Canada mourns a national icon

November 30, 2004

In Canada today, the top news story was not the first
official visit to Canada by President Bush or the protests that shut
down the city around Parliament Hill. The National led
tonight by announcing the death of author, journalist, television
personality, and all around Canadian icon Pierre Berton at the age of
84.

Berton is best known for his popular books on Canadian history, in
particular The National Dream and The Last
Spike
, the story of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Indeed,
Berton’s name is practically synonymous with Canadian history, and his
work has won virtually every major Canadian literary award.

In addition, Berton, an ardent patriot, was a Companion of the
Order of Canada – the country’s highest civilian honour, for which
only 165 persons at a time are eligible. Tonight, there are 164.

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Picture of the day

November 30, 2004

Yet another reason why Canada rules: American presidents have to come up here to get their picture taken with Mounties:

Not being in the right part of town, I missed pretty much all the proceedings. Heard some funny hearsay, though. More to come.


Oh my gosh, it’s not just a car, it’s a Transformer!

November 29, 2004

Michael King of Ramblings’ Journal has found what is now my third-favourite car ad of all time.

A new British ad campaign for French automaker Citroën uses CGI, motion capture and Justin Timberlake’s choreographer to turn a C4 coupé into a giant dancing robot.

(If you’re not bandwidth-challenged, Michael also links to a higher-quality video [MPEG] than the one on the corporate site.)

Scoring just above the Citroën spot: the viral campaign for the Ford Sportka in which cute little hatchbacks attack neighbourhood cats [WMV] and birds [WMV].

But the best auto ad of all time is “Cog” [QuickTime], a 2002 spot for the Honda Accord, which features no digital manipulation or clever editing, just a two-minute, real-time Rube Goldberg chain reaction of delicately balanced auto parts that took over 600 takes to get right.


As if rappers plagiarizing other people wasn’t bad enough . . .

November 28, 2004

Nickelback plagiarizes themselves: reason #5,238 why current popular music sucks.

Today I found a link to an MP3 file with two distinct songs by the Vancouver “alternative” band recorded into the left and right stereo channels. Or are they distinct? In actual fact, they mesh perfectly, leading one to think that perhaps they’re the same frickin’ song. Same tempo. Same beat. Same chords. Same long pause in the middle.

I know many (if not most) bands have their own distinctive “hooks,” but this takes the cake.

Don’t take my word for it: Listen for yourself.

Hat tip to Challies.com for dredging this one up.

“Fair and balanced” update: I’ve done a bit more digging and learned that there was a small bit of editing done on these tracks: one or the other has had its pitch and/or tempo adjusted. Of course, that’s still all it takes to turn “How You Remind Me” into a counterpoint for “Someday” . . .


The opinions of students and/or stoners . . .

November 28, 2004

are quite possibly the one thing more useless than teats on a bull.

What follows is my best attempt at an HTML recreation of a handbill I “liberated” this morning from a bulletin board at Carleton University after church. (Marc Emery is a major Canadian pot activist.)

[image of marijuana leaf]

SMOKE OUT

BUSH

ON PARLIAMENT HILL

MARC EMERY INVITES YOU TO
RALLY AGAINST BUSH

AND THE US WAR ON DRUGS IN CANADA

4 :20

EACH DAY AT 4:20

BRING YOUR BONGS, BUDS, AND BANNERS

NOV. 30 – DEC 1

MARC EMERY WILL

LEAD A SMOKE-OUT

IN DEFIANCE OF

BUSH’S OTTAWA VISIT

What, exactly, the nation’s stoners are supposed to be protesting is unclear, as Bush does not direct Canada’s drug policy; indeed, the current status of pot possession as a non-criminal offense is in opposition to U.S. policy. More likely this is an excuse to get on the hate-Bush bandwagon with the rest of the flea-infested crowd. At least they will be too mellow to smash windows at Starbucks and McDonald’s.

Of course, with a state visit by the President scheduled for Tuesday, the hate-Bush-for-no-particular-reason crowd is all over the place this weekend. I passed a cadre of hippie types this afternoon in Carleton’s Unicentre assembling placards with the usual slogans on them. (I snickered all the way across the room, but I don’t think they heard me.) An article in the school newspaper, The Charlatan (aka the Charlarag) complains about the timing of Bush’s visit because CUSA, the student union, can’t give protests their full support thanks to other pressing concerns, e.g. actual student-related issues on campus.

Also seen around town on telephone poles and construction sites: handbills portraying Dubya as Darth Vader protesting the missile defense, and Dubya as Alfred E. Neuman. Well, at least the moonbats have given up on the Hitler motif.

Bottom line: It’s going to be an interesting week in downtown Ottawa, to say the least.

Incidentally, I think my friend Rand has the right general idea.


Run that by me again?

November 27, 2004

Tim Enloe, one of the guys running the Reformed Catholicism blog, has decided to show us all how “catholic” he is . . . by cutting off communications with Catholics!

If this keeps up, the rC crowd is going to be so “catholic” they’ll be sitting in a small circle in the dark hoping no one else notices them.


Spotted in the wild

November 26, 2004

Every Wednesday, I like to post some annotated highlights to that week’s Christian Carnival. Starting this week, I’m also going to start highlighting some of the posts I’ve read throughout the blogosphere.

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has given up on commercial radio. I happen to agree with him on this one, having largely ditched both secular and “Christian” radio in favour of the (liberal) CBC, although to be fair, our local news/talk station is also not the conservative monolith that it appears Clear Channel is in the states.

Now that the two media behemoths Clear Channel and Infinity Broadcasting own every FCC license in the Western Hemisphere, commercial radio has consolidated into one monolithic blanket of banality . Even those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a major radio market (I live in Dallas/Ft.Worth) have few real choices on our radio dials. . . .

Fortunately, I still have another option available. There’s a place on my radio dial that I can turn to hear news, current events, intelligent conversation, and the latest on politics and culture; an oasis amidst the desert of the airwaves. And no, it’s not talk radio. It’s better. It’s NPR.

[Read All Things Considered: Why NPR Beats Talk Radio]

Tim at Challies.com righteously nails the evangelistic techniques of Billy Graham et al:

. . . I would like to indicate that I do not wish to discredit the 12,000 people who made decisions at the Billy Graham crusade or to cast doubt on their conversion, for that is a matter between them and the Lord. I also do not wish to vilify those who practice such forms of crusades. I wish merely to examine the concept of decision and altar calls in light of the Scripture.

[Read Decisional Regeneration]

Reason #55,390 why I could never become a graduate student in my own field, as overheard by the Conservative English Major:

“Yeah – committed Christians just can’t appreciate Milton. They are too wrapped up in their preconceptions of the Bible to be able to read it.”

“Absolutely. To truly enjoy literature, people need to stop reading the Bible.”

[Full Text]

Uh . . . yeah. If only people would stop reading the Bible, they would be able to appreciate the Puritan John Milton, author of what is arguably the greatest work of English literature: Paradise Lost, the epic about the fall of man as described in the Bible. The mind boggles.

Eric Svendsen at Real Clear Theology Blog tells us how we can get on the grilled-relic bandwagon and make some real coin:

A while back I wrote a blog piece on the exorbitant speaker fees of Roman Catholic apologists, and suggested at that time that it was the Roman Catholic equivalent of a “pet rock”-like money-making scheme. For those of you who decided that might be a good way to make money, don’t waste your time. There’s now a better pet rock that you can take advantage of. It costs much less in terms of preparation time and effort. All you need is a griddle, some butter, a loaf of bread and a stack of individually wrapped slices of cheese.

[Read A New Roman Catholic Pet-Rock Idea!]

Finally, Brian Micklethwait found a very striking photo of a Houston church completely dwarfed by a modern office building. (The church, incidentally, is Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest black congregation in Houston.)

Enjoy.