Monday, January 31, 2005

The creator of the character Nemo from Pixar's highly successful film Finding Nemo has died. Dan Lee was 35, and died of lung cancer, despite not being a smoker.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Boy, this has to be the oddest hit yet on here. Someone came across the blog from a websearch on Google for "free gay muscleman archive." Sorry to disappoint you, buddy, but you won't find any gay porn on here. On the other hand it wouldn't surprise me if a blog for such a thing exists given the porn blogs I've run across before.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Yep, another one. I'm really talky tonight.

Curtesy of a post by PZ Myers, here's some downright nutbar nonsense about cats. If this stuff isn't a joke this loonietoon needs to consult his local branch of the Clue Police pronto!
Here's a heads up for Undergrads fans passing thru who haven't already seen it. There's a new Undergrads continuation fic up at Fanfic Net by KTFXfox, Undergrads: The Sophomore Year. Its off to a not bad start so far.
Spotted another example of modern niche marketing today. Christian Guitarist and Bassist magazine. It makes sense I suppose given how popular that genre is in the US. Of course its worth noting its produced by the folks at Guitar Player magazine, so it has a bit of a head start, having an existing editorial and production base to work with. The comments from the editor about the silliness of throwing the kind of Christian rock artist shown on the cover in the same "gospel" bin as Bill Gaither is true, altho' fans of all sorts of music can get a laugh at certain categorisations. For me its seeing Mike Oldfield albums in the easy listening or new age bins. A album primarily of pop/rock songs like Discovery is an odd choice for the new age section and even odder for the easy listening bin.

A number of years back I was the equipment op for a Sunday morning gospel music show at a local radio station. Boy, was some of the contemporary stuff on the playlist awful. You can't get more trite than something like "Our God is an Awesome God."
I was just doing some reading online about drug use in sports and came across this headline: Lawyer says hooker could sue league. But its not what a typical North American(at least) reader might think. Rather, as you find out if you read the Guardian article a hooker is a position on a rugby team, and the article in question is about a rugby player who was given prohibited substances without his apparently knowing about it. Just another interesting example of the confusion a word can cause if you don't know the context.

My reading was prompted by a thread over at the Fender Discussion Page(yes, we do discuss things besides guitars over there) on who is the greatest athelete of the last 50 years. Carl Lewis was mentioned, and the obvious thought came to mind about whether performance enhancing drug use should be considered, given that Lewis may very well have been "on the juice" during his glory days, despite his holier than thou attitude on the issue over the years.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

With this week being the 60th anniversary of the Soviets seizing the Auschwitz concentration camp not surprisingly stories about the Holocaust have been appearing on network newscasts and so forth. And not surprisingly the Holocaust deniers and other Nazi nitwits have been whining about the coverage. Sometimes you have to wonder about these losers, as they are ironically one of biggest forces in keeping discussion of the Holocaust so common as they keep bringing it up. You'd think they'd realise that if they shut up about it people wouldn't be exposed to what their spiritual counterparts did 60 years ago, and hence wouldn't look on them as such losers and scum.

One thing that is interesting to read in accounts by those victims and potential victims who survived the Nazi genocide efforts was how many people who were actually at threat just couldn't believe the stories they were hearing. The idea that the Germans were engaging in deliberate mass murder just didn't seem compatible with their views of the Germans as a civilised and rational people. Unfortunately the Nazis managed to create a climate where the darkest part of human nature could come forth, and millions of murders were a result.
If you're a Canadian fan of the US Spike tv network you can relax. The CRTC has turned down a request by Canwest/Global to force it off the Canadian airwaves. The CRTC decided that it wasn't damaging competition to Global's own Men TV cable specialty channel. Frankly I don't know what Global is worried about. Spike will probably change names and formats in a couple of years anyways.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Here's a nice page of "guitar porn" (don't worry, its entirely family and workplace safe)for all the axeslingers out there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What a disappointment. I saw the term Red Synth Helmet while doing a Google search for musical instruments and thought it might be some sort of cool weird electronic instrument. Instead its just some skiboarding helmet.
Its awards nomination season. But forget about those boring old Oscars. Nominations for the 25th annual Razzies have been announced. Catwoman, the disastrous Halle Berry superhero film, is the front runner this year. Personally I'm surprised Passion of the Christ isn't up for anything.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Looking thru my e-mail tonight one of the entries was some porn spammer offering me umpteen so and so's for my viewing pleasure. Frankly the only viewing pleasure those folks could offer me would be if they turned up at my front door so I could kick their sorry, spamming, and disgustingly exploitive asses. Hard.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Today is the fourth day of the "spring" show of the NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants in the US. At these shows the various makers of musical instruments come together to show their new wares to music shop owners, professional musicians, and the musical instrument media. One of the rumours apparently floating around the show this year is that Fujigen Gakki, a Japanese guitar maker, is going to leave the guitar business in 2006. This would be a real shame, as Fujigen has made a lot of great products over the years, most noteably various instruments for Ibanez and Fender's Japanese lines. Presumably the growing guitar production in Indonesia and(especially)China, along with the maturing of the Korean guitar industry, is making it harder and harder for Japanese firms to compete, even if they have a perceived reputation for making higher quality products than their other Asian competitors.
More sad entertainment news to report. Johnny Carson has died at 79. Carson's 1992 retirement was one of the more unusual celeb retirements because he truly retired, staying out of the spotlight. Many so called celebrity retirements are anything but, with the celeb in question continuing to annoy us for years after they supposedly quit.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Wow, its been 2 days since I posted here. And this post is nothing more than a silly comment on that. How pathetic. Of course its still better than the Livejournal account I set up just so I could post on their forums.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Thanks to PZ Myers for finding this lovely parody of the Christian comic book evangelical pamphlets of Jack Chick.
If you've seen CBC's The National the last few nights you know that Peter Mansbridge is hosting from abroad. Why? All that doing stuff like that does is waste money. Let the reporters assigned to the areas in question do their jobs and keep Mansbridge in Toronto where he belongs. There's no need to "keep up with the Jones," either domestic ones like CTV or foreign ones like the big American networks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Just a heads up for anyone who is related by blood or marriage to Stan Lee. You had better be a nice relative if you want a piece of this.
Sitting here reading about scam medical devices made me think of the amateur radio(ham) magazine 73. Imagine my surprise when I looked it up on the Net and found out it only went out of business in late 2003. Its been years since an issue has turned up in shops here in Saskatoon, so I assume it had gone out of business years ago.

The connection with medical pseudoscience? 73 founder and publisher Wayne Green. By the time I started thumbing through the magazine in the early '90s Green had gotten well and truly hooked on all sorts of odd ideas, such as electrical devices for treating this and that medical problem, none of which are considered anything but foolishness by mainstream medicine. I've also read that it was Green who helped spread the idea in the '80s that CDs would sound better if you used a felt tipped marker to colour the edges. You can see his website, and see what kookiness he's into these days, here.
Thanks to a heads up from Orac's blog here's a link announcing the winner of the Anus Maximus Award as awarded by the Millenium Project. Great name for an award for turkeys who promote crap.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

In case any American visitors were wondering, here in Canada we also have religious figures who say stupid things about homosexuality. I can only imagine the bishop's bizarre reasoning on why homosexuality is evil and a threat to marriage.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Today's search engine attractor phrase is my dad the rock star. Of course if we capitalise this phrase we get the name of a cartoon show that Nelvana developed in conjunction with Gene Simmons of KISS. It apparently didn't attract much attention, as only one season was made. Such is the life of the modern tv cartoon. If you aren't coming from Cartoon Network in the States you had better get lucky.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Regular visitors here may remember my recent post about the "Jesus monitor." I took a look at the auction for it tonight, and it ended with no bids on Jan. 5, and hasn't been relisted. I suspect the 105 bucks shipping cost may have dissuaded the faithful and the kitsch collectors.
Here's a music blog worth checking out, Bedazzled. If you can't find something to like amongst the music posted there you probably are some annoying Korn fan or something. Check out the first mp3 in the Jan 13 Joe Meek entry.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Anyone who has used e-mail for anything other than writing to their spinster aunt has probably received scam letters of various sorts as a result. Unfortunately some of the more naive and/or greedy recipients of these e-mails have lost money, or even ended up in physical danger when they've been taken in. But not surprisingly there has been a counterreaction. Some folks turn the tables, and screw over the scammers by making them waste time, effort, and if they're lucky money, trying to scam them. You can read about some of the activities of these antiscammers here.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm not normally a person who gives much credit to Canada's various Sun newspapers, but this column, about the thousands of tsunami disaster related auctions on eBay, is rather interesting.

In media news veteran Canadian broadcaster Earl Cameron has died. Ironically Eugene Levy's SCTV character Earl Camembert, whose name was a nod to Cameron, is probably a far more familiar name to many Canadians these days than his inspiration. (Joe Flarehty's Floyd Robertson character, who was Camembert's long suffering partner on SCTV News, was named after another Canadian broadcaster, veteran tv news anchor Lloyd Robertson, who continues to work for the CTV network.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Oh dear. Apparently GeorgeGeorge doesn't think you should be President of the US if you're an atheist. Sorry Georgy, but that's a stupid idea. Then again the US doesn't allow anyone not born a US citizen to become president(which some folks want changed so it can be Arnie for Prez in 2008), so such thinking might get put into law if someone campaigned hard enough. Probably supported by the folks who think Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. (insert eyerolling noise here)

It was another day in which I spent large amounts of time outside, for reasons that won't be revealed here. It was a less pleasant experience than yesterday given that conditions weren't as nice. Ultimately its the wind that determines how you'll feel when it gets quite cold. Despite the nonsense currently used to express wind chills ie "with the wind chill it feels like minus 32" minus 20 with a heavy wind does not feel like minus 32 with no wind. Subtract the wind and being outside at minus 30 can be quite pleasant.

Its amazing to think of the temperature extremes you can encounter over the course of a year here in Saskatoon. It is literally possible for temperatures to vary by 80 degrees Celcius, with a low of minus 40(40 below zero Farhenheit) in the winter, and a high of 40 degrees (104 Farhenheit) in the summer, although a more typical year would see -35 and +35 respectively. Unfortunately there still seem to be people who think that Canada is a block of ice year round, and people claim to know people who have seen Americans coming to Canada in mid summer with downhill skies strapped to their cars.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I spent a lot of time outside today. One of the things that really bugged me in my walking around is the people who have gone to absolutely no effort to clear the snow off their sidewalks. Its a pain in the behind to have to trudge through several inches of rather hard snow when there's no excuse for it. I'd hate to be some poor paperboy at 5 in the morning stumbling around in the dark over such messes. And is often the case you can bet that many of these lazy buggers are the ones who bitch and complain the loudest about the city not clearing the snow off the streets fast enough.

Monday, January 10, 2005

One of the common types of spam I've been getting lately is from some outfit that tries to hook you up with supposed cheating housewives. Man, you have to be hard up for some nooky to go for that kind of crap. Not as hard up as the morons who go for the typical street walker, but pretty close.

I've never been able to understand how anyone can trust the person they've had an affair with if they leave their partner. After all if they can cheat on their old partner to be with you there's a pretty good chance that sooner or later they'll cheat on you to be with someone else.
An FYI for Undergrads fans. There's a new bulletin board for the show. Not much activity there yet, but we'll see what happens.
Its funny the kind of online searches that bring people to this blog. I've had multiple hits from my comments on the cartoon series Delta State and 6teen. More interesting is the number of hits I've had from my comments on Joseph Rosenberger's Death Merchant pulp novel series. I wouldn't have thought there were that many people at this late date interested in the series, but I get hits for it every week or two.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Saw a pleasant surprise in the backyard this morning. It was a northern flicker, a member of the woodpecker family. These grey-brown birds have a distinctive red mark on the back of their heads. Normally the one or two times a year I manage to see one of these pass through its only for a minute or so. I got the chance to watch this one for probably ten minutes, which included poking the trees for food, eating some snow, grooming itself, and enjoying a bit of soaking up the sun. A couple of the local chickadees seemed to be checking it out, presumably trying to decide if it was a threat or a competitor for the local bird feeders.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Reading some stuff about eugenics online tonight an amusing thought popped to mind. Many modern fans of the concept are racist booboos who think their particular ethnic group or skin colour is the most wonderful one of them all, and hence must be preserved, its genetics unsullied by combining with other supposedly inferior groups. But if one were to be truly eugenic one would have to advocate mating the most "suitable" humans for whatever trait you were trying to enhance, regardless of their supposed race. In other words engage in the "race mixing" that drives these kind of people up the wall. After all if one wants to maximise intelligence via eugenics then a white woman with a genius level IQ should be mating with others of that level of IQ, even if they're black, or Asian, or whatever.
Some bad news to report from the Canadian media scene. CBC TV's Wendy Mesley has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Hopefully she'll make a full recovery.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Here's some NASA photos that provide some more perspective on the effects of the Dec. 26th tsunami.
How's this for a stupid idea: a lawmaker in Virginia wants any woman who has a miscarriage to have to report it to the cops within 12 hours or face a large fine and possible jail time. Presumably its an attempt to forestall the use of things like the so called morning after pill. Certainly its a good example of what some people think of women.

(Heads up for this from Eschaton)
The things people will do to get famous. A paralegal is suing NBC and its "reality" tv series Fear Factor because a recent episode that involved consumption of rats made him throw up. This joker can claim all the high principles he wants, but he's gonna have a hard time convincing me he's not doing it just to get his own 15 minutes of fame, and maybe weasel a bit of money out of NBC so he will shut up and go away.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Picked up Future Days by Can today. Recommended if you like that kind of music. Not quite sure which mastering I got tho'. The sleeve says '98, but the disc itself says '89. Given that the store I bought it from (the Vinyl Exchange in downtown Saskatoon) keeps the CDs separate from the cases to discourage theft there's a minor chance they gave me the wrong CD for the case in question. There's been a new remaster released within the last few months, and its certainly not that version. In the end I'm not too worried. You can drive yourself crazy with such things.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

It sure didn't take long. I've already gotten my first piece of spam related to the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster. This one was a simple plea for money, but I expect to get Nigerian style scam letters anytime soon.
If for some reason you want to experience very cold weather come to Saskatoon. As the forecast shows its going to be good and cold for a while.

I'd love it to be a lot warmer. But the chilly conditions do lead to some interesting things. For example there were some very bright sundogs visible with the sun this morning. We have a good amount of snow right now, and the patterns created in it by the wind and reenforced by the cold can be quite interesting. Its also interesting to go outside for a bit and have the material of your winter jacket stiffen because of the low temperatures.

Monday, January 03, 2005

I'm sitting here listening to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, and noticed something I hadn't before. Part one seems to have an Ennio Morricone influence in places. If you're familiar with Morricone's soundtracks for things like the Eastwood western trilogy certain bits of Bells may make you think of them.
Heads up. If you missed your chance at the holy cheese sandwich that was auctioned off on eBay recently don't despair. You have a chance to pick up the "Jesus monitor." Personally I think it looks like Jack Black, but you may disagree.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Here's an odd thought: Why is it that male facial hair is always groomed symetrically? That is people have moustaches, beards etc. of equal size on each side of their faces. No one would have a moustache that only has hair on one side of their face. Compare this with the hair on the head, which is shaped in all sorts of asymetrical ways, even if its something like a simple part. No one would give a second thought to you having your hair parted on one side, but if you wore a beard on only one side of your face people would think you were some sort of weirdo.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Its amazing the kind of niche market magazines you can find today, presumably made available by the rise of sophisticated desktop publishing tools. Now there's one for drunks. Its called Modern Drunkard. Frankly the whole article sounds like something from The Onion.

Spinning away in the computer CD drive as I write this is Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival. A classic. Go out and buy a copy.
Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully for all of us it will be one, and not a Crappy New Year.