Weekly Reckoning: I’m Going To Make A Paella Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon. Has anyone else here made paella? It’s gobsmackingly easy. For years I believed that Iberian households spent every Sunday on the preparation and production on that most labour-intensive of dishes. Now I find out that you can knock one of those dishes together in 30 minutes. I made a vegetarian version last week and it went off without a hitch.

For tonight’s paella I’ve consulted my cookbooks and taken a prod at the world of online recipes, and so far I’m most amused by Jamie Oliver’s seafood paella recipe. His ingredients list includes “10 king prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger.”* That’s right Jamie, I’m going to pop off to my local fishmonger with some ethical questions. Sure hope I don’t end up querying a costermonger by mistake. The very thought of it.

1. FORMER CIA MEMBER THINKS TORTURE REPORT MIGHT BE BAD FOR CIA Well duh. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney spent some time reflecting on the situation and said he would torture people again “in a minute.” Dick, what if that precious minute is just too long?

2. THE MUMPS IS JUST ABOUT READY TO FORM ITS OWN NHL TEAM Sidney Crosby is the 13th NHL player to be diagnosed with the mumps. There are no reports on how many mumps Crosby has, but we can be certain that it’s more than just one mump.

3. RECORD HIGH DECEMBER TEMPERATURES IN SOUTHERN SASKATCHEWAN Really? I have not noticed.

4. UBER IS COMING FOR YOUR ESTABLISHED MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, REGINA The City of Regina is reviewing taxi bylaws in preparation for the inevitable arrival of Uber. What will taxi companies do when Uber’s alien ships arrive and blot out the sun with their sheer mass? What will we do when the Uber smartphone app steals the water from our bodies and sends it off to Uber headquarters, which is located deep beneath the surface of the moon? I think the city should take these factors into account.

5. 44 GUNS OF MYSTERY Regina police have still not recovered 44 of 52 guns stolen from Regina’s Wholesale Sports in 2011. Maybe the thieves are trying to assemble 68 guns?

*Also this: “2 small squid, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, halved and scored, optional.” I’m glad we’re not required to get ethical seafood answers from a halved and scored fishmonger.

Weekly Reckoning: Dimensions of News Edition

weekly-reckoningNews. What is it? How much is it? Can you pack five or more newses into a backpack? What’s the density of news on the surface of Saturn? These are questions that only a careful application of science can answer. Luckily, I’m a scientist. A scientist of news.

1. THE NEWS IS AT LEAST 500 DISGUSTINGS PER CUBIC CENTIMETRE As if we haven’t had enough of the nonsense surrounding the non-indictment of Darren Wilson (who has unsurprisingly resigned), it turns out that forensics expert Shawn Parcells, who performed a private forensics report on Michael Brown’s body, is a fraud. Apparently he picked up his forensic pathology skills “on the job”.

2. THE NEWS IS TWO GLOVES FROM SAFETY Brandon McKean, a black man in Michigan, was stopped by a police officer because he was walking with his hands in his pockets. If only he’d been wearing gloves, then that officer would have to be racist elsewhere.

3. THE NEWS IS COMFORTABLE AND RESTING WITH MINIMAL SPEECH AND LIMITED MOBILITY Mr. Hockey, aka Gordie Howe, is currently recovering from two strokes, according to his son Mark Howe.

4. THE NEWS IS AT LEAST ONE DEFIBRILLATOR OUTSIDE THE LAW Ottawa police constable Jason Mallett has been arrested for criminal harassment, improper storage of a handgun and theft of a city-owned defibrillator. Who looks at a defibrillator and thinks “I’m going to need that”? I’m also curious about improper storage of a handgun. Did he leave it in his Budweiser mini-fridge? Balance it on his hat? Tape it to his partner’s back? The news is hungry for knowledge.

5. THE NEWS HAS A FLAVOUR Beak’s Chicken, those purveyors of the greatest fried chicken in Regina, have launched a Kickstarter to fund their transition from food truck to a good old-fashioned year-round restaurant. Say, doesn’t that sound like a tasty idea? If you want fried chicken in deepest winter, maybe this is a project worth your pledge? Hmmm?

Lastly, here’s The Force Awakens teaser trailer, as imagined by George Lucas. Abrams almost messed the franchise up big time, but thankfully someone has the guts to present Lucas’ true vision.

Weekly Reckoning: Iiiit’s Reckoned! Edition

Welcome to your Reckoning. Please ensure that your chairs are in the upright position. Or just sit up straight. Posture is important.

1. WELCOME BACK HOWARD As hinted in the post-credits sequence ofweekly-reckoning Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck is returning to the Marvel universe. Largely remembered for his appearance in the truly terrible 1986 movie Howard the Duck, the titular character is alien duck with a foul (or maybe fowl) mouth and an unduckly attitude. The good news is in all this is that the comic will be written by the completely insane and highly Canadian comics author Steve Murray, aka Chip Zdarsky.

2. GOVERNMENT HEARS ABOUT THIS “CONSCIENCE” THING The federal government announced $200 million in funding for mental health care for veterans. Which, after six years of not spending money, is nice.

3. BEST O’ BOOKS! The Globe and Mail has released its list the 100 best books of 2014. I’m still working on the best books of 2011, myself.

4. WORST O’ HOMES More stories are emerging about Regina’s Santa Maria care home, following the death of resident Margaret Warholm last year.

5. MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE POOP EMOJI Really! It’s an entire oral history of the cutest electronic turd you’ve ever seen.

Weekly Reckoning: Animal Planet Edition

weekly-reckoningAnimals. We eat them, we fear them, we love them, we are them. They’re cooler than vegetables, livelier than minerals and cuter than the machines that control our thoughts from a pocket universe located in the far future. They should have their own holiday or something. Let’s make today all about the animals.

1. RIP ZOOBOOMAFOO The titual lemur of the PBS children’s show Zooboomafoo has died at the age of 20, which is probably a healthy lifespan for a lemur. He appeared in 65 episodes of the show and fathered nine children. And he did it all without even learning to read.

2. WHEN IS A TIGER NOT A TIGER? When Parisians exaggerate, I guess. A recent search for a tiger in Paris, which at one point involved some 200 police officers, was called off when experts realized that the tiger’s tracks belonged to an ordinary cat. Let’s inform the gendamerie about our ongoing Glass Tiger problem in Canada.

3. THIS STORY INVOLVES ANIMAL TESTICLES A recent study suggests that infanticide and biger testicles go together in the mammalian kingdom. It’s an evolutionary thing, though, so don’t expect overnight success if you adopt this strategy.

4. KOALA DEAL HOPEFULLY BROKERED While the leaders of the world banged out solutions to global problems at the G20 summit in Australia, their spouses met with koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. If we’re lucky, they reached some kind of agreement that lets hang out with koalas all day or maybe act like koalas.

5. RIP GLEN LARSON Glen Larson, creator of the original Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I. and Quincy M.E., has died from esophageal cancer at the age of 77. He looked a bit like a walrus and a lion blended together.

 

Weekly Reckoning: Peek Freans Edition

weekly-reckoningHave you ever tried to concentrate on putting together a web post but suddenly you’re interrupted by a craving for Peek Freans? Even though you don’t particularly like them? But then you start wondering about the name and why in the world anyone would call them Peek Freans? Then the phrase “Peak Freans” hits you and start thinking about Frean resources? Then “Freak Peens” pops into your brain and you start laughing at your computer? Fortunately this has never happened to me, but I can imagine the mental stress of the Freen-afflicted. Hang in there!

ARE STARBUCKS CUSTOMERS OVER THE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE? Well, are they?

PUNDITS GONE WILD. It’s ‘Lection Day on November 4, which means that my favourite bad TV shows will be pushed into next week by the juggernaut of American democracy. Here’s an enjoyable wonky piece on how these elections play in the political funhouse of Louisiana.

IS BEYONCE RELEASING ANOTHER ALBUM IN TWO WEEKS? Well, is she?

NOBODY LIKES JIAN. Last Sunday, the CBC announced that it was firing Jian Ghomeshi. On Monday the Toronto Star ran a story detailing the experiences of several women who had been assaulted by Ghomeshi, painting a picture of a psychologically damaged sexual predator incapable of understanding consent and utterly without compunction about his acts. His PR firm dropped him, speaking and hosting engagements (including the Giller Prize) dried up, and friends and associates (see Owen Pallett’s piece for a particularly powerful response) began to speak up. Teddy bear references appeared. More women came forward, including ones who are talking to the Toronto Police.  Now his former band mates from Moxy Fruvous have released a statement, and let’s just say that it’s not overflowing with support for Ghomeshi. I can’t imagine what next week is going to bring.

STOP HARVESTING! STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Harvest operations are 99 per cent complete in Saskatchewan, which means that you can stop harvesting right this moment, bub. Hop off your harvesters and run screaming through the naked fields, sacrificing your vocal cords to the corn king who dances through the sheaves in the dim autumn light. You’ve earned it.

 

Weekly Reckoning Of The Week of Reckoning Every Week Edition

weekly-reckoningHello! It’s time to reckon with things. Lucky for us, Pope Gregory XIII straightened out time for us with his handy calendar that lets us reckon on a weekly basis. Let’s get started. Which is really to say, let’s continue.

1. BREAKING: CBC DUMPS JIAN GHOMESHI What? CBC announced today that it is ‘ending its relationship’ with Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q. CBC won’t disclose the circumstances behind the decision, but Ghomeshi is planning to sue the Corpse for a nice $50 million, citing bad faith and breach of confidence. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes or who may be in the right, but I will say this much: CBC, you had one celebrity.

EDITED TO ADD: It’ll probably emerge that Ghomeshi has been doing some truly awful things, which will make my comments look insensitive and glib.

UPDATED: Ghomeshi posts an extremely detailed defence on Facebook.

2. WHO NAMES A RACCOON DENNIS ANYWAY Actually, I have the answer for that: Saskatoon resident Wendy Hook is the mysterious raccoon-namer and -keeper. Unfortunately, the labyrinth of Saskatoon bureaucracy has no provision for raccoons as pets. The Hooks have been pleading with the city, but it doesn’t appear likely that they’ll be able to keep Dennis around. Pity the Hooks and their pet Dennis, with his undoubtedly ridiculous little raccoon hands.

3. KULTUR MACHT SPASS Don Delillo, author of the po-mo classic White Noise, reviews eight seconds of white noise from Taylor Swift.

4. “THERE MAY BE TWO KINDS OF FEMALE ORGASM AFTER ALLThis is the sort of headline I will always click on.

5. WHO WILL PROP UP OUR BOOM-FUELLED JINGOISTIC MUNICIPAL FANTASIES NOW? The Roughriders keep losing games. Come on, Riders. We can’t go back to those pre-boom underdog days. Regina is a world-class something something. We can’t build a brand new stadium to house humiliation.

 

 

Weekly Reckoning: When You Reckon With The Week You Get The Reckoning Edition

weekly-reckoning1. STATE-SANCTIONED DEATH ISN’T CHEAP AND IT ISN’T TRANSPARENT. Everyone who’s anyone agrees that if you’re going to be sentenced to death by the State, the state to do it in is Oklahoma. If you end up getting shuffled off to their lethal injection chamber, you can rest assured that they’ve spared no expense in providing you with a state-of-the-art, $100,000 end-of-life experience. It’s now very unlikely that you’ll spend 43 minutes dying horribly on the gurney. Even more reassuringly, you won’t have to put with nearly as many nosy journalists; the new chamber provides only five seats for the press, down from the previous chamber’s 12.

2. REMEMBER THOSE PROTESTS IN FERGUSON? THEY’RE STILL GOING ON Thousands of protesters marched through Ferguson on Saturday to decry police violence and the broken system of law enforcement that allows uniformed police to shoot black youth in the street, leave their bodies in the sun and suffer no meaningful consequences. Meanwhile, I went for breakfast this morning at a golf club where I overheard three white guys make jokes about Martin Luther King Day, because they were dirtbags.

3. A LITTLE MORE EBOLA FOR YOU ALL. A health care worker in Texas who treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan has Ebola.

4. WHATEVER THE FUTURE HOLDS, HE’S NOT GOING TO OKLAHOMA. Oscar Pistorius, the girlfriend-murdering athlete who murdered his girlfriend in about as murdery a way as possible, may face the harshest punishment of all. Wait, he may face a suspended sentence or a fine. But we don’t know yet. It’s all about the intricacies of the South African legal system, which none of knows us a thing about, really. Is this even news? I just like a bit of outrage in the afternoon.

5. VICE IS INHERENT AND LOOKS PRETTY HILARIOUS. Here is the trailer for P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice. Come for Joaquin Phoenix’s muttonchops, stay for Josh Brolin’s flattop.

 

Weekly Reckoning: Troublesome Edition

weekly-reckoningTROUBLE. Hear me, people. There is trouble. Rhymes with rubble and tastes even worse (rubble tastes like McDonald’s). Are you troubled by this influx of trouble? You should be. It’s troubling.

1. HEY DO YOU LIKE TWILIGHT? WELL TOO BAD Rob Bricken of io9.com seems optimistic, but I can’t see how, because the Twilight franchise, that godawful horde of books and films that made the last decade so painful to experience, is coming back in the form of a short-film competition for women filmmakers. Actually, this seems like the best possible way to revisit Twilight: a series of short imaginative takes on the world created by Stephenie Meyer, and not a money-fuelled juggernaut rolling over our screaming souls.

2. IS YOUR SPERM SECOND-RATE? HAVE A DRINK. NO, WAIT A recent study has determined that even moderate alcohol use can result in low-quality sperm. And carbonated water makes your sperm all jumpy-like.

3. A BOX OF FLUFFY PUPPIES? YES Greg Zubiak was out walking in a field near Glaslyn when he found a box of 20 puppies! Yay! They’d been abandoned and left to contend with coyotes and the cold. Boo. But he gathered them up and took them to the Battlefords Humane Society! Yay! They’re stretched pretty thin right now with the sudden influx of fluffy puppies, so the Battlefords Humane Society is looking for donations of time, money and teddy bears, because tiny puppies need to cuddle with teddy bears, which is the world’s most adorable fact.

4. HOW’S THAT EBOLA DOING? GREAT, THANKS FOR ASKING Africa continues to be ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with 3,400 dead so far and the disease neatly outpacing anyone’s ability to keep up. Meanwhile, the lone US patient is “fighting for his life” in Texas.

5. YOU THOUGHT THE HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS WERE A GOOD THING THAT POINTED THE WAY TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE, BUT REALLY THEY’RE JUST TROUBLE, ACCORDING TO A WIRE SERVICE HEADLINE I guess some “Hong Kong residents” are pushing back against the “protesters” (who aren’t residents?) and the police are the voice of reason? Hmm. The story mentions that the protests are hurting business, which I guess is more important than democracy and human rights now. This is going to end up like Tiananmen Square back in 1989, when pro-democracy protesters really slowed down tanks, sort of.

Weekly Reckoning: Authoritardian Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon, everyone! Can you believe this weather we’re having? No. No, you cannot believe this weather we’re having, because weather is only the visible aspect of a system so complex that it embodies the paradox of chaos as the avatar of such an incomprehensible and terrifyingly sublime order that we can only understand it as transcendent perfection. It may be most useful to say “No, I can’t believe this weather, but I do believe in this weather.” Then, when your friend gives you the quizzical side-eye, hand him or her a little photocopied pamphlet with smeary illustrations and walk on.

Let’s have some news.

1. “CANADA HAS FAILED TO UPHOLD THE HONOUR OF THE CROWN” Strong words from Matthew Coon Come on Canada’s intransigence on aboriginal issues and our ongoing shabby performance on the global stage.

2. A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE AUTHORITARDIAN MENTALITY So it seems that a gay employee at a Taco John’s restaurant in South Dakota was given a name tag that said “GAYTARD” in big block lettering. Note to abusive employers: be subtle about your deranged bullying and don’t leave a paper trail. Which in this case is a name tag.

3. KIRBY ESTATE SETTLES WITH MARVEL Well, that only took forever, but it seems that the estate of the man who helped create of Marvel’s most enduring (and profitable) characters will be getting some piece of the action.

4. “BITTERSWEET,” MRS. FORD MUTTERED, AND DISAPPEARED INTO MEPHITIC CLOUDS OF BARBECUE SMOKE THAT HUNG OVER THE CROWD AND COHERED LIKE SOME GASEOUS ORGANISM OF PURE PROTEIN Rob Ford made his first public appearance since his cancer diagnosis at the annual Ford Fest barbecue. Reporters were on hand to collect comments.

5. PEOPLE STILL AWFUL A Saskatoon church cancelled a funeral after a volunteer told the deceased’s wife that they ‘did not want his kind there’. Apparently the obituary photo of the not-alive and not-likely-to-bother-anyone man depicted him wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt. It’s not clear whether the volunteer mistook the deceased for a gang member or just really disapproved of the creative stagnation that set in on the TV show around season five.

Weekly Reckoning: Turn, Turn, Turn Edition

weekly-reckoningHappy mid-September everyone! The leaves are turning, the weather is turning, and generally everything is spinning right round like a record, baby. In honour of September’s revolutionary axis, let’s read some stuff and let our minds slowly rotate over the burning issues of the day.

1. LET’S iOS. Good day, Apple owners. iOS 8 is out and haunting your devices already. What amazing/irritating features does Apple’s latest ghost in the machine have? Here’s a resource.

2. SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT OMAR GONZALEZ, THE MAN WITH THE KNIFE WHO BROKE INTO THE WHITE HOUSE ON FRIDAY NIGHT Apparently the 18-year military vet was just trying to warn Obama that “the atmosphere was collapsing and [he] needed to get the information to the president of the United States.” Good thing he wasn’t, say, someone from ISIS coming to warn Obama about the atmosphere.

3. THIS ISN’T TERRIFYING AT ALL Josh Barro wonders why American conservatives seem so enamoured of Canada lately. The most obvious answer – that our country is currently run by a reptile wearing an ill-fitting suit of human skin and hair – isn’t addressed. Seriously, conservative voters in Canada must have said, “Well, he’s not human and possibly not even terrestrial, but I respond to his fiscal policy/ revulsion to science/ diet of human orphans” before marking their ballots.

4. WHO’S GOT A GENOCIDE? According to PostMedia columnist Stephen Maher, Canada’s got a genocide, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it. Article accompanied by a profoundly strange photo of A Tribe Called Red.

5. SASKATOON TRANSIT IS A TOTAL MESS Feel like taking a bus in Saskatoon? Good luck with that; city bus services braked to a halt last night. Meanwhile, people who can’t afford cars are out of luck.

Weekly Reckoning: We Cull Lee Wreck Owning Edition

weekly-reckoningThe Weekly Reckoning is back. SHABOOMZ. Now your Sundays are complete again. Where else could you learn, for example, that the new Maroon 5 album is pretty terrible? Anyway, on with the reckoning of things on a weekly basis.

1. HASHTAG EXPLAINED Users of Twitter will by now have noticed the hashtag #EconomistBookReviews, usually accompanied by an atrociously neo-liberal summary of a beloved book (my favourite so far, via @AmericanStudier: “There’s no record at all of Sauron’s impressive record creating jobs for Orcs and growing the Mordor economy”). What’s it all about, you ask? You probably don’t want to know, but here goes.

In an anonymous review of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism – a book whose titles succinctly captures its premise – author Edward Baptist was criticized for “not writ[ing] an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.” The reviewer tried to make the case that slave owners had a vested interest in treating slaves well in order to maximize their own profit, which reminds me of a woman I met in Texas who let me know that “colored folks were happier as slaves because they were cared for”. The Economist withdrew the piece and issued an apology, but appended the entire review for our delectation. Which I guess is The Economist’s version of #sorrynotsorry. 

2. PUBLICATION DELAYED Margaret Atwood is writing (or will write, or maybe has written) a piece that won’t be published for 100 years. She’s the first author to volunteer work for The Future Library Project by Scottish artist Katie Patterson. Patterson has planted 1,000 trees in Oslo. Once a century has elapsed the trees will serve as the future medium for Atwood’s work, when they will be cruelly cut down and turned to pulp. I foresee a few scenarios: 1) in 2114 trees will be recognized as sentient beings and granted a full suite of rights; 2) the oceans will swallow most of the trees by that point, their skeletal boughs protruding from the cold salt waters of the Northeast Gyre; 3) starving hordes of displaced peoples escaping the NanoGov Mediterranean Comprise will have built a thriving treetop community within the canopy; or 4) we’ll all sit down to what we hope will be a literary masterpiece but will turn out to be a stream-of-consciousness rant against unscrupulous dry cleaners in the greater Toronto area.

3. MORTALITY CONSIDERED This is an incredibly fascinating piece about the unbelievable population decline in post-Communist Russia. Five per cent of the Russia n population dying between 1992 and 2007? Yikes.

4. PIGS THEFTED At this point I’m sick and tired of telling people to lock up their pigs. So maybe, just maybe, this story of pig thievery in Humboldt will convince you. What you do with this information I leave to you. *slips on sunglasses* *looks to the sky* *flies away*

5. TRANSPORTATION PRIVATIZED Hey look, that story about the pyjama-clad nine-year old who took back the means of transportation from the socialist tyranny of Saskatoon Transit has made Gawker.com. Not since Dick Assman has Saskatchewan been so famous.

Tonight: Ryan Hicks Presents Prairie Ocean

 

praire oceanAre you waiting in vain for Brian Wilson to come out with a new album? Ryan Hicks may not own a theremin or occasionally spend weeks in bed (as far as I know), but he’s definitely taking a page from Wilson’s book with Prairie Ocean, an album about memory, maturity and place.

The record, created over the span of a year and a half, traces Hick’s roots back to his childhood and youth in California and Saskatchewan. Full of vocal harmonies and Beatlesque bass lines, Prairie Ocean sometimes feels like a lost piece of dreamy early ’70s California pop (until you hit the crashing power chords of “I-5,” which feels like a Deep Purple interpretation of “Ventura Highway).

The CD release party for Prairie Ocean is being held tonight at The Artesian on 13th, featuring Squeeze of Scotch, Leland and Brass Buttons. Tickets can be purchased online for $15 or $20 at the door.

Weekly Reckoning: Who Reckons The Reckoners Edition

weekly-reckoningWelcome. A brief reckoning this weekend, for all your medically recognized reckoning needs. Now with iron and seven essential nutrients.

1. INTERNET JOURNALISM, PWNED FOR ALL TIME. Paul Ford of Ftrain more or less summarizes the viral Internet economy in just a few deft paragraphs. I’ll be applying for the job of Philbin the Meerkat, so don’t even bother.

2. YOUR DISTURBING NSA-SNOWDEN REVELATION FOR THE WEEK. Nice selfie, bro! The NSA is probably using it to spy on us all.

3. HARPER REALLY HATES STUFF FROM HIS CHILDHOOD. At a Friday fundraiser, Stephen went on a “full-throated” rant on the evils of Soviet communism and Vladimir Putin. Because nothing ignites a crowd like dressing up current complicated problems in the bright and simple livery of the Cold War. Hey Harper, you want to know the real threat to our freedom? Cossacks. No wait! It’s those Catholics killing Huguenots. Never forget the horrors of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

Right then! Here’s a fancy-schmancy picture of our beloved city plaza.

plaza

Weekly Reckoning: Blonde Revision Edition

weekly-reckoningApparently Elvis had blond hair. Please retrofit your memories accordingly.

1. JUPITER’S GREAT RED SPOT IS SHRINKING  One of the most amazing space facts of my childhood involved the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. I read all about it: a permanent storm, an angry red pustule on the skin of the largest planet, a reminder of unimaginable cosmic fury. Apparently it’s not as permanent as I was led to believe, because it’s been shrinking noticeably and changing shape over the last few decades. Who fed me the lie of the eternal storm of Jupiter? Was it Carl Sagan? Probably Carl Sagan.

2. DON’T MILLENNIALS UNDERSTAND RACISM?  Hah hah, millennials are dumb. Dumb like gravy. And racist! They’re racist because they think that thinking and talking about racism is racist, and that empty platitudes about equality constitute a serious statement about the world. Those millennials should all just go back where they came from, which I suppose is the luminous void of eternity. No, I kid. Millennials are needed to replenish our dwindling supply of cranky old racists.

3. GODZILLA 4EVER  After a ridiculously huge opening weekend, a Godzilla sequel is already in the works. Not bad for Gareth Edwards, who had all of one low budget feature to his name before this monster of a monster movie. You can read Jorge’s review of the film right here on the Dog Blog.

4. THESE PEOPLE AGAIN  The Royal Family just can’t get enough of Canada. And we can’t get enough of those long-faced castle dwellers who incarnate the foundations of our law and government.

5. NORTH KOREAN EXECUTION ONLY TEMPORARY  Remember the story about the former girlfriend of Kim Jong Un getting executed by firing squad? Apparently they’re really cutting corners on death sentences these days, because she just appeared on television. Granted, it’s possible to record someone as an electrical signal on magnetic tape and reproduce that signal at a later date, thereby granting the recordee a form of crippled immortality, but that appears not to be the case here. The lesson here is that North Korea is weird and that we can’t believe any news that comes out that vortex of totalitarian unreality.

Weekly Reckoning: Hatful Of Reckoning Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon. Your Reckoning begins… now. No wait. NOW. Hold on a sec, I’m just figuring out this here AutoReckon-5000 I got off of eBay… you know, you can start reckoning whenever you want.

1. HOW YOU KNOW IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY Austria’s Conchita Wurst, a bearded drag performer, won the 58th Eurovision Song Contest with the tune “Rise Like a Phoenix.” Yay! Also, can the Eurovision Song Contest be done now?

2. HEEEEEEEE’S GONE  Lee Marshall, newscaster, radio deejay and the voice of Tony the Tiger (the second person to play the character after Thurl Ravenscrof), has died at the age of 64.

3. A HEARTWARMING MOTHER’S DAY STORY WITH SOME HORRIFIC DETAILS  Imagine being reunited with your daughter after seven decades! Because you’d given her up for adoption! After being raped by “a stranger in the woods.” Well, let’s move past that to the bit where mother and daughter are reunited at the respective ages of 102 and 77. Happy Mother’s Day!

4. CANADA, CANADA, CANADA. “Woo hoo!” said Team Canada as they headed into the World Hockey Championships against France. “Uh, whoops,” they said later, after they’d lost 3-2. “What the hell?” said Canadian hockey fans, who still dream of Paul Henderson picking up Esposito’s rebound and sending those Commie hockey rats packing back in 1972.

5. WE ARE OFFICIALLY LIVING IN THE DARKEST TIMELINE  Community, the greatest show on broadcast television, has been cancelled by NBC after five weird seasons. From a Wes Andersonesque pilot about a group of misfits at a community college to a bizarre free-for-all of genres and ideas (examples: a Goodfellas parody about cafeteria chicken fingers, a paintball game that turns into five hundred action films, a clip show that featured only new footage), Community ruled. Except in the fourth season, when showrunner Dan Harmon had been fired and a pale parody of the show popped up in its place. That season never happened.

Fan Expo: My Photographic Odyssey In Photographs

This weekend I went to the Fan Expo Regina with Prairie Dog’s CNB (Chief Nerd Bullier) Steve Whitworth and MSE (Marina Sirtis Enthusiast) Carl Johnson. I was there as the official Prairie Dog photographer, and it soon became clear that Steve expected me to actually take out my camera and depress the shutter. Then, just to exert his will, he wrote on Sunday:

Aidan took tons of photos, some of which will land on Dog Blog over the next few days. They will be great.

And they are great. After all, what could be greater than Kay Pike/Jessica Rabbit, Kevin Sorbo, IronE Singleton and Tia Carrere in a row? Maybe if they threw in some cupcakes.

expo-13

This is a blurry photo, but it shows the unmitigated glory of IronE Singleton’s jacket, which he showed off with unironic glee. “Should I twirl?” he asked. Then he twirled.

expo-4

Do you have a mental image right now of IronE Singleton driving around town in an airbrushed van? DO YOU? You do.

expo-5

Also also of note: I can’t post pictures of Tia Carrere because certain people whose names rhyme with Schmeve and Schmarl want to use those photos for their own dark amusements blog posts.

The real attractions at the Fan Expo, of course, were the fans and their incredible costumes.

Continue reading “Fan Expo: My Photographic Odyssey In Photographs”

Weekly Reckoning: You Won’t Believe What’s Reckoned Next Edition

weekly-reckoning‘Sup? I found two beetles on my kitchen floor this morning as I was sweeping up. One of them scuttled for the corner but the other ran straight into the dustbin, which gave me little choice but to dump him into the garbage along with everything else. That’s evolution in action, folks. One will go on to found a line of successful Corner Beetles, the other a genetic dynasty of insects that enjoy hanging out in little piles of coffee grounds and cat hair. Anyway, let’s reckon with a few things.

1. GRAVE OF E.T. DISCOVERED  One of the most enduring stories in videogame history appears to be true after all. Back in the early ’80s, Atari’s legendarily awful E.T: The Extra Terrestrial tie-in game was rushed to market in order to take advantage of the movie’s popularity. The game proved to be so unplayable that thousands of unsold copies were said to have been dumped in a concrete-covered landfill somewhere in New Mexico. Well what do you know.

2. APPARENTLY BEATING WOMEN IS ALL PART OF THE AMERICAN DREAM  Entrepreneur and woman beater Gurbaksh Chahal, who was caught on video hitting  his girlfriend 117 times over the course of a half-hour, managed to escape jail time but has been booted from the board of his company. His defense, apparently, is that he “lost his temper” becasue  his girlfriend was sleeping with other people for money. That’s right, the old “I didn’t do it and anyway she was a whore so if I did happen to beat her brutally, you understand” defense. To sum up: Bam*117=Justified. He also mentions the American Dream for some reason.

3. AT LEAST YOU CAN’T PUT A COPYRIGHT ON IRONY  I keep on coming back to this story because I can’t quite believe it. But here it is anyway: publishers Lawrence & Wishart are claiming that the Marxist Internet Archive is infringing on the company’s intellectual property by hosting works from the 50-volume “Marx Engels Collected Works.” I would have thought that Marx and Engels’ writings would have passed into the public domain long ago, but intellectual property and copyright is a tangled and thorny issue, and most attempts to navigate through it end up in torn clothes and deep scratches and insect bites. The Archive has promised to delete all the offending texts by May 1, which some of you may know as International Workers Day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry into my means of production.

4. WHOOPS  It seems that some of the bodies sent home to families after the South Korean ferry disaster were, um, not the right bodies.

5. INCREASINGLY EFFICIENT CHURCH REPORTS 100% INCREASE IN WEEKEND CANONIZATION RATES  Pope Paul XXIII and John Paul II were canonized this weekend. John Paul II celebrated by killing a guy.

BONUS FOOTWEAR SIGHTING  I saw this shoe on a fence on 14th Avenue yesterday. Better claim it if it’s yours.

through the fence

Weekly Reckoning: Three-day Recharge Edition

weekly-reckoningWelcome everyone! It’s a turkey kind of day in which we all celebrate the horrific death and miraculous return of Jesus. It’s the day when we hide candy and chocolates around the house in the hope that the Son of God will show up to collect them, whereupon we can trap him and drag the secret of resurrection from his weary body. As usual, though, children descended on the hidden treats and carried them off to their nests of blanket scraps and spring bracken. Stupid kids.

Of course, that’s only if you’re Christian. Secular types take the weekend to commemorate the death of Officer Alex J. Murphy and his rebirth as Robocop.

1. GOODBYE ALASTAIR MACLEOD  One of Canada’s greatest writers died this weekend at 77. MacLeod was born in North Battleford and grew up in Nova Scotia (aka. “watery Saskatchewan”). He published three collections of short stories and one novel. At my wedding, my father quoted from MacLeod’s work and the words were so simple, clear and beautiful that they were almost impossible to hear. If Jesus returns this Easter Sunday, I picture him passing MacLeod on the way and stopping for a while, just for the pleasure of his company.

2. ALSO, HAPPY 4/20 DAY  In a delightful twist sure to make certain people very happy, Easter Sunday falls on April 20 this year, or 4/20 Day, which is everyone’s day to celebrate the healing/relaxing/whatevering powers of cannabis. Pro-marijuana activists hit Parliament Hill today to promote pro-pot policy and generally do their thing, which is smoke marijuana (read prairie dog’s “The State of Pot 2014” for some excellent coverage of the topic). One day, and I think it’ll be soon, people will shake their heads in amazement that people ever had to rally to promote marijuana usage. They’ll also shake their heads because the air will be so thick with pot smoke that no one will be able to see. That’s right, hippies: marijuana cigarettes will make you go blind.

3. BACK IN BLACK, ORPHAN-STYLE  Is this news? I’m not sure, but the second season of Orphan Black, starring Regina’s Tatiana Maslaney, Tatania Maslaney, Tatania Maslaney, Tatania Maslaney and Tatania Maslaney, premiered last night and it was probably the best episode yet. Everyone agrees with me because I’m right. I look forward to upcoming guest appearances from Tatiana Maslaney.

4. LITERALLY THE BEST NEWS I’VE HEARD TODAY  If you’re an unforgiving grammar jerk like me, you can’t handle the endless misuse of the word “literally” (on the other hand, you may be the forgiving kind, choosing to see it as an example of linguistic exuberance), there’s a Chrome browser extension that will turn every instance of “literally” into “figuratively.” I am literally imagining this right now.

5. A POSSIBLE CANDIDATE FOR IMMORTALITY Do you, like me, suspect that Queen Elizabeth may never die? That she simply sheds old bodies and climbs into new ones, and by that method has ruled over Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Normans for the last millennium? Anyway, her current shell turns 88 tomorrow.

Weekly Reckoning: Too Much Showgirls Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon. I write to you from what remains of my crumbled psyche. Last week I read a book on Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven’s softcore exploitation film from 1995. The book maintains that Showgirls doesn’t suck (the book is even titled It Doesn’t Suck). So I sat down and watched it. Then I watched the 2012 sequel Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven, which posits that the world of dance is secretly controlled by sleazy Theosophists.

The book is wrong, by the way: that film sucks.

1. A PATHOGEN IN EVERY POT  Feeling comfortable? Good. Here’s a terrifying article about diseases escaping from labs.

2. AND A VAGINA IN EVERY PATIENT  Are you bummed out over being biologically female but born without a vagina? Worry no more! Scientists have successfully grown and implanted four vaginas using the patients’ own cells, and everything seems hunky dory so far.

3. LET’S MAKE A VENN DIAGRAM OUT OF THIS ONE  If you’re wondering whether you like booze, first ask yourself if you’re a Saskatchewan resident. Chances are, one positive answer will entail the other. Now go buy more booze and keep this economic boom going.

4. TWO HOUSES, COMPLETELY UNALIKE IN DIGNITY  On Buzzfeed, Drew Philp explains at fascinating length why he bought a house in Detroit for $500; meanwhile, Thomas Frank blames America’s domestic and foreign policy woes on suburban McMansions. And he’s right. Those houses suck more than Showgirls.

5. FINALLY, A REASON TO STAY UP LATE ON TUESDAY  Don’t go to bed after The Tonight Show on Tuesday. Why? Celestial magic, that’s why. We naked apes of the sublunar plane will be witness to the massive clockwork of the cosmos when the moon, earth and sun align, transforming the moon into a baleful orange eye staring down at us in pitiless judgment. We call it a lunar eclipse and it gets going around 2:00 a.m. EDT.

Weekly Reckoning: The Captain America Sequel Was Pretty Cool Edition

weekly-reckoningAnd that’s how you review a movie in the title of a blog post (for a proper review, read Jorge’s take on Captain America in the current issue). On with the aggregation, which fulfills the Internet’s function as a gigantic virtual washing machine that agitates and agitates the information without ever quite getting the stuff clean.

1. MAYBE WE’LL GET TO VIEW ALL OF THE POPE’S DOODLES IN THE MARGINS OF HIS ZANE GREY PAPERBACKS The Vatican Apostolic Library, which has taken notice of that thing of which Peter Mansbridge once said, “it’s called Internet,” is digitizing an impressive 41 million pages of documents from its library. That’s 82,000 manuscripts, people.

2. NATURALIST PETER MATHIESSEN RETURNS HIS COMPONENTS TO NATURE Peter Mathiessen, who wrote some of the greatest books on nature (as well as some kick-ass novels) I’ve  been had the pleasure of reading, died on Saturday at the age of 86. He’s probably best known for The Snow Leopard, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and the novel At Play in the Fields of the Lord.  You can read some of his work for free right over at The New Yorker.

3. OMG GUYZ TEH SEX ON TEH CABLE TEVELISHUN Salon.com, the once informative and enjoyable site now reduced to a species of dreary leftist clickbait, is worried about all the sex on the new season of Game of Thrones. To be fair, the article seems as weary of the topic as the rest of us. But there’s an interesting notion buried in the article about the creative latitude involved in adapting George R.R. Martin’s work (which can be summarized thusly: “Can we stage this scene with everyone naked? How about just the woman naked? Can we turn it into a bloodbath then? Okay.”).

4. CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A COMPLETE JOKE OF A PRESIDENT George W. Bush, who is not done embarrassing us all with his presence on Earth, has  started painting portraits of world leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair and Angela Merkel.

5. BUT WHAT ARE THOSE SEASHELLS FOR? This isn’t news, exactly, but I’m fascinated by Japanese toilets and their advanced butt-cleaning technology. So is the author of this article. Maybe he’s a little too fascinated? You be the judge. Maybe North Americans are too horrified by excretion to lend additional pleasure and comfort to the act.