in the hands of European terrorist groups like the Italian Red Brigades.

So where did the one seized early Saturday come from?  If it was one of the full auto originals it's a prohibited weapon in Canada, never sold legally, and not something you'd expect a street crook in Saskatoon to get his hands on in 2017.  On the other hand semi automatic only versions of the Skorpion have been produced for the civilian gun market, and apparently they have been sold in Canada as a restricted firearm.  So if it's one of those it was either stolen from someone in Canada, or imported illegally from the US, where they are also legal.

Friday, April 07, 2017

April Kaboom.

A rain shower passed through just a bit ago, and it included a bit of thunder.  Definitely not the thing you expect in Saskatoon in the first week of April.  The fact it got to 21 degrees Celsius today no doubt had something to do with it.  A bit of rain to damp down the dust will be welcome by some.

Gas In Saskatoon, April 7, 2017

A rather unpleasant surprise for Saskatoon drivers this week.  Gas in Saskatoon has jumped to 105.9 cents a litre at most locations.   Something tells me it will go up again next week.