Elron Steps Out

Every once in a while, we all have to step out of ourselves, take a chance, and do something a bit out of character. While anyone who has known me for for decades rather than years will know this isn’t TOTALLY out of character, the first thing people think of when they think of either Elron or Lyle (I sound a bit like I’m going all split-personality on your asses there, don’t I) is not usually stand-up comedy.

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The face of old-time hockey

Every sport has its eras, times in the game when equipment, style of play, and players made the game a unique iteration within a larger whole. Football has its “leather-helmet era” and tennis has its pre-open era, and its wooden racket era. As a game moves on from one of these “eras” it becomes impossible in many ways to compare players across “eras.” How do you compare someone like Borg and Federer, for instance? Both men dominated their games, and given the style of play, and the equipment each used, today’s Federer would wipe the court with a wooden racketed, serve and volley Borg … its not a matter of talent, but rather a matter of what composite rackets with over-sized heads allow a player like Federer to do. Even with modern equipment, Borg didn’t grow up with the power of the new equipment … while Borg would struggle to control the power, Federrer knows nothing different, and its worth noting that in the reverse situation, where you put a wooden racket in Federer’s hand, and put him on centre court at Wimbeldon in 1980 against Borg at his prime, my money goes on Borg without question. Borg spent a lifetime learning how to get the most out of those old rackets, and the things Federer expects to be able to do with a tennis ball simply wouldn’t work with that style of racket. Everything Borg tried would still work fine. Its rather easy to see that in today’s game, Federrer would beat most any player, current or former, but at the same time, you can’t discount what men like Borg and McEnroe and Laver and others managed to do with old equipment, and you can’t really compare what they did in that era of the game with what men like Aggassi and Sampras and Federer did in later eras.

Gump Worsley in classic pose for the North Stars
Lorne “Gump” Worsley in classic pose with the Minnesota North Stars, from Legends of Hockey

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Canada says “Oops” to Maher Arar

PM Stephen Harper announced this morning that the Canadian government has agreed upon an official compensation package, as well as an official apology, delivered by the PM himself on Newsworld this morning. While many of the details remain confidential, reports say the $ amount is over $10 million, which may seem like a lot to the average person, until one tries to imagine the 10 months of horror Arar must have experienced in that Syrian prison when it becomes quickly clear that there is no monetary amount that would truly ‘compensate’ someone for being sent into such a situation.

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Steve’s World …

In a somewhat ironic twist of history, the same day that saw George Bush give his 7th State of the Union address also marked one year in office for Canadian Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Steve’s year was an odd one, even down to the Steve itself … when they met last year, Bush talked about “allies like Steve” … Canadian press noted that he had almost always been called Stephen in his personal life, and even his mother bristled at the name Steve. It was just another example of the rather incongruous year for “our buddy Steve.”

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Frozen Words – new haiku by Lyle Bateman

Frozen Words
by Lyle Bateman

Winter’s white-breath cold
Exhale shades of crystal gauze
words frozen in air

Jan 2007

HoloDeck01 comes online, complete with remote access

Well, my first PVR is complete and functional.  The problems with MythTV that I described in my last post on this turned out to be a very serious case PEBKAC (which, for those of you who aren’t in the tech support business is an acronym that stands for “Problem exists between keyboard and chair.”), a reminder to everyone that even techies make silly mistakes every once in awhile.  Suffice to say, once I actually RTFM, or in this case, read the online support for my capture card in relation to MythTV, and made the simple choice of the RIGHT driver in MythTVSetup, all went so much better from that perspective.

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The Return of the Good Doctor

When the North American television industry celebrates longevity in a fictional, episodic series, shows like M*A*S*H at 11 seasons, or older ones like Red Skelton or Gunsmoke at 20 seasons end up at the top of the list, discounting “soap-opera” type daily dramas. But over in the UK, for 26 seasons from 1963-1989, Doctor Who ran continuously. Add to that a movie, and now a new 9th and 10th Doctor for at least couple of seasons starting in 2005, and you have perhaps the longest running fictional TV series that isn’t a daily-run soap opera.

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