2006-04-29

The stupidest controversy ever, plus the funniest controversy ever

Okay, I meant to post this like a week ago. There's a new hot issue in Canada now of which I hope to say more later...like, say, next week, when there's yet a third hot new issue for me to be behind the times on.

Anyways, the big controversy last week in Canada was that the Harper government preventing media outlets from airing coverage of military funeral ceremonies. Now forget that the "ban" isn't actually a ban. Now forget that Harper has allowed and encouraged media to attend any soldier's off-base funeral when held if the family wishes. Forget that the images of the coffins can still be shown from camera off-base. Finally, forget that the majority of military families, even those who have lost sons in Afghanistan, generally support the move.

This is the sort of government policy that has to come down one way or the other. The government has to choose one of two options which has some small benefits when you think about it, and some massive immediately obvious flaws. If the government picks the Harper route, it preserves the dignity of a military event when until recently (post Cold War) no country would allow the media into. It prevents the media from taking sensationalist photos of what is in fact a private organization's event. On the other hand, its blocking the fourth estate from doing its job, it gives the appearance of trying to hide military deaths, and it makes the government look like its trying to sweep deaths under the rug.

Or the government can take the other route: permit the media full access to the funeral ceremonies. This allows people a chance to share in the family's sense of loss when celebrating the life and unfortunate death of one of our nation's soldiers. On the other hand, it feeds a greedy media machine, gives free ammunition to every pacifist and policy objector, shows a callousness to the private grief of military families, and puts the crying face of relatives and friends front page on every tabloid outlet in the nation.

Notice what I mean? In both situations there are clear benefits (when you stop and think about it) and numerous knee-jerk opposing points to be made.

This is why its such a stupid controversy. No matter what policy was chosen, so matter which side the government took, and no matter which party was in power and which was in opposition, this is the sort of choice that governments will always make and support and which the opposition parties will always oppose and vilify.

That's right, if Prime Minister Paul Martin had made this exact same call, Harper would today be in the HofC making the exact same arguments that Bill Graham Cracker is currently using to slam the Conservatives. Likewise, if Harper had made the opposite call, Jack Layton and the other opposition MPs would all be on TV nightly criticizing the policy by saying the exact same things Harper is saying now. It's all just a silly elementary school calibre play being put on, and no mainstream media outlets will say so because it kills their coverage of the story (moreso since "coverage of stories" is the actual story in this case, though other examples of this sort of two wrong choices policy exist).

My assertion above is backed up somewhat by a comment in the MacLeans article linked above:

Families, military officials, opposition parties and even some Tory MPs criticized a decision to ban journalists from covering a repatriation ceremony for fallen soldiers returning to Canadian soil.
Even some of the Tory MPs oppose the move, and likely a few of the Liberal MPs support it as well.

In a way, its a lot like the "no half mast" flag policy that was enacted at about the same time. There are arguments for and against each decision, the "against" arguments are easier to sound-byte and are easier to come up with, and no matter which one a government would choose the opposition would choose the alternate option by default. These really shouldn't even be controversies!



So the funniest controversy ever is the fun Cynthia McKinney has gotten into. First she hit (punched?) a white cop after he tried to prevent her from entering a restricted area of Washington D.C. having not recognized her. McKinney (naturally) claims racial profiling. I'm confused: isn't the contention that racists think all black people look alike? Here we have somebody who thinks blacks are all such uniquely identifiable people that all Cythia needed was a new hairstyle to look different than her former self. It can't go both ways now, can it?

But then it got even worse. Numerous aids have been subpoened. The media kept asking her questions. She kept deflecting the questions. Then, in one interview, she took a smoke break or a pee break or something, and forgot that she had a wireless microphone attached to her. She proceeded to discuss the case with her advisors in the back, and then realizing her mistake, came back into the interview room and demanded that the press not use anything they recorded while she was gone, insisting that it was off the record. Did the ploy work? Well, no.

View the transcript of the remarks from the Atlanta Journal-Constituion here.
ExposeTheLeft.com has the video for you to download here.

Now that's funny. When will people learn the old addage: "treat every microphone like it is a live microphone"? (One of the few times Hacker ever had to teach Sir Humphrey something). Some stories have compared this to GW Bush's "major league asshole" remark, or Reagan's "we bomb in five minutes" gag. There's really no comparison: Bush's comment was an insult said aside while trying to shy away from the mic: he knew it was there, just tried unsucessfully to not be picked up saying something that wasn't all that damaging when it got out (who knows, insulting a New York Times reporter might have secured him 75,000 votes here and there). Reagan's meanwhile was deliberately said into a live microphone. He knew it was a live mic, that's why they wanted him to test it...to make sure it was working. Totally not the same thing as a really lame attempt to cover it back up.

See, this would never happen if they listened to me: Mothballed British submarine edition

Fire-damaged sub won't be operational until 2012

Repair work on the fire-ravaged HMCS Chicoutimi won't start until 2010, leaving the Canadian navy short by one submarine and raising concerns about whether the vessel will ever be returned to service.
Oh come on! This illustrates two important things:

Firstly, my plan to create a ground-up Alberta Navy had benefits that clearly the Canadian military never thought of.

Secondly, the purchase of the subs was clearly never a good idea. Yes, I know the subs are considered "top of the line diesels"...they are also used cars, and everybody knows the perils involved there. I'm talking buying the latest in submarines brand-spanking new from Britain and Norway. Who said it was never a good idea? I did. As soon as it happened. (Long before "blogging" was ever invented, mind you, so I have little proof).

Recurring Themes

As I continue to blog I discover more and more insights which revolve around a common theme or concept. This post is to allow you to see other examples of these insights, and fully appreciate the interconnectedness of them.



See, this would never happen if they listened to me:
  1. Mothballed British submarine edition
  2. Standard nightclub closedown edition
  3. 2015 Oilers offseason edition
I hate you Telus:
  1. Part 1 of 15,672
Totally Unforseen Shocking Unpredictable Surprise Revelation
  1. Nova Scotia sex offender edition
  2. Calgary gun amnesty edition
  3. Banning chocolate milk edition
What a difference a year makes
  1. The 2005 hockey season
  2. Jamaicans and Dion

Introducing a new Third Edge of the Sword featurette

I just had a brilliant idea. I was about to do a post entitled "see, this would never happen if they listened to me", and decided to use the same numbering scheme sort of deal that I used for the Telus thing in the blog's early days and the like. In a sudden burst, a new feature concept occured to me. A recurring themes post, of which each category would be covered. Every time a new post on the subject was made, or a new subject created, the recurring themes post could be updated, letting me keep track and readers as well.

So now on the right hand side of your screen you should find a link to this post, which will forever be updated on recurring themes as they occur.

Enjoy.

2006-04-27

Memorandums for he whom this correspondant is in the habit of referring to by use of the perpendicular pronoun

In short, Note to Self

This is pluralized though, so its memos (shouldn't the plural of memorandum be memoranda? dictionary.com disagrees)

Anyways, before I forget:

- Do a blog post someday about fast food salads. On a related note, the new spinach chicken is just like the old one.

- Seasons 2-4 of a television show are usually the best. Discuss, with relevent examples.

- Dictionaries should be available in phonetic versions. How hard is that to understand?

- Why is everybody afraid of building up?

- Get that freaking apartment clean you lazy sumbitch!

Fox doesn't equal FOX, Fox equals Comedy Central!

I just stumbled across an article in WorldNetDaily covering how an Arabian airline has ripped off South Park characters for an ad campaign. During the article I read a quote from the "executive vice president of corporate communications at Comedy Central" Tony Fox.

Er, hold on a minute here!

A couple weeks ago it was confirmed (more or less) that Comedy Central did ban Stone and Parker from airing Muhammed. In "Cartoon Wars Episode 1", Peter is shown walking next to a moving (and talking) black box with the words "Image Censored by FOX" written multiple times across it (grr.. I can't find a screenshot).

But wait! This is just a dig at their executive vice president! That's beautiful on so many levels. I wonder if anybody else has picked up on it. (Answer: Nope. No trace.

Nobody has Serenity like an Angel

Watching the Firefly episode where Captain Reynolds gets a wife, I notice a strange line in the credits:

Executive Story Editor
Jose Molina

Jose versus Jose versus Jose perhaps?

My shoes are too tight, but it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance

Was listening to ESPN radio in the McDonalds drive-thru lineup and came across the discussion of this interesting tale that might even be true: Texas Outfielder Kevin Mench is on a hot streak after discovering he's been wearing the wrong size of shoe.

Mench missed five of the Rangers' first 14 games with a sprain in the second toe of his right foot, a condition that Rangers team physician Dr. John Crates identified as "turf toe." Turf toe, however, normally only affects the big toe. But using a toe and footprint the way a police detective would use a fingerprint, the doctor identified the cause of Mench's curious condition: He was wearing size 12 shoes when he needed to wear size 12½.


In other baseball news, one might ask how my numerous baseball pools are doing. The clever observer will note I've gone to an all-hockey format as of late. This is because the major political stories are at the moment silly (still, I shall address them in a post or two), and because the Oilers 2-1 series lead is suddenly the hot topic of the day. So how are my teams doing?

How many adjectives for lousy can you think of?

My flagship team in our buddy-league is currently 14-22-0, 9 games out of first and only 5th out of 6 teams in the league. I am only 1½ games back at the moment, so that's not a huge shocker. Also I'm playing the league speedbump this week, so my 6-4-2 lead over him should grow over the next few days. I hope. Oh please God. This team is also suffering injury bugs: Coco Crisp, C.C. Sabathia, Chipper Jones, and Derek Lee all on the DL to start this week off. Jones has since come back into the lineup (hitting a 2-RBI homer on Tuesday, not that I would have put him into the lineup on his first day back anyways), but its still brutal. I ended up having to make a deal I really didn't want to do: Adam Dunn, Billy Wagner, and Mark Buehrle for Travis Hafner, Jose Valverde, and Pat Burrell. I was lacking in offensive punch, and when Sabathia is back I'll have a full pitching rotation again. Its still not a great deal: Hafner is off to a great start which he's bound to slow down on, Buehrle is looking to be elite beyond belief for at least the first half of this season, and Adam Dunn is not only on fire this year with some great early numbers but also dual-position eligibility. In return I get Burrell, who's OBP usually spikes in April/May and dies down for the rest of the year, and a fairly straight-up relief pitcher trade...even though Wagner is an early favourite over the D-backs closer-man. Wagner also has the safer job, without Greg Aquino and Brandon Lyon itching to get the top job and the skill to do it. (Who's Wagner have to nervously look behind? Pedro Feliciano? Aaron Heilman?)

As for the other leagues (drafting results can be found here):

The Alberta Mariners are 13-17-0, languishing in 10th out of 12. Currently 8½ games back, they are tied with the team which beat them 6-4-0 last week. Derek Lee, Eric Gagne, and Dimitri Young are all on the DL.

The Edmonton Separatists are 17-11-2, which is 7½ games back but still good enough for 4th place out of 12. Currently 7-1-2 in this week's matchup, C.C. Sabathia, Dustin Hermanson, and Julio Lugo are currently unavailable due to injury.

The Royal Alberta Navy lost half a point yesterday, with only 39 points in the rotisserie league. This puts them 11th place out of 12, with only Coco Crisp now on the DL with the return of Chipper Jones.


The current disappointing baseball news is this story. I don't even want to talk about it. No, even if it means Wagner got lit up.

2006-04-26

Solving a lame mystery and getting a boring answer

Yesterday the TNG episode Transfigurations aired on Spike TV (or Space, I forget). The lovely young actress who played Christie Hendshaw looked awfully familiar, but I couldn't tell from what.

Fortunately, TV.com can give you an answer to that sort of thing quickly, and IMDB can give you additional information.

The problem is that it didn't really help. I don't watch Scrubs, have seen about 100 combined minutes of House (I saw it on last night, but during the Oilers game), didn't watch Party of Five (or tried not to), and don't watch Nip/Tuck.

So what does that leave me with? Her "starring" role as the hot company chick from Tommy Boy? Her role as the hot chick from Doc Hollywood is the only other real choice. I haven't seen most of Doc Hollywood, but I did watch Tommy Boy once upon a time. (Curious side note, when the rock opera "Tommy" was coming to the Jubilee Auditorium in 1996 or '97 or so, my father, who was born in the 30s, actually asked me if it was based on that "stupid movie Tommy Boy". Oddly enough, the rock opera Tommy was released during his lifetime, not mine)

If you really want to see more of her, White Lies seems like a respectable movie she starred in. She also had parts in the critically acclaimed Mr. Saturday Night and Herman's Head...well, there's still Mr. Saturday Night, I guess...

Bonus "oh dear Lord" quote:A reviewer on IMDB.com wrote about Tommy Boy:

I must however say that one scene almost had me on the sticky floor of the theater because I was laughing so hard. In the scene, the duo are driving down a highway in Spade's recently trashed GTX. An old Carpenters song is playing on the radio and the two are emotionally singing along with it. That alone is funny enough, then the hood of the car pops up and they skid wildly out of control. This produces a hilarious argument culminating in Spade smacking Farley in the head with a 2x4.

The only time I have ever laughed harder in public was during the snowman scene in Dumb and Dumber.

Oilers Playoffs 2006: 2 wins down, 14 to go

Well, I had a good long thing about Game 3 in E-ville tonight all typed up.

So then my computer crashes. So all of it is lost. I never feel like re-typing that sort of stuff, so all you get are the quick notes:

Here's the game summary from TSN.ca

Here's the linescore (its not a boxscore!) from TSN.ca

Colby Cosh's nightly spreadsheet report isn't online at the moment, but it will be later

The apparent rioting and smashing of things I'm hearing intermittent reports about currently happening on Whyte Ave will be linked to when they get published.

Oilers win in double OT baby! (Of course, they shouldn't have lost it over 18 seconds starting with 8:08 left in the third)

2006-04-25

I am the solution to all of a woman's problems

(Namely, I can kill spiders, cause g-spot orgasms, and solve math problems) HA!

Seriously, my friend K______ asked me if I knew the word which meant hatred of humans or humanity. It only took a few minutes searching on Google to find the answer: misanthropy. Of course, she thinks I just knew it, as I do have a reputation for knowing everything to uphold. This will just be our dirty little secret. Unless our mutual friend N___________, who knows about this blog, tells her. Oops.

(Special thanks to this site for giving me the answer)

2006-04-24

Browncoat entertainment update

Blake M. Petit's "Think About It" blog gives a book review of the Firefly graphic novel "Those Left Behind".

As a link between the TV show Firefly and the movie Serenity the book seems perfect for fans of the show. People like me who haven't seen the show won't understand it...fortunately, BitTorrent is downloading Firefly for me as I type, so I can save the money at Rogers Video (which only had disc 3&4 from the "Complete Firefly Series", which is still 2 more discs than Blockbuster carries), and still learn all about the little Whedon TV show that could (but didn't quite).

The biggest complaint on that site:

The artwork by Will Conrad is passable, but suffers from the same problem as a great many film-to-comic adaptation: namely that the artist works so hard trying to replicate the features of the actors the artwork as a whole suffers. Those interpretations that don’t work look even worse compared to those that do, and on the whole the designs are overly-detailed and don’t quite blend with the comic book world. Comic artists need to learn from animators who do shows based on live-action properties. Rather than going for a photorealistic version of the characters, it’s better to come up with designs that suggest the actors, but still fit in the artist’s own style.
is one which I am well familiar with. Star Trek comic properties are generally guilty of this flaw, particularly in Worf and LaForge. Ironically, the best "animators who do shows based on live-action properties" is probably either the original Star Trek animated series, or "The Real Ghostbusters". (For the latter, compare the animated characters to the actual actors)

Special Appeal to Serenity fans:
The 2006 Spacey Awards are coming up, and as always Space:The Imagination Station presents numerous awards where fans can vote on. Serenity is up for Best Picture. (Nathan Fillion is also up for "movie hero" but despite his Canadianness is unlikely to beat Batman and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Aeon Flux and Sarge from DOOM are likely going to round off the category). Still, anybody reading this is encouraged to go cast a vote for the quirky little movie that nobody believed in.

Bonus link:Q. What is the difference between Firefly and Serenity?

Wanna go for a ride run?

One of the things I like using this blog for, particularly when I don't feel like writing much of anything like tonight, is as a sort of cheesy personal linkdump for websites I stumble across and want to be able to check again, even at somebody else's computer.

Today's candidate for such a linkdump is the Google Map pedometer.

It's a neat feature: you can use Google Maps to track your hikes and jogs and bike rides and even car trips. I played around with it once after I was in Seattle last summer, and wanted to play around with it today, but I never did until...well, I'll do that right after this post.

Someday maybe I'll use it to show something on the blog. Keep an eye open!

Everybody's site is going dead but mine

Well, one week after Lorne Gunter announces his blog "As I Please" will be dormant until May 8th or even later, Mike Jenkinson of the Edmonton SUN announces his "anti-blog" will also be going dead, possibly for the greater part of the summer.

As I did when ABFreedom's blog went down, I will take this moment to graciously take any errant traffic that is itching for new content. Remember, every 10 hours and 44 minutes or so I post something new. That has to count for something.


Now so that I actually have something to discuss:

Slashdot is running a story from some jerkoff complaining that the Xbox360 was too cheap, and therefore should have cost more money to avoid the sellout problem. This, of course, ignores that the sellout was due to slowed production rather than an error in judgement. (I personally think this was a foolish idea on M$'s part: Xbox360s should have been everywhere by now, so that the games were snowballing already in preparation for the PS3 launch).

I suppose everybody is a Monday morning quarterback in this sort of situation.

Update, for Cripes sake

If Battle of Alberta would have hyperlinked to my last blogpost I might have had a 10,000,000,000,000 per cent increase in traffic.

We'll never know, since Blogger.com won't let me post it!

Update, 6:59pm: Blogger.com finally let me post this post and therefore publish the one before it. Read away!

2006-04-23

Oilers Playoffs 2006: 1 win down, 15 to go

Last night at approximately 12:45am local time, we had a brilliant insight: Lets go buy some beer and drink all night long and stay up to watch the Oilers game! (they cleverly scheduled it for 11am). So we spent $40 on beer, and $50 on deep dish pizza, and were all passed out by 5am. At 10:45 we dutifully woke up to watch the game...sober, as it happened.

Therefore we were all able to actually notice things during Edmonton's 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to even the series at 1-1. Things like this gem during an interview during the first intermission between Scott Oake and Shaun Horcoff: "So do you think its important to capitalize on those scoring chances?" Tell me you didn't just say that! What was Horcoff supposed to say? "Nah, I really think capitalizing on goal scoring is a trap" Later, watching Kelly Hrudey trying his hand at explaining physics was just embarassing. He almost broke into a verse or two of "the wrist bone's connected to the elbow bone".

As for the game, it was very entertaining. Fewer weird penalty calls this game, though calling Hemsky for the crime of touching another play's body was abnormal. Game one would-be-hero Roloson "merely" put in an above average effort. His first goal allowed was, as Hrudey observed, a violation of Goaltending 101: keep your foot firmly against the post when the puck is behind you. But even the CBC admitted it was an ugly goal...a triple skate bank shot into the net is hard to describe any other way. Detroit's second goal was called ugly too, but the ugly part was the puck bouncing off Roloson's head to sit prone in the middle of the crease as Roloson tried to get up: Zetterburg's sinking it into the net was perfectly fine.

So who was the hero of Game 2? You'd be hard pressed to find a better example than Brad Winchester. "Shotgun" (isn't that a good nickname for him?) had 1 assist in his 19 games during the 2005/2006 season, and in his first ever NHL playoff game manages to get his first NHL goal...and a goal that won his team a crucial game against Hockeytown. Winchester was in the game replacing big Georges Laraque, which in all fairness wasn't such a brilliant move on MacTavish's part....Laraque shouldn't even be a candidate to play in games unless Poullet, Winchester, Schremp, etc. are all unavailable and the entire Oilers lineup is injured. [out of curiosity, if you say "you'd be hard pressed to find a better example than ______" aren't you obliged to tack on another good example? Pronger, for example? -ed]

Meanwhile, the saddest moment of the game for me was the game-tying goal by Fernando Pisani. Sad? Why? Well, because with Legace down and a wide open net, the puck hanging right in front of the crease, Pisani fires a shot that sails into the back of the twine.

...

...

...

...

...

... (hmm, that's odd)

...

...

...

...well?

...

THE GOAL LIGHT DIDN'T GO ON! Pisani, that clever guy he is, sees the puck has bounced back out and is sitting there right in front of him. Ergo, he shoots it back into the net again. Again it bounces out, but this time the red goal light finally hits up as the refs are already indicating a goal from the original shot.

Why sad? Because for a moment it seemed like some perverse Oiler fan nightmare was coming true. Pisani shoots the puck into the net, and it bounces back out without the goal judge or the refs reacting at all. The puck bounces back, and Pisani fires it in again. There's still no goal light as the puck bounces out again, and again Pisani fires it into the net. Shot after shot after shot beats Legace, finds the back of the net, and is thrown back out for Pisani to try and fire it again. It's some sort of sick never-ending hellish twilight zone, with a sentient goal monster spitting the pucks back out. Some may laugh, but I think many will realize the scary truth to it.

Now I'll leave you with one post-game thought, as expressed by both an optimist and a pessimist:

Pessimist: Well, at least now the Oilers won't get swept.
Optimist: Well, at least now the Red Wings won't get swept.

2006-04-21

Aye, there WAS hot ass after all!

Tragically, I neglected to pack a camera. There was a large amount of hot ass. And much drink with my friends did flow. Unfortunately, M______ ended up in attendence for a brief time. Which is why the drink flowed particularly faster from that point forward. Bars visited included Julios Barrios, Monkey Island, and Filthy McNasty's (where I seemed to run into more people I used to work with... and drink flowed faster still).

Sadly, the 5pm start to the Oilers game means I have to miss out on the BBQ goodness. Its a shame too... we discussed how to marinate meats, how to properly cook potatoes and carrots and green peppers in tin foil, and other cooking topics which only the male race can properly discuss without getting overly bogged down in details. At least the 8pm Calgary game will be available for exciting viewing.

Since links are the key to a good blog, and since M______ doesn't have a website, how about Colby Cosh covering how Calgary is a "second rate sports town".




I would like to take this time to apologize for people who tried to view this site on their cell phone mobile browser, particularly from Bell. I discovered today that the site will not load due to the website being too large.

I cannot help but put that squarely in the "W" column.

2006-04-19

No, this isn't ABFreedom's blog

"60 per cent of Albertans want more respect":

Alberta's economy may be cooking with oil and gas, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper may call Calgary home, but a poll done for CBC News shows 60 per cent of Albertans don't think the rest of Canada gives the province the respect it deserves.

At the same time, says pollster Bruce Cameron, about 40 per cent of Albertans think the province's influence on the national scene has grown over the last year.
Its probably biased CBC reporting, since its odd those two percentages add up to 100%...they seem to be answering different questions. (ie. You can think Alberta's influence has grown this year and still not be getting the respect it deserves). Maybe influence=respect in the eyes of the CBC? Does that mean they respect George Bush?



For those who didn't already know, though, ABFreedom's blog is again up and running. All of his temporary traffic here can now...ah, who am I kidding?

Gimmie fuel, gimmie fire, give me that which I desire

Well, gas prices have climbed to a sickening $1.03/litre here in Edmonton today. So what did I do? Well, drive all around Edmonton, of course!

I decided to take a trip up to Londonderry (not Londonberry as I have heard it referred to in the past) Mall. Then over to Castledowns for a bit, and then downtown for a spell. (I discovered that they now have Triple Whoppers, which sounds like a dream come true.) Finally a trip down Whyte Ave. Why? Well, isn't it obvious? The hot summertime ass! (Or, on occasion, the tanks).

Tomorrow I think I'm going to take my camera down there... it is high time a Google image search for "whyte ave ass" gets some actual responses. (To be fair, "red mile ass" or "fifth avenue ass" or "the forks ass" also give poor results, and I know from personal experience that all 3 locations are great places to see some hot ass)

Mmm...ass.

Er, where was I again? Oh yes, gas prices. Well, lets do a quick rundown, shall we?

  • Harper declares that the GST cut is all his government is currently prepared to do about gas prices. Inasmuch as there's not a whole lot else that can be done, that makes a fair bit of sense. CTV.ca manages to avoid blaming Harper personally for gas prices, which is quite a surprise coming from CTV.
  • "Mixed signals from Harper, MacKay on relief for drivers" reads the CBC headline on the subject. It observes that before Harper said the comments from the previous item, Peter MacKay stated:
    There [are] discussions about that right now, and we have a budget coming and we're getting all kinds of submissions ... on what to cut and what not to cut.
    The CBC can't figure out why this is, probably because its a total shock to them that items in the budget might be kept under wraps as a surprise. (Alternatively, Harper didn't want to bring up matters under discussion or negotiation lest the discussions failed to lead to any policy matters)
  • A letter in the Edmonton Journal today asked:
    By the way, how can Safeway offer seven cents per litre off? It all comes from the same place, right?
    There are actually two errors in that question:
    1) Safeway's price starts out usually 3-4 cents per litre higher than everywhere else. Meanwhile, everywhere else usually has 3.5 cent discounts in place already. And Safeway's 7 cents is only available for club card customers who've spent over $30 in groceries
    2) Safeway's gas isn't the same as everybody elses. A close friend of mine told me to shop at Domo with her 7 cent off coupons instead, because she's found Safeway gas doesn't give her very good gas mileage compared with other gas companies.
  • All the oil may not come from the same place, but certainly has the same world market price. This Edmonton Journal article covers the implications on everything from Edmonton's pump prices to the financial viability of Wal-Mart

"And the Mets refuse to go quietly...with two outs they come scrambling back with consecutive hits"

Somebody with more time and skill on their hands than me (Courtesy of Moldy Peaches). That's a hilarious clip (I understand BoSox fans are still a little miffed), and an astounding bit of timing. I mean, getting to the 10th inning with the "right" score was probably fairly easy with somebody as the 2nd player... but its the hit-by-hit accuracy in the 10th that's the tough bit (even though I assume that we're watching a "best of" result of splicing through several attempts... RBI Baseball's scene cutting would make this fairly easy to do).

Still a neat little bit, way better than the 20 minute Mario64 timed attack.

It might even be better than this:
The infamous 11 minute timed attack on Mario 3.



On a personal note, last night I finished the part of True Crime:New York City which has been plaguing me for over 6 weeks. Woo hoo!

Cruising TheSound.ca

Axe Music brought in this TheSound Radio website a few years ago. I thought it time to mention a few bands:

Tupelo Honey - Probably one of the best known bands to come out of the Edmonton area (St. Albert) in the last couple years. The thing about their sound is that its clearly quality: the band plays well together and writes solid music. But most of the songs have no "hook" to catch you. And when there is a song like "Why I Bother" that has some catchy riffs and musical interludes (the Celtic opening for example), you spend the rest of the song waiting for the neat interludes to come back...and they rarely do. You could listen to 12 songs by Tupelo Honey in a row, and an hour later play some mid-speed male rock band's song and be unsure whether it was one of the 12 songs you just listened to or not.

Murder City Sparrows - Another solid Edmonton band, MCS has good riffs and some tight songs. The lead singer has a distinctive Our Lady Peace style voice, which can't help but be good news for a band looking to distinguish themselves from the pack. This is the sort of band you listen to and think that every one of their good songs would be a really good shitty song of a superband: "Rats" sounds like a neat song The Doors might have tried, "Burning Water" is a song Sloan would have included as the fifth single released from 2000's "One Chord To Another", and "The Hammer Click" sounds in fact like a really weak Our Lady Peace tune.

Screwtape Lewis - This Wetaskawin band is one of those bands that alternative weekly editors love, and have loved forever, and can't figure out why the band hasn't hit huge. Screwtape Lewis has a wavy 80s sound with more than a little bit of an effeminate touch. "(this is not a) Queer Agenda" is a song title that should alert you that this is just another band going to sing nice things about uranists and bad things about George W. Bush. They might have gone somewhere back before Blondie fell out of the collective consciousness.

Naomi Carmack - I've had quite my fill of pretentious rock bands for the moment, so I'll switch gears here and try out an Edmonton chateuse who's music is mostly a collection of softer songs. Her singing voice is good but with enough rasp in it to possibly make a half-decent "Sarah Slean meets Roxette" statement. She has something that most TheSound bands don't -- a large collection of songs to give an indication of musical range and/or fluke one-hit-wonder talent. She's certainly not going to be making huge waves and selling out hockey arenas, but she's not ugly per se and can sing decently enough to hold her own at a folk festival.

Ten Second Epic - This is a band with one song posted on the website (sorry TheSound bands, I don't feel like browsing your myspaces pages). It's a speedy moving number, and the band seems to play fairly well, but the singer's voice doesn't keep pace with his instruments and in fact doesn't even try. The first rule of being in a band is that every piece should complement the others rather than compete with them and/or simply be there to meet some performance quota or fill an instrument gap in the songwriting. "Home in the Heartland" isn't a bad song, but it doesn't catch the ear enough...and on the rare parts it does you're left disappointed when it just goes back to wild guitar thrashing and some sort of yelling into the mike.

Remission - This Edmonton-based duo has two strikes against it: first off, one of the founding members is an asshole with close (potentially criminal) ties with a notoriously shady Edmonton family with its tendicles all the way into the police department. The second strike is the writeup to the band on the website:

Remission has more variety then the average band by virtue of their being two singer/songwriters rather than just one. They have drawn comparisons to many bands including Black Sabbath, Nirvana, deftones and Tool. Marvin and Harrison want nothing more than to share their music with the world. They have a passion that can only be described by the music itself. If their demos are any indication, Remission could very well be one of the next great acts to come out of Canada's flourishing scene.
Wow, both of them are singers and songwriters? That's a musical innovation the likes of which the world has never seen, man! Two songwriters in a group has to be good! A friend of mine who's big into the local music scene says that this sort of writeup for a band always gives him a good laugh because the writing itself is so pretentious. Listing off a few competing styles and having unverifiable claptrap like "they have a passion that can only be described by the music itself". As for the music itself, the songs suffer from being dark and (contrary to their writeup) overly pretentious. The goth kids on South Park wrote better dark songs, for crying out loud.

Badseed - This is one of the few Edmonton bands who's websites feature.. you know... shows! There's a solid base line to their songs, and when the band members all sing in tandem the effect can be quite haunting. Its the solo singing efforts that start to fall short: none of the bandmembers has a voice deep enough for a speedy modern version of Jethro Tull. The instruments sometimes sound out of phase...this band can and has played together, but they aren't quite in sync enough for prime time.

Vigilante Typewriter - Another band that needs to find a real recording studio (ie. not Mommy's basement) to properly showcase their stuff. Their namesake track is off key and the instruments aren't playing together. The lyrics are a little odd, and the band plays all 3 of their songs in the same time. It might work at a biker bar...well, a wussy biker bar, but I'm not sure why they're playing at skateboard parks.

Retrograde - This is another band that gets a lot of airplay and column-inches in local arts papers. Is it deserved? Sort of. Songs like "Digging in the Dirt" and "This Frequency We Share" are well paced songs that suffer from bad singing a little bit but otherwise are interesting enough to catch the ear, while "Headphones" or "Get On With It" are a little too plodding. As a whole the band is very tight and has some skill getting neat sounds out of their instruments. The lyrics are simple, as are most of the Edmonton bands, but in the end Vancouver's Retrograde is destined for Fifth Season territory.

2006-04-18

Has it been 10 hours, 43 minutes, 12 seconds yet?

This is of course a reference to this post and also an homage to this post. Confused yet?

First up, do they talk about a flat of beer in Ontario? If you're "in and out" in Toronto does it mean you're going to appreciate the theatre? It turns out American donairs aren't the only cultural gaps on the continent.

"History's biggest meat-eater found in Argentina" -- The scientists haven't made their way to Edmonton yet.

South Park was overly generous when they covered how crazy Tom Cruise is: he wants to eat Katie Holmes' placenta.

Chicago White Sox players are having fun for the first time since... well, Comiskey's funeral, I guess. So naturally the boss tells Buehrle to stop having fun before games. Farkers have their own opinions on the matter.

A man died in a plane crash. Or not. SmallDeadAnimals compares what a headline says to what the story is actually about.

It's the 100th anniversary of the last San Fransisco earthquake to ever kill fewer than 100 poofters.

Finally, here's where to go to buy the infamous "naked curlers" Calendar. Sadly, they are out of stock. [shocking, isn't it? -ed] Here are a few of the girls who posed nude for the calendar.

Update April 19 2006, 1:25am:It turns out the scientists have gotten to Edmonton: One of the two paleontologists is Philip Currie from the University of Alberta.

Post #200 Baby!

Wow, to think it was 100 entries ago when you read Post #100, Baby! What a crazy difference 100 posts make. As you recall from that post (or can find it you go read it), I randown the posts that caught my eye in the previous 99 entries. I'll do that below. I'll also update the website updating statistics which I found so illuminating the last time.

In March I posted 72 times in 31 days, for an average of one post every 0.43056 days (ie. 10 hours, 20 minutes, 0 seconds). That's...wow. That's just crazy.

In April so far excluding this post but including my previous 32 posts in 16 days, 19 minutes, I've averaged one post every 0.5308 days (ie. 12 hours, 44 minutes, 24.38 seconds).

Compare this to the December-February rates from Post #100:
December: 18 hours, 27 minutes, 41.5 seconds
January: 18 hours, 36 minutes, 0 seconds
February: 23 hours, 10 minutes, 20.69 seconds


Definitely picked up on the post frequency, despite a severe finger injury that limited my typing for 2 weeks.

Also remember the average on posts 1-99 was a post every 19 hours, 51 minutes, and 55.1515 seconds.

Now leading up to the 199th post I've made 200 posts in 126 days, 14 hours, 40 minutes (182320 minutes) this means a global average of one post every 916.1809 minutes -- 15.2697 hours. So on average, every 15 hours, 16 minutes, 10.85 seconds you should be stopping by this blog to read the new posting.

So what does that mean the average is for the past 100 posts? Only 64320 minutes elapsed between the 99th and 199th post, which means in that span a post occured every 10.72 hours. In the second 100-post era we're talking new content on this blog every 10 hours, 43 minutes, 12 seconds.

So when should you check? Every 19:51:55? Every 15:16:10? Every 10:43:12? Even sooner for the third 100 posts? I can't say, though I will caution that a slowdown is going to occur in less than a month...it should fall under the perview of the 200-299 post era, but if the current acceleration of posting speed continues then the next update would occur 35059.85 minutes from now. That would be a mere 24 days 8 hours away, putting another of these updates scheduled for Friday, May 12. I doubt it, but you never know.

I am of course using a block-style linear progression, which isn't really proper for the extrapolation of an acceleration. I simply declared that since 64320 is about 54% the size of 118000 (the previous number of elapsed minutes) and 35060 is about 54% the size of 64320 it would be a reasonable place for the progression. However, the acceleration due to time is likely not constant. The proper way to calculate it all would be to make a pseudo-graph of the postings as they occur in timespace. That is, treat the minute-times as positions in relation to the smooth progression of posting number. Then a formula describing these plots (or roughly describing them, MatLab is fairly good for this sort of thing) could be ascertained. The first derivative w.r.t. posting number would give you the frequency of the posts, and the second derivative would then give you the speed increase of that frequency. Using it one could then extrapolate all sorts of neat things. But that's a whole lot of work!


New Features
I thought it a good time to look over a few of the new things that were done on this blog in the 101-199 post range. I debuted a fair number of "innovations" that shouldn't be overlooked:

Colours: That's right, I decided to be bold and try out colours for the blog. I early on had a vague idea of colour conventions, but eventually that all fell by the wayside. My "colour convention" for covering baseball trades might be used again, but more or less I'm using red and blue colours for the same basic purpose: an additional form of emphasis when bold or italics or large fonts just don't seem right. I also use green relatively often to sorta-highlight a word that can be read as normal text with no real loss.

Footnotes: Sometimes used as footnotes and sometimes as endnotes, originally I came across them as a handy way to add interesting points about baseball players I had in my draft list without making the list lose its clean look. I've since used it for the purposes of ordinary text as well...I even used it in this posting.

Sticky links: During my failed attempt at promoting my now-defunct fantasy baseball league I put a "sticky link" to the baseball pool posting on the sidebar, between where my profile and my links dump is located now. Obviously with the baseball season started I've since pulled it out again. Another handy element is that the old posts during that era no longer show the sticky link, letting me direct traffic to posts for time-specific purposes.

Okay, I admit it... 2 1/2 innovations were all I had come up with. Lists (ordered and unordered), font size, and image posting had all been done. Apparently not else is possible with Blogger.com software as it currently stands. So I won't be doing keywords or anything like that anytime soon. Probably not a huge loss anyways.


Best Reads
But I can effectively use keywords for this section, as I rundown highlights from the past 100 posts:

2006-04-17

The Totally Unforseen Shocking Unpredictable Surprise Revelation - Nova Scotia sex offender edition

CTV.ca News Staff

A young Nova Scotia man suspected of killing two American sex offenders before taking his own life had visited an online registry that listed their names and addresses, a U.S. official said Monday.

Wow. Never could have seen that coming in a million years, right?

The government makes a big deal about publishing the personal information about only a specific type of criminal, giving constantly up-to-date photos and addresses of these people. This specific type has extremely sympathetic victims, who often spawn crusading male relatives.

However, there's absolutely no possible way anybody could possibly ever predict that this sex offender registry might spawn a bunch of would-be Batmans who would use this information to track down and deliver vengence upon these individuals.

A highly publicized government list of bad people who are walking free on the streets leading to a crazed vigilante hunting them down? Totally unexpected. Nobody's fault, of course. A random one in a trillion side effect, right?

I use the "Batman" reference even though "The Punisher" is a far better example of a crusading vigilante meting out the ultimate punishment as he feels is necessary. My only reason for using Batman is because Batman is "The Great Detective", and a would-be Batman would need some website to find the baddies.
I use "one in a trillion" even though if I weren't being faceitious about this whole thing I still could chalk it up to no better than a 1/6,609,142,241 chance. After all, it has happened once with 6.609 billion people on the planet, so clearly the odds of it having that effect on a would-be crusador is that at a minimum.

Of course, nobody would ever say that X caused Y in a situation like this. Maybe some crazy newspaper editors in Dubai, but I'm sure that's more or less all of them, with possible expections of some tabloid-minded Brits.


Bonus revelation exclusive to Third Edge of the Sword: I haven't seen any ink spilled on this and likely never will, but here's what the CP story has to say:
Gray's name was posted on the state registry because he had moved to Maine after he was convicted in Massachusetts of sexually assaulting a child under 14. Elliott's conviction was for having sex with a girl under the legal age.
Note the difference between the two men. Gray had sex with a girl under 14. Elliott had sex with a girl "under the legal age". Ergo, Elliott's girl was under 18 but over 13. Is this setting off any red flags in the minds of any Canadian readers? Well, it should: Elliott was killed by this Nova Scotian for an offense that any number of his friends and neighbours could have been actively engaged in without any legal consequences (and ergo a fair bit of secrecy).

Oh My God, They Killed Toonie Tuesday! You Bastards!

I wandered by the KFC website today to check on what exactly I get for Toonie Tuesday.

What do I discover?
The price has gone up to $2.49 plus GST!
That's totally not cool! Not cool at all!

Greedy bastards.

Damn you Yahoo!

Yahoo Fantasy Sports teases you with the "StatTracker" for the first couple weeks of the season in each sport. It's very handy for tracking your team's progress minute-by-minute. Alas, they cut the baseball one off this morning. Now I don't even know how my players went until I check the individual boxscores...and the OPS and assist totals aren't available even then.

Grrr...

2006-04-16

Cultural differences between Edmonton and Seattle

I'm trying to explain for the upteenth time what a "donair" is.

Its a more stubborn problem than it seems. Wikipedia, that handy source, tells us that a Gyro, that common American dish, is "similar" to a donair. The talk page for Donairs helpfully states:

Having the privilege (and the extra calories) of trying the food in Turkey, Germany, Belgium and Greece I have to admit:

1. Fact: There are significant variations in taste between the dishes. Döner is different than gyros.
2. Fact: the name döner refers to a whole genre of dishes, unlike gyros, which is more specific. I assume that the core etymological meaning of döner and gyros is derived a verb meaning to revolve. I am sure about the gyros, see gyroscope but can't prove this for döner.
3. Fact: In every case I tried gyros, the meat was not as thinly sliced as in döner. And this is a fundamental difference.
4. Fact: All these dishes are principally prepared around a vertical spin, but most similarities stop there. There is different meat, different sauces, different vegetables, different spices and flavours
5. Fact: The ways of serving differ considerably, e.g. with or without pitta.
6. Fact: As in every dish, the result in taste depends on various factors, ranging from the restaurant to the meat and the consumer's taste.
The same page gives a potential solution to the confusion:
The problem is that, as far as I can tell, there is no systematic correspondence between the names and the varieties. When a Greek makes it, it is called "gyros", when a Turk makes it, it is called "döner", when an Arab or an Israeli makes it, it is called "shwarma". I have also had döner/gyros/shwarma in many countries (Greece, Turkey, US, UK, France, Germany) and that is my observation.
This, combined with the observation that there are extreme regional variances in each dish (for example, a doner kabob in Boston is basically the same as a gyro in New York which isn't the same as a gyro in the Pacific Northwest nor the same as a donair from Halifax) seem to indicate that when I say "donair" I mean "gyro" with about as much accuracy as two people from different parts of America and/or the world would have when referring to a "gyro" itself.

Bonus link: Remember the Married with Children where Kelly's boyfriend was cheating on her and she found out at the movie theatre? Well, here are some photos from that episode featuring her boyfriend Frank: played by David Boreanaz.

2006-04-15

Weekend research discoveries

Through a series of events a non-anonymous blogger would say in more detail, this weekend I ended up hearing a lot about the town of Harbin and the people who lived there.

Its all an interesting read, really.

The decade from 1913 to 1923 saw Russia through World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. In the 1920s Harbin was flooded with about 100,000 to 200,000 Russian émigrés fleeing from Russia which included leaders, officers, soldiers of the White movement, members of White governments in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the intelligentsia, and ordinary people. On September 8, 1920, the Chinese Republic announced that it no longer recognized the Russian consulates in China. On September 23 China ceased relations with representatives of Imperial Russia and deprived Russians of extraterritorial rights. Overnight Russians in China found themselves stateless. Soon afterward, the Chinese took control of the institutions in Harbin such as the courts, police, prison, post office, and some research and educational institutions.
Some of these Harbin Russians ended up coming to Canada, and since it was the late teens and early 20s, they ended up coming mostly to central Alberta. Quite the tale, really.

Oh frabjous day! Calloo Callay!

Remember "way back" for this post when I wrote:

If Tampa Bay wins 2 out of 3, Toronto is out. If Tampa Bay wins one and ties the another one Toronto is again out of the playoffs: Tampa Bay will have 92 points which Toronto can only tie, but will have 43 or 44 wins: Toronto can only get 42, and again Toronto is out.
Well, that was (for now) the scenario. Tampa lost in OT yesterday, and won today, which means... (insert drum roll please):
The Toronto Maple Leafs are officially eliminated from the playoffs!

Hold on, I need a moment to bask...

Damn that feels good. TSN reports the embarassing news that despite Toronto's win (gack) against Ottawa it no longer matters: the Lightning have achieved at least 92 points which means the absolute best result now can be a tie with Tampa and Toronto in points. This, as I've established, is not in Toronto's best interests. Nice work Tampa. Try to get 2 more just to shut the T.O. establishment up for a while, okay?

I don't know about you, but that deserves a beer.

2006-04-14

YAY! WE SUCK SLIGHTLY LESS THAN VANCOUVER!!!!!

As exciting a quote about the Oilers entry into the playoffs tonight as I can get. That's right: Edmonton beat the Mighty Ducks of Los Angeles Anaheim 2-1 Thursday night to keep the playoff dream alive...for another 90 minutes until San Jose and the Pussycats buried the Vancouver Canucks and put them out of their misery.

And really how else can you describe it? The Oilers record in the month of March was 5-5-4, and 3-3-1 so far in April (excluding the big win on Thursday they were 2-3-1). The Vancouver Canucks? They were 6-7-2 throughout March, and so far including the 5-3 defeat to San Jose are 1-4-1 in April. So yes, that's the best spin to place on it. The Edmonton Oilers, a choking unemotional uncompetitive team of embarrassment has made it into the playoffs beating out a choking unemotional uncompetitive team of even greater embarrassment. Remember that this was Vancouver's year! (To be fair, I heard it about the Oilers earlier in the season too. And we're used to hearing this about Vancouver.)

Compare this with San Jose, now 5th in the west. Their March record was 8-5-2 and 7-0-1 in April. The Mighty Ducks went 11-4-1 in March and 4-3-0 in April. I mean, Boston went 4-9-3 in March and they're considered a massive embarrasment. Toronto, also in a playoff fight, has gone 12-6-3 since March 1st (5-0-2 in April). We're far better from Toronto.

Speaking of which, let's look at the most overrated team in the league. If you're having trouble following along, visit this post to catch up -ed] Toronto currently has 86 points with 3 games remaining for a total potential points of 92, which is already a point short of what Edmonton needed to clinch. Its highly unlikely that Tampa Bay and Atlanta will sit still for the next 3 games they have left and let Toronto shoot past them. Naturally, we recall that the West is a much harder conference than the East, and suddenly Toronto looks very very weak.

But I'm still distraught. I needed Toronto to lose far faster than they have. Specifically, I'm very upset that Vancouver beat out Toronto for the title of First Canadian NHL team to fail to make the Playoffs. This was a proud banner I strongly hoped that the Make-Me-Laughs would seize with pride. Of course, this was back when it looked like Vancouver and Edmonton would both make the postseason. That dream died about 10 days ago, and was put out of its misery when San Jose took Vancouver to OT on Wednesday. So now I have one remaining dream: the crushing defeat of Toronto in their playoff drive. It's remarkably easy to do, actually. The best side-effect? Getting Sportsnet.ca to stop having the Leafs playoff hopes as the top article on their website every goddamned day! I mean seriously. The Edmonton Oilers actually secured a playoff berth. The Vancouver Canucks are the First Canadian NHL team to fail to make the Playoffs. Calgary clinched the Northwest Division title while Edmonton's Dion Phaneuf scored his 20th goal in his rookie season, putting him in an elite category of NHL defensemen (how elite? Only Barry Beck and Brian Leetch have done it before him...Leetch with 23 setting a record its too late for Phaneuf to beat). But the freaking Maple Leafs remain the top story at Sportsnet.ca. All three major hockey networks websites (CBC.ca, TSN.ca, and SportsNet.ca) have lead stories about Toronto's efforts at the playoffs...at least TSN and CBC bother to mention the team with the best English language television numbers losing to San Jose last night. The Toronto-centric media is really comical at times.

So getting back to my earlier point, how easy is it for the Leafs to not make the playoffs? Well, right now Atlanta and Tampa are ahead of them for the final playoff spot:

6. New Jersey - 2 GR - 97 pts. (tied with Philadelphia,3GR)
7. Montreal - 2 GR - 93 pts.
8. Tampa Bay - 3 GR - 89 pts.
9. Atlanta - 3 GR - 87 pts.
10. Toronto - 3 GR - 86 pts.
11. Florida - 2 GR - 82 pts.
Now remember that Toronto can't beat Montreal at this point, so for Toronto purposes our Montreal calculations are irrelevent. Tarawna's last 3 games are against Ottawa, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh which means the Maple Leafs will get points or not get points with no impact on other contending teams. So it all comes back to Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Atlanta's last three games are Boston/Washington/Florida, again Atlanta's points are linear, as we would say in mathematics. And so is Tampa Bay! They play Carolina twice and then Washington.

Lets break this down on a scenario by scenario basis. First bear in mind that if Tampa Bay wins all 3 games (or wins two and ties the third), then the Maple Leafs are out regardless of any other factors: Tampa will have 94/95 points and will be in 7th or 8th depending on Montreal's record.

If Tampa Bay wins 2 out of 3, Toronto is out. If Tampa Bay wins one and ties the another one Toronto is again out of the playoffs: Tampa Bay will have 92 points which Toronto can only tie, but will have 43 or 44 wins: Toronto can only get 42, and again Toronto is out.

If Tampa wins 1 out of 3, then Toronto can beat them by winning all three. But that requires Atlanta to not win all three of their games and beat Toronto in points (if Atlanta only wins 2 and Toronto wins 3, Toronto passes them in wins. If Toronto ties Atlanta in wins they win the season series). Now's when things get interesting.

If Tampa loses all three of their remaining games it duplicates the Edmonton experience: ChokeFest 2006. Then we get into how they lose them...
If Tampa gets three ties it puts them at 92 points, back into "Toronto must win 3 games to win" territory.
If Tampa only ties 2 games and is at 91 points, Atlanta must win two or less and not tie in the third game or else Atlanta is at 92 points and Toronto must win all three.
If Tampa ties 1 game and loses the other two, it is at 90 points. Now Toronto must merely make 91 points: you know, two wins and a tie. If they do this, Atlanta simply has to not win all 3 games (or win two and tie one) and Toronto is good.
If Tampa loses all three games, then their 89 points is the benchmark. If Toronto can make 90 points (two wins, or a win and two ties) they bump Tampa out and then have to have Atlanta do no better than match their 90 (three ties, or 1 win and 1 tie or better).

Wow, so even if Tampa loses all three games (including one to the Capitals) Toronto still needs at least 4 points. Yeah, that justifies all the ink spilled at SportsNet.ca [and this website... -ed]

2006-04-13

The muscle actually looks a lot like salmon

Small Dead Animals looks at the "Bodies" exhibit in London and examines that the dead bodies you are seeing may be murdered Falun Gong members who the Chinese governent has sent to this idiot artist in order to give their bodies a final public shaming.

They made a fourth of those bloody things?

I haven't been paying much attention to the Hollywood scene lately, so I was a bit shocked to learn that Scary Movie 4 comes out in theatres tomorrow. I've watched the first three, but was relatively unimpressed. The Wayans brothers did the first two, and they inexplicably lost their own franchise to David Zucker for the third (and now the fourth). The first two were basically just what In Living Colour would have done on monster movies had there been no problem showing giant penises thrusting through a man's ear. (Scary Movie 3 didn't even show Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson's bare breasts, which I guess is why the third movie is on TBS and the first two are only available at Rogers Video). Scary Movie 3 was just another David Zucker movie... you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. There can be some new funny bits, but the style is such that you've ended up predicting 2/3rds of the gags before they happen. Well, I can at least: after all, I'm the guy who could predict the end of a Baywatch episode based on the first 10 minutes.

As further proof that Hollywood says jump and I say "huh did you say something?" I present the news that Mischa Barton, whom I could pass at West Edmonton Mall and not recognize (but likely stare at) is now talking about getting herself fired from the T.V. show that has made her bread and butter at the time the show's ratings are slipping. The reason? Well, it seems that she doesn't want to be typecast. Oh no! Not typecast! Perish the thought of that!

2006-04-12

Hot (Southeast) asian chicks and the Ford Prefect Crisis Management System

While last night's Wikipedia searches landed me to Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, I had forgotten I had already referenced Douglas Adams previously while at work.

I refered to the Ford Prefect Crisis Management System to which this post derives its name. Babylon 5 creator Joe Michael Straczynski (JMS) believes the proper term for it is being "a hero in the Heileinian tradition" (as he labelled Sheridan in response to jumping into a pit), though a proper "Heileinian hero" is listed by Wikipedia as more properly classified as a Competent Man, not necessarily precluding but not explicitly expressing the motivation behind JMS's depiction.

The Ford Prefect Crisis Management System as I would describe it, is the aspect that JMS liked: doing what's logical at that precise moment to survive. If you're on the 95th floor of a skyscraper wired with explosives and a timer counting down from 8 seconds, what do you do? Answer: Jump off, of course. You do what now? Well, exactly what the tiny font orders from you. At 95 stories, we're talking a height of around 393 metres above the ground, meaning that our familiar

t=(2*y/g)^1/2
formula for finding the freefall time of an object gives you 8.94 seconds to figure out how you're going to safely stop before you hit the ground. Not only is this 0.94 seconds longer than you had before, it also has the advantage of being proactive.

The big guy with the rocket launcher was moving it up into position for another shot.
Ford was completely at a loss for what to do next.
"Look," he said in a stern voice. But he wasn't certain how far saying things like "Look" in a stern voice was necessarily going to get him, and time was not on his side. What the hell, he thought, you're only young once, and threw himself out of the window. That would at least keep the element of surprise on his side.
So speaketh Douglas Adams in "Almost Harmless", the final book of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" five-part trilogy.

This data comes from a calculation involving One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York, which is 60 stories tall translating to 248 metres. The advantage is that OCMP is a building which is floored all the way to the top of the building, so the roof of the 60th story is the height of 60 stories (making the 248/60*94 calulation more likely to be accurate), without any spires or transmission towers or the like.
So where do the southeast asian girls come in? Well, I'm not a huge fan of asian girls myself (I know a few people who are unhealthily obsessed), but I did come across "karmelkutie"s public photo album. May I recommend the Metropolis album? Still don't have time to browse? Okay, fine: one picture.

Kublai Khan, computer crashes, baseball, and Alice in Chains

I was in the middle of a big post connecting my Wikipedia browsing between Oxford University, Douglas Adams, Kubla Khan, I Ching, and South Park, when my computer crashed. I'm too lazy to redo it. Sue me.

Alice in Chains is playing on 100.3 The Bear right now. They promise a big announcement. Then I can sleep.

I spent the afternoon working on a spreadsheet for my baseball pool. Since there are only 6 teams it was fairly easy to do, but still a fair bit of work. The end result is a grand page where I can type in each team's weekly scores (both the final and mid-week "live" scores) and see not only how the actual head-to-head matches worked out but also how each person would have done facing off against one of the other five. Very handy to see whether you were winning (or losing) due to a fluke of Yahoo Sports or due to your teams on acheivements or shortcomings. Not content just for that amazing performance, I also added in the league average (mean, median, and mode) for each stat category, and let you see how you perform against the mean and median in a head to head. Sadly, I cannot easily compute averages for each individual. Well, I guess I could...but its a lot of work, and something not really that important. Maybe I'll get around to it. Naturally this was to shut up the kid who was all excited about his league-leading performance when I had previously calculated that verus the other 4 managers he would have in fact posted a losing record. That is to say, if he hadn't lucked out as he had, his team wouldn't be in the lead. That is to say, shut the hell up.

I plugged in the data so far for this week, and its a weird set of stats: I'm 6-5-1, but I could have been 7-4-1, 3-8-1, 4-7-1, or 3-5-4. One of the head-to-headers features the weekly leader in strikeouts (22) beating out the guy with 21 strikeouts while the next highest total is 11. Meanwhile, the 21 strikeout guy has a 21 K/BB ratio, beating the 22 strikeout guy's 7.33, which similarly is the second highest in the league. The poor 22 strikeout guy is currently 2-10-0, but his other potential scores were in the 3-8-1 to 5-7-0 range. Sure he's not doing great, but he's facing the worst possible opposing player. Oddly, the guy who I made the entire spreadsheet to quiet down is currently 5-6-1, which is his 2nd worst possible. He could just as easily have been 9-3-0 right now. Head-to-head is such a fickle thing. But the reason its so great, especially for 6 people living in the same city who know each other and are often out drinking, is just because of its brutal level of personal competition. We foresee a great many bar fights over this, and that can't help but be a good thing!

The big announcement? The surviving members (Cantrell, Inez, Kinney) are reunited for a tour. Sure Layne Staley died in '02, but they're bringing in big name guest stars (rumour has it Tool's Maynard James Keenan and Puddle of Mudd's Wes Scantlin -- the same guys who performed with them for the Tsunami benefit). They'll start in Europe, and then come here. Will they come Edmonton here? Money says no: drive to Calgary.

Oh, that LSE

I noticed on the google newsfeed tonight this article on Nasdaq's "raid" on the prestigious London Stock Exchange. It was under the headline "LSE seeks talks over Nasdaq raid".

The problem was, as a regular watcher of Yes, Minister my brain immediately assumed they were talking about the London School of Economics (LSE) rather than the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Whoops. Honest mistake.

Sir Mark Spencer: Sir Humphrey Appleby would tell Hacker he'd be crazy to tell the job.
Sir Arnold Robinson: Yes. "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes", I can hear him say. "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", roughly translated. Though Humphrey would have to put it in English for Hacker's benefit. Hacker went to the LSE, you know.
Sir Mark Spencer: So did I.
Sir Arnold Robinson: Oh, I am sorry.

- Episode #19, "The Bed of Nails"

Jim Hacker: "Sir Mark thinks there maybe votes in it. And if so, I don't intend to look a gift horse in the mouth."
Sir Humphrey: "I put it to you, Minister, that you are looking a Trojan Horse in the mouth."
Jim Hacker: "If we look closely at this gift horse, we'll find it's full of Trojans?"
Bernard Woolley: "If you had looked a Trojan Horse in the mouth, Minister, you would have found Greeks inside. Well the point is that it was the Greeks that gave the Trojan Horse to the Trojans, so technically it wasn't a Trojan Horse at all, it was a Greek Horse. Hence the tag "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" which you recall is usually, and somewhat inaccurately translated as Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Or doubtless you would have recalled had you not attended the LSE. No well, the point is, Minister, that just as the Trojan Horse was in fact Greek, what you describe as a Greek tag is in fact Latin. It's obvious really, the Greeks would never suggest bewaring of themselves if one used such a participle, bewaring that is, and it is clearly Latin, not because Timeo ends in 'o', because the Greek first person also ends in 'o'. Though actually, there is a Greek word called Timao meaning I honour. But the 'os' ending is a nominative singular termination of the second declension in Greek, and an accusative plural in Latin of course, though actually Danaos is not only the Greek for Greek but also the Latin for Greek, it is very interesting really."

- Episode #19, "The Bed of Nails"

Sir Humphrey: Well I think Bernard means is that he'll know how to behave if he went to an English university, even if it was the LSE.
- Episode #2, "The Official Visit"