Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Straw Poll: Pro-Cancel Culture?

26-Apr-19 11:52 am EDT Leave a comment

On Net.Etiquette

26-Apr-19 11:25 am EDT Leave a comment

Recently, I had another altercation which has seen me withdraw completely from the chat service for the foreseeable future. Admittedly, I’m growing weary of the “clique” mentality that pervades the system, and in particular with the emotions of those involved somehow growing so completely out of control (from my perspective) that, initially at least, there’s little sense to be made of it. It’s not that the complaints people may have are totally without merit (although invariably they are coming from a what seems a narrowly-defined group). It’s that I can’t understand how something like an inadvertent breach of etiquette could lead to someone becoming so angry as to label another person as ‘evil’ or ‘irredeemable’ — particularly when the consequences of doing so may simply lead to others who don’t share their own extreme reaction as feeling uncomfortable or out of place. Another consequence to this are those who react this way becoming stressed out themselves, which is the last thing I want to contribute to.

I’m writing about this issue with a degree of historical perspective and as someone who finds human beings conflicted, irrational and difficult to understand in most cases. This can lead to intolerance, belligerence and worse behaviours in some; although I must make the point that this isn’t a defense of my own behaviour nor intended to characterize me as “the victim”. But a recent straw poll of those in my own life (and on social media) leads me to conclude the people generally feel that when there’s evidence someone has violated a convention or social norm they should be spoken to instead of ostracized. So why has the discord service proven to be so different for me?

Once upon a time, many years back, there was a form of what’s now considered “social media” called NNTP or network news. At the time, it was unbeknownst to myself and my first business partner posting advertisements or discourse related to one’s own business ventures was considered “poor etiquette”. So when we decided to announce our new consulting business opening up online, we were somewhat shocked at the response being almost universally negative. Here we were trying to make a valued contribution and getting effectively black-listed for going about it the wrong way. Of course nowadays, the NNTP-like service called Reddit is host to ads aplenty and the etiquette changed radically — not necessarily because people started clamouring for ads to appear at some point. Regardless of how it came to be, what once yielded hate e-mail spamming ones mailbox changed to “acceptable” behaviour.

This isn’t to say that at some future date streaming a discord server won’t go the same way. (It probably won’t, in fact.) But auto-streaming to twitch, YouTube or Mixer (or any of 50 other services) is growing in popularity and contributes value by donating content. It might not be the most popular content, but it is a form of content contributed for the general consumption of all. Add to this the streaming brokers like OBS or Mixer (I think they have a utility that streams to their online site as well as YouTube) or others providing a means of controlling how and what content is presented and you have a recipe for updates to influence what gets published; all potentially without the direct knowledge of the presenter. Or perhaps one of the hundreds of discord updates that occur every year impacts presentation in an unfamiliar or unexpected way.

And then if this scenario prevails and people’s voices were heard from a discord server in a stream without advance permission: we have an apparent breach of etiquette with evidence. It might seem perfectly legitimate to consider me guilty of surreptitiously trying to broadcast content behind the backs of those on a private server, right?

Ignoring for a moment that “secretly” trying to do anything in public online is at best contradictory and at worst outright stupid, the question persists does such a breach of etiquette warrant labelling as “irredeemable” or even being kicked out of a social group (even one online)? And without being given the opportunity to try to explain what might have happened or examine the evidence particularly when the offending party had thought he’d been given permission at one point to continue a stream with parties on the server in question present (although I’d taken such permission to apply only to one specific stream — not a carte blanche permission to stream all the content that would ever be posted)? Evidence alone as it appeared was enough all without context.

For these reasons, it is my view that discord generally needs to be taken down a notch. It simply isn’t right that people are targeted in this fashion. And I did speak with a number of others who’d either themselves experienced the “clique” mentality I’m speaking of or who had been banned from servers (thus separating them from social groups) on the basis of what may seem dubious circumstances involving many different social dynamics. But to summarize, I posit that a violation of etiquette is not just cause to start slandering or hating your fellow human beings.

Discord, for its part, may not be to blame here in any way. There are those who want to “burn the whole world down” and do nothing but cause trouble and mayhem. That’s why discord lets you ban people, fundamentally, I think. Another chat service several years ago called “IRC” seemed to not have these same problems. But if people react in a rational fashion to social challenges and use the technology in a constructive way I think discord could be a very useful and powerful tool indeed.

Right now, it just seems to promote cliques and clique behaviour. And I question who, if anyone, that’s helping.

I should at this juncture for my growing English audience (or so the analytics say) make a few quick points to address potential interest:

  • if I did a stream on the discord Elite server in question, it was more out of habit and typically with a mind to disable channel dialogue from making to the broadcast (although in 1 case I believe it was deliberate)
  • if a deliberate streaming happened, it was done under the following circumstances:
    • I thought I had permission to do so, and/or
    • I didn’t think it a serious breach of etiquette at the time for some mindless reason; and
    • I have streamed on other servers before, including my own without issue.
    • NO EFFORT was made to sneak it by without the group’s awareness (as should be evidenced by it being public, unless you truly think me THAT stupid)
  • it may also be relevant to keep in mind that discord visualizations (which until tonight I wasn’t even aware were activated) DO NOT transmit into the V/R environment without the involvement of 3rd party software, which I do not use; those who think the profile icons of users on the server should somehow have clued me into what was going on are incorrect
  • I’ve counted 3 cases total during my own investigation, thus far, where streaming occurred and these are, at the admin’s “cease and desist” request, removed. If there are still others unaccounted for, you should:
    • send a message to me using discord or, if you have it, my commander’s email address with the URL included
    • notwithstanding the above deletions, there were a total of 9 sessions auto-cast to YouTube from the date I first stated using the server, to my best recollection; most of which seemed free of offending traffic
  • I will continue investigating all content and re-post sessions thought to be free of dialogue from the discord server in question.

On my YouTube channel, there was one case where I’d mistakenly cited the availability of this server as part of a larger service offering. I’ve posted a comment to the video (with highlighted reference on the video itself using YouTube’s rather broken tools for text editing overlays) citing the reference and this correction, but I do so again here to come completely clean on the subject.

I believe it is important for all to keep in mind that each of us is human and quite fallible. Pointing out errors tactfully isn’t the problem, however. We’re all capable of mistakes and errors in judgement, both on and off discord. And as Facebook scandals continue to erupt (something that’s likely to persist for the foreseeable future), chat services like discord are likely to only increase in popularity. Hopefully, as this type of social media grows we can all adopt standards of behaviour and etiquette that will serve to keep people growing their communities instead of limiting ourselves to serving baser instincts.

Let’s try to end “cancel culture”.

Fly safe, commanders!

Star Trek “Mirror, Mirror” Episode (original Mirror Universe episode in old series) Continued

04-Feb-18 03:57 am EST 1 comment

n interesting take on the Star Trek (Old Series) episode “Mirror, Mirror”. It looked like a poor recreation of the original episode at first, but then took a 1960’s-style approach to continuing the story that proved interesting. Not sure, but it’s also possible the son or grandson of James Doohan (who played Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scott in the original episode) starred as “Scotty” herein.

Follow the Adventures of the FNS Quantica!

22-Jan-18 01:41 pm EST Leave a comment


CMDR Trium Augus, January 3304


he year is 3304 and mankind has started to explore the galaxy in earnest with tens of thousands of humans fanning out across the cosmos thanks to affordable spacecraft being made available to people from various walks of life: explorers, bounty hunters, miners, exothropoligists and many others.  Supported by other companies like Universal Cargographics, Cannon Research, the Aegis Corporation, DeLacy Spacecraft, Lakon Spaceways and many others, this intrepid group together with (the real) Frontier software development company has created an environment spanning our Milky Way galaxy, including 400+ billion unique star systems containing a smattering of eyeball-catching astronomical phenomena.  Herein, spacecraft commanders (CMDRs) complete on missions for starport or political factions, pursue community goals with galactic impact and/or further the ambitions of humanity in their own unique way, or just trade ferrying cargo from one system that’s in demand in another.  Against this background, you can follow the adventures of CMDR Trium Augus (yours truly) and watch the epic saga of those he deals with unfold.  This is just the beginning of a universe Frontier calls “Elite Dangerous” and is the brainchild of David Braben; who created an old game for 8-bit computing platforms (like the Apple //e or Commodore-64) called “Elite” back in the mid-1980s.  It is upon the legacy of the game (and its successors in the 1990s) that Elite Dangerous is built.

Click to launch INARA Radio player – which accompanies you playing Elite Dangerous!

Ongoing coverage of the events in this make-believe universe are presented in digest form here.  But I encourage every reader to visit The AppRefactory Inc. on YouTube as soon as you’re finished with content presented here.  My story is one handled in a video presentation that gains new contributions almost daily through the winter months and weekly at other points during the year.

Hope you’ll visit us soon!

Other background info on CMDR Trium is available at the following sites:


Other websites supporting CMDRs in the universe of Elite Dangerous:

Need For Speed: Leaves Need for Time in Wake

06-Sep-14 11:01 pm EDT Leave a comment

Need For Speed advertisement released in March 2014


got through the first half hour of #NeedForSpeed….and then had to turn it off once the inevitable accident happened; the one killing younger, inexperienced buddy pits the villain versus the hero in the storyline.  The event in question (which was big enough to rival a small asteroid hitting the surface of the Earth and bouncing back up into space) somehow left neither forensic nor any other kind of evidence and, of course, no witnesses despite there being a string of legendary secondary car accidents in the wake of the centre-stage farce.

I have a theory — call it amateur speculation if you’d like — about why this summer’s #movie season was the worst on record.  It had nothing to do with anything else going on in the world or in the #Hollywood universe.  Nor was it World Cup Soccer causing some kind of movie-fan-wallet-eating distraction.  It was simply that the big movie studios turned out total garbage this year…garbage like Need for Speed.  Spare yourself the bandwidth (to say nothing of actually visiting any of the B-list theatres still playing it); the only thing you’ll gain watching this is a desire for that time (and/or any money) back.

Handel’s Messiah: Staged Version 2013

06-Sep-14 02:18 am EDT Leave a comment

oly Messiah, indeed!  There aren’t many articles in the Entertainment category on my blog, but I’m a fan of classical music and found this unique presentation of “Messiah” by George Frederic Handel hiding in the YouTube database.  It’s a stunning revisitation of a masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest composers.


Handel’s “Messiah” (Staged Version), September 30, 2013 at Theater An Der Wien, Vienna, Austria

An excerpt of some of the more well-phrased reviews:

One user had commented that this treatment detracted from Handel’s work on (what seemed) quasi-religious grounds; that it “cheapen[ed] this fine work of sacred art.”  In response, a fellow enthusiastic fan of classical music wrote:

If I may politely respond.  As one who believes every word, given the source, I still applaud the message and the central theme and characters.  The music is outstanding, and while I don’t see them, the orchestra is truly outstanding in its voice.  If I were to see this as a Sacred Oratorio instead of a writer’s interpretation I could and likely would join you — as I did at first listening and watching.    Once I  realized the literary license employed, the central characters and theme and the outstanding performance, I cheered the members of the choir, soloists and the fine stagecraft — and the outstanding orchestra.  Please accept my comment with no negatives intended, and I can agree (and do agree) with you if this were meant as the original work.  The only part that “bothered” me was the failure of people to stand for the Chorus, *Hallelujah,” (Chorus, at #41 in the work), as the custom!  I have sung this as part of a choir and as a member of the choir — as choral literature it is outstanding and it is a favourite.  May I politely ask: were/are you viewing/hearing this work as the original scriptural work or as an interpretation of a funeral and the feelings thereof?  If the second, I can see from whence you come!  Know that many agree with you – but would your feelings be different if you saw this as a literary work of art instead of a “Sacred Oratorio”?  I  dare say while the music is scriptural to the letter, the message is solely and totally different, and refreshing.  I do speak from a USA point of view, so maybe I am one who “does not understand” this.  Thank you for allowing me a fairly long explanation.  I mean to support you, and at the same time cheer the work.

                                        ——Marc Barlow google logo

Among those few offering reservations about the performance:

f ALL of Handel’s Oratorios, I think the Messiah is the MOST DIFFICULT to dramatize.
Successful or not, this is a valiant attempt, and should not be thus discouraged.

                                        ——My Aw google logo

The Birds Strike Back….

11-Dec-13 08:41 pm EST Leave a comment

r perhaps “The Pork Strikes Back” would be a better title.  But whatever you call it, what self-(dis)respecting parody to Star Wars could you have without a sequel even more hilarious than the one before it?  In that spirit, here’s hoping the following brings a bit of Christmas cheer thanks to folks at Rovio:


Source: Angry Birds: Star Wars II–Boba’s Delivery trailer; Copyright © Rovio Entertainment Ltd., all rights reserved.

On Joining the “Pork Side”…

01-Dec-13 04:31 pm EST Leave a comment
Source: Angry Birds: Star Wars II–Join the Pork Side trailer; Copyright © Rovio Entertainment Ltd., all rights reserved.

n celebration of the Christmas shopping season, might I share with you fine folks something I found especially entertaining this year under the heading of “game software” for the Android, iPhone and PC (which still seems to have some of the gaming audience despite devices taking over everything last year): Angry Birds.

Reminds one of the forthcoming epic movies finishing off the 9-movie Star Wars saga, now projected to open in last 2015.  But next year promises to be another blockbuster for the Star Wars franchise leading up to this next watershed event (simply titled “Episode VII” at the moment.  Stay tuned for more info about all that and more here!

SouthPark S17E04 will not be seen tonight so we can bring you…

17-Oct-13 06:57 pm EDT Leave a comment

rom user “piccilo72” at



"Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers" was set to air October 16, 2013.[1] South Park episodes are usually produced in only six days and delivered to Comedy Central just hours before airing. However, on October 15, 2013, South Park Studios suffered a power outage, causing the staff’s computers to go down during post-production and leaving the episode incomplete, missing its deadline for the first time in 17 seasons.[2] Series co-creator Trey Parker wrote that "it sucks to miss an air date but after all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen."[3] A rerun of the fifth season episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" was shown in its place, with live tweets accompanying the broadcast.[4]

— quoted from South Park production blog; extra night-vision images of
production studio, taken the night of the outage included.

I guess the producers of South Park have never heard of backup power (a.k.a. “UPS”)?


On Mentoring

20-Jul-13 03:49 pm EDT Leave a comment


God bless Dilbert!

Categories: Entertainment Tags: , ,

UPDATE: Stargate Universe Petition Needs More Support

17-May-13 11:16 pm EDT 1 comment

SG_U Petition Support.gsheet


n May 7th, I published an article asking for your support with a petition to resurrect the Stargate Universe television series.  Support has been escalating, but too gradually.  As of tonight, the series will not get the 100,000 signatures necessary before production deadlines necessary for next season (the goal will not be achieved until March 12, 2014).

So get your signatures in ASAP!!!

Help Bring Stargate: Universe Back!

07-May-13 01:36 pm EDT 2 comments


ring back SG:U to the Internet by signing this Netflix petition (see link). Unlike many Internet-based petitions, this one looks like it’s being taken seriously….so if you (like me) want Stargate back – access the SG:U petition on and let your voice be heard!  (Do it anyway for me – ‘cuz there’s a huuuuge vacuum in sci-fi entertainment these days and it will make life suck a lot less for me and a pile of other people! ) | 2011 NHL All-Star Game | What Canadian city most deserves a team?

28-Jan-11 03:17 pm EST Leave a comment

o you don’t see many posts from me under the heading “Sports” (actually there’s not enough content here at the moment to justify having a sports category); but as a tenacious Winnipeg ex-patriot, I thought I should make my viewing audience aware of a little poll on CBC Sports’ web site asking Canadians to vote on what city should win the next NHL franchise.  Of course, the only competent argument that can be made in answering this question would favour the resurrection of the Winnipeg Jets — yes long, long before we get around to redressing any plans for the Québec Nordiques.  And since I want to return to Winnipeg at some point in the future and would rather have a city that’s happy and prosperous to live in ahead of one that feels as if the life  had been sucked out of it by a wraith or some other paranormal entity, there’s an element of selfishness in my wanting Winnipeg to once again have attractions (like the Jets) which offer both spectacle and excitement.

So cast your vote without delay!

Vatican “Avatar” Critique Unnerves Neopagans

21-Jan-10 02:28 am EST Leave a comment
Neytiri (Zo Saldana, right) teaches Jake (Sam Worthington) the skills he’ll need to survive as an avatar on the planet Pandora. (Twentieth Century Fox) Source: CBC News, Arts & Entertainment

here was a bit of a stir in Entertainment news last week which I wanted to post a quick article about….  As background, see this report from the CBC covering the Vatican’s reaction to Hollywood’s latest flick blending sci-fi and theology.  Following below is the repost of a comment I filed on the news story (displayed below the article itself; but within the CBC’s cumbersome web interface that makes it impossible to find anything):

I’m a bit surprised the Vatican saw the neopaganism of the Na’vi (the fictional, tribal, alien culture from which some of the film’s lead roles come) – specifically the idea of a spirituality centred on nature – as being the most vulnterable element. Well, actually, the reviewer’s not that far off-target…I would say the easiest criticism one could make isn’t that nature is the subject of the tribe’s woship per se; it’s that they’re given plenty of empirical evidence of an afterlife whereas the leading Terrestrial monotheisms demand "blind" faith.

Indeed, the Na’vi in general were probably far too quick to dimiss humanity’s notions of spirituality and automatically conclude theirs was obviously a superior religion. Of course, one wouldn’t expect to find many grandiose soliloquies exhalting the greatness of humanity while one-dimensional "jar-head", and uniformly psycho representatives of the future’s Military-Industrial Complex rather spitefully went about the business of enthusiatically repeating the mistakes of Columbus, Cortez, and dozens of others from the Euro-American colonial era. But the inability of Earth’s leaders to select competent leadership or learn the lessons of history (even the more obvious ones) doesn’t somehow diminish Earth’s religions. Not even Catholocism, which some Christian churches cite for idolitry, can empirically demonstrate an ability to commune with the dead — nor even demonstrate the Pope’s ability to commune directly with God (i.e. walk out into St. Peter’s square and summon God to appear in person, etc.)

But the Na’vi can! Well, they’re more into ancestor woship….but they have no doubts about an afterlife. They can visit it; touch it and even neurally link with it. Faith really isn’t an issue – it’s missing…

Strangely, the follow-ups to my post pretty much ignored my comments; although I did get 15 approval marks to 1 disapproval mark.  But readers seemed more interested in either thumping their Bibles or defaming the Vatican and its legacy over commenting directly on the substance of the Vatican’s statement.  Remarkable how complicated theology (including atheism) can make the simplest questions….

(My CBC website profile contains an index of my responses to other stories covered by CBC News.)

Categories: Entertainment

Beaker 2.0?

09-Jan-10 03:43 am EST Leave a comment

Well it looks as if the creators of The Muppets have up and either finally started creating content for the Web or are taking archival footage and posting it for the Web-facing audience.  Prof. Honeydoo and particularly his assistant Beaker were my favourite Muppet characters as a child.  (Really they still are; a symptom I’ve yet to mature.)

Check it out!  These skits are hilarious!

Categories: Entertainment

Missing The Merit in Meritocracy

20-May-09 08:30 pm EDT 1 comment
Author Walter Kirn, chatting on with Steve Colbert on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”, May 19, 2009.  Kirn believes that “higher education” is overrated and that society places too much emphasis on the brand name colleges rather than more useful soft skills that would ground the nation’s leadership alongside the every-day American.

uch like utopia, the word meritocracy derives a meaning from an inherently unachievable concept – or at least one immeasurable in absolute terms.  Yet the guest on last night’s Colbert Report, an author named Walter Kirn (who’s just finished writing “Lost in the Meritocracy”), judges the leadership of his country – the United States of America – as having deviated from some collective notion of meritocracy.  His is a commentary that expresses apparent shock that graduates of America’s noted institutions of higher learning (like Princeton, Harvard and even MIT) aren’t always the over-achieving elite that most Americans assume them to be.  He goes on to cite specific examples from the Bush administration – including ex-President Bush, himself – as lacking the mettle to govern even a mediocre National League baseball team properly, much less the most powerful nation on Earth.

Speaking as an alumnus of a Canadian institute of higher learning, I can sympathize with some of Kirn is saying.  But in Kirn we have another example of what I don’t like about the Colbert Report; the occasional mediocrity of Colbert’s guests.

Kirn isn’t saying anything radical or new here, of course.  That Universities (or Colleges as they’re known in the U.S.) don’t include world geography, or internal combustion engine repair in every curriculum is hardly breaking news.  That such institutions often judge students by metrics that are entirely subjective and that society, in turn, pays the degrees and the system of academic awards too much respect too often scarcely qualifies as an epiphany to anyone in the audience.  While it might well speak to certain deficiencies in the American education system that there’s barely an American alive who could correctly answer that Ottawa is the capital city of Canada or that Iran is adjacent to Iraq on a map when asked, it doesn’t suddenly mean that graduates of MIT are no more technically savvy in their chosen disciplines than Mr. Kirn or other average Americans off the street.  Nor does it mean that the knowledge acquired by economics majors at these or other ivy-league schools is entirely worthless, simply because the decision-makers failed to prevent this past year’s economic meltdown.  Kirn is only doing what his fellow armchair economists and pundits on Fox are doing: generalizing and over-simplifying a complex problem using incomplete data brokered largely by television in a vain effort to first believe and then express understanding they simply don’t have.  Conversely, it should surprise anyone that I can truthfully say I personally know a major of political economy who wrote a thesis a few years back wherein she correctly predicted much of the calamity confronting us in the markets today.  And she wasn’t entirely alone in her analysis either, I might add.

The key element missing from Kirn’s invective on The Colbert Report (and, I’ll wager, is also missing from his book) is what, exactly, ought to be done about his complaint.  Again, speaking from first-hand experience, I can tell you it would be rather difficult to eliminate all of the subjective metrics from the grading systems used in judging your average paper in Legal Philosophy.  Indeed, it would be hard to eliminate subjective grading from the average examination in Object-Oriented Programming theory – a technical discipline, most would agree.  For that matter, what exactly is the merit in the meritocracy Kirn is vacillating about?  Because, in the end, it’s going to be very difficult to measure success here, given that meritocracy itself is as achievable as it is different for everyone.

Kirn’s book might be entertaining.  It might even give some kind of insight into the Homeresque perspective of the average middle-aged American; or at least those in the demographic who are alike disgruntled about their Princeton experience.  Beyond this, I’m at a total loss not only to understand what Mr. Kirn might contribute to the discussion concerning contemporary U.S. economic and political leadership, but also of the 9½ minutes I spent watching Colbert’s interview with him.

And I desperately wish I could get it back.

Maybe I should simply stick to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and quit while I’m ahead from now on…

Categories: Entertainment


09-May-09 10:26 am EDT Leave a comment

he title isn’t just an overture to sarcasm; it’s an intentional warning too.  Don’t read what follows if you don’t want to know what happens in the newly-released movie Star Trek – because details of the ending are included in this article.

When rumours of the new movie possibly compromising the Star Trek franchise first surface, I’d thought it might be due to the cast acting out-of-character, or maybe the film being some cheesy cliché.  Rumours about a changed ship had surfaced to; would the Enterprise look too different from the original to be believed?  But the franchise has been damaged in ways far more fundamental by this new film: the destruction of Vulcan effectively eliminates all that has gone before and become known as history in the Star Trek universe.  The intention here seems to be to renew the franchise by replacing it with something different.  And while it may well be that the franchise needed renewal, I can’t agree that such a fundamental alteration of the underlying plot is the best way to go about it.

Without Vulcan, Federation history will be altered considerably.  With Vulcan civilization reduced to a colony of 10,000 survivors, scientific contributions of the species are effectively eliminated.  Vulcan diplomacy won’t play a role in the Federation for at least several centuries – well beyond the time of any of the past Star Trek series.  And then there’s the issue of why the future Federation introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise didn’t intervene to protect the timeline.  Vulcan isn’t supposed to be gone!  Where was the temporal prime directive when Vulcan needed it?

The only hope for the franchise that remains is that in some future movie the disaster that was launched this past weekend is somehow corrected.  It is sci-fi, after all.  Spock’s been dead before – and if you can resurrect a dead character, why not a dead civilization too?

Oh there was one cheesy bit that did leave an impalatable after-taste:  “red matter”?  Please!  Did imagination die with Vulcan?  J. J. Abrahms  did achieve the goal he laid out in one interview: he left the audience for wanting more; if only to fix this tragic mistake.

Categories: Entertainment

American Gangster: A Belated Review

17-Jun-08 12:10 am EDT 1 comment

It was out in fall 2007, but I didn’t get to see it until just this past weekend.  But what a pleasant surprise was American Gangster!  Starring Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, the movie portrays the life and times of former drug lord Frank Lucas and the remarkable career of Ritchie Roberts, the cop-turned-prosecutor who brought Lucas to justice.  The movie also documents the importation of heroin from Vietnam during the Vietnamese War and its near cataclysmic effect on the lives of many living in New York City during the early-to-mid 1970s.

The movie is a remarkable story left unto itself, but told with the exquisite talent of Washington and Crowe championing one through tale as dark and complex as this is, not only brings the story to life, but lifts it to the status of a truly great American epic.  And the characters being played – themselves alive and well today – comment on how closely their roles are portrayed in an MSNBC documentary just prior to the movie’s release.  Of course, such a review by those whom the movie portrays only reinforces the realism that Hollywood’s own "based on a true story" clichés detract from readily.

What critique I can only too humbly offer deals with the comments of the actors themselves in the follow-up interviews.  To anyone who has known or had their lives touched by drug addiction, the outright blaming of a drug dealer for the addictions of everyone else may seem gratuitous.  I can’t blame the actors – neither Washington nor Crowe have dealt with addiction to heroin, but like so many others in the world have very strong opinions on the subject of drugs and drug addiction.  And I don’t mean to say that addicts get what they deserve here either – but it must be acknowledged that deciding to use drugs to the point of addiction (opiates like heroin included) is almost always a mistake.  A mistake with many causes.  A mistake produced by human failings.  The lesson of this movie should be that no mistake – including those made by Frank Lucas – should be of a nature that bears permanent consequence (or at least without any opportunity of redemption).  And for the most part, I think that Ritchie Roberts, Frank Lucas, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington all share that view.

Categories: Entertainment

Funniest TV Episode in Years: Tsst!

14-May-08 01:17 am EDT Leave a comment
Eric tries running away from his new "Nazi" nanny, but it ends up being an unglorified and short-lived existence.

There hasn’t been a funnier episode yet created for television!  Although it’s now over two years since it first aired, SouthPark’s episode #1007, "Tsst!" delves into the life of Eric Cartman, the show’s lead antagonist.  In a successful, albeit abortive attempt to reform her "out-of-control" son, Eric’s mother and a dog-trainer-turned-nanny create a recipe for side-splitting humour that had me laughing so hard it literally took me 20 minutes to calm myself back down!  It helps if you know Eric Cartman’s character and are somewhat familiar with the show; but it’s certainly not necessary.  I urge everyone to take a look at this and judge for yourself.

NOTE: Viewers with heart trouble or who’ve experienced a history with cardio-pulmonary or vascular health issues should consult a physician before watching this video.

Categories: Entertainment

Dead Idea in the Dragon’s Den

14-Oct-07 10:05 pm EDT 7 comments

They seem intelligent, enthusiastic, young – possessing all the raw ingredients of entrepreneurial success.  And they’ve got a cool new idea for the Internet!  Doesn’t that mean it’ll make money?

I loved watching CBC’s reality TV show "The Dragons" in its maiden season last year and after switching out the female Dragon have another successful season in store.  The show pits 6 successful entrepreneurs in the role of venture capitalists against contestant entrepreneurs with fresh ideas to take to market, who, with cameras rolling, attempt to earn a fixed amount of investment capital which each of the Dragons themselves offer.  Of course, there are plenty of crazy (and I do mean crazy) ideas that seem to be brought on to the show for no other reason than to add comic relief.  But each Dragon has their own personality to contend with; and some are flamboyant, to put it politely.

The two UBC contestants who are the subject of my article tonight were, for reasons that baffled me, offered $200,000 in exchange for 51% ownership and decision-making stake in a currency exchange website.  I’ve learned to respect the Dragons – especially the 5 that have carried over from last season.  I’ve never disagreed with their decision to invest before; decision not to – a couple of times.  But this time, they’ve offered a lot of money in a website that they seemed to heap way too much respect on.  I could code a website like that – and it wouldn’t cost $200,000 – I guarantee.  But the lack of technical impediments aren’t all there is to say about it.  There’s a certain risk in assuming, as these folks readily do, that the cash to cover transactions will always be present in the system.

To remain solvent, the business has to ensure that whenever a person sticks $10,000 in the system, that there’s the equivalent in another currency already there to do that conversion.  If not, the cash stays in the system – and my concern would be, as an investor, that insolvency in the early days of the project may end up killing it before it can get off the ground; never mind the question of having too much of one currency and not another – and a whole lot of other complications not addressed in the segment covering these two.

In any event, the programme itself offers these and a lot of other worthy ideas – some of which might spawn ideas in the viewers themselves (like me).  And maybe one of those will be a winner someday to.  A good selfish interest for watching.

Categories: Entertainment

Stargate Atlantis: Returns Early via the Internet

16-Sep-07 05:24 pm EDT 2 comments

I wasn’t even expecting to start browsing torrent sites at this early point trolling for new episodes of favorite programmes (note the non-admission of any wrongdoing in that, law enforcers / policy-makers) not expecting to actually find anything and, to my surprise, Atlantis has already got two episodes posted to virtually every torrent site still active.  (Notably absent from the list this year is TorrentSpy, which signed an agreement with Satan the U.S. entertainment industry to eliminate alleged pirate movie and TV show torrents from its trackers.)  And needless to say, there are a lot of places on the net outlining details from the show, all to very loud howls of "spoiler" and "this is wrong" – even from a number of fans of the show who are opting to wait for the September 28th air date.

Speaking of which….


The noteworthy thing about the plot is that, at one point, the city, left hurtling out-of-control through space by an incident at the end of Season 3, encounters an asteroid field.   There are several issues with this that come immediately to mind:

  • even a city the size of Atlantis is infinitesimally small in the vastness of interstellar space; even without knowing the stellar density of the Pegasus galaxy (which I happen to have plotted on a star map near my desk), it’s safe to say that if Atlantis came out of hyperspace at some random point in transit between Lantea (the world Atlantis was originally on)and its original destination, the odds of it finding itself in another star system would be extremely remote,
  • add to that, even within a star system, an object the size of the city hurtling at some random trajectory, just passin’ through coming into contact with another planet or even, say, an asteroid belt would be exceptionally remote, and
  • given that contact with an asteroid belt were to be had – the field of asteroids would typically not be quite as dense as was depicted in the episode – particularly at the outer edge of the belt, where the city was "fortunate" to be passing thorough.

The above graph depicts the approximate density of asteroids at points throughout the asteroid belt (measured as units of semi-major axes in relation to the Sun).  1 AU = 149 597 870.691 km (±0.03 km), so each 0.005 AU = 747 989.353455 km.  Dividing this number by 140 asteroids establishes the number of asteroids per every 1 km of space (on average).  Not sure what the margin of error is at that point, perhaps someone would like to add that value, given the numbers presented above.

In the episode, "jumpers" are depicted flying through a dense field of what McKay describes as "building-sized" rocks.  Indeed, the field is so dense that the city is apparently menaced by many of these rocks impacting its width, which couldn’t be more than, let’s be generous, 10km wide?  Just to put it in perspective, our own asteroid belt, here in the Sol star system, at its most dense point averages 1 asteroid for every 5, 342.78 km.  In short, your average run-of-the-mill, back-home asteroid belt isn’t going to need a fleet of "jumpers" armed with a practically inexhaustible supply of missile-drones of the ancients to shatter hundreds or perhaps thousands of building-sized chunks of rock out of the way of a 10km-wide flying city that happens across it one unlucky day.  Were a field of rocks so dense to exist, it would likely accrete into a larger planetary form within a few thousand years.

In fact, I’d really appreciate it if sci-fi shows just started steering clear of episodes where ships of any kind are menaced by Kuiper Belt objects or asteroid belts because an increasing number of us sci-fi fans also are interested in, well, science and might know these things, offhandedly.  Oh I admit, I had to look up the actual density of the asteroid belt on Wikipedia, but I did already know that it was quite sparsely populated taking city-sized objects into consideration.  All the same drama could have been as readily achieved by placing a single asteroid in the path of the city.  This too, would have been extremely unlikely – although the writer involved could have said this random chunk was itself part of an asteroid belt and that would be fine.

In short, if I’m stuck with Atlantis as being all the sci-fi I have to watch until Battlestar Galactica comes back on in January 2008, then I’d appreciate the writers actually making some effort to understand the phenomena they’re writing about first.

Wouldn’t you?

Categories: Entertainment

Resident Evil: Final Chapter Imminent?

12-Sep-07 10:41 pm EDT Leave a comment

Resident Evil has been a passion of mine for nearly a decade (if not more) now.  And it’s sad to think that the latest movie depicting the Capcom original game might mark the end of Hollywood’s dramatizations of this saga.  Capcom too appears set to "cap" the series with a finale title set to the tagline "the downfall of Umbrella".  Are we looking at the end of yet another rich sci-fi dynasty?

I for one – apparently alone in my thoughts on such things (as I am with the upcoming season of Battlestar Galactica ending that series too) – would hope that baseless worry over the "dilution of the name" is overcome by naked avarice and perhaps a desire to continue feeding those hungry for good science fiction entertainment.  Indeed, one can’t help but feeling a little starved with the loss of Stargate SG-1, not to mention no Star Trek series about for the first time in 20 years – taking stock of it all, we’re in a bit of a drought here and there’s lots of room for sequels.

Already there’s a bit of a disappointment with the release of Extinction: to Jill Valentine this time around.  Her role isn’t properly reprised in the storyline until well after the time frame depicted in the movie, so it’s appropriate in a way.  But God I loved that actress and her attitude.

Again, all the more reason to give Resident Evil and Umbrella – one more go after this.

Fingers crossed….

(Review to come next week.)

Categories: Entertainment

Harry Potter Finalé Solved: The Main Character Who Dies Is…

14-Apr-07 08:34 pm EDT Leave a comment

Rupert Grint as Ron in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I don’t konw why I had this little epiphany last night, but for some reason I found myself awakening from a very vivid dream of the future (which I have from time to time – and yes, they’re glimpses of the future, wierd and dubious as that sounds…have had ’em all my life, but they’re always about random, mundane events which don’t ever mean anything substantial) and realiazed both which of the main characters the author J.K. Rowling has decided to bury along with the epic saga of the young wizard and his companions.  You heard it here first: you can mourn the loss of Ron Weasley.

Some other relevant details of my little preminition:

  • Somone (as if a voice from a radio or television broadcast) making a comment about controversey over the decision of elimintating this character in fairy-tale fashion because of apending romance between the other two lead characters; Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.
  • And finally, it seems Mr. Weasley isn’t quite British – he’s Welsh.  And it just wouldn’t do to bump off good British characters when there’s still a perfectly good Welsh upstart to sacrifice on the alter of an epic public ending.
  • Finally, this is – essentially – fantasy literature; a while there are no absolute rules to contemporary literature, the following Harry Potter has (which still includes a lot of younger folk) is going to expect nothing less than a fairy-tale finish.

While all the above are the product of things I heard and saw in my vision / dream or whatever….I’m making these predictions now so that it’s dated properly – and to see if my premonition comes true, as they do for the most part.

On the subject of my premenitions – they don’t always come true.  I suspect I do have some sort of special insight about time at a subconscious level which cant’ easily be explained.  In fact, there’s a possibility that my prediction will influence the outcome without me ever being made aware of it…because I’ve found when I’ve had these visions if I say or do different things than I myself remember saying in them (if I can) the outcome changes ever-so-slightly.

Anyway, hard to explain as I said – but I belive the future’s never a totally known thing until events pass into the present and then into the past.  But hopefully, no changes will be made as a result of this post by anywone blundering into it and the voracity of this little ability of mine will be put to the test (publicly). I’m doing this, in part, because people sometimes think me crazy for thinking I have actual visions of the future.   But when you think you’re in the middle of having an experience you’ve envisioned before so many times, you start to believe such things.

Fingers crossed….

Categories: Entertainment

“Taking a Break” Critique Answered: A True Fan’s Perspective

08-Feb-07 02:09 pm EST Leave a comment

The following was my ‘read’ on a critique posted to a popular sci-fi fad website concerning the most recent episode of a personal favourite: Battlestar Galactica:

I have a different view.

But let’s start on a note of concordance.  The Starbuck-Apollo love triangle (or is it a square?) is growing a little tiresome.  And it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that the actress who plays Starbuck (Katee Shakcoff) finds the role trying.  She’s being asked to play someone who, after all, is having very adolescent attitudes about romance and responsibility, yet supposedly playing an adult upon whom the hopes of humanity frequently rest.  What is that?  You’d expect such a character to be capable of experiencing emotional conflict while dealing with that conflict in a mature way.  And trying to corral Apollo into having some kind of ongoing silly (giggle, giggle) little affair isn’t very adult.

However, I think I have an answer for why we’re seeing this element in the script at all: drawing in women.  I think it might be a bit of a classic maneuver to see writers toss in a romance to heat things up for the girls.  Of course, guys would tend to be more drawn to the steamy interactions between Baltar and Number Six, but Galactica is trying to draw in main stream elements to stay on top of those ratings.  And, to be honest, I love it when I meet a girl who’s into sci-fi like me, so I don’t mind the idea in principle.  But I wished it would be undertaken in a way that was a little less obvious and, frankly, potentially insulting to the intelligence of that prospective female audience.

As for the rest, I thought the peek inside Baltar’s drugged up mind was sorta interesting.  Blair’s critique doesn’t address one intriguing aspect of this part of the story – what did Baltar whisper in Gaeda’s ear?  What is Gaeda’s secret, presumably an untold story lingering from the New Caprican arc?  While Baltar may be human after all and that’s indeed one mystery solved, there’s still another mystery to replace it.

And that’s how Galactica should go!  The way you get around the Gilligan’s Island phenomenon which can occur so easily in a story like Battlestar Galactica is to answer at least some of the questions as time goes on.  Nevermind Baltar’s status as human or cylon – eventually I want to know what exactly the phantom Number Six Balatar keeps seeing is!  Hopefully, that question comes before Galactica finally arrives at Earth….although, I’m not holding my breath.

                      — above posted to: "SciFyPortal Forums", February 8, 2007


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Categories: Entertainment

Casino Royale: Long – Way Long…..

26-Nov-06 04:42 pm EST Leave a comment

I love Bond flicks – always have, always will.  And make no mistake, the latest chapter in Ian Fleming’s fictional dynasty is another jewel in this crowning achievement of action movie entertainment.  An oasis of something really enjoyable that might make the average person actually want to get back into a theatre rather than settling for a cheap, grainy pirated donwload off the net.  But for all that’s great about Casino Royale, there was one drawback.  At 140 minutes, it’s starting to stray into "too long" territory.  And there were sure times when the new bond character was dewlling overmuch on the romance.

Other critics have paid attention to the blonde, muscle-bound bond being too thuggy to meet the demands of a dark, suave and mysterious spy character.  However, there’s plenty of action too and consistent intrigue to make the first fair-haried 007 quite believable.  His penchant for martinis even gets him in quite a pickle in the plot too.  Yes, there’s no mistaking this is indeed the Bond we’re all familiar with.

So stop those torrents now!  This movie is worth it – get up and away from your console.  And not because the MPAA wants ya to say no to piracy: but because it’s worth saying ‘yes’ to Casino Royale.

Categories: Entertainment

Ralph Nader is Cool

24-Apr-06 08:19 pm EDT Leave a comment

The Good Fight
Ralph Nader
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Dunno if eveyone who graces my page is into political satire, but if so – "The Colbert Report" interviews Ralph Nader, via online video at the Comedy Central home of this spin-off from the Daily Show.

Of course, this is just an excuse for Nader to plug his recent book "The Good Fight" on store shelves now, I’d expect at my sponsor –

(Incidentally, I haven’t actually read this book yet, so can’t reccommend it specifically – but I’d imagine Nader’s an experienced author and reviews of the book, favourable and otherwise are also available at the website.)

Categories: Entertainment

HBO’s “Rome”: Reviewing the Battle of Farsala (Pharsalus)

04-Dec-05 06:17 pm EST Leave a comment
I’m a history buff – and am especially interested in classical history.  That’s why this weekend when I fnally had a chance to look into it deeper, I pulled out my old Roman history texts and sat down and carefully watched downloaded copies of HBO’s new series "Rome" (especially S1E07 which dealt with the Battle of Pharsalus and its outcomes specifically).  And I was really amazed at just how historically accurate the series’ depictions of the figures were – a far cry better than what we got of ABC’s mini-series "Empire" which dealt with the second triumvirate early this past fall.

To help me visualize the battle in the area it happened, I turned to Google Earth and using the Paint .NET tool (a .NET attack on Adobe’s Photoshop, reviewed here earlier) I put together a composite diagram of the battle between Caesar’s forces (red) and Pompey’s republican forces (blue) – click the image left to enlarge.

"Rome" has just finished filming episodes for its first season, and it includes a drama around historical characters most of us know or have at least heard of from the days of the first triumvirate.  It’s soap-opera-ish presentation made it an acquired taste for me to be sure, but as with so many shows of its kind, once into it – it’s hard to stop watching.
The only difference I could find in the drama surrounding the Battle of Pharsalus deals with what happens afterward.  Pompey is, indeed, defeated and flees to Egypt where he thinks he’s got a friend in Pharoh Ptolemy XIII.  But long before his assasination on the shores of Alexandria, the drama plays out a scenario where he’s  intercepted by a couple of centurions who’ve washed ashore, shipwrecked by a severe storm along with 5,000 more of Mark Antony’s troops making their way to Pharsalus for the battle.  These two who are lead characters in the show, missed the battle itself but get picked up by the caravan Pompey himself is retreating with, on it’s way to Amphipoli.  For all we know, this might have actually happened, except that the show has Pompey’s wife, Cornelia travelling with him in the caravan with their 2 children.  And, in fact, it’s documented historically his wife was in Mitylene, a city on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean before, during and after the battle – although he might have stopped there and picked her up while fleeing to Alexandria.
Yes, I obviously got into this show in a big way.  But with the drama holding to the recrod otherwise so closely – many of the battle’s details seem to be dramatized bang-on too – it’s hard to be a history buff and not wanna watch a show like this.  Certainly, it’s enough to get over any trepidation I ever had about soaps. 😉
Categories: Entertainment

Internet TV Finally Arrives

01-Nov-05 09:18 pm EST Leave a comment
Well the ComedyCentral Television Network appears to become the first of fthe major cable broadcasters to finally offer free programming on the Internet starting today.  Clips have been offered now for some time at the ComedyCentral website, but starting today they’ve started to offer a number of full-length programs.
The technology used appears to by a blend of Windows Media Server and possibly other technologies (didn’t see any mac stuff, but they could be offering that via dynamic browser detection).  The name of the service is "Motherload" and extends a number of browser-based control features to let you decide what programming you want to see over the course of your session.
Programs I took in tonight while working:
  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • The Chapelle Show

Some of the programs highlighted are older (like Chapelle), but will likely get picked up and distributed on the web alongside the regular TV schedule as production continues through the fall and into winter.


Again, here’s hoping this is yet more evidence that the entertainment biz is finally getting the picture and using the Internet in a lawsuit-free way. 😉

Categories: Entertainment

BSG Season 2½ Outlined: Moore

25-Oct-05 03:17 pm EDT Leave a comment


SyFy Portal

WARNING: The above details a number of plot developments for season 2, so if you don’t wanna read ’em – just don’t click the link. (Or read the remainder of this article, for that matter.)

A number of details get revealed in an interview quoted on the SyfyPortal website today.  And it is verified elsewhere on the Syfy Portal site that BSG episodes, along with Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis episodes will resume in January 2006.  No definitive word on why the sci-fi television season got broke up into 2 halves like this….

Categories: Entertainment

Doom Movie Reviews: Off Target, but not Off-Base…

24-Oct-05 05:22 pm EDT Leave a comment
An update to the previous entry….
The Doom movie was about as big a disappointment as expected, but not for the reasons many of the criticis villify it.  The plot was certainly shallow, but the visual effects lauded as the only potential redeeming quality were very video-game-esque and, as such, one wonders why spend the cash on a nite seeing this movie when you’d get more entertainemnt (plot and all) just playing the vid on yer PC.  Gotta give this one a thumbs-down – which sadly is the average for Hollywood productions these days….
Categories: Entertainment

Doom: a movie review : Page 1

21-Oct-05 02:16 pm EDT Leave a comment


Doom: a movie review : Page 1

A rather unfriendly review of the movie "Doom", being relieased this weekend.  That makes me kind of sad – because, yes, I am a HUGE idSoftware fan.  But by the sounds of it, they’ve missed a lot of opportunities to make a really good flick (which Hollywood is foolishly doing more and more often these days).  Not sure I’ll be heading to the theatre to see this one, as I’d originally planned.  With one-liner-generated humour and no Hell in this movie according to the review, the only thing that might get me going to the theatre now is donwloading the pirated version and deciding it’s worth a big-screen look….

Categories: Entertainment

Entertainment Discovery: Red vs. Blue Comedy, an Internet Hit!

10-Oct-05 02:10 pm EDT 1 comment
There’s a hint of the future (in more ways than one) with this online hit I discovered only recently (as work has been keeping me crazy busy of late).  Now in its 4th season, production of Red vs. Blue (RvB) has gained fans from around the world and serves as a kind of prototype for how entertainment can be a success online.  Awarding high-resolution feeds to those who donate, "RvB" is able to generate revenue without suing its fan base!  (Imagine that!)
RvB breaks the traditions of TV programming in a number of other ways.  Episodes are short (averaging 5-8 mintues) and use polygonal characters generated by the Microsoft XBox game "Halo" as cast.  Voiceovers of the game avatars serve as the dialague, where frankly most of the focus of the series is at.  But the comedy that comes out of it all is very, very real.
I gotta wonder if the MPAA and Canadian Government are watching.  Here we have only one of several viable means for the entertainment biz to make its money online & without all the fearmongering and worry that accompanies the traditional business model.  Someday (not that far off), entertainment may well be completely solicited online.  The traditional Nielsen-ratings-driven approach of determining where ad dollars are best spent seems to quickly becomming archaic as the Web takes more and more time away from "the boob-tube".
The next big hurdle (perhaps coming sometime between 2008 and 2010) will be when the web overtakes TV for largest share spent by the individual viewer for entertainment.  Will Hollywood finally realize by then (only when it’s really too late) that suing people to stop ’em from getting their entertainment online isn’t gonna work?
Maybe Microsoft isn’t so crazy to be spending all this time and money on entertainment technologies…and maybe MGM and Paramount and all the rest oughtta take heed.  I can see the desire for them to defend their existing revenue streams; but in the end – people’s lives are gonna get ruined and the effort won’t make much difference in terms of slowing public demand for online content down any.
Hats off to RvB for making the future a reality online.  And here’s hoping this reprsents the dawn of a trend away from the courtroom and back into the job of making people laugh.
Categories: Entertainment

Sci-Fi in 2005: Two Acts, One Season

22-Sep-05 11:46 pm EDT Leave a comment
And now the question is  – what’s going on with this year’s Science Fiction on TV?  Advertisements have been up for the past two weeks talking about "season finales" for Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis…wassup with that?
Well as many have now guessed, it appears that there’s gonna be two segments to both series’ episode airdates…a first act stretching from the late summer through the fall (called the "fall schedule") and then another starting presumably sometime in January (best guess).  The source of this information is third-party, as I couldn’t find anything on Sci-Fi’s website directly:

Next Season Schedule
NewsDay is reporting that the next season of Galactica will be split between a fall and spring showing, with ten episodes each:

Sci Fi will show second season of ‘Galactica’ soon
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
By Diane Werts
Hoping to strike while interest in Battlestar Galactica is still hot, Sci Fi Channel will start the hit revival’s second season in what feels like record time. Ten fresh episodes will start in mid-July, on the heels of the January-to-April first season of 13 hours. (Another 10 episodes are being shot for winter.)
Its Friday lineup-mates, Stargate Atlantis and a revamped Stargate SG-1, will return then, too – the latter with Ben Browder and Claudia Black, much loved from their Farscape days, along with Beau Bridges and Louis Gossett Jr. For its part, Atlantis welcomes former X-Files icon Mitch Pileggi and North Shore hunk Jason Momoa.

Will forward a new airdate for subsequent episodes of Galacitca (at least) and possibly Stargate SG-1 & Atlantis, when known.
Categories: Entertainment

Will the media industry (print, film or otherwise) *EVER* get it right????

09-Aug-05 09:38 pm EDT Leave a comment

/me shakes his head….



Failing grade on e-books | | CNET

Yeah this guy’s pretty much hit the nail on the head, unfortunately….  And why is there nobody out there to do this properly and make a killing in the process?  Admittedly, the up-front capital involved isn’t small, but still – there’s plenty of other investiments more likely to be "throw-away cash" than this.

Plenty of others….

Categories: Entertainment

Scottish cities battle to be Scotty’s hometown

02-Aug-05 01:10 pm EDT Leave a comment

 Geek alert!!!!



CBC Arts: Scottish cities battle to be Scotty’s hometown

Yes this one’s for real.  Wonder what Doohan himself might say about all this fuss?


I’d be flattered myself – few other sci-fi actors are likely to ever cause such a stir…

Categories: Entertainment

BSG Takes #1 Spot in Summer Premiere Ratings

28-Jul-05 08:46 pm EDT Leave a comment

Can’t say it’s a big surprise that Battlestar Galactica takes #1 spot in ratings for mid-July; beating out competitors Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1 among others in all key demographics.  Plot developments are moving along more slowly with more episodes this season and it all appears very well recieved so far by fans.



Sci Fi Wire — The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

SciFi Channel also announced this past week that Galactica will be adding a plot element used in the original Battlestar Galactica series from the late 1970’s – the appeearance of the Battlestar Pegasus, which will add a whole series of new plot developments and twists starting episode 10 this season.

Categories: Entertainment

‘Scotty’ to receive space memorial

22-Jul-05 12:43 am EDT Leave a comment


CBC Arts: ‘Scotty’ to receive space memorial

Few have had such an honour extended to them to date: cosmologist Carl Sagan and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are the only others I can think of at the moment.  Jame Doohan ("Scotty" from Star Trek) is getting a burial in space.  Apparently, there’s a company in the US that does this…kind of expensive, but I’m guesing Doohan’s estate will cover it after such a long, successful career…

Categories: Entertainment

Scotty: “The word is given…warp speed!”

20-Jul-05 02:48 pm EDT Leave a comment
Farewell, Scotty: you will be dearly missed!
James Doohan (1920 – 2005)
Categories: Entertainment

Battlestar Galactica (2003) Episode Reviews: “Scattered”

18-Jul-05 08:49 pm EDT Leave a comment


Scattered, Battlestar Galactica (2003) Episode Reviews

Still can’t get enough of BSG – linked above is my review of the series permiere on

Categories: Entertainment

Trailer Park Boys (Big Canadian Comedy TV Show Hit) Uses Internet to Full Advantage

19-Jun-05 05:01 pm EDT Leave a comment

Dunno if this just has to do with the famous hospitality of the Canadian Maritimes, but I was taken aback by news on the web site for the hit TV comedy "Trailer Park Boys".  They have invitations to season release parties for the public at local Halifax pubs, and even requests for donations to replace trademark glasses used by the lead character!


TPB News

I’ve sometimes thought about moving out of Ottawa, as I did about 5 years back when I moved from Winnipeg here.  The experience has me a little reluctant to do it again – but if I did, it’s stuff like this that might make a place like Hallifax attractive to me.  There’s not a whole lot of this kind of thing going on in Ottawa…

Categories: Entertainment A Place Fans of Anything Can Call Home

19-Jun-05 03:59 pm EDT Leave a comment

Although belated, I recently disovered a gem of site at – a place fans of anything can find info and share/exchange views on their favourite TV series. 

And it does so in a classy way, unlike that expressed in the haphazard designs of its predecessors have.  To date, TV entertainment sites have reflected the design approaches perhaps favoured by the stereo-typical 10-year-old who’s mastered the intricacies of FrontPage.  Finally; there’s place one can bear to actually contribute in a community larger than one’s own neighbourhood to offer some credibility to reviews. isn’t undeserving of criticism, though.  Site navigation is still cumbersome in places – one can easily still get lost moving between forums and the home pages of their favourite TV shows.  The WSIWYG editor also needs to be implemented on (at least) MSIE…but it’s a good start nonetheless.

It was good enough for me to trouble myself with a contribution to the Battlestar Galactica (2005) reviews section.  Check it out here.

Categories: Entertainment

Talking about GateWorld – Battlestar Galactica: Season Two

31-May-05 07:08 pm EDT Leave a comment


GateWorld – Battlestar Galactica: Season Two

More BSG news today!!!  Season 2 spoilers are available at the site quoted above – the first 5 episodes, that is.  And they all look pretty decent.  But don’t expect many of the cliffhangers we were all left with last season to get resolved immediately even if you read on….

First airdate confirmed by Gateworld also – it’s definitely on for July 15th.

Categories: Entertainment

Talking about Battlestar Galactica Blog: April 2005 Archives

31-May-05 05:33 pm EDT Leave a comment

Just discovered that’s Battlestar Galactica producer, Ron Moore, has himself a blog that details (among other things) production reports for the second season of BSG.


Battlestar Galactica Blog: April 2005 Archives

Interestingly, another article in his April articles makes reference to a thread on the SciFi discussion boards concerning the ethics and politics of torture.  Unfortunately, my discovery is a little late to be meaningful, but it appears that he’s using some of the fan feedback as a basis for content in the upcoming season – an original apprach for a producer so far as I know in developing and writing for a major sci-fi series.

Obviously, as a die-hard BSG fan I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

BSG Season 2 premieres on the SciFI network on July 15th.

Categories: Entertainment

Talking about – The Hour

04-May-05 11:58 pm EDT Leave a comment

Not sure who gets content together for this program, but tonight’s show was totally over-the-top on the fluff-o-meter.

Quote – The Hour: Pop culture guru George Stroumboulopoulos’ performance in the CBC’s search for the Greatest Canadian was typical of what fans have come to expect: No BS.

"No BS"?  How about renaming the show The Glue Factory…to reflect the content and cumulative effects of watching it?

Tonight’s show went further to cast pop-inspired fiction as news, but the guestlist included the leader of the Church of Satan and some Nostradamus groupie predicting the end of the world was upon us with the subject of "peak oil".

Yes, the world is in trouble.  But getting someone who wrote a book about how there’s gonna be some kind of convulsive change because the oil’s gonna run out soon is just too much.  The issue of energy supply is way more complicated than George or his guest made it appear and I think it qualifies as really, really bad television – even for the CBC.

I like George’s style generally; although his sense of humour is sometimes a little off my dial.  So I’m gonna blame the show’s producers for its numerous flaws.  But someone oughtta get their act together and "keep it real" lest those of us with a capacity for even the most forgiving criticism find ourselves channel surfing our way back to Leno.

Yes, Leno.  There I said it….

Categories: Entertainment

Galactica Season 2 Production Underway

08-Apr-05 07:28 pm EDT Leave a comment

The second season of the new Battlestar Galactica series is now well-underway and the first episode spoilers have appeared.

No production reports are yet available (as they would likely already be were this Star Trek).

BSG Season 2 airs in mid-June 2005.

Categories: Entertainment

Trek’s Connor Trinneer Tepid On “Enterprise” Finale

04-Apr-05 11:07 pm EDT Leave a comment

The finale to Star Trek: Enterprise (ST:ENT) continues to get lukewarm reviews by cast members following cancellation of the series earlier this year.  At a recent academic seminar, Connor Trinneer (who plays Cmdr. Charles "Trip" Tucker) joined his colleague, actress Jolene Blalock (Cmdr. T’Pol) sounding critical of the final episode, titled "These are the voyages…"

"They did what they felt like they had to do to wrap it up," Trinneer said. "That’s not a ringing endorsement, I know."

Source: Syfy Portal

Trinneer further commented on the final day of production, indicating a demoralized atmosphere – saying that instead of wrapping up the series with a farewell party, "everyone just quietly left."

One can’t help but feel for cast members and the production crew.  I admit, I wasn’t thrilled with Enterprise at first, but the Xindi episodes in Season 3 caught my eye and finally had me thinking, as with prior trek series, it was getting good starting in the 3rd season and would continue to be solid through the normal 7-season lifetime.  Although I watched almost every episode in the first 2 seasons, I almost feel guilty about my original view somhow given what’s happened.  And I’m disappointed that Braga, UPN and Paramount coulnd’t find a way to get their act together.

And angst must surely be growing amongst the millions of fans who’ve had Star Trek integrated into their lives for decades about how bad the final episode will be and what impact it might have on getting another series started.  If it’s as bad as it sounds, there’s always the risk fans might get turned off Trek permanently.

And then the finale might as well be titled "These are the voyages that were".  For there may be no more.

The series finale airs May 13, 2005.  (See ST:ENT Season 4 Episode Guide for details.)

Categories: Entertainment

Grace Park (character “Boomer”) Lauded as Finale for Battlestar Galactica Sparks Emmy Talk

30-Mar-05 05:04 pm EST Leave a comment

Battlestar Galactica (BSG) finally is airing in North America, prompting laurels from Time Magazine and talk of an Emmy on one Sci-Fi news site.  Park (who plays the character "Boomer" on BSG) gets my vote for an Emmy.  And that accolade goes way beyond her stunning good looks – this girl has serious talent as she’s able to create subtle differences of character in the various Cylon incarnations of her character.

The series recently got renewed for a second season and is set to begin production in the next couple of weeks with episodes airing this summer simultaneously in North America and Europe if rumours got it right this time.  Packed with big-name stars like Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnel, there’s already overwhelming potential for BSG to grow to new levels of popularity for a sci-fi series.  But with the departure of Star Trek: Enterprise form the airwaves, I gotta wonder if the next couple of years BSG will actually grow sci-fi itself to popularity unheard of since the introduction of the first Star Wars trilogy.

Categories: Entertainment

BSG Production Schedule (Rumoured)

19-Mar-05 06:01 pm EST Leave a comment

Well that didn’t take long!

That’s what programming affiliates in the television agency have gotta be saying these days in the weke of the Sci-Fi Channel and Sky One’s joint decision to continue with a second season of the new BattleStar Galactica (BSG) television series.  No firm confirmation of this has yet been obtained, but a quick read through sci-fi forums on the net reveals a probable production schedule for BSG beginning on March 28, 2005.

Categories: Entertainment

Enterprise Production Ends: Series Failure Epitomized (Spoiler Alert)

19-Mar-05 05:02 pm EST Leave a comment

For those who care about such things, there could be spoilers in the following article…stop now if you you’d rather not know about matters related to the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

With the end of the latest (and last, for now) Star Trek series (Enterprise), there may be an appropriate send-off planned in the final production, now scheduled to air on UPN and its affiliates May 13th: is it possible the whole series was simply a Holodeck recreation?  Two big names in the land of Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (Cmdr. William Riker and Counsellor Diana Troi, respectively from Star Trek: The Next Generation / ST:TNG) are going to be playing their TNG parts in the final episode of Enterprise – this, according to Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek website.

Although the plot of the episode in question is a tightly-guarded secret, there’s a big fear amongst Star Trek’s fan-base that the series "Enterprise" may be revealed to be a mere high-tech fantasy recreation.  And I’ve been wrestling ever since first hearing of this prospect over whether that would be a big let-down for me personally.  There’s little doubt, however, my fellow "trekkies" wouldn’t like it.  The existentialist novelty over episodes that focus on holodecks has definitely worn off over the years – the point where they’re the butt of jokes even outside of trekkie circles.  The sci-fi market has been flooded with "virtual reality" storylines for decades now and it’s getting pretty tough to impress anybody with ideas around it.  The Matrix trilogy was probably the last time such a theme got anybody excited.  So is this the best way to put Trek on indefinite hiatus?

Already, fans are miffed about the series cancellation – despite there being some very sound business reasons for it.  And the letter-writing campaigns and the ongoing "Save Enterprise" effort are probably quite futile.  It was ultimately futile in the 60s when there was a remarkable effort to save the old series starring William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) and the gang, and that only delayed the inevitable.  Ironically,efforts underway now are likely to have less impact because the Internet has simply made it too easy to start "high-tech" letter writing campaigns.  Thanks to the ease at which technology empowers us to express ourselves, decision makers tend to take such campaigns less seriously than in the good o’ days of pen and paper.

So the series can’t be saved, and as in the 60’s when this last happened – fans are gonna be in a foul mood over the whole thing.  Does it really make sense to create a storyline that’s likely to elicit a "what a bunch of BS that is!" reaction?  Star Trek producer Rick Berman has been quoted as recently stating he expects Star Trek to survive and that it has a longevity to it that will inevitably mean the phenomenon will be around for a long time to come.  Perhaps it’s that arrogance coupled with a touch of creative fatigue that will really be the spectacle Trek fans see as their favourite show goes off the air for at least a few years.

And hopefully the bad taste of all won’t mean fans cease to hunger for Trek again anytime soon.  For without demand, it’s probable Paramount won’t offer a fresh supply of Star Trek episodes in the future.

Categories: Entertainment

Star Trek: Enterprise – The Real Story is the Finale

08-Mar-05 01:33 am EST 1 comment

Holy Crap!

If even 1/10 of what I’m reading on is true these days, Trek fans are in for the biggest shocker yet when it comes to the finale.  One of the lead writiers at the internet science ficition journal writes an article aimed at Star Trek fanchise custodian Rick Berman that’s tantamount to "F*CK YOU" and Jolene Blalock (formerly Vulcan Sub-commander, now Starfleet Commander T’Pol)tells the Toronto Sun she’s very unhappy with the ending.

And if you read any of the articles concerning rumours, get ready for major spoilers, and major disappointment!

And then there’s the ebb and flow of the letter-writing campaings and rumous about some other network being vaguely interested continuing the ST:ENT series – the latest of these SPIKE TV; which boasts a predomidantly male demographic, carries all the other Star Trek series in reruns at the moment and is owned by Viacom, which owns Paramount – which owns all things Star Trek.

Yes, the real drama here isn’t going to be the finale itself it seems.  It’s all that goes around it.  And I’m not sure if it’s an insult to the series or a credit to the drama-queens that run the franchise – I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from my monitor to read all about it!

Even so – as a die-hard Trek fan for over 25 years now, I’m finding the decline and fall of Enteprise vrey hard to deal with.  Reluctant as I am to blame Berman, I think Star Trek deserved better than to have a series end like this.  The wonderful people that worked on the show certinaly did.

Categories: Entertainment
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