Friday, May 30, 2008

Hide Under The Bed?

Sometimes that almost seems like the right course of action when you consider how dangerous the Universe is. The June issue of The Atlantic has a cover story about the dangers of asteroids and comets striking the Earth, something which may be far higher than previously thought. Even a hunk of rock a few dozen meters across could be enough to destroy a large city if it hit the atmosphere right. The article argues we aren't doing enough to track such objects and to find ways of dealing with them if we figure out one is heading towards us. And at least we have some chance of saving ourselves from them. One cosmic nasty I occasionally find myself musing on is the gamma ray burst. Should one of these ever be aimed at Earth when it goes off if it is close enough the results would be exceedingly nasty. Get a really close one and it's not your bed you'd want to hid under, but Mount Everest.

Of course hiding under the bed is silly. There is a one hundred percentage chance you will die of something sooner or later. It's much more likely you will get killed in a car accident when you go out for groceries or have a fatal heart attack from being overweight than an asteroid landing on Winnipeg with the force of a 1 gigaton nuke. If you're going to worry it is best to worry about things you can have a personal effect on than hypothetical megathreats. But it probably wouldn't hurt to write your political representatives and suggest they spend some money on watching space.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Once More Unto The Breech, James.

This week saw the release of a new James Bond novel, Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks, to commermorate what would have been Bond creater Ian Fleming's one hundreth birthday. It's a period piece intended to be a direct continuation of the Fleming books, which has caused some confusion. A lot of folks in the media apparently aren't familiar with the literary Bond, as several reports on the new book state it is the first Bond novel since the '60s. They even ignore Colonel Sun, the first post Fleming Bond novel written by Kingsley Amis under the penname Robert Markham and released in 1968. Veteran British spy novel writer John Gardner took up the Bond franchise in 1981 and would actually write more Bond novels than Fleming did during his 15 year run. American writer Raymond Benson replaced Gardner, writing 6 original Bond novels.

This really isn't that much of a surprise. As successful as Fleming's original novels were it's really the film franchise that made Bond such an iconic character. The films were wildly successful in the '60s, with adjusted for inflation box offices that make those of many of today's blockbusters look puny. The success of the franchise sparked the '60s spy fad that produced TV series both serious (Mission: Impossible) and silly(Get Smart!), movies such as the Matt Helm films and Our Man Flint, and Marvel Comics' Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD stories. Even a several year break between films after the relative failure of the second Timothy Dalton film, License to Kill, wasn't enough to stop Bond. He seems to have joined such characters as Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes as evergreens. It wouldn't be at all surprising if some take on the character is still popular when the hundreth anniversary of the character rolls around in 2052.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm So Lonely.

Wow, I didn't get a single hit on here on Sunday. That has never happened as long as I've been running a hit counter here. There's always been at least a couple of hits each day. Of course knowing the way things go I'll probably get 30 hits today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Term Of Endearment? Really?

It's interesting that some people use pumpkin as a term of endearment. Think about it, you're comparing someone you care about to a fat, round, blobby looking member of the squash family. Not the most flattering thing to be compared to.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Iranian Black Eye.

Many people claim the US and other allied members of the international community are unfairly biased towards Iran. However true this may be the Islamic Republic and its leaders do more than their fair share of making their country look bad. The recent arrest of six members of Iran's rapidly shrinking Bahai community follows the conviction of 54 Bahai in January for "anti regime propaganda." Given past treatment of members of the faith it's not hard to imagine the evidence of this "crime" was that those arrested were breathing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

John Rutsey, RIP.

The original drummer for Canadian rock legends Rush has died. John Rutsey was 55. He helped found the band in 1968 along with guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Jeff Jones. Jones was soon replaced by Lifeson's schoolmate Geddy Lee and the trio became the core members of the group. Rutsey appeared on the group's first single, a cover of the Buddy Holly tune "Not Fade Away" backed with the Lee and Rutsey penned "You Can't Fight It" in 1973. He went on to play on the group's self titled debut, released in 1974. After the debut album Rutsey left, citing his diabetes and a lack of interest in touring. Rutsey was replaced by Neil Peart, and drifted away from music. Some might call Rutsey the Pete Best of Rush, although Rutsey left of his own free will and there was no real indication Rush would go on to be one of the most successful Canadian acts of all time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

There's A Statistic For That Too.

Baseball is a game that can be said to be obsessed with statistics. It's amazing the number of different statistics that are kept for the game, and they have come up with new ones over the years, such as WHIP. And chances are you can find out the numbers for pretty much anything you'd want to know about the game. For example today I learned that Ken Griffey Jr. is the current leader amongst active players in the majors for hitting home runs on Mother's Day, with six.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Saskatoon Gas Price Tip.

Believe it or not there are actually gas stations in Saskatoon that aren't in lock step pricewise with the rest. So if you live on the east side you might want to head to Creeway Gas on 105th Street East or Gas Plus on Central Avenue. They are consistently 2 cents a litre cheaper than the others. This might not seem like much until you consider how much it adds up for each full tank of gas. And by buying your gas there you might help encourage some actual price competition in this city. If you know of any other stations in Saskatoon that have similiar price differences feel free to mention them in the comments section to this post.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Suggestion For Chad Kroeger.

Well, you just had your driver's license pulled for a year because you were convicted of drunk driving. Apparently you're going to appeal. Whatever the outcome apparently not having a license is going to be a problem since you live out in the country. The solution is obvious. Hire a driver. If you can afford a Lamborghini you can afford to pay someone say fifty grand to chauffer you around for a year. And by the way, I'm available.