Thursday, July 31, 2003

Republican chick watch

While I am busy, please visit Right We Are!, a fine weblog put out by two self-described "Republican chicks".

Back soon...

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Stupid US bank praises Hitlernomics

Glenview State Bank in Illinois has had to apologize for praising Hitler's economic policies in a bank newsletter.

Fark spotted it, but someone needs to point out that economic autarky and annexing neighbouring countries is unsound economics.

We will no longer accept a doctor's sick note as a proof of sickness.
If you are able to get to the doctor, you are able to come into work.

Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you
need all your organs. You should not consider having anything
removed. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a
breach of employment....

More of this funny piece is posted at Savland.
Why Paul Tracy is winning

Kevin Michael Grace has posted a complete, never before seen story of Canadian race car driver Paul Tracy, who won the Molson Indy race in Vancouver this past weekend. Kevin not only has a new, recent, interview with Tracy...he also looks at the problems of CART and why NASCAR is winning the hearts of Americans. He has some perceptive quotes from Bobby Unser too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Why Colby Cosh is so dead...if the world's dolphins emulate that Simpsons episode where the dolphins take over the world

My friend and former colleague Colby has written a very interesting op-ed explaining how Edmontonians are taking the death of Mavis, a beloved dolphin that lived in the superenormous West Edmonton Mall, far too seriously.

I encourage you to read the piece.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Arnold Watch

Californians will be voting on whether to recall Governor Gray Davis, and on who will replace him, on October 7. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, has reportedly decided not to run. We'll know for sure on August 9, the filing date for the special election.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Best. Simpsons. Quotes. Ever.

The Best Quotes From, 'The Simpsons'...the Right Wing News list.

"Dear Lord: The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done."

"You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine."

Prime Minister Homer

Politicians in New Zealand are using a recent Simpsons comic about Homer Simpson becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand to take pot shots at each other.

Well, I don't think that having Homer as your PM would be a bad thing. Now if Homer would be the Prime Minister of Canada, there could be some distinct advantages....

Ten Reasons why Homer Simpson should be Prime Minister of Canada:

1. He speaks English.

2. Homer's avid consumption of concession stand snacks adds much needed funds to Canada's national sports teams.

3. Canada's new Finance Minister: C. Montgomery Burns. "The National Action Committee for the Status of Women is here to ask for their annual grant, sir." "Release the hounds."

4. Currently threatened national postal strike averted as both union and Canada Post resolve to sign anything to avoid being in the room with annoying federal government negotiator Ned Flanders.

5. Homer's appointment of his father Abe Simpson to the Senate leads to unstoppable popular groundswell for elected Senate.

6. Alberta alienation calmed after "summit meeting" between PM Homer and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein at St. Louis Hotel in Calgary. Klein takes advantage of Homer's "tired and emotional" state to win important concessions for provinces.

7. There is no number 7.

8 Annoyed Homer, now an avid Canadian, rules that Stanley Cup must be awarded to top finishing Canadian team in the NHL playoffs, as the trophy was originally given to the top Canadian hockey team.

9 If Homer Simpson runs as a Liberal, this leads to boost of political right's fortunes as voters recall quiet dignity of Stockwell Day.

10. Canada's political bloggers, and the former Report writers and editors, get scads of freelance writing assigments and jobs as Homer's antics lead to Canadian "golden age" of political reporting, as entire world buys tons of Canadian newspapers and magazines to learn what Homer is doing now.

[I'd be happy to expand the list if you have suggestions of your own. My e-mail is in the "about" profile at left.]

Saturday, July 26, 2003

We want a recount!

Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the recent re-elected president of Equatorial Guinea is God's right hand man, reports AFP via the Johannesburg Star:

Said the nation's state radio:

" God in heaven ... He [the president] has all power over men and things.

"He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself, with whom he is in permanent contact, who gives him this strength."

I think they are hinting that they like the president. It's very subtle though.

Well, if he is omnipresent and omnipotent, I had better delete this post soon. (*whistling*) What am I writing? Oh...nothing.

Friday, July 25, 2003

South Africa...the next Zimbabwe?

Frozen in Montreal notes that local officials in Johannesburg have ordered the removal of security barriers and fences on local streets that were designed, by the homeowners who put them up, as anti-crime measure. He then asks: this move actually to create a (thief-?) friendly atmosphere, or is this the first phase of a South African attempt to "pull a Mugabe", as it were, and get rid of Whitey?

Well, I don't think that the government in South Africa is that dumb. Encouraging the continued mass exodus of the middle and upper classes (read:whites) is not that smart. Nobody likes to see crime.

That said, however, "crime" may be defined uniquely amongst some activists in South Africa. I recently saw a documentary film on the songs that blacks used to fight apartheid. You couldn't fault them for being upset back then, but there seems to be an occasional lapse in what they sung. I was quite surprised to see a group of blacks singing a 30 year old song about killing whites with "machine guns." This was a large group gathering to sing the good old songs of the anti-apartheid days well *after* apartheid had been overthrown. The film's audience didn't seem to blanch at what was sung, which I was surprised by.

Such rhetoric does not compare to the real injustices that non-whites suffered, but one would think that blacks, more than anyone else in South Africa, would not want to embrace violence as a way of getting even.

Fortunately most South Africans seem committed to embracing peace, but one has to wonder if there remains a constituency for violenent solutions. Let's hope not.
An online guide to...

Whsitling Records.
The worst comic book superhero costumes ever...

...according to retroCRUSH.
I hope I am not a "gluton"

Homer - Glutony
You're Homer and his deadly Sin -

Simpsons Character / 7th Deadly Sin Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Six degrees of Paul Erdos

Academia's version of the "Kevin Bacon" game...the
[Paul]Erdos Number. Try to find a mathematics expert with a large Erdos number!.

A tip of my blogging fedora to Mr. Goldberg.

By the way for those of you who, like me, did everything, including using silent movie bit players and Bollywood actors, in a feeble attempt to hit a high Bacon score...there is the Associate Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, which can link anybody to Kevin Bacon using some mystical process... Yes, even you are linked to Kevin Bacon in some mysterious, amusing way. Try it!

Not on the Iranian ayatollahs' Christmas list

A list of blogs that the Iranian government is trying to keep Iranians from seeing. They're worthy of support, I'd say. The blogs, I mean.
Ten Million, the famous Victoria baseball player

While browsing for information on a book I'm currently reading, I learned about noted Victoria baseball player of the teens Ten Million.. Yes that was his real name!

Tom Hawthorn of the Globe and Mail writes:

In 1911, Victoria signed a fleet outfielder who was the son of prominent Washington State judge E. C. Million and his eccentric wife. She had dubbed the boy Ten, as in Ten Million. (In those days, that was a name, not a salary.) He had a sister named Decillion, which is 33 zeroes if you're keeping score at home. She called herself Dixie.

Ten Million hit .276 for the [Victoria] Bees and was signed by Cleveland of the American League. Injuries kept him from the big leagues. For a time, he played outfield for the Robin Hoods of Moose Jaw, Sask.

A free Internet cartoon

Squinkers Today's cartoon is amusing...but not if you are a kid who likes coffee.
An internet radio program featuring independent artists...

Whole Wheat Radio
They saved Hitler's planes

Odd story of the day: Fully armed Nazi bomber planes 'buried below East Berlin airport'.

By the way, buried deep in the story is the revelation that there have been some searches conducted under the airport with nothing found. That said, there's some interesting background on how "bunker happy" the Nazis in Berlin were. "...for every one metre of building above ground in modern-day Berlin, there are three metres below ground..."
"Satan hails new additions to Hell"

Enter Stage Right prints the press release about Satan's latest hires, the Hussein boys.
Free idea for a website or book

I was just wondering about the history of the filmstrip, but found little that was helpful on Google.

You know that would make for a good book or website. I'll bet that lots of us who went to school in the ancient era before Power Point might be intrigued by such an idea.

Perhaps Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks might wish to have a go at that. He has some filmstrips on his website that you can look at, and listen to.

Mug shots of the rich and infamous

This page at The Smoking Gun is where you will find some.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Get thee behind me, Mayor McCheese

A satirical article on diet control in a church newsletter receives serious coverage in an English newspaper after implying that McDonald's was created by Satan.

I love this line from the story: McDonald's yesterday insisted it was not the work of Satan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Site of the day

I saw several interesting subjects at, which dubs itself "The home for the Christian writer".

If that's your cup of tea, enjoy.
Psalm 23 for the politically correct

Here's a piece of netlore that I thought you might enjoy. Two internet search engine searches didn't find me an author for this piece, which I saw here. It may, however, be based on a similar version, which was written by Robert Irvin and David Grasby.

Anyways, enjoy!

"The Lord and I are in a shepherd-sheep relationship,
and I am in a position of negative need.

He prostrates me in a green-belt grazing area, and
conducts me into lateral proximity with a
non-torrential aqueous accumulation.

He restores to original satisfaction levels my
psychological makeup.
Notwithstanding the fact that I make ambulatory
progress through the non-illuminated geological
interstice of mortality, terror sensations shall not
be manifest within me due to the proximity of

Your pastoral walking aid and quadruped-restraint
module induce in me a pleasurific mood state.

You design and produce a nutrient-bearing support
structure in the context of non-cooperative elements.

You enact a head-related folk ritual utilizing
vegetable extracts, and my beverage container
exhibits inadequate volumetric parameters.

Surely it must be an intrinsic non-deductible factor
that your inter-relational, emphatic, and non-vengeful
attributes will pursue me as their target focus for
the duration of the current non-death period.

And I will possess tenant rights in the residential
facility of the Lord on a permanently open-ended time

"Look at me, I'm Canada....I'm dee dah."

Dizzy Girl is annoyed at Canada after reading a transcript of that mock apology to the United States that Colin Mochrie delivered on This Hour Has 22 Minutes earlier this year. Snopes, the urban legend debunker, has confirmed that these satirical words were delivered by Mochrie (please follow the link for further links and details), although they have been widely credited to Rick Mercer. I think that the source of this confusion may be due to Mercer delivering a similar (if not identical) routine on the Just for Laughs stage in Montreal. I may even have seen footage of that on TV...but I can't provide a cite, so please don't quote me.

Dizzy Girl, well, I would be annoyed too. Miss Girl should know that that is the Central Canadian Media Elite Axis Of Evil talking. Most Canadians get along amicably with the U.S.. It doesn't mean that the U.S. is perfect, mind you, but Canadian politicians and entertainers have been having a hissy fit at the U.S.' s expense.
Manley: "No Mas!"

John Manley has withdrawn from the federal Liberal leadership race, which means that Paul Martin will almost certainly be Canada's next Prime Minister.

(This expands on my newfound Criswell-like predictive abilities, as I predicted that Martin would win in my Blogcritics interview. Although, that prediction is the same as predicting that a horse will win the Kentucky Derby...)

Seriously, though, there is a interesting subtext in the story I linked above. Manley has been quite critical of Martin, and there is unattributed talk from Martin's minions that Manley was going to be dumped as Finance Minister if he kept on with his campaign.

This illustrates the excessive presidential powers that Canada's Prime Minsters have now. Paul Martin is already wielding Prime Minister-like clout even though he hasn't become Prime Minister yet.

Leadership campaigns are the best chance for changing the ideological direction of a party, and it is a bit frightening to think that people can now be dissuaded from following though on their leadership bids. That is how power politics works, I guess, but it's probably not healthy for Canada's body politic.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Link of the day

White Trash Recipes

Some of these recipes may surprise you with their deliciousness. Please check out the home of the Deep Fried Mars Bar and 7-Up Cake
Singing...dancing...Is facial make-up next?

Baptist Press is reporting on a U.S. group, Church Musicals Inc., which is suggesting that churches use Broadway-style musicals as an evangelistic tool.

More power to them. Yet, as a former Baptist, the idea of Baptists on Broadway will take me some time to get used to.
A neat way to be famous

Blogger Anne has been given eternal fame in a small way. A wiseacre friend, who works for a video game company, has made her the last enemy, "Evil Anne", to be defeated in his new video game.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Did a serial killer dump victims near my parents' house?

My parents live in a small town in southern B.C. How small? It's so small that the town's burghers will probably have kittens when they read about a search for dead bodies nearby as this follow-up story about the search for alleged victims of an alleged serial killer starts making Canadian newspapers on Monday morning.

Robert Pickton, a Port Coquitlam pig farmer, is alleged to have killed at least 15 women from Vancouver's skid road. Following a break in the case, 52 scientists will soon start combing a parcel of Fraser Valley wetlands to search for alleged victims. (There's a mistake in the CP story linked above, by the way. At least part of the slough that is being searched sits in Maple Ridge, which is next to Mission.)

The slough is near, but not too near, where my parents live, so when my mother gave me a lift home this afternoon we made sure to drive by and see if there was any excitement. There was. On a Sunday afternoon, they had already erected wire storm fencing along both sides of the Lougheed Highway, which is the main arterial road for the region and happens to border the search area.

Several police cars were already in place and police had erected an electronic sign banning anyone from walking along the road past the search site. Cars and motorcycles are banned from stopping and no flights over the search area are allowed. However, I did manage to see that they had a trailer there already and were erecting a wind shelter. A heavy truck was there along with a smaller truck with a "cherry picker". I saw a team of six men already wading though the marshy land, one carrying a shovel and another a ladder.

This is big news as nothing ever happens where my parents live. It's quiet and sleepy, but unfortunately the only time that the area makes the national news is when people snap and death ensues. My parents, nevertheless, will be quite safe.

By the way, I should also note, for airship fans, that the Goodyear Blimp flew low over the strip mall where Mom and I ate lunch today. We thought it was neat.
Winners write history, and they write the jokes too

I would like to make a point which illustrates, in a small way, that political changes lead to all sorts of societal changes which one never would have foreseen.

In recent days I have been enjoying two records that I picked up at thrift stores, The First Family and The First Family Volume Two. These were amongst the first political comedy records. They featured comedian Vaughn Meader's bang-on impersonation of President John F. Kennedy. The First Family, which sold 4 million copies in one month in late 1962, is fairly easy to find in US thrift store bins.

Some of the humour hasn't aged well--it works best for those with a nodding acquaintance of 1960s current affairs--but I liked some of the affectionate jibes directed at the Kennedys. I particularly like the spoof of Jackie's TV tour of the White House (which The First Family relates as amusingly disaster-prone). I also like the visit to the "biographer" and JFK's effort to goose up his ratings by televising a musical TV version of his weekly press conference on First Family, Volume Two.

As Lenny Bruce noted, the events in Dallas also killed Vaughn Meader's career--he was never as big once he retired his comic JFK impersonation. But, after also finishing William Manchester's book, The Death of A President, I wonder if there is another reason why JFK suddenly became "unfunny".

Mr. Manchester's interesting book is excellent at outlining all that happened during those eventful few days in November 1963. But, there is a subtext throughout the book that "extreme rightists" in Dallas were a dangerous threat to Kennedy--despite the fact that the accepted killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, frequently described himself as a Marxist. This is something that was picked up by the media as the echoes of the shots died in Dealey Plaza. Walter Cronkite, for example, was discussing past conservative demonstrations against Adlai Stevenson in Dallas when he had to break in with the news flash that Kennedy had died. (To confrim this for yourself, please listen to the tail end of Cronkite's remarks and the death report here.)

This media subtext had a marked, albeit subconscious, effect on American politics for years to come. The 1960 election had been a virtual dead heat, with JFK garnering about 49 per cent of the vote. However, Mr. Manchester notes that after Kennedy's death 65 per cent of Americans "remembered" that they had voted for John Kennedy in 1960. Furthermore, roughly half of Americans, in a University of Chicago study from the months right after Dallas, now rated Kennedy as one of the top three presidents in American history.

Although Barry Goldwater admits in two of his autobiographies that he might well have lost the 1964 election to John F. Kennedy, he also argues that it was impossible to win against LBJ and a "ghost". In subsequent elections, the spooked Republicans swung back to the center. Nixon was elected, which led to Watergate, which led to Jimmy Carter. If we argue that Ronald Reagan was a good president, many of the good, conservative, things that he did were delayed for 20 years due to the JFK shooting.

Back to humour. As the media condemnation of conservatives for allowing (or causing) JFK to be killed grew, it spilled over into other facets of media such as entertainment.

I'll make a friendly bet with my American readers that most of the post-World-War-Two political jokes that they remember make fun of the political right. Nixon was crooked, Ford was dumb and fell down a lot, Reagan fell asleep a lot, forgot stuff, and acted in dumb movies.

Bill Clinton? I would argue that it doesn't matter whether you are conservative or liberal when you are stuck in sexual shenanigans like that. Do you recall any jokes about his politics, or jokes which poked fun of his liberalism that you didn't hear first on the Rush Limbaugh show?

Diamond Joe Quimby of The Simpsons? Well, although he is portrayed as Kennedyesque--right down to the voice--it seems like an in-joke shared by The Simpsons' writers. I don't think that they have ever said "Yeah, we want to slam the Kennedys", although I welcome correction if they have. On the rare occasions where "John Kennedy" has been shown on The Simpsons, he comes off well. Unlike Richard Nixon, who was slagged on the show while he was still alive. (His endorsement of Duff Beer falls flat with 1960 TV viewers. Also, Nixon is brought onto the Hell jury that is to condemn Homer Simpson after the Devil (Ned Flanders) insists that Nixon owes him a favour.)

Vaughn Meader's 1962-63 spoofs of the Kennedys, I would suggest, were the last time that all Americans agreed that you could laugh at the foibles of both major parties. All political sides have their silly aspects that may be laughed at. However, Oswald's shots in Dallas led to an era where laughing at the left was very unseemly and critical words, in the minds of some, were equated with bullets.

John Kennedy, like all leaders, was imperfect. You may recall the recent news story where an American lady admitted to an affair with John Kennedy while she was an intern in the White House. Readers of revisionist historians, such as Seymour Hirsh, will recall other Kennedy sins of omission and commission.

While the historical record on John Kennedy is being balanced, I'll continue to wonder whether the jokes about Kennedy will ever catch up.

Until then, I have my Vaughn Meader records. "The rubber swan is mine!"

Friday, July 18, 2003

Gotta dance!

Formerly poor Catholic Bernadette Gietka has plans to fulfill her dream after winning over $70 million in a U.S. lottery--she's always wanted to write and stage a pro-life musical.

Thanks to Kathy for the link.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

50,000,000 Colby fans can't be wrong

Say, it's the first birthday of Colby's weblog on Saturday! If his popularity continues to grow, maybe someday his photo(s) on his blog will resemble this Elvis record. Or perhaps not, but please visit his always fab blog until we find out.
Top Ten Jerry Springer Campaign Promises

Here is the link, which will take you to the
CBS Late Show Top Ten Archive.

I'm a bit of a prophet? (See my posts on Springer from a few days ago.) Maybe I could be the next Criswell. "And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future...."

Alert Charlton Heston!

Norwegian scientists have been conducting some experiments on some bushes in the Southern Sahara that have been bursting into flames. They think they have found a natural explanation for Moses' burning bush, according to this

One thing about the story that I find interesting is that local bishop Knut Andresen of Trondheim isn't doing the Lutheran equivalent of pumping his fist and shouting "USA! USA!":

"The stories in the bible are symbolic and are meant to bring a message to the reader. Scientific phenomena make no difference in this connection", said the bishop.

Well perhaps it's just me, but I like it when science backs up the Bible. It sort of deals with the "lack of faith due to scepticism" thing that's supposed to drive bishops nuts. Underline "supposed to."

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

"I encourage all readers to send me e-mail only when they’re very drunk..."

I got a kick out of Tim Blair's E-mail Of The Week
Jesus has left the building

The latest trend in evangelization: Christian Elvis impersonators. A feature on this will appear in the next Charisma magazine.
Dogpile on AR

Blogger Atomiq remembers his Alberta Report "Summer of Love". Or not, as the case may be.
Cue the screaming teenage girls

Folks are linking to Kevin Steel's song Rafters and Beams, which you may hear online. I'm sure it is good, but as my computer is stuck in the Real Player days (No MP3s), I can't hear it yet.

I'll wait for Rate-A-Record. "I like Rafters and Beams because it has a good beat and it's easy to dance to. I'll give it a 92." (Translation for those who watched Thank Your Lucky Stars instead of American Bandstand: "I'll give it five!".)

(P.S. Janice Nicholls, the "Oi'll give it foive." girl, was possibly the first person in England to have a hit song from a TV catchphrase. Check out Discography on her website to hear part of it. It sounds like she had fun in her "15 minutes" of fame.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

For all Tron fans

Boing Boing suspects that the new 2003 Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle design was made by somebody who watched the movie Tron a zillion times. See if you agree.
Britain claims to have invented lasagna

The BBC is reporting that researchers poring over a 14th century cookbook have found a recipe that they claim is "lasagne". However, if you read the description of the dish in this story, it's pasta with layers of cheese, whichsounds a lot more like homemade macaroni and cheese. (Not "Kraft Dinner" macaroni and cheese--or pot noodles--the made from scratch with real cheese kind.)

Inventing macaroni and cheese would be a great thing, but it's not the same as inventing lasagna.

Mmmmm....homemade macaroni and cheese (*drooling sounds*)
If they can't do it, no one can? Sorry, but no

Candis McLean, former Report editor, complains in the Edmonton Journal (via Jeremiads) that the Byfields are being slammed as wacky extremists and, alas, adds this:

I worked for the magazine for five years and I have never met anyone who worked harder than the Byfields, or who struggled more determinedly to keep an ideal afloat. They ceased publication only after every courageous effort had been made to fight society's drift toward today's buzz word of "whatever!"

I admire the Byfields greatly, but as readers of this space know, I disagree with their long term planning, or lack thereof, which led to the death of the magazine. You can write this and still be grateful to the Byfields and have lots of respect for what they did and how they did it. I toiled in the vineyards of the Byfields for many years for these reasons.

"They ceased publication, only after every courageous effort"? Well, I do know that the Byfields tried to hold everything together with baling wire and duct tape for many years. I'm very grateful for that. Indeed the fact that we were trying to do something noble with very few resources became a point of pride for those people who worked at the magazine.

But, I must point this out. "Every courageous effort" must include efforts to sell the magazine to conservative people with deep pockets. That's essentially what the Byfields were able to do when they got John Scrymgeour et al. to pay for the magazine's losses. It wasn't termed a sale because the backers didn't take day-to-day control of the magazine, which remained in the Byfields' hands.

If I have a complaint about the Report post-mortems, it would be that there is too much "wacky Byfields" and not enough "Why can't the only conservative magazine in the country make a go of it?" Why didn't the Byfields sell? That's my "Carthage must be destroyed!"

But, I had a good run and it was a very fun job. Thanks, Byfields.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Groovy, but flawed

The world of "outsider music" may be deciding that an obscure band, The New Creation--a very amateur musical group of 60s Vancouver Christian hippies--could be the "next Shaggs". The Vancouver Sun's story is here.
Back to the Middle Ages?

The estimable debunker James Randi castigates the B.C. government for conferring doctor status on practicioners of "traditional Chinese medicine."

Very sceptical that the procedures have medical validity, he observes:

"Eye of newt and toe of frog" is said to be next up for consideration, along with bleeding for fevers and chanting in the moonlight..

There's more on his website, if you are curious...

Sunday, July 13, 2003

"Talkshows are as populist—and as spontaneous—as the WWE."

Think that talk radio is a tool for conservatives to do an end run around the media? Read what my friend Kevin Michael Grace, a former talk radio producer for many years, has to write on the subject. Especially the parts where he explains that everything from the formats of the program to the technology of radio favours the host and producers.

Food for thought. There is a "conservative" audience out there, that's true. But, they can be made to conform to (or indirectly support) the host's own prejudices, and Kevin explains how that can be made to happen.
The Avengers! On radio!?!

Those with fond memories of Honor Blackman and Patrick MacNee might be interested to know that The Avengers was a big hit on South African radio in the early 1970s. Yes, radio, and you can learn more about the show here.

There's also MP3s of several epsiodes that you may listen to here. And the shows are probably Kinky Boots free! (Boop! Boop!).

Thanks a bunch to April Winchell, odd music boffin, for the link.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Your military at work

Here's some newsreel footage of ICBMs that crashed and blew up when the U.S. was first testing them 40 years ago. It was censored for over 40 years, but you can see it
So, if you like Canada that makes you a hermaphrodite?

Six million test results can't be wrong, according to's Gender Test!

The test uses a lot of non-obvious questions to guess if you are a man or woman. It correctly guessed that I am a guy, but I was rubbed the wrong way by this question:

Does Canada suck or what?

I'm guessing that by and large one gender is more likely than the other to use correct grammar all the time, but what a question to test this with!

"I answered no so let's see....that makes me a sexless one cell blob! Oh my God!"

Fun test, though. It might be fun for you to try.
The blogging John Wilkes Booth?

Australian delivery driver and blogger Tame Sapien almost sent politician Simon Crean to heaven. Accidentally, of course.
Jerry PS.

Jerry Springer also has a blog. Funnily enough the weblog, paid for by his campaign, is trying to gather signatures across the U.S. to get support for his bid for the Senate.
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

Yesterday afternoon, Jerry Springer took the first formal steps to relaunch hia political career by filing candidacy papers for the 2004 race with the secretary of the Senate in Washington.

You read it here first: I predict that David Letterman will use this as this next Top Ten list subject as quickly as he can get his writers to come up with The Top Ten Jerry Springer Senate Campaign Slogans.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

TV Announcer: "Tonight on 'Sex Technique Grandpa'..."

Just when you thought TV in Japan couldn't get any stranger, well, please read about a new wave of smutty hits in this story.
"....But I think I'm actually in love wth the President of The Extraordinary League Of Bastards...."

Dating Tales From The Mad Dater

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Why Canada seems to have all these left wing magazines and no conservative ones

Colby Cosh explains the reasons why quite well in a new please have a look.
Shopping list: 1. Jet Powered Unicycle...

A fun website devoted to the Illustrated Catalog of ACME Products.

Before Warner Brothers took over Acme in a reverse takeover, Sears had a line of Acme products. Check out their replica 1902 catalog reprint and you will find their "Acme Regal" brand stoves. No illustrations in the Sears catalog, however, of Wile E. Coyote using the Acme Range to make a cake which blows up in his face.
We're number eight! We're number eight!

Why the UN rankings of countries are bogus, if you think about op-ed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Homer Simpson: "Mmmmm....Catholic weblog."

Relapsed Catholic, a swell weblog, is just turning 3 years old. Let's see, according to the old Alpo commercials, that means Relapsed Catholic is 21 in weblog years. I think.

Go have a look!
Rubber duckies, we're awfully unfond of you

The Boston Globe is illustrating a growing problem with shipping huge containers across the world's oceans by reporting on
a fleet of 29,000 rubber ducks that spilled off a ship 11 years ago. The rubber ducks may wash up on New England beaches soon.
Why Canada should not annoy America's Girl Scouts and other morcels of punditry

Your humble servant tries his hand at being a boffin in a Q and A session titled An interview with Rick Hiebert.

Little ole me! A pundit!

I must thank R.J. Elliott for doing the interview. Although his own weblog pokes fun at George W. Bush, he should be thanked for his professional handling of someone on the W side of the spectrum. So...thanks!
Editorial cartoon on weblogging?!?

Who woulda thunk it...

Cox & Forkum have a go at describing what they see as the "Blogger's Cycle".

Doesn't apply to those who don't have PayPal tip jars, fellas. That's most of the blogosphere.
Is his dog named Lucky?

I'd better stop my kidding about The Price Is Right. Tonight, I saw a "plays of the month" segment on my local sports, which included Steve Hardin's exploits on the show broadcast on June 5. Mr. Hardin is an offensive lineman with the B.C. Lions of the CFL, and he won a grandfather clock as part of a prize package worth $3,000 U.S.

From the footage, Mr. Hardin seemed very happy about his run on the game show, taped before his CFL training camp started. However, he later told local reporters that he did not need to heed Bob Barker's daily admonition to "spay and neuter your pets" as his dog only has one, er, testicle.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Who wants to be a millionaire? I do, mate!

In what might be a first for bloggers anywhere, Tim Blair writes that fellow Australian blogger David Morgan will be appearing on tonight's broadcast of (I presume) the Australian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Good luck to him...let's hope he blogs about his experience. It would be a fun post.

Update: He has posted. Details here.

Friday, July 04, 2003


Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi has won this year's world hot dog eating contest, scarfing 44 1/2 hot dogs, with buns, in 12 minutes. Sports Illustrated picked up this story because William "The Refrigerator" Perry of NFL fame also competed, eating 4 hot dogs in five minutes.
Latest sign of the Apocalypse?

In case you didn't have your VCR on, you can get your daily update on each day's episode of The Price Is Right at the The Price is Right Blog.

Yes, really.

By the way, Bill Cullen was a better host of The Price Is Right than Bob Barker is, in my humble opinion.
You want a sign? I'll give you a sign!

From this story (Preacher seeks sign, gets zapped by lightning), comes my pick for understatement of the day:

''It was kind of interesting hearing the preacher talk about what had happened,'' [local fire chief] Hawkin admitted.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Arnold update

California congresspersons Dana Rohrabacher and Mary Bono figure that Arnie has a good chance at being elected governor of California should the position open up this fall, according to this story.

*sigh*. At least Reagan made lots of conservative speeches for many years before running for Governor. Aside from endorsing George Bush Sr. in 1988, has Schwarzenegger done much politically? Has Arnold done so in a way that could have damaged his career (such as Reagan did in campaigning on TV for Goldwater in 1964)?

It might be a nice change to have a non-politician in the job, but I think a wait and see attitude might be warranted just the same.

Reporters blow it when covering religion

A study conducted by the University of Rochester has found that U.S. newspapers sometimes do a poor job covering religion.

Here's the full study, if this is something that interests you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Arnold for governor update

Results of a straw poll that I found in the MSNBC website from last month:

Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good governor?
* 7154 responses

Survey results tallied every 60 seconds. Live Votes reflect respondents' views and are not scientifically valid surveys.

In the year 2000, dogs will be so powerful that military officers will salute them

About 100 years ago, a German chocolate company did a series of picture cards forecasting what life would be like in the year 2000. A couple of their guesses are spot-on, but I am still waiting for the combination steamship/train.
Dog outranks Marine?

Check out this picture where a Marine salutes Spot, President Bush's dog.

I know that it is considered right for Marines to offer salutes to civilians, but dogs?
Bit by a black eyed dog

Kevin Michael Grace is feeling down. Perhaps you could help him.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

What are Canada's top ten weblogs?

Here's one educated guess. See if you agree.
Ah-nuld will run, predicts Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan predicts in a a recent column that Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for governor of California if Gray Davis is recalled in September.

A little bird told him, apparently:

Sources tell this writer Schwarzenegger has agreed to run, that ex-L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan supports him, that he has begun to reach out to the right to cut a deal where it plays a lead role in balancing the state budget and is given concessions on partial-birth abortion. If Conan the Barbarian is in Sacramento by fall, his robes awash in blood from slashing the California state bureaucracy, recall where you read it first.

This may be a Faustian bargain for the California right, if what Mr. Buchanan notes in passing about Arnold as a politician proves to be correct:

....Schwarzenegger is pro-gay rights, pro-choice on abortion and pro-gun control, and called the impeachment of Bill Clinton a Republican disgrace.

Schwarzenegger is pro-gun control? Well, I'll look foward to seeing lots of Indian rubs and wedgies in place of gunfire when Terminator 3 opens this week. The Terminator: "I cahnnot fiahre this weapon. It's unregistered!"

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Schwarzenegger's "I'm not a conservative, but I play one in movies" stance plays in Peoria, as Variety used to put it.


Kathy Shaidle's Relapsed Catholic is very good too.
Report weblog bonanza

To read other fine Report alumni weblogs, please look to the column at left and follow my top group of links, the one labelled "Past colleagues and friends...."

There's lots to enjoy there. Colby Cosh, Jeremy Lott and Kevin Michael Grace have newsier weblogs. I am in the middle with Kevin Steel (some newsy stuff, some stuff just for fun) and Dave Stevens' weblog is devoted mostly to fun stuff.

Lots of fun, informative reading.
A super-small satellite

Colby Cosh has an introduction, to MOST, the micro-satellite that UBC is sending up onto space.

Kind of a bittersweet post for me as I was working on a story on the satellite when the magazine died. But, it's still very interesting and Colby has the links that you can use to find out more.
Blog good

At A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice, there's a symposium on weblogs and the media.

They seem to agree that blogs are changing the way that real journalists do their job. Follow the yellow brick link above to see more insights.
How the Canadian right could benefit from one and a half conservative magazines

Now that The Report is "done like dinner", Canadian conservatives should be thinking about a new magazine. 1 1/2 magazines perhaps.

The Report almost stumbled onto what I think is the right formula to avoid the temptation of silencing half of the conservative movement in order to get advertising and subscribers. (As you may have been reading in the links below there is lots of animosity directed against social conservatives by pundits who think that too much "Bible-thumping was at fault.)

Twice during the history of The Report, we published regional editions of the magazine. In the 1980s, we had a "Western Report" that was sold in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Alberta still had its "Alberta Report". How Western Report worked was that the Byfields hired stringers in the other Western provinces to provide copy and quotes for regional stories. About 70-80 per cent of Western Report was made up of material that was shared with Alberta Report--the rest came from the stringers. Alberta Report provided the logistical support for both magazines.

I spent many years at the Report's other experiment, British Columbia Report. From 1989 to 1999, B.C. Report shared some stories and a handful of administrative workers with Alberta Report (Western Report had been folded by then.) Although we did help each other--some of our stories appeared in AR and we often took our national political coverage from AR's stringer in Ottawa--B.C. Report became strong enough that although we shared a ideological viewpoint with AR, we could have a slightly different focus on our province. As long as the money lasted, this was an idea that seemed to work well, in some ways, for both magazines.

Recent history has shown that it is difficult for Canada's parties of the right to work together even when they have the incentive of forming a government and exercising power to spur them in that direction. I fear that it will be even harder for the two ideological sides--fiscal conservatives and social conservatives--to work together to form one national magazine of the right. One "side" may feel hard done by or be unfairly treated.

If The Report had decided to split its magazines on ideological and not geographical grounds, I think they may have been onto something.

Here is a brief run-down of my idea.

Imagine that there are two magazines, which I will call Fiscon Report and Socon Report. Both magazines will share a board of directors and whatever sort of head office is necessary. Administrative staff, telemarketers and advertising staff can be shared.

Where Fiscon Report and Socon Report agree on certain ideals or policies, they can share reporters and the stories. Each magazine should have their own editors and editorial staff, so that individual stories on a Speech From the Throne, for example, can be tweaked to cover federal government policy on abortion (Socon Report) or why the federal government should legalize drugs (Fiscon Report).

The beauty of this idea that that anything that would infuriate one side could be put in the other magazine. If the Fiscon Report editors want to do a cover story called "Hooray for pornography!", it can appear just in that magazine, along with all the ads, photos and other things that offend social conservatives. Socon Report editors can write columns and lengthy cover stories on religion so that Fiscon Report readers aren't assailed with all that "Bible-thumping stuff."

I would anticipate that the magazine would have 1/3 of the writers writing mostly for Fiscon Report, 1/3 for Socon Report and 1/3 for both at first. About 60-70 per cent of the editorial copy should be shared by both magazines at first.

One possible advantage of two semi-independent magazines working in partnership is that it could neatly solve several possible long term problems.

Readers who were angry with "filth" or "Holy Roller stuff" in what they read could easily be switched over to the other edition of the magazine by customer service personnel and then reassured that their new magazine will make them much happier readers.

Advertising boycotts would be easily defused. If clients have an aversion to certain issues or stances, ad reps could steer them to the magazine that is more in keeping with the image that they want to present to their public. If one magazine is under a boycott attack, then survival funds can be channeled from the other magazine, which will still be getting ads

Having two editions of the same conservative magazine would help a lot in pusuing long term planning for both magazines. If one magazine starts getting more ads and subscribers, then the directors of both magazines can make that edition bigger, hire it more writers and direct more resources to it. Publishers, editors, telemarketers and ad reps will be able to look at both balance sheets and have concrete evidence that they can base future decisions on.

However, even though the two editions or magazines would be working together, they would be released from the ideological pressure of agreeing to one policy on drugs, one policy on abortion and such. Both editions would be free to espouse the positions that they think best, and even critique what the other magazine had to say.

How practical is this? Well, I would point to the U.S., where there are several right-leaning magazines instead of just one big national conservative one. One national Canadian magazine of the right may be devoutly to be wished, but I think that my idea is well suited to the scenario where it can't quite be formed.

Can it be done? Well, the logistics of this idea are very plausible as The Report did something like it for over 15 years.

One and a half national conservative magazines in Canada might just do the trick. I hope that the boffins trying to think about what the Canadian right should do now consider the idea.