Friday, 24 March 2006

Now this is kind of frightening...This story appeared on yesterday, and reading it kind of freaked me out. It seems, in a nutshell, that there are bills up for consideration by Congress that would make it a felony to be in the US illegally. At first I thought, well that's not unusual, being in the country illegally is already against the law, they're just making the penalties stiffer. It turns out that in one case, the bill would require all illegal immigrants, of which there are thousands upon thousands apparently, to leave the country within five years. At the end of the five years, any illegals could be arrested on felony charges. In some states, three felony convictions means life in prison. Another bill advocates denying state services to illegals. I assume that means medical services. So some people, who may have been living peacefully down there for years and years would have to choose between leaving immediately, or waiting until they need to leave to get medical treatment or risk imprisonment. It is messed up down there right now.

On a happier note, soccer starts again tonight. The Incredibles first pre-season game kicks off at 6PM against an unknown, but surely inferior opponent.

Saturday, 18 March 2006

It's a little long, but those legs are mesmerising. (No, I will NOT use a 'z') It's called the Big Dog, apparently, and it's supposedly being developed for the US Army. I've seen it described as looking like two guys carrying a couch, but make no mistake, it's a robot...
Watch for when the guy tries to kick it over. Amazing.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

I saw on the 'news' tonight that John Travolta has been slated to play JR Ewing in the Dallas Movie. I can't even begin to see how a Dallas movie has any chance of being a hit, or why anyone thought it was even something that should have ever been considered as a movie at any time anyway. The Blockbusterisation of 80's television shows is so hot right now of course, remembering that Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell are about to mess it up big time as Crockett and Tubbs. And I can't imagine what Willie Nelson thinks about in the dark times now, after being a part of the new Dukes of Hazzard. A chill passed through me, therefore, as I was reminded that a 'redux' of my second favourite show is continually rumoured to be in the works. Once a year it seems, an updated version of Magnum P.I. is whispered to be just around the corner, with George Clooney most recently tipped to don the Hawaiian shirt and Tigers cap. Utterly ridiculous of course, seeing how Tom Selleck is still alive, and rather looks like Magnum yet, even, I imagine, in those little khaki shorts. Magnum P.I, while not exactly timeless -think again of those shorts- is still entertaining and the series even gets pretty dark near the end. It originally finished with Magnum being shot to death, if you remember, but Ol' Thomas wasn't going out like that, one recalls, and we can thank Higgins for calling him back from heaven with tales of the boys in the war. (A pint of stout!)

I think right now that it would be best for each of us to take a little time out of our busy days to stop and remember fondly the adventures of that merry band of rapscallions. (For those of you that know Thomas Magnum Moose, perhaps you'd care to do the dance). For tonight, Theodore Calvin, Orville Wilbur 'Rick' Wright and Thomas Sullivan Magnum, I raise my Tsingtao to you. I'll have a touch of port for you later, Higgy-baby, and in the meantime, I continue to pray that no one is ever foolish enough to desecrate the glorious memories of your wonderful television show. Of course, I also pray that these guys, on the other hand, mercifully takes their rightful place on the big screen.

If you want a whole lot more Magnum and you want it in German, click here
If you want to know how I really feel, click here

Saturday, 11 March 2006

It's no secret that I can be a huge nerd. So last night, when the Discovery Channel advertised that they were running a program that would list the Top 10 Fighter Planes of all time, I got a bit squealy. Suzanne rolled the eyes of course, she's no nerd, but understood that I Had To See This. Going beyond the call of duty, she even refused to mock me when I asked her if it was okay that I planned on trying to name them before the show did. She fell asleep about halfway through but, bless her soul, she seemed genuinely proud this morning when I told her that I got 4 of the top 5 right. She's a keeper.

So just for fun, here, according to The Discovery Channel, are the Top 10 Fighters of All Time:

10. Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk - stealthy, ugly, more of a bomber than a fighter, but when operating at night, impossible to defeat.

9. Fokker Dr.1 Triplane - The only famous triplane, it was flown by The Red Baron. Difficult to fly, apparently, and you feel a little funny saying 'fokker' in mixed company.

8. Mitsubishi Zero (A6M2) - The number 2 fighter of the Pacific Theatre (second to number 1 on this list), the Zero was feared as an attack fighter, but had very little in the way of defense capability. Now Mitsubishi makes the Montero.

7. Harrier Jump Jet (AV-8B Harrier II) - It can take off straight up! It can land straight down! It's not very fast and and it takes a supestar to fly it, resulting in a lot of accidents, but the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and US Marine Corps can't all be wrong.

6. F-86 Sabre - An aerodynamacist for the F-86 prototype project claimed that the Sabre had broken the sound barrier in a steep dive 14 days before Chuck Yeager in the X-1. Yeager was said to have coughed while exclaiming, 'Bullshit!'

5. Messerschmidt Me109 - Oh my god this thing kicks ass. My personal number 2, I believe that airplanes should not have progressed beyond this. It looks scary, it was scary, and it killed more Allied planes than any other. One half of the greatest pair of duelling planes in history.

5. F-18 Super Hornet - I should like this more than I do. I've seen it in real life a few times, Canada uses them, and I know a guy who used to work on them. But it fights like a robot, killing overmatched enemies before they know they're a target.

3. Mig-21 - The Russians get one! I never would have picked it, but post WWII, only the C-130 Hercules has been made in greater numbers. I think they sold one on eBay not too long ago.

2. Supermarine Spitfire -
Were it possible to make sweet, sweet love to a machine, this is the one I'd give a right seeing to. Those wings, that snout, that delicate shape....the partner to the Me109 in that deadly dance in the summer of 1940. This is, in my mind, the best plane ever.

1. North American P-51 Mustang - The Cadillac of the skies. Not as sexy as the Spit, the Mustang nevertheless outperforms everything of its era. It was even used at the beginning of the Korean war, before everyone switched to jets. It's alright I guess.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

March 7th......yes, that was yesterday, but it's one of those days that one can only really appreciate when it's passed. On the day itself, so many things are happening, so many occasions need celebrating, that one can only truly appreciate it's beauty 24 hours later. I mean really, what's March 8th? The 8th is one of those days that calendar makers added as an afterthought, eager to hit the sack after painting the town red the night before.

Historical documents show that throughout time, momentous occasions have been reorganised to take advantage of the luck and good fortune associated with the 7th of March. In 1962 the Beatles originally planned to make their first BBC broadcast on March 3rd, but a forward-thinking sound engineer advised them to have patience, wisely pointing out that the 7th, entirely more appropriate for the occasion, was just around the corner. Fifteen years later, did Israli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meet with Jimmy Carter for the first time on March 8th, the mutually agreed upon date? Who of the two saw the light first remains a State Secret, but an examination of the record indicates they did the smart thing and moved the shindig up a day. And in perhaps the most impressive piece of schedule-shuffling, a total eclipse of the sun, which for centuries had been fortold to occur on April 20th, 1989 bent to the will of the People and sped things up considerably, performing its magic on March 7th.Of course, I celebrate it for an altogether more personal reason. It's Craig's birthday! Suzanne and I wish you all best, and we're really looking forward to seeing you very soon. I dont know if you got to see these pictures or not, but Andrea took them at Christmas '04, and we like them. We hope everything is going well in Newmarket, and that the kettle is in fine working order...HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

A Damsel In Distress (1919) - A. L. Burt (George Doran?) First Edition?
Big Money
(1931) - Penguin, 1953
Carry On, Jeeves (1925) - Pocket Book Edition, February 1948
- Penguin PB, 1999
The Cat-nappers (1974) Simon and Schuster, First Edition, First Printing? (w/DJ)
Do Butlers Burgle Banks? (1968) Simon annd Schuster, First Ed., First Print (w/DJ, ex. lib)
Five Complete Novels (1983) - Avenal Books
- The Return of Jeeves (1954) - published as Ring For Jeeves in UK (1953)
- Bertie Wooster Sees It Through (1955) - pub. as Jeeves and The Fuedal Spirit UK ('54)
- Spring Fever (1948)
- The Butler Did It (1957) - published as
Something Fishy in UK (1957)
- The Old Reliable (1951)
The Gold Bat and Other School Stories (1986) - Penguin
- The Gold Bat (1904)
- The Head of Kay's (1905)
- The White Feather (1907)

The Golf Omnibus (1973) - Wings Books 1996 - short stories
Hot Water (1932) - Penguin PB 1982
Jeeves and Impending Doom (1930) - Pocket Penguin 63, 2005 - short story
Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus, Hugh Laurie Intro. (2001) - Penguin
- The Mating Season (1949)
- Right Ho, Jeeves (1934)
- The Code of The Woosters (1937)

The Jeeves Omnibus, Vol. 1 (1989) - Random House 1999
- Thank You, Jeeves (1934)
- The Code of The Woosters (1937)
- The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)
The Jeeves Omnibus, Vol. 3 (1991) - Random House 2000
- Ring For Jeeves(1953) - published as The Return of Jeeves in USA (1954)
- The Mating Season (1949)
- Very Good, Jeeves (1930)

Joy In The Morning (1946) - Coronet Edition 1977, Third Impression 1984
Meet Mr. Mulliner (1927) - Herbet Jenkins, 1st Edition, Fourth Printing (w/DJ)
Money For Nothing (1928) - Herbert Jenkins, 1st Edition, Seventh Printing (no DJ)
Mulliner Nights (1933) - Second Vintage Books Edition, April 2005 - short stories
The Pothunters and Other School Stories (1985) - Penguin
- The Pothunters (1902)
- A Prefect's Uncle (1903)
- A Tale of St. Austin's (1903)
Sunset at Blandings (1977) - Chatto & Windus Ltd., First Edition (w/DJ - ex. Lib. discard)
Vintage Wodehouse, Richard Usborne Ed. (1977) - Penguin, 1981
What Ho! The Best of PG Wodehouse, Stephen Fry Intro. (2005) - short stories and essays
The World of Smith Omnibus (1993) - Penguin
- Psimth In The City (1910)
- Psmith Journalist (1915)
- Leave It To Smith (1923)
Young Men In Spats (1936) - Herbert Jenkins, 3rd Printing (no DJ)

Reading in the bath tonight, and if I recall correctly, humming snatches of a tune or two, I asked myself an interesting rhetorical question: Wouldn't it be nice to have a comprehensive catalogue of your (my) P. G. Wodehouse books? Indeed, the man wrote something new for each of his 92 years, and because he was a great recycler of his own material, often rewriting his plays into short stories, and then into novels, I realised that the Wallace bookshelf had become rather weighed down with the stuff and organisation was required. I know I have at least two of the same short novels in at least three different omnibus editions, and a trip to the bookstore is increasingly an exercise in memory: Do you (I) have Joy In The Morning already? Isn't that the alternative name for The Steeple Bumpleigh Horror? Or was that the sub-title? In many cases, the summary on the back is nearly useless in providing clarity. Take the synopsis for Jeeves In The Offing:

Down at Market Snodsbury rum deeds are afoot...and Bertie knows that it will take every last drop of the daredevil Wooster spirit to survive a weekend without Jeeves at Aunt Dahlia's rural lair...
That could describe something near a dozen Wodehouse stories. A list, I reasoned, especially one easy to access, would make adding to the collection considerably more hazard-free. The number of accidental re-buys would be practically nil. Of course, looking at the list, one might detect some nearly identical volumes and assume I've already begun to err. Looking carefully however, one would note (and then slap oneself in the forehead saying, Ah! Of course!) that this Best Of...Collection has an introduction by Stephen Fry, while that one is introduced by Hugh Laurie. And before one jumps to conclusions regarding two copies of Carry On Jeeves, take stock of the publisher and date. See? That one is a new Penguin edition, while this is an original Pocket Book from 1946. Completely intentional.

So a list I shall create and link to it here. This will be for my personal use, but if you find it fascinating, award yourself the Blue ribbon, for I consider you one of the Great Minds of The Age.

Sunday, 5 March 2006

I don't know if everyone else does this too, but whenever I hear a song I really like, I pretty much play the hell out of it for 3 weeks or a month, and then put it aside for a few years. If it's a new song from a new band, my three song rule goes into effect: if I like the first three songs I hear, I might buy the record, which means the song will be added to the regular rotation. The Arctic Monkeys (right), for instance, pass the three song rule with flying colours, whereas while Maximo Park (above) are the winners of the Best Individual Song Prize, with Apply Some Pressure, the other tunes I've heard leave me cold, so I won't buy the record, probably, and the song will get played out shortly. In about a week, as it stands. It's too bad really...I thought they might pick up the mantle of one of my all time favourites, Split Enz.

Please enjoy these videos at your leisure.
Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
The Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor
The Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down

Thursday, 2 March 2006

All of a sudden, we're moving back to Ontario. Suzanne got the word, and it's going to start happening. You, dear reader, are one of the first few people who have heard The Good News. We will be astride the 401 like conquering heroes before the summer, and Joy can retake her rightful place on the throne. The bluebird is on the wing, and it wouldn't be overstating the facts by saying that everything is coming up boomps-a-daisy. Here is a self-portrait of Suzanne looking happy:

She likes to take pictures of her newly cut hair. And why wouldn't she? It's beautiful. So straight, like many thousands of silky arrows, hanging down her back.
All pretty pictures of Suzanne aside, it really does appear as if we will be back East within 2 months. We've been saying stuff for ever....since we got here it seems, but now it's real. I swear I was having a heart attack the night she told me...massive change has that effect on me...and while I can't deny I was looking forward to a new season with The Incredibles, the prospect of a re-born Moon FC is even more exciting. And that's not to mention Toronto's new MLS franchise! Here's a picture of me looking happy:

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

The Incredibles finished the regular season with a loss, although after playing the whole game with a man down, the result could have been worse. On a positive note, I happened to bulge the onion bag for the first time this year, and while it wasn't quite on par with these guys, it was a bit of all right. Playoffs to come soon.