Good way to escape from the real world: go to a movie

Hi, folks. I have been absent from the blog for the last 24 hours or so because I decided I was sick and tired of the real world and the deluge of bad news from places like Texas, and North Korea.

I also decided I was sick and tired of life in Saskatchewan. So last night, I drove to Saskatoon and was out on a date with my hot blonde girlfriend Charlize Theron at the movies. 

All right, I confess: I wish she was my girlfriend. Charlize was actually in the movie. Atomic Blonde

I can definitely recommend it to spy movie fans. Women will like this movie because it’s feminist; guys will like it because Charlize spends 90 percent of the movie absolutely beating up on people and another 10 percent getting naked and having sex with another woman. 

I’m sorry, folks, but this is exactly what guys like to see! Sex and violence! Anyway it’s a good way to get your mind off of flooding news.

And if you are interested in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, and the rock music of the time period, that’s another reason to like it. Can you believe 1989 is 28 years ago already? And speaking of the passage of time: Princess Diana died 20 years ago Aug. 31.


North Korea threatens the whole wide world yet again; fires missile over Japan!

What timing! Right at the very moment that the United States is dealing with some of the worst flooding in history from Hurricane Harvey, this happens!! North Korea fired a missile that went right over top of Japan’s airspace before it disintegrated. Japan is freaking out, the South Koreans are freaking out, and so is everyone else.

Among those freaking out: traders. Dow futures already down 100 points.

Harvey flood news is sad to watch; Houston being flooded

It is literally painful to watch the coverage now from all the feeds about the catastrophic flooding in the wake (former) Hurricane Harvey down in south Texas. I am tuning in the live feeds on YouTube and this really is turning into a national emergency there. 

Now Houston is getting hit by massive floods due to heavy rains from this storm system that is still on top of Texas, I notice even KHOU TV had to evacuate its own building due to the floods there. Worse yet, a lot of people didn’t evacuate and some deaths are being reported. 

And this rain is far from over; the deluge is going to go on even longer. If you are interested in knowing what the forecast for the next few days in that area, here it is.

This is depressing, folks. I’ll keep on following this news as it unfolds.

My column looking at this summer’s box office (led by Wonder Woman) is now up!

Mayweather TKOs McGregor in 10th, moves to 50-0!

You know, after all my incessant trash-talking about the Mayweather-McGregor “Money Fight” matchup, it really did turn out to be a pretty good fight last night.

I did a huge screed for the paper about my experience watching the fight and I expect that will be up later this week.

Tonight is the night! Mayweather vs. McGregor in Las Vegas!

Well, this is it, the fight that everyone has been waiting for. The hype and the trash-talking is over, the weigh ins have been done and the battle is on as Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor go at it in Las Vegas. That is, assuming neither of these two jokers pull a fast one and get injured right before they walk into the boxing ring – something that has become quite familiar to UFC fans lately.

Even though I claim to be totally uninterested in this fight, the truth is I am lying. I will be at the local casino watching, like everyone else, even though there is no real “title” on the line. (They did, however, make up some silly belt to go to the winner — the “Money Belt.” Fans are promptly ridiculing it as if it was something right out of the WWE.) 

What I am finally realizing is this is more than just some big boxing fight, and more than even some quasi-WWE spectacle. This is boxing versus MMA, that’s what this is! It’s the boxing world versus the UFC world, and it’s boxing fans versus UFC fans. So if McGregor somehow wins, it will somehow prove the superiority of that sport. And boxing people are deathly afraid that if Mayweather loses, it will be the “death of boxing”.

In fact, the buildup to this fight has been bizarre. It almost feels like more of a UFC event than a boxing match, to be honest. Dana White is all over the place there, and I notice the usual MMA media, Ariel Helwani and those folks, are there in force covering it.

One thing that surprised a lot of people this week is that the UFC Octagon girls, Arianny and Brittney et. al., are not on the job — as if they were expected to be there. 

Of course not, folks, this is a boxing match! It was Corona who got the rights to the ring girls for this, so you’re seeing Corona ring girls all week promoting this thing. 

I guess my point is there is little upside to the sport of boxing for holding this fight. All a McGregor victory will do is provide bragging rights and potential business for the UFC. And if Mayweather pounds the heck out of McGregor, as most expect him to do, the critics will simply say “see, I told you so” and declare what a total farce this fight was to begin with. In short, it’s lose-lose for the sport of boxing either way, but the promoters and fighters don’t care because this is all about money.

Anyway, I’ll be watching the fight, but it really doesn’t matter either way who wins. To me, watching this will serve as a good distraction from all the misery going on in the news right now, and a much needed one at that. 

Harvey makes landfall; worst hurricane to hit continental US in 13 years

Here is a rundown of some of the latest Twitter tweets about Cat. 4 Hurricane Harvey:

And here’s news about a hurricane that hit tonight in Edmonton.

Cable news is failing everyone in south Texas tonight

I’ve tuned in CNN tonight hoping they would be up to their usual standard in covering hurricanes, something they have been excellent at doing in the past. Yet tonight, on a night when the biggest hurricane in years is hitting the United States, they cannot get over their obsession with Donald Trump!

Here this panel is, spouting off about Sheriff Joe Arpaio being pardoned and about White House aide Sebastian Gorka departing. Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey is hitting landfall right now as a category 4 and is threatening to flood the entire south coast of Texas for days, ruining lots of lives.

It’s pretty obvious what the big story is, but it sure seems like this storm is inconveniencing CNN’s attempts at being the 24-hour “all-Trump-bashing all-the-time” channel. At least Fox News seems to be trying to cover this, finally, and I notice MSNBC is finally getting with the program and providing coverage now that big hurricane fan Brian Williams is on the air. You can’t same the same for CNN. They’re still going on and on about Trump. 

Folks, I couldn’t give a damn about Donald Trump tonight. We have the entire rest of the year to talk about him. Get back to covering real news, CNN.

Update: Now, Fox News has switched from hurricane news to doing a live interview with Sheriff Joe right now. Aaargh! It’s a sad day when the place to get your news is the Weather Channel.

Another update: Seriously, you are better off tuning in CBSN. They are showing the live feed from channel 6 in Corpus Christi.

Harvey now Cat. 4!

Harvey is now a Cat. 1 hurricane! Heading straight for south Texas!

Level-10 Severe Typhoon Hato hits Hong Kong/Macao, lots of fatalities

The other big story in the world was the destruction of Typhoon Hato, which got the highest-possible severity rating in Hong Kong and ended up killing at least a dozen people, including eight in Macau alone. 

I guess the news organizations were too obsessed with Trump to spend a lot of time covering this, but that’s what happened there. 

Oh, by the way, there is plenty of bad weather happening. In other weather news, Tropical Storm Harvey could hit the US Gulf coast as a hurricane this weekend.

Pres. Trump, Robert Lee, Jon Jones all part of a wacky News from Nowhere

I really am in no mood to toss up a News from Nowhere column right now, but there is too much craziness going on at the moment. Mainly, this craziness is down there in the “Messed-Up States of America,” aka the USA, led by that maniacal lunatic President Donald Trump.

So he gives this speech on Monday on troop levels in Afghanistan, and then on Tuesday he goes down and gives this half-crazed speech down in Phoenix to his supporters where he once again completely bashed the “Fake News” media, hinted at a pardon for Sheriff Joe, and threatened to tear up NAFTA, among other things. 

Once again, this display was enough to outrage the media, with a beside-himself Don Lemon of CNN describing Trump’s speech as a “Total Eclipse of the Facts.”

Meanwhile, all the usual anti-Trump crazies were out on the streets again and there ended up being clashes with police, with the police using pepper spray and the like to disperse these people. 

To think that I honestly thought this nonsense in the streets would end when Obama left office. It’s simply more of the same under Trump, and there is no end in sight! What a country, folks. That place is basically off its rocker right now.

And if you want more proof that the USA is off its rocker, look no further than ESPN. In the wake of the mayhem in Charlottesville, ESPN decided their play-by-play guy Robert Lee (who, it should be pointed out, is Asian) should be taken off of a University of Virginia football game assignment and assigned to something else. Why? Because, according to Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage, Lee’s name is too similar to Gen. Robert E. Lee whose statue sparked all the mayhem in Charlottesville to begin with. They were afraid the lefties would be triggered, or that people would notice his name and make jokes or comments about it.

MSESPN Pulls Asian Announcer Named Robert Lee Off UVa Game To Avoid Offending Idiots,” Travis’s headline stated. Folks in conservative media are having a field day with this latest instance of politically-correct nonsense out of ESPN. This is surely more proof the USA has lost its mind. 

Want even more proof yet? The NAACP wants a meeting with the commissioner of the National Football League because quarterback Colin Kaepernick can’t get a gig in the league! They think he is being blackballed because of his bend-on-one-knee politics during the national anthems, and that he is being denied his First Amendment rights! 

Uh, ahem, maybe the real reason is because the guy is no good anymore? Anyway, this is more fodder for the USA’s sports radio talk show hosts, who have been wall-to-wall with Kaepernick talk lately. 

In other sports news, the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics but got a lot in return, including Isaiah Thomas. So they may have actually helped themselves with this deal. Anyway, this has been yet another story these radio sports talk show hosts have been slobbering over for months. It’s either Kaepernick, or all the drama with the Cavs and with LeBron, and with players like Kyrie Irving wanting out of there. It never fails.

And here is the big news from the UFC, which is trying to hype up this ridiculous Mayweather-McGregor nonsense this week. They had their big press conference today, but this fight/circus has suddenly been upstaged by news that Jon Jones flunked his in-competition drug test in connection to UFC 214. So now, Jones’ title and his entire future in UFC and MMA are now all up in the air. 

That is all I feel like writing about. Goodnight.

Hi, folks, we had fun this morning following the Solar Eclipse.

So, this was our morning at the paper as we used the old pin-hole-in-aluminum trick to watch the moon take a bite out of the sun during the 2017 Solar Eclipse at around 11:41 a.m.

Other than that, the Eclipse was a bit of a bust where we were — it didn’t get all that dark, and making matters worse, I couldn’t find any of the special glasses you needed to view the Eclipse safely. So I couldn’t stare at the sun like everyone else did. 

Also, I tried listening to long-distance AM radio signals that might have bounced off the atmosphere during the Eclipse, but that was also a bust. The conditions just weren’t good enough.

I suppose I needed to be in Carbondale, Illinois or Casper, Wyoming today if I really wanted to experience this event fully. Mainly, I experienced it vicariously by watching all the feeds from the TV networks covering it. TV news people live for this sort of stuff, although I noticed Shepard Smith of Fox News didn’t look too happy to be covering the Eclipse while stuck in a studio.

Anyway, that’s Eclipse 2017 from my vantage point.

(Update:) Below are some of the Tweets that were sent out this morning about the big eclipse.

Funnyman. Humanitarian. RIP Jerry Lewis.

It just so happened that earlier today I was rummaging around on YouTube looking at old clips of Jerry Lewis from his variety show days in the Sixties, believe it or not. Maybe I subconsciously had Labor Day on the brain, since that holiday isn’t far off.

Anyway, the news has since broken that Lewis has died. Lewis, of Martin and Lewis, Nutty Professor, The Bellboy and MDA telethon fame, was 91.

This comes just a day after news that comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory had died, too. For people in dire need of a good laugh right now, it’s a sad time.

I guess I’m going to be spending the rest of today looking at old MDA Telethon clips. Back to work, tomorrow.

Steve Bannon exits the Trump White House, now back in charge at Breitbart

The never-ending revolving door at the White House of Pres. Donald Trump continued again today with news that advisor Steve Bannon has departed — and not on the greatest terms, it seems. He has returned to Breitbart and has pledged to go to war against the people in the White House trying to derail the Trump populist/nationalist agenda. As for the White House itself it is yet again, for the umpteenth time, in chaos.

What a week, folks.

I don’t want to watch the news. Terror today in Barcelona.

Where were you 40 years ago?

Pres. Trump does it again; marks a new low with yet another gong show of a news conference

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of Pres. Donald Trump and his whole gong show re: Charlottesville. He is not up to the job of uniting Americans during crisis situations or showing the least bit of moral leadership, and today was yet another example. Anyway, enough of him.

Wonder Woman to win the summer box office, now over $400 million!

Here is an update on what has been happening at the box office. I guess I should update people on the latest news about Wonder Woman

News is that Wonder Woman is now on track to win the domestic box office for the summer months, overtaking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a haul now estimated at over $400 million. It also is a record haul for a movie with a female director (Patty Jenkins).

In related news, Wonder Woman cleaned up at the Teen Choice Awards yesterday, with Gal Gadot winning  for Choice Action Movie Actress.

In other box office, Annabelle: Creation won the weekend with a haul of $35 million.

And there is some news from the set of Deadpool 2. The movie starring Ryan Reynolds has been shooting in Vancouver and there was a lot of local excitement about it last week, with lots of TV news coverage about it and so on. Unfortunately, the news is all bad today because a stunt woman has been killed in an on-set motorcycle crash.

That’s all for today.

Today’s Charlottesville mayhem is the latest bad news out of the U.S.A.

My vacation was ruined again when I went on Twitter and saw the news of all the carnage in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a rally full of these disgraceful white supremacists and other Alt-Right idiots turned violent when a maniac plowed a car into a group of people who were opposing what was going on. 

Here is some of the Twitter reaction to what went on, below.

This all happened on the same day the news broke that former NHL coach/executive Bryan Murray died

I don’t feel like posting any more tonight. My mood is pretty similar to that of reporter David Akin, who is also trying to be on vacation. His post is a reminder that as bad as the news is today, things could be a lot worse.

Big news from SK: Premier Brad Wall announces he will be stepping down

I may be out of province at the moment, but even here in the Okanagan I was able to follow the live streaming continuing coverage on CKOM radio of Premier Brad Wall’s announcement that he is retiring, effective when a new leader of the Saskatchewan Party is chosen.

This news comes the same week that the Saskatchewan Party marked the 20th anniversary of its founding, when four Liberal and four PC MLAs left their parties to form the new entity. The party didn’t take power, however, until after Wall became leader. 

Honest reaction: this is the end of an era — a great era of life in Saskatchewan. No doubt, Wall will go down as one of the province’s great Premiers, and as one of the most skilled politicians the province has produced, right up there with names such as Diefenbaker, Douglas and the like. Unlike so many other big-name politicians in this province, who’ve seen their careers end in defeat, Wall is getting out while still on top. Good for him. 

And now a leadership race is on, but don’t ask me who the next Premier is going to be. This race looks wide open.

North Korea is now threatening Guam!

Oh, darn it. Now the news is North Korea is threatening to strike the US territory of Guam, according to an announcement from the state-run news agency. 

This news comes after U.S. Pres. Donald Trump’sfire and fury” talk in response to North Korea. I guess this means I’m tuning in to South Korea all-news channels tonight to watch their news anchors freak out again.

I’m trying to be on vacation, but it’s really hard to stay away from the news.

Tulsa, Oklahoma still cleaning up after the weekend’s tornado

I am currently tuning in the coverage online from Tulsa of the aftermath of a tornado that struck overnight on the weekend in the city. It sounds like a lot of businesses, including food joints like TGI Fridays and Whataburger, got hit hard. It sounds like multiple tornadoes hit, including an F-2. Worse yet, it happened at night when most people were sleeping, so many people didn’t expect this.

It’s really unusual for this sort of thing to happen in the month of August in that part of the world. Usually it is around May when the massive tornadoes happen there and all the storm-chasers are descending, and August is known more for hurricane activity than tornadoes. But I suppose it can happen any time. Of course, my own home province was hit by tornadoes last month, but those steered clear of the major cities. Ones in Oklahoma tend to hit the populated areas — ask the residents of Moore, OK about their experiences in particular.

I can’t imagine life in a place like Oklahoma, which every year is threatened by tornadoes hitting populated areas. Wildfires are far easier to deal with, in my opinion.

Box office: a little under $20 mil domestic for The Dark Tower

Here is the weekend box office news with word that The Dark Tower finished in first place with a relatively modest $19.5 million domestic haul, edging out two-time defending weekend champ Dunkirk. Meanwhile, Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow continues her trend of making great movies that nevertheless aren’t big box office winners at the movie theatres as Detroit, set in the ’67 riot year, finished with $7.25 million. 

Hey, it’s now August. Nobody should be surprised by these sorts of numbers.

The Roughriders are awful! Everyone in SK wants to fire Chris Jones!

Yesterday, I tuned in the Saskatchewan Roughriders inept 30-15 loss to the BC Lions while dining on ribs at the Chances Kelowna casino lounge. Despite the location, the place was filled, absolutely jam packed, with expatriate Riders fans. But they had very little to cheer about all game until backup QB Brandon Bridge fired a couple of nothing touchdowns in the final minutes. 

Honestly, this whole game was a disgrace. Riders QB Kevin Glenn was terrible with his turnovers, and the offence was dull and predictable and did absolutely nothing until the game meant nothing. The only player who seemed to still be giving an A effort was Duron Carter. Everyone else mailed it in for their big CFL paycheques, paid for in full by Riders ticket holders.

The Riders are now two full games back of the final playoff spot, and have started off this critical five-game stretch of games against Western opponents by laying a big, fat, green egg. 

This team has proven it can beat the mediocre and bad teams, like Hamilton or Toronto, but they are also rapidly proving they aren’t in the same class as the good teams in this league. By the time these five games against BC, Edmonton and Winnipeg are over, this Riders squad will be so far out of the playoff race that I’ll have no further reason to watch the remainder of this lousy season — even with the changes the league has made this week to cut down on the amount of coaches’ challenges in the games. The only drama left will be figuring out who will be fired at the end of the season. 

I’ve given coach and GM Chris Jones the benefit of the doubt to this point, but honestly, I’m ready to join the chorus of people in Saskatchewan who think he should go — him and a few other people in the Roughriders organization. Sustained success? Ha! Sustained losing is more like it.

That’s my rant! And now, back to my vacation here in the smoke zone.

California bar exam might become “easier” (!) (?)

Read this story that they are thinking of making it easier for potential attorneys to pass the California bar exam. 

Based on the tone of the coverage, you would think what California is considering doing is “lowering their standards” to allow more of the “loser” lawyers in. 

Becoming more reasonable is more like it!! It seems the real problem in California is not that the bar exam is particularly a more difficult test than the ones elsewhere; it’s that they set an unreasonably high pass score for people to clear, way worse than almost all the rest of the ‘States. 

Honestly, I don’t see what the deal is with California’s bar examiners; it’s not as if the law there is particularly harder to understand as opposed to the rest of the United States. It’s not as if their laws are even all that different. And yet, it’s so much more difficult to pass the California bar! Someone who flunks in California could put in the exact same effort in most other states and pass on the first try, and they’re able to practise law. Yet California feels this “macho” need to have a ridiculous “get-tough” bar exam that flunks so many people for no good reason. 

The only rationale I can think for having such an unreasonable bar exam is to keep out potential competition for the practitioners already there! But any aspiring lawyer already knows there’s lots of better places to be than California, because their taxes are through the roof. Really, the tax rates alone would be enough to drive most lawyers to Texas or Arizona instead — that, and the wildfires. Anyway, I don’t get it. 

Maybe common sense is finally prevailing in the Golden State with their bar exams; then again, common sense is not something you particularly associate with the legal profession and how it operates.

UFC: Jones wins, Bisping vs. St-Pierre back on, and more news from the week

Well, I was hoping to post this UFC news update earlier in the week, when the real news was all happening. Now, I’m posting it on the same night as a Fight Night 114 card from Mexico City. Anyway, updates on that are here.

Frankly, all the real news happened last week in UFC 214, when Jon Jones KOed Daniel Cormier in round 3 to win back the light heavyweight title. Jones is now saying he wants to be a better champion than he was previously, when he was suspended due to drug use. I hope so.

And we hear the Michael Bisping-Georges St-Pierre bout is back on. It was on, then it was off again, and now finally it’s a go in New York this fall at Madison Square Garden.

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting news about who will be on the card for UFC 215 in Edmonton this September. The main card includes Demetrious Johnson versus Ray Borg and the co-main is Amanda Nunes versus Valentina Shevchenko. But of course, everyone is unimpressed with this second matchup because these two were supposed to be the main event at UFC 213 in which Nunes mysteriously chickened out of appearing in, dropping due to illness (supposedly). So nobody really trusts Nunes to actually show up. We’ll see; if Nunes skips out on a fight again, boy, will the Edmonton fans all be mad.

It sounds like the UFC fight in Edmonton is selling lots of tickets locally, but pay-per-views might be a different story. The main issue is it’s competing for attention right now against this overhyped circus act that is the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match on Aug. 26. That is where the real interest is among fans, but I dunno why we all care because it’s still a joke. The latest news from that is that McGregor’s sparring partner has quit, apparently disgusted with the buildup to the bout.

That’s all; now back to watching the Mexico fights.

Hello from beautiful, smoked-out British Columbia

Hi, folks, I am on location in British Columbia reporting from our blog’s “West Coast bureau”, where I have been attempting to be on vacation for the past number of days. As you may have heard, this whole province is on fire! We have been getting no end of smoke here in the Okanagan region, including just this morning when you walked out the front door and couldn’t see the mountains again because of the haze, and couldn’t breathe because of the smoke in the air. This whole place is stinking hot and smells like firewood.  

The blazes are mainly happening elsewhere in the province, but even this region hasn’t escaped it; a fire broke out on Knox Mountain in Kelowna a few days ago that was quickly doused, which is believed to be arson.

The reports are that this is the worst wildfire situation in BC in almost 60 years. I believe it. And the bad news is the state of emergency here has been extended. I hope things improve soon in the province, because it is hard to breathe here in this situation.

Trump strikes again: immigration reforms announced

President Donald Trump today introduced his plan for a merit-based immigration system. That is the good news. The bad news is he also wants to lower the number of legal immigrants coming into the USA. All in all, this is not impressive, and it is sure to be another tough sell with a Congress that is having no end of trouble with one Trump policy after another. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had his comments on Twitter that pretty much sums up what we can expect, and that is yet another fight between Trump and “the Swamp”. Don’t expect Trump’s immigration proposals to go through in one piece, folks.

Trump White House tossing people at a rapid rate, and more News from Nowhere

Welcome to News from Nowhere for what is a hot Tuesday night where I am at the moment. Obviously, I have a lot of catching up to do here, because it seems like every day brings some new drama, some new piece of chaos, involving the White House of Pres. Donald Trump

On Friday it was the departure of Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, to be replaced by John Kelly. Then on Monday, it was the end of director of communications Anthony Scaramucci after just 10 days, following a profanity-laced tirade in an interview with a reporter. 

Now, I guess the latest thing people are mad over are these reports that Pres. Trump weighed in on his son’s misleading statement to the press about Russian interference in the election. Anyway, it is still chaos there in D.C., but as far as I can see all the chaos mainly has to do with the White House staffing and the President’s political enemies in the “Swamp”, I mean Congress. It does not have much to do with his actual policies at the moment — which are getting no traction anyway, mainly because the White House is gripped with self-inflicted paralysis. 

Anyhow, maybe this guy Kelly will impose some order and get the Trump agenda back on track. But this really is a soap opera – not a “reality show”, a “soap opera”, because there has been way too much “drama”. There have been too many “leaks” and too little “governing” getting done.

The governing had better start getting accomplished, because the world is looking to the USA for leadership right now in dealing with North Korea. A few days ago, Kim Jong-Un’s absolutely crazed regime fired another missile, this one capable of hitting the continental USA, and everyone is freaking out that North Korea’s lunatic antics will trigger World War III. And of course, too many world leaders and governments are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. Something has to be done to stop this maniacal regime, right now, because they are a danger to all civilization. 

Then you have Venezuela, a place formerly known for oil and for winning beauty contests around the world, but which now is rapidly descending into third-world chaos and economic and political ruin. The hard-left Nicolas Maduro regime held their sham referendum on the weekend designed to turn that democratic country into a total one-party dictatorship (ie. Cuba). Now, the place has erupted in deadly violence, and the USA is imposing sanctions. Etc. Etc. What a mess. 

And once again, the question is: where is the rest of the world here? Sitting at home, for the most part, again. 

  • Other news of note: CBC’s The National will have four people fronting its revamped newscast this fall to replace Peter Mansbridge. Believe me, folks, the CBC needs at least that many people to explain the insanity going on elsewhere in the world to Canadians. 
  • Also going on: it seems Calvin Ayre recently settled his outstanding criminal charges against him in the USA for operating his Bodog online gambling empire. Ayre is interesting because he is from, get this, near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan! He has gone on from that to a life living large in the gambling business in the Caribbean, but you never hear about him in Saskatchewan. I guess the locals don’t consider Ayre to be one of them. Anyway, with this settlement Ayre can finally show his face on American soil again. 
  • In sports, good news for LA, they are getting the Olympics– in 2028
  • Finally, I notice the Tampa Bay region was socked by Tropical Storm Emily, a storm that served as a good reminder to folks in Florida that, hey, it’s Hurricane Season now and you need to be prepared. Yes, no major Cat.3 or above hurricane has made landfall there in the USA in some 4300 or so days, but it came really close with Matthew, and Sandy made a mess before that, and it would not surprise me if this is the year the luck finally runs out. Heck, luck seems to be running out on several fronts at the moment.

That is all I feel like doing. A reminder to myself to post soon about (a) the BC forest fire/smoke situation, and (b) the UFC, as there has been some news that Bisping vs. St.-Pierre is back on. More later.

Box office: The Emoji Movie is a pile of ____! $25.6 mil for an 8% Rotten Tomatoes movie!

We are now almost done with July and with “summer blockbuster season”, and you can tell because the lousy movies are now showing up to blight the cinemas now.

This weekend was a box office battle between Dunkirk and The Emoji Movie and it was Dunkirk that ended up first, for the second weekend running, by roughly $28.1 mil to $25.6 mil. 

It’s incredible The Emoji Movie did so well given how appalling the reviews were — so much so that entire articles are being written about why this piece of junk did as much business as it did. By all rights it should have done no better than $10 or $15 million, based on the reaction to it.

In fact, a few days ago this awful flick was running at zero percent at Rotten Tomatoes. But I guess a few idiot movie critics were desperate to get themselves quoted in ads for this movie, so they gave it positive reviews and it’s now up to eight percent

Honestly, this is the type of movie that you could tell would be awful just looking at the trailers. My guess is that the people who made it must have thought “you know what? Hollywood got away with making The Lego Movie, and it even got positive reviews, so we couldn’t do any worse with The Emoji Movie!” Uh, right.

In the meantime, I can’t believe this total pile of ____ actually did better than Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, which ran fourth with an approx. $18.5 million haul. That is sad, ladies and gentlemen. Not enough North American moviegoers have taste, clearly.

June Foray, voice of Rocky, Natasha, Granny and countless cartoon voices, dead at 99

Oh, darn it. It seems fitting that the moment I go on summer vacation is when I get the news that legendary cartoon voice actress June Foray has died, age 99

I have fond memories of spending countless summer afternoons and Saturday mornings tuned in to various Jay Ward and Warner Bros. cartoons, all featuring Foray’s voice. And you know, as a kid I was ridiculed by my classmates in school for liking Rocky and Bullwinkle, but in the long run it turned out I was the one with the good taste. These cartoons are now considered classics, and Foray was pretty much the star of those shows.

Foray was the top female cartoon voice artist of all time, that is pretty much accepted. She was the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, and also did lots of work for Warner Bros., starring as Granny in the Tweety and Sylvester cartoons, and as Witch Hazel opposite Bugs Bunny. And those were just the most famous roles — she voiced a ton of characters over the years including ones you may not expect, like Cindy Lou Who in the cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

My generation definitely had it better than this one when it came to cartoons, that is for sure. Anyway, RIP June Foray.

NASCAR Pinty’s Series is on tonight in Saskatoon!

Hi, folks, it’s another big day for sports in the “306”. On the heels of the big soccer friendly in Regina, this evening we have the traditional midweek NASCAR Pinty’s Series race in Saskatoon, the Velocity Prairie Thunder. Or should I say “races,” because that’s what it is tonight: two 100-lap races instead of the 250-lap single race they had run there previously. 

Honestly, I don’t think I like this new format; they’re basically splitting the race in two and giving us less racing from these NASCAR pros on the track. In between, they will have some race nobody cares about involving these Super Late Models. I’m not interested in that, I want to see NASCAR.

There are a few big names racing tonight: Alex Tagliani, Andrew RangerD.J. Kennington (who raced at Daytona), L.P Dumoulin and defending Pinty’s Series and Saskatoon champion Cayden Lapcevich, to name a few. The live NASCAR Home Tracks updates of all the action from Wyant Group Raceway can be had here.

Dunkirk leads the way this weekend, topping $50 million

The summer movie season is showing signs of winding down soon as Dunkirk debuted this weekend to $50.5 million at the domestic office, good for top spot.

This Christopher Nolan effort has been getting rave reviews for the most part, however, and is being touted as even a potential Oscar contender. So I expect it will do good business for a while, especially since there isn’t going to be a ton of major competition over the coming weeks. 

But this movie has not escaped the usual politically-correct controversy: some idiotic, widely-ridiculed review ran in USA Today in which a movie critic said this movie had (a) not enough women, and (b) not enough people of color!

Aaargh! Could someone tell this critic that this was World War II, and that these were Brits who were being evacuated? As well as the French, and the Belgians, and even Canadians, among others? Anyone who has any knowledge at all of World War II knows that during that particular time there were no women in combat roles — lots of them were instead drilling rivets into fighter planes and doing other such jobs — and few people of color. At least, not in that part of the world. This wasn’t the Pacific, this was Europe, for $&@! sakes, man! World War II!

My advice to these uptight Americans is: if you are bent on seeing women or minorities in a war movie, watch something about the Vietnam War or some other conflict more to your liking, because clearly Dunkirk is not for you. Honestly, folks, what a joke. What a farce.

In other box office news, Girls Trip hauled in $30.4 million while director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and supermodel Cara Delevingne, crashed to $17 million. 

That’s all.

PC-Wildrose merger and WSOP Main Event final table highlights Tweets from Nowhere

I don’t feel like doing a News from Nowhere today. I’ve been way too busy working this weekend, so here are some of the Tweets I’ve posted or re-Tweeted over the last 24 hours:

And finally, I didn’t tune in to any of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 27-10 loss to the Calgary Stampeders yesterday, which is just as well.

That is all for the moment.

Valencia-Cosmos update

I am currently tuned in to audio feed of the Valencia-Cosmos game online and following what is going on with the match updates on the Cosmos website. I guess the audio is not in Spanish after all, but Valencian. No wonder I can’t comprehend it, then.

Honestly, folks, it sounds like the Sask. fans are sitting on their hands there – no singing or chanting, nothing. Just polite clapping. I’m surprised, because Sask. fans are infamous for being loud and rowdy.

Based on what I see on Twitter of the stadium “pitch”, I am not impressed! There are lines all over the field! Now you know, Regina, why Toronto FC fans were whining so loudly when the Toronto Argos moved in as co-tenants at BMO Field. Those soccer fans there were deathly afraid there would be football lines all over the field, just like what you are seeing at Mosaic Stadium today! And it really does ruin the look of the soccer pitch. Couldn’t they have figured out something beforehand to get rid of the lines for this game? Heck, they figured out how to do it in Toronto. 

(Update: on further inspection it looks like they did try and paint over the lines. But they did a lousy job, you can still see all the lines all over the field.)

It is great to see this “beautiful game” in Regina, but it looks like Saskatchewan still has work to do to get the hang of this strange “soccer” sport yet.

Life in Sask.: Soccer takes over Mosaic Stadium, Regina

Welcome to an increasingly rare “Life in Saskatchewan” post. Obviously, the big story today is supposed to be “Soccer Day in Saskatchewan” as Valencia CF takes on New York Cosmos in an “international friendly” at the new Mosaic Stadium. 

I wonder whether there is any real excitement out there for this game. Seriously, all the usual-suspect radio stations were ignoring this contest all week (even though over 15,000 people will likely be there) in favor of their usual nonstop overkill reporting of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who take on Calgary Stampeders later tonight on the road. 

Meanwhile, up here in the Battlefords, all the interest is in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame inductions event happening tonight (which I am covering). So a lot of SK folks aren’t paying attention to this soccer game, even though it is apparently the very first international friendly ever played in Saskatchewan. Which tells you all you need to know about how off the beaten track Saskatchewan is as a major soccer venue.

The other thing is that there is a lot of talk out there about this new “Canadian Premier League” that could be starting up after the 2018 World Cup. There is a group interested in putting a pro franchise in Saskatchewan, a group that includes Lee Genier, former president of the lacrosse Saskatchewan Rush. But when these guys appeared on CKRM the other day, a lot of the questions were “how can you expect to compete against the Riders?” You get the picture.

Now, I love the CFL like everyone else in Sask., but I also like a range of sports. Personally, I’d like to see the other big-time sports make their way to Saskatchewan, so I’d be all for this “Canadian Premier League” setting up a team in the province. But they really ought to put it in Saskatoon, simply to avoid the ‘Riders.

Anyway, back to this Valencia CF-NY Cosmos game. SB Nation has this piece previewing the game. You can also go to the Valencia website and see their stuff here and here about their trip to Regina. Also, they have lots of videos of the team coming to Regina. Great stuff. 

The game’s audio is also being streamed live on the Valencia CF website. Don’t worry, you unilingual English-speakers; you’ll still be able to understand what’s going on, particularly when somebody scores a goal. “Gooooooooooooooal!”

Also, you’ll be amused by the announcers’ pronunciations of Canada, and Regina. “Re-gee-na!”

Now, back to the “real news”: Sean Spicer quits as Trump’s WH press secretary 

So, it was interesting seeing all this hand-wringing in the press about the O.J. Simpson parole hearing coverage yesterday. People were declaring it “fake news” and were positively alarmed that it was upstaging the “more important” news going on — in particular, all this daily nonsense surrounding President Donald Trump and the White House, most of which makes O.J. look like “serious” news in comparison.

What these folks failed to realize is O.J. was always going to be a one-day story. You have all the other 364 days of the year to focus on Trump, today being one of them.

And what happened today is that long-embattled White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned, after new Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci was hired. The story here from “failing” “fake news” CNN.

Deja vu: O.J. Simpson goes free, again!

Yes, I tuned into this whole “parole hearing of the century” coverage earlier today in which a panel in Carson City unanimously granted O.J. Simpson his parole from Lovelock, Nevada prison.

It is almost like this was the “last stand for the media” in covering this Simpson story today, they really did go hog wild on this, with live coverage everywhere. They even had a guy from the AP briefing reporters outside the jail on what happened! The media will surely also go hog wild covering his release this October, as well. 

Anyway, the next stop for O.J. after he leaves Lovelock is Florida, where he will no doubt field multiple offers from TV news organizations for exclusive interviews. Why do I get this feeling that O.J. will end up doing his first interview with Megyn Kelly?

The news tonight is that John McCain has a brain tumor

The big news broke earlier tonight that Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had surgery earlier this week for what was said to be a blood clot discovered during a routine checkup, but it sounds like they also found cancer with it. It appears the cancer was taken out and McCain is out of immediate danger, but this is an aggressive cancer with a low survival rate. It sounds grim. 

Also, the political implications of this are huge — the GOP cannot afford to lose John McCain in the Senate. Not that anyone down there in D.C. really cares about that at the moment, they are all praying for his health. Anyway, this is not good news; I just thought I would pass it along.