No luck

I don’t buy into omens — bad or otherwise. However, I think it’s a bad sign that my fortune cookie recently didn’t include a fortune. Does that mean that I don’t have any luck at all? I hope not — although the black cat that walked in front of my car the other day probably isn’t a good sign.

So despite signs to the contrary, I think things are starting to look up. I’ve got a couple of meetings coming up and I hope that those will be productive. And despite nothing solid coming out of an earlier meeting, the guy said I did “reasonably well” and “above average” on a very long test. Woo-hoo!

Turning on their own

Apparently, having a film made in France with a French cast and production crew doesn’t count as a French film, according to a CBC News story. A French court ruled that the film isn’t French because the new movie was funded by a company backed by American studio Warner Bros.

Well, even if some of the French are rejecting this movie, I’m looking forward to seeing the latest work from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and actress Audrey Tautou. They were both involved in the whimsical Amélie in 2001.

Home again

HANCOCK — Back here in Hancock after another jaunt downstate. Hopefully, I’ll have a quiet Thanksgiving.

Just to follow up on Monday’s trip to the Soo, here’s more information on Algontario — the ship I saw pass through the locks Monday night. It’s so impressive seeing how the 730-foot-long vessel slowly and carefully threaded its way through the relatively narrow MacArthur Lock. I definitely gained an appreciation of how these ships and crew do their jobs.

Thanks to for the link to the Algoma central Corp.’s Web site. BoatNerd is a valuable Web site featuring “tonnes” of information about shipping on the Great Lakes.

Speaking of appreciation, I really enjoyed walking through the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Ontario. All those planes and the pilots who flew them did a bang-up job helping to keep the remote parts of Canada connected and safe from fires. I really enjoyed reading the history of the planes and the close access that I got to many of the historic workhorses of the north.

I wasn’t excited about losing CDN$20 playing blackjack at the “charity” casino, but them’s the breaks I suppose. I was happy about having poutine for the first time and finding a Remembrance Day quarter with the red poppy on it (or the “The Poppy Coin” as the Royal Canadian Mint calls it). It’s the first colored coin in circulation and it’s a neat way of honoring vets.

Tearing down traditions

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Just wrapping up a day of exploring the city so nice, there’s two of them — Sault Ste. Marie. They’re the twin cities in Ontario and Michigan separated by St. Mary’s River.

After I got to see the freighter Argontario pass through the MacArthur Lock with its cargo of grain, I walked over to the restaurant at the local Ramada. My eye passed over a portion of the CBS Evening News. CBS presented the news in a way that was an interesting juxtaposition. First, they had a report on the dreadful hunting incident in Wisconsin where a trespassing hunter decided to gun down five people dead and injuring several others. Then, the next story was about the brawl that broke out between the players and the fans at Saturday’s Pistons-Pacers game in Auburn Hills.

The other three customers in the bar and I were disgusted and disturbed by both of those incidents — they transcend the boundaries of the law and ethics and breach the traditions that many of us hold dear. These traditions include professional sports and hunting — which is a tradition to many if a somewhat dubious endeavor to others.

For many years, I was quite proud of how many Americans conduct themselves during sporting events. I could hold America up on a pedestal while the football-mad Europe tore themselves up into a riotous frenzy over a match.

No longer. I never thought that American fans were genteel when it came to rooting for the home team or razzing the opposition, but I thought that we were generally well-mannered when it came to playing by the rules on and off the field. The NBA incident and the several other acts of violence in recent years gives me pause. I think that we need to question who we are as fans of the sport and take the necessary steps toward maintaining the dignity that most professional sports deserve.

Bold food experiences

Actually, the title should read “bland.” In my ever-ongoing quest to eat healthier, I recently purchased some turkey bacon. I like crumble up the bacon and add it to grits. I think it makes for some decent eating. I had hoped for the turkey bacon to be a pleasant substitute for my favorite hickory-smoked pork bacon. I was sadly disappointed.

First off, I probably shouldn’t have used wax paper in the oven. It started smoking and set off the fire alarm. Not cool. I quickly pulled the battery out of the alarm and opened the door to vent the apartment.

When I pulled the bacon out of the oven, it looked pretty much the same as it went in — like enlongated turkey balogna. It was slightly darkened and perhaps firmer than before. There was very little shrinkage.

The true test is the one of taste. The taste was like crunchy bacon-flavored cardboard. It was alright on my grits once I had added a pat of butter and some ground pepper. It shouldn’t have been this way — the bacon should’ve been great all by itself.

I guess my desire to find a substitute for something that is probably irreplaceable is to blame. Like the vegetarian who busts out a tofukey for Thanksgiving dinner, there are substitutes but I don’t think these can truly replace what we’ve removed.

On an upnote, if the creators of this turkey bacon want to make turkey Canadian bacon, all they’ve got to do is relabel turkey balogna and then they’re off to the races.

Marquee madness

I saw The Incredibles this week. Like nearly everyone else, I found it to be a kick-butt CGI film that’s probably better than most live-action “blockbusters.”

Anyway, while I was buying my ticket for the show, I noticed that the marquee outside the theater had a hidden message:

The Incredibles

When I asked the staff about it, they were just as amazed as me. Probably just a funny convergence of certain movie titles.

Still, it was fun, just like when I pointed out to the auto shop people that one of the advertisements on the store’s door promoted a product that would “pull” for you. Trouble is, it’s on a door you push to enter the building.

POP goes Gmail

A gig of Web-based e-mail is all well and good, but lot of other people, including me, want to be able to download messages to our desktops.

According to a MacCentral story (via Y!), Google is planning to give Gmail POP3 support as well as antivirus protection. Kudos to Google for working on this — I think it definitely adds value to their product because I’m definitely more willing to use their service.

Tick, tock news tickers

BBC World seems to have joined the rest of the news channel pack and made their news ticker a permanent addition to their newscast.
BBC World. Now with ticker!

Now, BBC World has used the ticker before, but it usually appeared during breaking news events and when they’re sharing coverage with BBC News 24. On the other hand, I’m watching BBC World’s coverage of Yasser Arafat’s death right now and the ticker is absent.

I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but it’s hard for me to get used to that ticker for now. The design is neat, but it’s disconcerting. The fact that the ticker vanishes underneath the BBC World logo before it can move off the screen is off putting to me. It’s also weird that the ticker is actually lifted off of the bottom of the screen instead of being anchored down.

Still, the information that’s presented in the ticker can be useful to the casual viewer.

Reasons why the Internet rocks # 5,293

Just browsing through RSS feeds recommended by Yahoo! and’s World of Potato Chips and Snacks pops up.

If you’ve ever paused at the convenience store line wondering if that Key Lime-flavored Kit-Kat bar is worth your 65¢, then this is the site for you. There’s so many snacks that get reviewed on this Web site, it’s M-Azing (which the reviewer says is “too sweet” and “nothing great.”)