News Archives (51 posts)

Sold Out Films For TIFF 2012

As of 2pm on August 27, 2012 the following films listed below are SOLD OUT or OFF SALE according to TIFF’s website ordering system.

Sep 6
Kinsha Kids

Sep 8
Anna Karenina
Liar’s Autobiography
The Master
Seven Psychopaths
Short Cuts Canada: Programme#2

Sep 9
7 Boxes
The Brass Teapot
Much Ado About Nothing
Museum Hours

Sep 10
The Company You Keep
The Hunt
Midnight’s Children
Short Cuts Canada: Programme#3

Sep 11
Short Cuts Canada: Programme#3
Short Cuts Canada: Programme#4

Sep 12
The Hunt
A Late Quartet

Sep 14
Arthur Newman

Sep 16
The Master

The biggest surprise here for me is Amour being sold out on the last day of the festival! I purposely picked that screening thinking it wouldn’t be sold out. There are no guarantees at TIFF.

Posted in News at 2:31 PM

Movin’ On Up

Lissa Fraser Kerr

My better half, Lissa, started a new job this week with Big Coat Productions in Toronto. She is their new head of production and development. The announcement was made in Realscreen, Playback and C21 Media.

Posted in News and Television at 9:07 AM

National Post Photo Gaffe

I did a double take when I saw the accompanying photo for a story in The National Post – Computers of law firms in Potash deal attacked. Is that a photo of an Apple PowerBook G3 Series laptop from 1998?

The caption below the photo says “Hackers can use a laptop and wireless phone connection from their car to intercept a company’s data”. While I don’t disagree with the caption I find it hard to believe that Chinese hackers are using 13-year-old laptops!

The National Post photo editor assigned to this story probably didn’t think anyone would notice if they used an old file photo from 1998 for this story in 2011. This makes the paper look lazy and amateurish. The online version of this story uses a much more appropriate image so I can’t be the first person to notice this gaffe.

Posted in News at 9:53 AM

Vancouver Will Outlaw Smoking In Public Parks and Beaches

A couple of years ago I was in a local humidor purchasing some cigars. Ontario had just passed a bylaw that required store owners to hide all tobacco products in an attempt to prevent minors from smoking. Ridiculous!

By law, customers are no longer allowed into some humidors to browse the selection of cigars. Never mind that I am 41 years old and of legal smoking age, I have to use my Amazing Kreskin memory to know exactly what cigar I want to purchase!

The clerk at my local humidor told me that the next thing the government will try to do is make it illegal to smoke in public parks. I scoffed at the idea. There is no way the government will make it illegal to smoke outside in a park. That is absurd!

Starting on September 1, 2010 it is likely that you won’t be able to smoke a cigar on a public beach or park in the city of Vancouver. The granola crunching quacks on the Vancouver parks board have decided that the dangers of second-hand smoke, even in an open space such as a park are dangerous.

I wonder how long Ontario has before it becomes illegal to enjoy a cigar on the boardwalk or a city park?

Posted in News at 8:13 AM

Donate Now

I’m saddened each time I see images of the damage in Haiti from the devastating earthquake. Natural disasters occur all the time but the situation in Haiti feels different.

I knew things weren’t great to begin with in Haiti. Just take a look at these stats:

  • 80% live under the poverty line
  • 54% live in extremely bad poverty
  • average wage is under $2/day

The whole world seems to be holding their breath and hoping that aid can reach those that survived the earthquake. Make a donation now at World Vision Canada or American Red Cross.

Posted in News at 1:17 AM

Canada’s image lies in tatters

Wow! It is weird reading a negative story about Canada in a British newspaper. The Guardian doesn’t hold any punches in its story about climate change: Canada’s image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling.

Consider that “Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012. Instead they have already risen by 26%.” As a Canadian, I usually think of the US or China as being the worst offenders when it comes climate change.

If you’ve ever looked at Edward Burtynsky’s photos of the tar sands you’ll agree with The Guardian:

The tar sands, most of which occur in Alberta, are being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth. An area the size of England, comprising pristine forests and marshes, will be be dug up - unless the Canadians can stop this madness. Already it looks like a scene from the end of the world: the strip-miners are creating a churned black hell on an unimaginable scale.

I’m still in shock after listening to a radio show that claimed global warming was a deception, a series of lies! What? The hosts sounded like a bunch of simpletons that didn’t know any better but I had to wonder how many listeners they had that agreed with them. Amazing.

Posted in News at 10:23 PM

National Post Takes a Summer Vacation

Starting today the National Post is only publishing a digital version of its newspapers on Mondays. The paper said it will resume printing the Monday paper after Labour Day.

Canwest is trying to save money by not publishing a Monday print edition of the paper but they’re going to have to get a little more creative to avoid bankruptcy. TechCrunch has some ideas on How To Save The Newspapers but unless the economy picks up steam really soon, the National Post and a number of other newspapers could soon disappear.

Posted in News at 12:57 AM

Mike Tyson’s daughter on life support

Mike Tyson has been in the news recently because of the documentary film Tyson and his cameo in another film, The Hangover.

Unfortunately he’s back in the news because his four-year-old daughter has been involved in a tragic accident. Very sad.

Posted in News at 12:14 AM

Jury Duty and Financial Hardship

Yesterday Jordana Huber of Canwest News Service did a telephone interview with me for a piece in today’s National Post newspaper — Economy could deal blow to jury duty. I’m quote a couple of times to give my perspective on jury duty as a self-employed person.

Back in October I blogged about my jury duty experience: How to get out of jury duty. For some, jury duty could be a disaster and affect their livelihood. With the state of the current economy I would be worried if I was selected again.

If you get a chance, turn to page 6 in today’s National Post or read the story online.

Posted in News and Web at 12:43 PM

Alltop Has All The Top Stories

I’m really digging Alltop for finding news stories that interest me. The site is inspired by Popurls.

Alltop, all the top stories
Alltop works because of its simplicity. It lets you browse news stories by topic categories such as SEO, iPhone, and photography. Each of these categories tracks the latest news from a large number of websites. The amount of information is almost overwhelming but it’s a great way to find new sites and some fabulous resources. Lastly, you put Alltop content on your site or blog by using one of their topic widgets. Very cool.

Posted in News and Web at 8:09 PM

Tracking US Airways Flight 1549

The New York Times has a fabulous interactive graphic with 3D animation that clearly shows the flight path of US Airways Flight 1549.

YouTube has some incredible video footage of the plane crash into the Hudson River.

Posted in News at 3:57 PM

Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.

Wow! The Wall Street Journal is running a piece on a Russian professor named Igor Panarin who is predicting the end of the U.S. Imagine a world where Michigan and North Dakota become a part of Canada. Panarin says, “there’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur.” Let’s hope he’s wrong.

Posted in News at 1:21 AM

National Do Not Call List for Canadians

If you’re tired of telemarketers phoning you during the dinner hour then you can register your phone number at the CRTC’s National Do Not Call List. The site launched today and as of 2 minutes ago it doesn’t work. I get a blank page that reads:

The service is not available. Please try again later.

Can government do anything properly? The CRTC and the media has been hyping the launch of this site for weeks and now it is down. What an embarrassment.

Posted in News at 10:38 AM

Sorry Sarah Palin

I didn’t think it was possible but Sarah Palin appears to be ‘dumber’ than George W. Bush. I watched Tinay Fey impersonate Sarah Palin on SNL this weekend and couldn’t stop laughing.

Today I watched the actual interview between Katie Couric and Sarah Palin from last week and my jaw dropped. I don’t know how Couric kept it together during the interview. Palin is an embarrassment to the Republican party. How can she possibly be the best candidate for the VP position?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Katie Couric was speaking with Bob Schieffer who voiced one of the questions I’ve been asking since Palin became McCain’s running mate. What happens if the old man becomes president and his health fails? About 20% of vice presidents have gone on to become presidents because the president has died, been assassinated or resigned.

As a Canadian watching the US elections I don’t understand how any Republican could support Palin. Imagine a world where a hockey mom has the most important job in the world. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted in News at 4:38 PM

RIP Jerry Reed

Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71. I loved Reed in the Smokey and the Bandit movies he did with Burt Reynolds. He also had some great songs. RIP Jerry Reed.

Posted in Movies and News at 12:39 AM

Sarah Palin Vs. Tina Fey

Sarah Palin vs Tina Fey
McCain’s vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, looks a lot like Tina Fey. This resemblance almost guarantees Fey a guest spot on Saturday Night Live this fall.
The poor Republicans just can’t get a break. First it was Gustav and now it’s Bristol — Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is about five months pregnant. Didn’t McCain’s advisors do their homework? What’s next?

Posted in News at 11:05 PM

Cell phone risks?

Today the head of a cancer research institute issued a warning to its staff to “limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.” There isn’t any scientific proof (yet) to back up this claim but a lot of people are taking notice.

In the 1960s, people didn’t believe that cigarette smoking could cause cancer. 30 years later we know that smoking kills and billionaires are spending millions of dollars to get the word out.

The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco will kill up to a billion people in the 21st century, 10 times as many as it killed in the 20th.

It’s weird to watch a television show like Mad Men and realize how natural it was to smoke in the workplace and the home. Everyone smoked, it wasn’t illegal and there wasn’t any scientific evidence to support a direct connection to cancer. Today people shake their heads and wonder how daft people could be.

I wonder if we’ll be shaking our heads in 2038, wondering how people could have been so naive when it came to cell phones and cancer?

Posted in News at 10:05 PM

Coffee protects your brain

According to a BBC News story, your morning cup of coffee might be your best defense against dementia:

Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.

So if you’re over 40, have high cholesterol and an expanding waistline you’re at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. I’m going to grab a coffee.

Posted in News and Observations at 10:25 AM

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii comes out on April 27 and you can play with up to 11 people. How crazy is that? The steering wheel for the Wii Remote looks interesting. Should be a fun game.

Posted in News at 5:49 PM

Myron Cope was one of a kind


Pittsburgh Steelers announcer Myron Cope died yesterday at the age of 79. Myron was one of the most colourful sports announcers in the US. I’d put him up there with Harry Caray.

The first time I heard Myron was about 5 years ago after leaving a Steelers game in Pittsburgh. A bunch of us were in the car, stuck in traffic and listening to the post-game show. At the time, we had no idea who this whacky Myron was, but he made us laugh and laugh and laugh.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing Myron Cope say “Yoi!” or “that ain’t kosher” then you have to visit Arlin’s Myron Cope Sounds. My favourite sound clips are from Myron — In His Own Words. Myron was definitely one of a kind.

Posted in News at 4:08 PM

Evel Knievel (1938-2007)

On of my childhood heroes passed away today — Robert Craig Knievel. He was 69.

Daredevil Evel Knievel claimed to be a lot of things but he’ll always be the daredevil from the 70s that jumped buses and attempted to jump the Grand Canyon. He was one of the crazy ones and he’ll be missed.

The NY Times has a piece about him here.

Posted in News at 5:17 PM

CNET classifies Windows Vista as terrible technology

CNET released a list of the top 10 terrible tech products. Rounding out that list was Windows Vista.

Any operating system that provokes a campaign for its predecessor’s reintroduction deserves to be classed as terrible technology. Any operating system that quietly has a downgrade-to-previous-edition option introduced for PC makers deserves to be classed as terrible technology. Any operating system that takes six years of development but is instantly hated by hordes of PC professionals and enthusiasts deserves to be classed as terrible technology.

Posted in News at 7:55 PM

US$1.10 for a Loonie

Yikes! When is the Canadian dollar going to stop rising? It hit US$1.10 in trading today.

For the first time (in my 38 years) I deposited a US cheque in my Canadian bank account only to realize that it was worth less in Canadian dollars. I never thought the Canadian dollar would be this strong. I’m used to treating US money like it was gold and now our Loonie is worth more than an American dollar?

I don’t know why, but I feel nervous about our dollar being so strong. This ride can’t last forever and I can’t help but wonder if some global economic catastrophe is just around the corner.

Posted in News at 1:34 PM

Where do you get your news?

Do you get your news through newspapers, TV, online, or magazines?


I haven’t watched the evening news or any of the 24 hour news channels in a long time. I’ll watch 60 Minutes whenever I can but that’s it.


I have the Toronto Star and the National Post delivered to my door every morning. During breakfast I can usually get through both papers. At the office I receive the Globe and Mail and read it during my lunch.

Newspapers can be cheap if you get a subscription. I pay $3/year for the Globe and Mail. You read that correctly. They practically give the paper away. This way they can tell their advertisers that they have x number of paid subscribers.


Throughout the day I’ll look at either Yahoo! News or the NY Times. I’ll also check Daring Fireball, popurls, TUAW and a handful of other sites.

News Wars

The Globe and Mail had an interesting story about a PBS Frontline series called News War. Starting next Tuesday at 9 PM, this four-part series, hosted by Lowell Bergman will take a detailed look at American journalism and where it is heading.

Consider that most people under the age of 30 never watch the evening news on television. People are relying more and more on blogs, Digg or news sites for the latest information. This has a huge impact on traditional news outlets and the future of journalism.

So where do you get your news?

Posted in News at 8:19 PM

Global Warming, Michael Crichton and the small penis rule

The denial of global warming seems to have struck a chord with a few readers and led to some interesting discussion. With the unusually warm weather, I’ve noticed a lot of recent stories on Digg about climate change.

Poor Michael Crichton. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of love or respect for his book, State of Fear. Not only that, his publisher really seems to dislike him.

In his latest book, Crichton takes things a little too far with ‘the small penis rule’ by defaming Michael Crowley. What the heck am I talking about you ask? Take a look at this Cock and Bull article at The NewRepublic Online.

I have a strange feeling that some of you will really digg this story and never read another Michael Crichton novel again.

Posted in News and Observations at 1:10 AM

Why you don’t need an extended warranty

Consumer Reports published a story on why you don’t need an extended warranty which is worth looking at. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Future Shop or Best Buy and the clueless salesperson tried to sell me an extended warranty. If they were allowed, they would try to sell an extended warranty on blank DVDs.

The Consumer Reports story suggests that you consider an extended warranty if you’re purchasing an Apple computer (because they only have a 90 day warranty). Fair enough.

I’ve purchased 9 Apple computers over the years and have had to repair only one — a laptop.

Recently, the hard disk failed in an 3-year-old iBook that my father owns. It seems to be a hard disk failure and shouldn’t be too expensive to repair. Should he have purchased an extended warranty? No. I don’t think it would have been worth it.

Make sure that every electronics purchase you make is put on a credit card that has an extended warranty plan! A friend of mine told me to do this years ago and it paid off.

I purchased a Sony DVD player that stopped working right after the 1 year warranty was up. Because I purchased the DVD player with a VISA card (that doubled the warranty) I was able to make a claim. VISA paid to have my DVD player fixed.

Check to see if your VISA or MasterCard has an extended warranty program. If it doesn’t then get a card that does.

Posted in News and Technology at 11:30 PM

Ed Bradley, Veteran CBS Newsman, Dies

Wow, I had no idea that Ed Bradley was ill. Just two weeks ago he had a segment air on 60 Minutes. He was only 65.

I grew up watching 60 Minutes and still count it as one of my favourite shows. It won’t be the same without Ed Bradley. He’ll be missed.

Posted in News and Television at 3:06 AM

Best ending to a college football game ever?

Wow! I just watched the ending of the Cal vs. Stanford game from November, 1982 on YouTube. The announcer, Joe Starkey goes nuts at the end of the game which adds to the drama. Watch it all here. Link via digg.

Posted in News at 9:27 AM

Bill Clinton vs. Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday

Last night, Clinton was set up interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News. In typical Fox News fashion, Wallace went after Clinton, trying to say he didn’t do enough to capture Bin Laden. Clinton was invited on the show to discuss his work on climate change and problems in developing countries.

After a few jabs from Wallace, Clinton appeared flustered and said,

You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change.

And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about — you said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.

The interview is one of the best I’ve seen and Clinton appeared ready for the ‘fair and balanced’ style of Fox. I think he made Wallace look like an idiot. My favourite part of the interview came when Clinton says to Wallace, “you’ve got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever.” Great stuff!

Full transcript of the interview is here on Fox News. Watch the interview on Google Video.

Posted in News at 10:24 AM

Man Killed in Wood Chipper

A lot of people might see this headline and remember a particular scene from the movie Fargo. Unfortunately Man Killed in Wood Chipper is a real story on an NBC affiliate’s website.

screen grab

Does anyone find it odd, or maybe a little morbid that TODAY’S TMJ4 would put a WATCH VIDEO button below a headline that reads, Man Killed in Wood Chipper? Brutal.

Posted in News at 3:02 PM


Only Jon Stewart can make CNN and ABC News look like a bunch of idiots when it comes to reporting the Mel Gibson ‘DUI incident’. Have a look. Click on the video below.

This type of reporting confirms why I stopped watching television news, years ago.

Posted in News at 12:15 PM

Grandmother completes college course in record time

What’s the big deal you ask? This grandmother happens to be my aunt Cynthia and she’s 72 years old! Apparently this story was picked up by CNN earlier in the week.

Full story and photo here.

Posted in News at 10:10 AM

Please do not ever mention George Bush publishes some letters from its readers. A letter from letter Steve Pettit in California seems to be getting a lot of attention lately.

Please do not ever mention George Bush. And Winston Churchill in the same sentence again, even if you must break all the rules of grammar to do so.

Steve Pettit

More letters and feedback can be read here.

Posted in News at 4:33 PM

Congrats Ronny P!

Yesterday, coach Ron Pike led Trinity Western University Spartans to their first ever men’s volleyball title. The final was on TSN yesterday afternoon. There is a full story about the win on the TSN website.

It’s always weird seeing someone you know on television. It was nice to see Ron rolling around on the floor with a bunch of guys because he won a championship instead of, never mind. Congratulations Ron!

Posted in News at 10:41 AM

Rogers Is Throttling Bittorrent Traffic

I never thought I would be happy to say that I am a Bell Canada customer. No, I haven’t gone off my meds, but I just read that Rogers is starting to kill Bittorrent traffic on their network. I’m using Bell Sympatico and haven’t had any problems with bandwidth.

There is a discussion on Apple’s Support forums that Rogers’ attempts to kill Bittorrent traffic are preventing people from purchasing music on iTunes and listening to Podcasts! I can’t believe that Rogers would be so stupid. Oh, wait a second, that is why I switched back to Bell a few years ago.

Posted in News and Web at 10:02 AM

Disney wants to own Pixar

Unfortunately this isn’t from a rumour site. This morning, Reuters reported Disney in talks to acquire Pixar. Gulp. If this deal goes through, it would make Steve Jobs the biggest shareholder in Disney.

Posted in Apple and News at 3:03 PM

Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

Here’s an interesting story from that says DVD-R discs only last for 2-5 years depending on the quality of the discs. I’m a little skeptical as there are plenty of sites and manufacturers that claim their archival DVDs will last up to 100 years.

I have several CDs that are close to 10 years old now and they still work fine. Has anyone else heard of these DVD problems?

Posted in News at 12:15 PM

Stick a fork in ‘em

I came across a funny editorial in today’s Edmonton SUN newspaper. It pokes fun at the Liberal Party’s latest campaign disaster–a television commercial that attacks Stephen Harper on military issues. Here is an excerpt:

Hey, did you know that there are soldiers in Canadian cities? Soldiers. With guns. In our cities. In Canada. You did? Then you’re one up on the Liberal Party of Canada, which apparently had one of the biggest brain cramps in political history when it came up with the now utterly vilified and also roundly mocked attack ad on Stephen Harper this week.

There are a number of blogs that have taken this short-lived attack ad and made parodies of it. I got a kick out of this one that appears on

Stephen Harper ate at a Tex-Mex place once.
You know what the “Tex” in Tex-Mex stands for?
George W. Bush’s home state.
And you know who else would have liked Tex-Mex food if he were alive today?
Adolf Hitler.
We’re not making this up.
Choose your Canada.

It looks like Paul Martin just lost a lot of votes from anyone serving in the military. Canadian Press is reporting that the latest Liberal ad has angered Canadian soldiers.

Posted in News at 11:34 AM

Barbara Bush Blows It

Quick! Somebody tell Barbara Bush that the year is 2005 and not 1955! After touring the Houston Astrodome a few days ago, Barbara Bush said,

What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

I had to read this quote a couple of times to believe it. Now a White House spokesman is saying that her comments were a “personal observation” as if that justifies anything. Next we’ll hear that she didn’t take her meds, that she was confused at the time. Unbelievable.

Posted in News at 1:04 PM

Where Good Times Haven’t Rolled

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post has an excellent article about the the race issues surrounding the disaster down in New Orleans. His article, Where Good Times Haven’t Rolled, addresses some of the issues that the most of the American media seem to be afraid to report on.

There is also some great audio on Mayor Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orlean is “pissed” with the way the federal government has responded to the crisis in the south. He even goes as far as saying that “God is watching down on them” and that “they are going to have to pay the price if they’re not doing everything in their power”.

All of this reminds me of a powerful line from the film Hotel Rwanda. UN peacekeeper Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) is trying to explain to Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) why the US won’t intervene while a million Rwandans are murdered — ” You’re black. You’re not even a nigger. You’re an African.”

Approximately two-thirds of New Orleans is black. How long do you think it would take for FEMA or the National Guard to provide aid to Beverly Hills or West Palm Beach if it were struck by Katrina?

Posted in News at 4:27 PM

Worst pile of crap architecture

You gotta love the Donald. Yesterday, Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower to say that architect, Daniel Liebeskind’s design of the Freedom Tower for the World Trade Center “is the worst pile of crap architecture I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Trump went on to say that the Freedom Tower model “looks like a junkyard, a series of broken-down angles that don’t match each other. And we have to live with this for hundreds of years?”. So what is Donald’s solution? Another set of Twin Towers that are one story taller than the orignial.

I’d have to agree with Trump. New York just doesn’t look like New York without the Twin Towers.

Good luck trying to get people to work on the 70th floor though. Insurance for any space in those buildings will be a tad expensive. And how do you stop a 747 from taking them out again? Do you put a couple of Black Hawk helicopters on the roof of each tower?

It could take years before something gets built at the World Trade Center and I hope Donald uses his “persuasion” to make it happen soon.

Posted in News at 2:03 PM

Adobe to buy Macromedia

Whoa! Stop the presses! Adobe is about to become a software monopoly in the design industry. Forget graphic design. They want to go after Microsoft—the new “enemy”.

I don’t know. I love Adobe’s products but it scares me to know that one single company will make most of the design tools on my desktop.

Kottke has a great analysis of the deal with plenty of links to industry feedback.

Posted in News at 11:09 AM

Mount St. Helens Burps

Mount St. Helens is showing signs of activity for the second time since last October. I visited Mount St. Helens last July and was amazed. You can still see the path of the previous blast from the early 80s by looking at the landscape of fallen tress. Eerie.

Yahoo News has some photos here. More photos can be seen on Flickr.

Posted in News at 1:34 PM

Tsunami Photos Recovered has some incredible photos of the Tsunami. They were taken with a digital camera by a couple from Vancouver, BC and recovered by searchers in Thailand.

Posted in News at 2:10 PM

NFL Game Broadcasts Coming to iPods

Yahoo News is reporting that the remaining NFL playoff games will be available for purchase through iTunes Music Store. You’ll be able to purchase/download the entire game for $10.00 or just the highlights for $4.95. If you’re a huge football fan I could see this as being pretty cool. What’s next? Academy Awards acceptance speeches for $0.99?

Posted in News at 11:58 AM

Diamond Dave the Paramedic

I’ve always been a fan of Diamond Dave—Van Halen’s former frontman. It was weird to see him on The Sopranos last season. Weirder still, is this recent news story that says he is training to become a paramedic in New York. I just hope that he hasn’t been using Bringing Out The Dead (1999) as his training video.

Posted in News at 7:35 PM

Electronic Arts—sweatshop of the year

Yes it’s true. That really cool gaming company that my friend Andy works at is a modern day sweatshop but it is probably one of the coolest sweatshops you could work for. Where else can you get free laundry service, Gummy Bear stations, Starbucks coffee tables and free meals?

A recent New York Times story says that EA’s “work force is toiling like galley slaves chained to their benches.” Working 80 hours a week during the beta testing phase of a game is normal at EA. Employees often work months without a day off. It reminds me of my days back at ICE. We didn’t have free Starbucks coffee but we did have a 50 cent beer machine on the roof. How cool is that?!

Posted in News at 7:32 PM

The Iron Giant

November 16, 2004 is when The Iron Giant DVD is being released. If you enjoyed The Incredibles then you’ll want to see what director Brad Bird did five years ago with this film.

There are some great extras on the DVD—8 never-before-seen additional scenes, an alternate opening sequence (cool!), and a 13 mini-documentaries. This could easily be one of the best discs of the year.

Posted in Movies and News at 5:38 PM

Crusade Against Credit

There were a couple of great stories on 60 Minutes last night and I felt that a lot of people could benefit from the segment called Crusade Against Credit.

Lesley Stahl did an interview with Dave Ramsey who is on a crusade to help Americans beat debt and build wealth. He explained how a staggering percentage of our population has multiple credit cards, loaded with debt. The banks will give anyone a credit card, dead or alive. If you want something now, charge it. Don’t save for it.

“In America today,” he says, “you could drive up in front of an old boy’s house. He’s got the Chevy Silverado four-wheel drive loaded up, awesome, kickin’ butt truck. There’s a $32,000 bass boat sitting over here. There’s a satellite dish on the side of the house. And all of this is in front of a trailer.”

A lot of Dave’s preaching is common sense. Live within your means. Don’t spend more money than you make. Save. But how many of us, really do this? How many of us feel the pressure to invest in more RRSPs while our credit cards or lines of credit are spiraling out of control? Do we feel the urge to put everything we purchase on our Air Miles credit card so that we can ‘earn’ a free trip? Are we really earning anything or are we just selling our privacy to the marketing departments of global corporations? Do we care?

Posted in News at 7:39 PM

Where do you get your news?

Where do you get your news? If you’re in the U.S., chances are that you get your news, movies, books and CDs from one of six corporations. The Media Reform Information Centre indicates that now a handful of companies control most of the media in the U.S.

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called “alarmist” for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote “in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media” — controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time.
Six corporations own and control most of the mass media in U.S. 1 in 4 people in the States connect to the Internet via AOL Time-Warner, the largest media corporation in the world. Are you’re tired of hearing about how many Americans have won medals at the Winter Olympics? Have you heard reports recently on NBC that the number of Afghan civillians that have perished U.S. bombs now equals the number of people that died on 9/11?

These are sensitive subjects and I don’t mean to be bashing our neighbours to the south but if want news, real news, don’t watch CNN or read the national newspaper. Turn to your web browser link to some of the international news outlets around the world to get the big picture.

Posted in News at 9:11 PM

Ted Demme dies of heart attack

Ted Demme, director of Blow and Beautiful Girls died of an apparent heart attack while playing basketball. He was just 38. I just watched Beautiful Girls last Friday and recently watched Blow. Twice.

The special features on the Blow DVD, an infifilm disc, were excellent. Like Cameron Crowe, I’ve always found Demme’s films to have a great soundtrack which makes them memorable for me.

Posted in News at 1:51 AM