Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Reality Game Show.

There is a new reality game show in the Netherlands called "Big Donor Show," where a 37 year old woman dying of an inoperable brain tumour, will donate her kidneys to one of the contestants. Like all reality shows the audience may vote for their preference via SMS text messaging at a cost of $1.35. The producers of the show are the same gang who produced that utterly insignificantly boring show, "Big Brother" (There is no association between my humble self and that sleazy show, I've got much more class. Can there be anything more boring than watching a bunch of ill bred yahoos picking their noses and talking about their insipid lives using an impoverished vocabulary mainly consisting of four letter words starting with "f" and ending in "k" )
I don't know about you but TV has really hit a new low, what's next, a reality show where contestants vie to see who will pull the plug for a patient on life support so they can get their heart? I think that I'll just go get myself a good book, cuz if that's where TV is going I'll be watching even less of it than I do now.

Here is the full news story

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MySpace Outage Leaves Millions Friendless

Came across this little article in "The Onion" it's hilarious, but it's probably not too far off the mark even if it's satire.

MySpace Outage Leaves Millions Friendless

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Star Wars Redux

On a happier note here are some sites that you might be interested in reading. They are all on the BBC web site. Enjoy! :o)

  1. The Star Wars saga at a glance
  2. C-3PO's golden moment of fame
  3. Taking a walk on the Dark Side
  4. Star Wars' R2-D2 to collect post
  5. Star Wars stamps unveiled in US

Budget time

Our minority Liberal government has brought down their first budget and they've drawn their line in the sand. The biggest sticking point with the other parties is the income tax reductions of 950 million dollars, 700 million of which comes from the federal government to fix the fiscal imbalance. Don't get me wrong, I don't like paying taxes anymore than the next man, but it seems a tad illogical to go crying to Ottawa that there is a fiscal imbalance, that the provinces need more money for programs and health care and then turn around and give the money out as a tax break. I may be cynical, (which I am, as Jazz can attest) but it seems that they are:
  1. provoking the other parties to vote against the bill so the onus of another election will be theirs.
  2. painting the other parties as the ones who are taking money from the tax payers.
  3. buying off the tax payers with their own money.
So it is very possible that we will be off to another election this summer... just what we all needed. Idiots!

** UPDATE: Both opposition parties have said that they'll vote against the budget, so our friend Charest has a choice, change the budget (humiliating to say the least) or go for the election... rumours have it that it'll be July 9th... what a waste of time and money.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Star Wars 30 years after.

On May 25th, we'll all have to get out our Wookie suits to celebrate. It has been 30 years since the launch of Star Wars. I remember when it came out, we were stunned by the special effects and the drama. Let's face it the story is a common fairy tale; princess needs saving, farm boy gets the message and decides to save her. He meets up with some acolytes and meets his mentor who trains his powers so he can slay the evil... in this case a death star. On the way he meets his arch nemesis whom he defeats (but he'll be back) and finally saves the princess. Pretty corny huh? Yeah but it worked, boy did it work. Maybe because as a story it is the perfect archetype of the legend genre. St. George and the dragon, the quest for the Holy Grail, Beowolf and all the others.
So in keeping with the theme, here is some trivia about this icon of the 20th Century.
  1. The Millennium Falcon's design was modeled after a hamburger with an olive next to it.
  2. Director George Lucas originally had a contract with Fox for $150,000 for writing and directing Star Wars. But he cannily insisted on total control and 40% of merchandising - something the studio agreed to because they had no idea of what a phenomenon Star Wars would become.
  3. George Lucas wanted to do a Flash Gordon remake, but couldn't obtain the movie rights and developed Star Wars in its stead - hence the opening title sequence. Following the success of Star Wars, the owners of Flash Gordon decided to make a movie after all. Released in 1980, the same year as The Empire Strikes Back, it flopped.
  4. Luke Skywalker's name was originally going to be Dirk Starkiller.
  5. The Wookiee Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas' beloved dog Indiana - an Alaskan malamute.
  6. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, worked as a hospital orderly in London before being cast as the Wookiee. He was said to have got into character by copying the mannerisms of animals he visited at the zoo.
  7. The name of the planet Tatooine came from the town of Tataouine in Tunisia where the movie was filmed. (True I've been to Tunisia and there is a town called Tataouin)
  8. On the first day of filming in the deserts of Tunisia, the country experienced its first major rainstorm in 50 years and a rest day had to be called.
  9. C3PO was named after a post office which is located at reference C3 on a map of Lucas' hometown. R2-D2 is an abbreviation of 'Reel Two, Dialog Two'.
  10. Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, are the only actors credited with being in all six Star Wars films.
  11. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are said to be based on the 1958 Akira Kourosawa film Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress). Other characters in Star Wars were also drawn from the film including Han Solo and Ben Kenobi.
  12. Anthony Daniels was injured during his first outing as C-3PO when a leg piece fell off his gold-coloured costume and shattered - stabbing him in the foot.
  13. The reason why C-3P0 lets R2-D2 go in front of him as they enter the Skywalker's residence right after being purchased from the Jawas, is because the set guy operating R2-D2 by radio control kept on hitting C-3P0 from behind and pushing him down the stairs, so in the final shot, C-3P0 suddenly steps to the side, waves R2-D2 past, and the shot cuts out right before R2-D2 goes flying down the stairs.
  14. George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend Francis Ford Coppola.
  15. Harrison Ford wasn't an original candidate to play Han Solo. He was originally brought in simply to feed lines to the other auditioners. After watching Ford, George Lucas realized he was the perfect Han.
  16. In the bar on Tattooine (where Luke and Obi-Wan meet Han Solo), you see lots of aliens at the bar. Look carefully in the background of these shots, and you'll see a NASA astronaut in full space walk gear (helmet etc) walking across the back of the shot, complete with American flag on his arm. It's quite obvious once you know where to look.
  17. Luke's line "I can't see a thing in this helmet" was not scripted. Mark Hamill said this to Harrison Ford when he thought the cameras had stopped rolling. But, the filmmakers decided to leave the line in.
  18. David Prowse, the 6ft 7ins actor who plays Darth Vader, had problems filming lightsaber scenes as he kept breaking the poles that were used as stand-ins for the weapons. In the sequels, fight co-ordinator Bob Anderson stepped into the costume to film the lightsaber scenes.
  19. In the Death Star scenes (yes, all of them), whenever the Imperials walk, you can hear their footsteps. But when Tarkin walks, you can't hear him. This is because Peter Cushing (Tarkin) found his Imperial boots so uncomfortable, he didn't wear them. He wore carpet slippers, so you can't hear him.
  20. The US Post Office has disguised some of it's mail boxes as R2D2 in homage of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. In fact we saw one in Georgetown near the market when we were visiting Washington with the students. There won't be any in Washington itself, because since 9/11 there are no longer any mail boxes there. (Or because George is on the dark side ;o) )

* thanks to the BBC and Movie Mistakes for the trivia

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Great Shredded Wheat Mystery Solved.

Been away with the my students to Washington last week. Long days, short nights, not 20 years old anymore, kind of says it all. The students had fun and I think they learned something, they'd never seen Washington. That's what is important, me, well let's say I've been there 6 times. It's getting kind of old. We'll have to find a new city next year.
As for the Shredded Wheat Mystery, I think I've solved the riddle. The stores and the company were getting rid of the last of the old packaging. You know the squat square box where the wheat paddies lay flat, three by three. Now the wheat paddies are still three by three but piled edgewise so the box looks more like a conventional cereal box. I guess it takes up less room, or something. Still think that they should have kept the old model box, it made them stand out from the crowd.

Old Box

New Box