Sunday, July 29, 2012

CTV and Britain's finest moment

There was a bunch of CTV hype leading up to the Olympic opening ceremony. That's fine, it's a big deal and they were free to advertise it.

The ads talked about comparisons to the Beijing opening ceremony and some of Britain's great history. Then, incredibly the announcer voices it may be Britain's finest moment?

hmmm Britain's finest moment you say. an Olympic opening ceremony. bigger than Trafalgar? more important than VE Day?

idiot CTV. who writes and edits the copy for these commercials? Great Britain has had great moments in its history. this over the top, overcommercialized olympic opening will not be Britain's finest moment.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Last Red Tories

A piece in the Comical Herald a little while ago got my attention. I was surprised to learn there is a pc party in Canada.

wow I can't believe that party exists. The tiny number of remaining Red Tories have fittingly found a Mulroney-era cabinet minister to lead their party back to glory. Good luck with that. 

No surprise it is a Mulroney era fossil. After all that's when the Red Tory era finally ended, with the total defeat of their chosen one Kim Campbell from which they never recovered.

Eventually Harper from the Reform Party took over and he had no use for the elites, the Red Tories. He tossed them all out. Joe Clark, Kim Campbell, Mulroney, Kim Collins, Maureen McTeer, Lucien Bouchard, John Buchanan, many more. These elites, while prominent, were generally disconnected with the grassroots and had led the party to electoral disaster. Look at Kim Campbell. So elite that when she was done with the school board and decided to assume her rightful place in parliament all three parties recruited her! 

That says it all about her ideology and the ideology of the Red Tories. In general they became comfortable with the elite consensus, where elections provided a "choice" between left of centre, the left of left of centre, and ever so slightly to the right of left of centre.

Alas the electorate decided it didn't need three left of centre parties. Let's review Harper's election record.

- improbably held Paul Martin to a minority
- defeated Paul Martin to form a minority
- defeated Stephane Dion for a larger minority
- defeated Jack Layton for a majority

What did the Red Tories accomplish electorally in the numerous post Mulroney, pre Harper elections? No wonder Harper cast them all off on day one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bad Teacher

I caught Bad Teacher on dvd. It was comical, laughed right through it. In the style of Borat, Ted, Horrible Bosses, Bad Santa. If you can laugh at crude, inappropriate humor then this is a movie for you.

Almost caught up on fairly recent movies. The last remaining are Conan and The Dictator.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I recently read The Fall the second book in the vampire trilogy. I noticed it at the library and picked it up.

It was a good book. A very fast paced read. This story picks up where The Strain left off with the same principals Setrakian, Fet, Ephraim, Gus, Nora, and Eph's son Zack; battling it out against the Master, Palmer, and the Master's fast growing horde of turned vampires including Zack's mother Kelly.

Only one significant character is added in this book, an aged former wrestler named Angel who appropriately fought as the Silver Angel. In the story there are a number of struggles going on. There is a battle over a key ancient text called Occido Lumen that may hold the key to defeat the Master. Additionally there is the New York and now worldwide struggle against the spreading plague of vampirism, as well Eph and vampire Kelly battle over Zack's fate.

For a middle book the authors do a great job of moving the story along very swiftly while sticking to the storyline. There is the expected amount of attrition along the way to be believable. There are still enough principals left at the end of book two to make book three The Night Eternal compelling. I'll definitely read it when I see it.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

flipburger opens in Halifax

I took the kids to Flipburger in Halifax. We'd been watching for it to open and checked when we went by.

We of course pronounce it with the N. as in flipnburger. sounds better that way.

it was a good time there. good lunchtime crowd on Canada Day. the burgers were big and tasty. milkshakes were good. the fresh cut fries were fine. it was a good experience there, we'll go back

Next by Michael Crichton

Continuing the Crichton reading I finished another book Next from later in his career. In this story Crichton explores the topic of genetic engineering and the ability of modern science to modify species, cure diseases, adjust human behavior,  using gene therapy. He also discusses related topics such as patenting of genes, and the ownership of the genes in our own bodies.

If there's ever a discussion of the worst Crichton title then Next should always be considered. This book is terrible. It seemed to have no discernible plot at all. Just a long sequence of unconnected genetic related events by unconnected people all over the world. He does make a halfhearted attempt to pull the storylines together in a sloppy and not believable confrontation at the very end of the book. But it was too little too late.

The characters are awful. It seems everyone is evil, hateful, greedy, selfish. He does make a good point about contemporary science though. Maybe in some romantic past like the heyday of Einstein there was some notion of the noble scientist serving only the advancement of human knowledge. Alas today there are literally millions in America and worldwide who make a living as "professional scientists". In such a large population the scientist is no longer a separate or special entity in society. Today they are just regular folks with the same shortcomings of regular folks, lying, cheating, stealing, underhanded dealing, deception, money chasing, litigious, concealing unfavorable findings, etc.

Ah the cheating. Going back to Disclosure and Prey Crichton has used marriage infidelity through his novels, usually as a key part of the plot. However in Next Crichton has turned it into the Getty museum. It seems pretty much everyone cheats. Worse the cheating seems to have just been thrown in for fun, unrelated to what little plot there was. For example one character Gail gets into a fight with her husband when their overly smart parrot discloses the husband has been bringing some slut back to their house. Gail storms out and then goes off to sleep with some colleague visiting researcher from Tokyo who she had cheated with before. Of course Crichton adds that Tokyo was also cheating as he has a wife and child back in Japan. And so on it goes throughout this painful book.

It was hard to finish and I nearly put it down. I did get through it for the laughs as I suspect Crichton may have released this book as a joke. It did make it finishable, reading it as an unserious work.

Like Stephen King, nobody claims that the later Crichton stuff is close to as good as the stuff from the early years. It is what it is. I get the feeling from the later titles that Crichton should have just retired from writing and spent more time enjoying his immense wealth in his final few years. Another step closer to done the Crichton project now.

Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

I finished reading another novel. It was Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. It was a good book. One of his early novels.

In the story an earth-orbiting satellite crashes in Piedmont Arizona and within hours all but two of the town's residents are dead. The book is the story of four scientists working in a special secure US government facility in their race to understand the nature of the apparent alien organism and what to do to contain it.

It was later made into a movie and that's not surprising. It's a fast paced story and there are many of the successful Crichton features. Plausible near future science fiction, scientists dealing with unexpectedly dangerous new discoveries and technology, chance errors and their unintended consequences.

I'm continuing to chug away at the Crichton library. The earlier titles are a bit harder to find in the library and I've still got a few to get through.