Wednesday, August 31, 2005

review - The Constant Gardener

3.5 /5

The theatre was packed tonight, a Wednesday night, for what looked like a film that promised relief from the stream of duds and shallow movies as of late.

Ralf Fiennes plays Brit diplomat Justin Quayle, on location in Kenya. His wife, 24 year-old Tessa (34 year-old Rachel Weisz) , tags along with handsome Dr. Arnold Bluhm as he visits the villages, dishing out medical aid. Tessa is a committed social activist, critical of conglomerates who hand out free medicine, etc., and pieces together her observations with the Dr. to come up with a conspiracy theory that she submits to a respected higher up in the British High Commission. Of course, big trouble later ensues.

Shot in flash backs, the film is about Justin's one-man investigation of his wife's murder and the greedy players in the busines and political world who promise to profit enormously from the shady pharmaceutical industry's practices.

Some of camera work was disorienteering, as it is shot with a shaky hand-held camera. Some of the footage seems pointless. What's the point of having the scene with the bandits raiding the remote village? It's a bit disturbing to see the fleeing villagers being chased, shot or captured, while the huts burn to the ground. With a couple of scenes, you really get a sense of how little life is regarded over there as compared to the first world.

The main problem with this film is that it felt so unfocused. It's too long and drawn out. It's not a clear, succinct thriller. The sound in some of the room scenes is full of echoes. If you thought this was going to be anything like The English Patient, which also starred Ralf Fiennes, you will be surprised. The romance is played up but this is not a romance film. Fiennes, who is usually reserved in his roles, is surprisingly smiley with some boyish charm. Overall, the acting was quite solid.

It's based on a book by celebrated spy novelist John le Carré and directed by Fernando Meirelles, who was nominated for an Oscar for City of God. One of the best scenes is saved for last when Tessa'a lawyer steps up to give a eulogy at the church.

The Constant Gardener falls short of being one of the year's best films. It's not as good as The Hotel Rwanda but it strives to be above most of the cookie cutter releases and it somewhat succeeds on that count.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Soundtrack - Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers
New Line Records
released: July 12, 2005

Billed as "Music From and Inspired by the Film", this soundtrack features mostly indie pop music from some bands who are not really house-hold names among the masses. The Wedding Crashers soundtrack also falls short of being an essential album, with too many weak tracks. You almost get the feeling that they decided to pick certain bands for their names rather than for their music.

Rip off alert! What's even worse is that most of the songs here were not used in the movie. If you were expecting the CD to have The Faces "Stay With Me," "Sweetheart" by Jont Wittington, "Sparks" by Coldplay, and "Blue Rondo A La Turk" by Dave Brubeck, you'll be out of luck.

Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon and Jimmy Eat World offer lacklustre songs.

The album's best material includes "Aside" from Winnipeg's Weakerthans, one of the most celebrated indie rock bands around who have yet to make it big (by that, I mean to headline arenas.) No doubt, some of their fans will cry "sell out" but it's in thier interest to maximize their exposure. Guster's "Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today" is a decent ballad, as is the innocence sounding pop of "This Modern Love" by Bloc Party. Rilo Kiley are getting better known with each release and while not a pure pop song, the country tinged "More Adventurous" is quality singer-songwriter flavoured. While it's not indicative of what they sound like, it's refreshing. The 70's classic "In The Summertime" by Mungo Jerry is always a welcome treat for me since I don't listen to AM pop radio. A lot of people despise this song, but I like it as it reminds me of one of my friends.

Stephen Carroll of the Weakerthans

Probably the most celebrated new track on the CD is the rare "Mr. Ambulance Driver" by indie darlings The Flaming Lips. It's just dull soft rock track, best left unreleased, to be honest!

Rilo Kiley's vocalist Jenny Lewis

As a bonus, you get a video of the the Isley Brothers' "Shout!", as well as the song in the form of the "Matter Music Remix." Finally, this underwhelming album is completed by Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and the Klezmer Juice Band performing that seminal favorite, "Hava Nagilah," taken from the movie.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Soundtrack - Fantastic Four

Soundtrack - Fantastic Four

3.5 / 5

The movie was really lousy, but the soundtrack compilation album (not to be confused with the John Ottman score soundtrack) is suprisingly strong. You also get a whopping twenty tracks which clock in at 73 minutes of music.

The swaggering vocals of Scott Weiland propels Velvet Revolver's frantic "Come On, Come In" the lead track. This is muscular, strutting, cocksure rock'n'roll and it's instantly appealing. And this comes from someone who generally doesn't like VR.

Omnisoul's "Waiting (Save Your Life)" and Ryan Cabarea's "Always Come Back To You" sound like they are from an O.C. soundtrack - safe, semi-ballad corporate rock. Bland enough to have a wide appeal.

"Everything Burns" by Ben Moody featuring Anastacia and Meagan McCauley's "Die For You", sounds like this year's stabs at instant Evanescence soundtrack success, calculated to duplicate the breakthrough single from the Daredevil soundtrack. Not quite. Sure enough, Ben Moody is the guitarist / songwriter who left Evanescence after they made the big time.

Alter Bridge's "Shed My Skin" sounds familiar, with his slow cooking, heavy guitar modern rock sound. Sure enough, these guys are essentially the new band Creed became with new vocalist Myles Kennedy. Kennedy sounds like a deriveative rock vocalist, rather than someone who has an identifiable sound. Still, it's got the huge sound of Creed, Pearl Jam, etc., that launched these bands into super-stardom.

Alter Bridge

Japan's hot 6-man band Orange Range offer a mishmash of hip-hop and electronica with razor sharp and crunchy guitars. It's the most adventurous and risk taking song here. Actually, I wouldn't call it a song as much as just a musical collage. I can see some people finding this track a dog's breakfast. While I enjoyed it, it's not something that hits the spot for me.

Taking Back Sunday's "Error Operator"
"New World Symphony" by Mari Ven Ari- featuring Pharaoahe Monch (hip-hop)
Sum 41's "Noots (very catchy)
Simple Plan "Surrender" (yes, the Cheap Trick cover. Not as sweet as the original, however)
"On Fire" by Lloyd Banks (hip-hop)
"Goodbye To You" by Breaking Point(power ballad that will stick in your head, if you like this sort of song)
Loser's "Dispossible Sunshine" (instantly appealing, butt kicking rock, worthy of the repeat button and a radio hit in waiting, if they every play it...features former Marilyn Manson guitarist/writer John 5)

Megan McCauley is featured on two tracks and emerges as a strong but not unique sounding, singer.

Megan McCauley

There is a sense of sameness among the rock bands, however. So many bands sound like they are part of the Pear Jam lineage and while that may be seen as a sign of quality, it is a weakness in my books. If you like modern corporate rock, however, this CD will be right up your alley.

golfing Hecla Golf Course ( Gull Harbour)

Four of us played Manitoba's # ranked golf course today (as of Score Golf's 2002 ratings.) This was my first time playing it in about five or six years.

I started off fairly well, with a double-bogey 6, followed by a birdie three and two pars. Unfortunately, things began to fall apart after that. I shot 49 on the front nine. My problems involved not adjusting my aim for my usual slice / fade. On the challenging par 5 number ten, for example, you might be able to reach the green in two, or you could lay up. I chose to fire a three-wood shot since I was about 221 yards away and I just had to go for it. It flew the right distance but ended up fading to the right of the green and into the bushes. I was disappointed with myself since I could have greened it in two, had I only aimed more the to left.

For some strange reason, I had a lot of trouble with the par 3's. My tee shots were dreadful, usually going less than 30 feet. I kept on missing the ball,even though I teed up fairly low. I may actually just use no tee at all since I get really good contact with several of my irons, from the fairway. Take away the horrible scores on the par threes, and I would have shot under 100.

I also got greedy on one hole. My tee shot ended up on the right side of the fairway, in the rough. I could either hit the ball towards the hole and advance it several yards and risk hitting a tree or I could play it out in the fairway, and gain no yards, but have a makeable shot to the green. I foolishly tried to advance the ball and missed it. Then, when I did hit it, it hit a tree and ended up in an unplayable lie, in the trees. Right there, I wasted three strokes! And, had I advanced the ball, I would still be hitting an iron into the green. Whether I played it safe or tried to advance it, I would still be shooting for the green with my next shot. There was no advantage to trying to advance the ball, but my greedy self got the better of me.

A couple of drives slipped out of my hands, but overall, I was very pleased with the distance I gained from my new 440 CZ Cobra driver. One of my foursome is totally in love with his oversized driver and hit some remarkable shots. One of them lined him up for an easy 60 degree wedge shot to the green, followed by a putt for birdie.

I left my "new" used Cobra 5-iron at home and opted for my regular oversized 5-iron, which is noticeble heavier and easier to hit. Good choice. I may never use that Cobra iron again.

If there's one thing that I didn't like about the golf course, it was the huge amount of goose poop on the fairways. It's everywhere!

The cost of walking Gull Harbour Golf Course was $35 - a great deal for such a beautiful course. The fairways are wide and varied. You see Lake Winnipeg on several holes. This course is the best course that I have played and it makes a lot of my regular places to play seem so "Mickey Mouse" in comparison. Maybe next year, I can convince my friends to arrive early enough to play two rounds instead of just one. It's a two hour drive to get there from Winnipeg and well worth it.

"The J.A. Thompson-designed Hecla golf course has been a major draw since 1975 when it first opened for play. At 6,696 yards from the blue tees and covering nearly 195 acres, Hecla has lots of undulating land in which to strategically place its 75 bunkers. Water hazards come into play on seven holes, while water views over scenic Lake Winnipeg appear on 12 holes."

3 rounds at La Verendrye Golf Course

Located about ten minutes away from Steinbach, La Verendrye Golf Course offers the best deal for Manitoba golfers, when you can golf all day long for $31, including a shared power cart. Yes, this is the home of the 751 yard-long par 6, the longest hole in Canada.

Yesterday, we ended up playing three rounds of 18 holes. This was my chance to try out my new driver on a course that has wide fairways. In my first game, I shot 100, then 103 then 90! In the final round, I actually had two birdies on the front nine. The driver works like it is supposed to. On one of the holes that was 278 yards, we had a group of six 20-something guys in front of us. They were raking the sand trap as I teed off. My ball rolled into the trap. I actually had lots of problems with the driver until I figured out the problem was ball placement. That fixed my slices. I also managed to get some help with my wedge problems. I realized that I wasn't following through with the club. Once I began to do that, I began to hit them short and high. I sank several one putts and discovered that I really like the feel of my "new" used Ping demo 4 and 7 irons. They are so easy to hit. I also discovered that I really don't care for me "new" used demo Cobra 5 iron. It is so light that it doesn't inspire much confidence. I also didn't have any really good hits with it. Between the three of us, I had the best score over 54 holes. It was a memorable day with perfect weather - overcast and cool with a refreshing breeze.

This is the fourth hole, a par 4. If you hit a good tee shot, you would end up about 150 yards to the hole, which has water in front. You have to hit a high enough shot so that the ball will hit the green and not roll away. It's one of my favourite holes in all of Manitoba.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ten years of the net

Just a decade ago this week, the $3bn flotation of Netscape signalled the start of the mass internet age. Danny Bradbury explores how the web conquered the world - and changed our lives


On 9 August Netscape floats, ushering in a five-year boom. The $3bn flotation is the most spectacular in a series of commercial landmarks that includes the launch of (in July) and direct internet services from CompuServe (April) and AOL (October), which allow subscribers to the different services to exchange e-mails. But it is the mass availability of Netscape's user-friendly browser (launched in 1994) that brings the internet to ordinary people with PCs and Macs rather than specialists with Unix terminals.

* Annual fee introduced for the registration of domain names.

* Microsoft starts giving away Internet Explorer 1.0 with its Windows 95 operating system.

* RealAudio launched.

* The Vatican releases a web site.

* AltaVista search engine launched.


Expedia and Travelocity launch their online travel services in the US. Pioneers of the internet phenomenon of "disintermediation" (cutting out the middleman), these sites pave the way for no-frills airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair (which go online in 1998 and 2000 respectively) to sell their services at hitherto unimaginably low prices. The ease, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of internet booking has subsequently brought scores of once exotic locations within financial range of British travellers, transforming local economies around the world.

* Israeli company Mirabilis introduces instant messaging with its ICQ service.

* Yahoo floats. Company value hits $1bn.

* Netscape's share of browser market peaks at 87 per cent. (Internet Explorer has 4 per cent.)

* Tesco begins Tesco Direct service.

* Ebay's AuctionWeb receives its millionth bid and is renamed eBay.


AOL's subscriber base reaches 10 million (up from 5 million in 1996), while records its millionth customer. The latter's initial public offering (which raises $54m) highlights the potential of e-commerce. The scramble for web "presence" accelerates. Its importance had already been seen in December 1996, when Harrods won the right to use the domain name from a cybersquatter who had tried to charge it £100,000 for the privilege. In January the domain sells for $150,000. Two years later it sells again for $7.5m.

* NASA's website receives 46 million hits when Pathfinder sends back pictures from Mars.

* First recorded use of the term "weblog" to describe an online journal.

* NASA's website receives 46 million hits when Pathfinder sends back pictures from Mars.

* Members of online Heaven's Gate cult commit mass suicide.


Google, started by two Stanford graduates, initially serves 10,000 queries per day, but within a year is answering 3 million. Today it serves over 250 million per day - almost half of all US-originated queries - and indexes 8 billion pages.

* Online Drudge Report breaks story of Clinton-Lewinsky relationship. When the Starr Report into the scandal is released online eight months later, the internet has its busiest day ever.

* Launches of Egg online banking,, and

* Every nation in the world is online.


Student Shawn Fanning launches the Napster peer-to-peer service, enabling computers to share files directly with each other. Within months, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has begun legal action for copyright infringement. Further lawsuits follow, and, although its user base reaches 26 million by 2001, Napster dies out, selling its name to Roxio.

* SETI@Home service launches, using spare computing power on PCs worldwide to analyse radio signals from space for signs of alien life.

* BlackBerry launches in US.

* Melissa virus infects 1 million PCs worldwide.

* A list of MI6 agents is released on the web.

* Tesco launches online shopping.

* Egg launches UK's first internet credit card.

* US Department of Commerce describes online sales as "a major indicator of [US] economic health".


AOL agrees $350bn merger with "old media" giant Time Warner. The Nasdaq new-tech share index peaks at 5,048.62. By the end of 2002 the index has fallen to 1,114.11 - and AOL/Time Warner posts a loss of $99bn. Time Warner drops AOL from its name the following year.

* The "I Love You" worm becomes the costliest in the history of the internet.

* Popbitch celebrity gossip website launches.

* The scientist Laurence Godfrey wins £15,000 in damages from Demon Internet for failing to remove "squalid, obscene and defamatory" remarks about him.

* is valued at £800m on flotation.


The web's dark side asserts itself. Following the spread of the VBS/Loveletter internet worm in 2001, a spate of other worms are released including Sircam, CodeRed and Klez. Meanwhile, an FBI investigation into paedophile websites identifies 250,000 suspected users, including 7,200 in the UK. More than 1,200 people are arrested. Today there are 4.2 million pornographic websites - 12 per cent of all sites.

* Napster is banned from distributing copyrighted music.

* Apple launches the iPod.

* Microsoft launches Windows XP operating system, with its built-in support for wireless networking.

* Wikipedia starts.

* BlackBerry launches in Europe.

* Taliban bans internet use in Afghanistan.


Friends Reunited began reconnecting old school friends in 2000, growing from 3,000 members in its first year to 4 million at the start of 2002. Meanwhile, a new generation of social websites including and develops the theme. Today there are more than 300 such sites, including Google's invitation-only service, Orkut.

* Popbitch withdraws unfounded rumours about David and Victoria Beckham after the couple threaten legal action.

* Video of the murder of Daniel Pearl is shown online.

* Internet Explorer's share of the browser market reaches 96 per cent.

* Internet's global "population" reaches 428 million.

*Apple sells its millionth iPod.


Apple launches the iTunes Music Store, selling 20 million copy-protected tracks in seven months. Microsoft's response - the MSN Music Store - isn't ready until 2004, but research firm Forrester predicts that by 2008 one third of all music sales will be made online. Digital cameras outsell film cameras in the US for the first time.

* Kazaa, a file-sharing program, becomes the most downloaded software ever.

* Howard Dean's internet-based presidential campaign threatens to revolutionise US politics (left).

* Wireless hotspots take off, freeing internet users from their desks. BT promises to establish 4,000 such hotspots across the UK by the summer of 2004.

* Recording Industry Association of America sues 261 people for distributing copyright music files over the internet.


Although the term "weblog" was coined in 1997, 2004 is the year the blog achieves critical mass. Salam Pax, the "Baghdad blogger", becomes popular during the Iraq war, while in the US, Fox news anchor Dan Rather resigns after bloggers discredit one of his stories. AOL begins to include blogging tools in the latest versions of its software, while Microsoft launches its MSN Spaces blogging service. Today there are an estimated 14.7 million blogs, with a new one created every 7.4 seconds.

* Google goes public for $1.7bn.

* Cherie Blair is noticed using eBay.

* MyDoom worm becomes internet's worst-ever virus.

* US film industry serves lawsuits against sites hosting BitTorrent-based files.

* The global online population reaches 934 million.


Citizen journalists are now appearing daily, not just on the big news sites. and offer people the chance to be photojournalists, while podcasting (a grassroots internet radio movement akin to audio blogging) is hugely popular after just one year. A report by the Carnegie Corporation shows that 18- to 34-year-olds in the US are twice as likely to use an internet portal as a printed newspaper for daily news.

* Skype Internet telephony service handles its ten billionth minute of voice conversation.

* Fraudsters send 19.2 million "phishing" e-mails in July alone.

* More than half of British internet subscriptions are through broadband.

* 87 per cent of the world's e-mail is spam.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take
any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing
one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consumingonly things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole

Monday, August 22, 2005

The West, Islam and invalid argument

Here's an interesting article from the Winnipeg Free Press.

Mon Aug 22 2005
The West, Islam and invalid argument
by Tom Ford

I got off on the wrong foot with Islam. My father, a kindly Christian gentleman, told me Muslims converted people by the sword. You became a believer or they lopped off your head -- conversion by coercion.

My father was guilty of a sweeping generalization -- not all Muslims went around threatening infidels with death. He comes to mind because a lot of people, perhaps because of recent suicide bombings, are attacking Islam with sweeping generalizations.

They usually take three forms: Islam is suspect because Muslims are taught it is the one true religion; Muslims, throughout history, have been intolerant of other religions; Islam fosters violence.

These sweeping generalizations are the seeds of what could grow to be an all-out religious war, which is exactly what Osama bin Laden wants. He wants Jews and Christians to take on Muslims in a fight to the death. In such a war, he says, millions of Muslims would defeat the Jews and Christians.

Maybe not. But it would be a long, bloody and unnecessary war.

Certainly, some Muslims -- a small percentage -- do hate Jews and Christians and Muslims who refuse to do the same. Many of them are members of the Wahhabi sect which is based on the rigid 18th century teachings of Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab. The Saudi Arabian government, in order to keep peace at home, has helped promote this sect in many parts of the world.
What Jews and Christians need to do is become friendly with the majority of Muslims, the moderates. And a good way to start is to strike down those pernicious sweeping generalizations.

Sweeping generalization No. 1: Islam is suspect because its followers think it is the one true religion.

Nearly all major religions think they are the one true religion. The Roman Catholic Church proudly asserts it is the only true religion. Some Jews think they are the "chosen people," although as a Jewish friend told me: "Given our sad history, you have to ask: Chosen for what?" The sweet little old lady who sits next to me in the pew of my United Church thinks her religion is superior to all others.

What's important is whether these religions tolerate one another.

And that brings us to the next generalization: Muslims are intolerant of other religions.

Thomas Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and a writer whom I admire, said in one article: "Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities. Bin Laden reflects the most extreme version of that exclusivity and he hit us in the face with it on 9/11."
I've just argued that most of the world's major religions do not give other religions "equal recognition." The best we're going to get is tolerance -- and the Muslims showed they could do that more than 500 years ago in al-Andalus, the southern part of Spain. The Moors tolerated Jews and Christians and with their help created a nation of grace and luxury light years ahead of London and Paris, with their muddy streets.

The intolerance came from Ferdinand V of Castile and Isabella I, who used the Roman Catholic faith as a tool to unite Spain. They defeated the Moors and booted the Jews and the Muslims out of the country. They did not, however, destroy some of the biggest mosques. Inside a particularly beautiful one in Cordoba they built a huge, garish church. Years later, to add insult to injury, the Spanish set up the Inquisition to have another go at Jews and Muslims.

A more recent example: A Guelph doctor tells me about the terror he felt when he and his family had to crawl around the floors of their house when they were threatened by a Christian anti-abortionist who wanted to shoot them through the windows of their house.

These and hundreds of other examples lead me to believe that most Muslims are at least as tolerant as most of the rest of us.

Finally, there's this generalization -- that Islam fosters violence.

Let's go directly to the Qu'ran: "Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all humankind."

Irshad Manji, a Canadian writer who is a powerful and useful critic of her Islamic religion, argues in Maclean's that militant Muslims could easily deploy the clause beginning with "except" to justify their rampages.

And so could United States President George W. Bush, a Methodist, who says he can wage unilateral, pre-emptive strikes on those committing villainy.

The supposed connection between Islam and violence runs deep. A Christian cleric tells me: "We say God is Love. Muslims say God is Great, and the Jews say God is One. Christians have engaged in violence but there's a brake on our behaviour that Muslims don't have because we believe God is Love."
Nice theory. But there have been countless examples of violent, Christian attacks with no evidence of any braking action.

An end note: A belated thank-you to Robert Sibley, my University of Manitoba philosophy professor, who taught me all about invalid arguments, including sweeping generalizations.

Tom Ford is editing manager of The Issues Network.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

DVD - The Michael Schenker Group - Live in Tokyo 1997

The Michael Schenker Group - Live in Tokyo 1997.
3.5 / 5
Metal Mind Productions, 236 minutes.
released July 12, 2005

Legendary hard rock / metal guitarist Michael Schenker celebrates his 25th anniversary as a recording artist on this 2005 DVD release. Born on January 10, 1955 in Sarstedt, Germany, truly he is one of the chief architects of hard rock and heavy metal and remains a vital guitarist and songwriter. I've never seen him live, mostly due to the fact that he was always overshadowed by the groups that he used to be in and wasn't given a chance to form his own foothold in North America. He's big in Japan, though. I don't recall him every playing my city, Winnipeg.

From reading the back of the DVD case, I was immediately impressed with the huge number of songs included - 40! Schenker was a founding member of The Scorpions and recorded on their 1972 album, Lonesome Crow when he was 15. He then joined the British band UFO from 1973 to 1979, before rejoining the Scorpions for 1979's Lovedrive, and then heading out on a solo career. Schenker's output with UFO coincided with their most popular recordings, including 1977's Lights Out and 1978's Obsession and the massive hit, "Only You Can Rock Me."

Despite the fact the Scorpion' Love Drive album contains several notable tracks, such as "Loving You Sunday Morning", "Coast To Coast", the title track and "Holiday," only "Another Piece of Meat" in included on the DVD.

It's hard to believe that someone of Schenker's status would release such a bush league DVD. What do I mean by that? There's only one camera used to film the 30-song Tokyo concert!!! Sure, it zooms in once in a while, but it's not as good as a full film crew with multiple cameras.

On the plus side, the sound is acceptable. Schenker's guitar is razor sharp and vocalist David Van Landing is clear as a bell. Due to his classical sounds, you can hear why Schenker was an influence on Yngwie Malmsteen. The guitar playing is glorious. Listening to this DVD as I type away or surf the Internet, I feel like I am reliving the glory days of 70's hard rock, before thrash metal came along and placed more emphasis on speed than melody and whose seriousness took the fun out of music. This music "breathes" and feels less congested than much of the metal that came later and I love it! Obvious non-MSG highlights for me include the UFO classics "Doctor Doctor", "Lights Out", "Only You Can Rock Me" and Contraband's "All The Way From Memphis" (a Mott the Hoople cover.) Even when the songs aren't so hot and sound rather like pedestrian hard rock, Schenker's guitar playing drew me in.

I have a wide screen stereo TV but not surround sound decoder so I can't tell how great the sound is, but I think once you're into the music, none of that will really matter.

If you're a fan of Michael Schenker, UFO and The Scorpions, you will want to drop the $18 US price to buy this. How does it compare to last year's "Michael Schenker Group - World Wide Live 2004" DVD? I can't say, since I haven't seen it. That DVD is 105 minutes long and contains 15 tracks along with some interviews. In one interview, Schenker recalls how Chris Logan quit in the middle of a tour and how the group frantically searched for a repalcement for that evening at an Internet cafe, and ended up with Leif Sundin. He flew in and had only 30 minutes to prepare for the show. He sang from sheets and they pulled audience members on stage to sing, in addition to getting the opening band's singer join them, as well. The subsequent shows were better received than the Chris Logan shows. Schenker also spoke about how he was asked to join Ozzy Osbourne's band, right after the death of guitarist Randy Rhoads and how he was asked to audition for the Rolling Stones.

1. In the Search of the Peace of Mind (Scorpions)
2. Doctor Doctor (UFO)
3. Let it Roll (UFO)
4. Natural Thing
5. Lights Out (UFO)
6. Only You Can Rock Me (UFO)
7. Another Piece of Meat (Scorpions)
8. Into the Arena (Michael Schenker Group)
9. Are You Ready to Rock (Michael Schenker Group)
10. Assault Attack (Michael Schenker group
11. Captain Nemo (Michael Schenker Group)
12. No Time for Losers (McAuley Schenker Group)
13. Save Yourself (McAuley Schenker Group)
14. All the Way from Memphis (Contraband)
15. Pushed to the Limit (UFO)
16. Written in the Sand (Michael Schenker Group)
17. Back to Life (Michael Schenker Group)
18. Love Never Dies (Michael Schenker Group)
19. Essence (Michael Schenker Group)
20. Never Ending Nightmare (McAuley Schenker Group)
21. Bijou Pleasurette (Michael Schenker Group)
22. Positive Forward (Michael Schenker)
23. Lost Horizon (Michael Schenker Group)
24. Too Hot to Handle (UFO)
25. Attack of the Mad Axeman (Michael Schenker Group)
26. Love to Love (UFO)
27. On and On (Michael Schenker Group)
28. Armed and Ready (Michael Schenker Group)
29. Feels Like a Good Thing (Michael Schenker Group)
30. Rock Bottom (UFO)

Bonus Footage - The Unforgiven World Tour, Japan 2000:

01. Cry for the Nations
02. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
03. Rock My Nights Away
04. 3 Fish Dancing
05. Pilot of Your Soul
06. In and Out of Time
07. The Mess I've Made
08. Hello Angel
09. Fat City
10. Looking for Love

01. Football vs. Music
02. Scorpions
03. UFO
04. The Rolling Stones
05. Phenomenon
06. Force It/ No Heavy Petting
07. Leaving UFO
08. MSG
09. Chris Logan / Leif Sundin
10. Tales of Rock'n'Roll
11. All-Stars Band
12. Looking Back, Looking Forward...

1997 line-up:
Micahel Schenker lead / acoustic guitars
David Van Landing vocals / percussions
Barry Sparks bass / acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Seth Bernstein rhythm / acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Shane Gaalaas drums / acoustic guitar
Leif Sundin vocals / rhythm / acoustic guitars

2000 line-up:
Michael Schenker lead and rhythm guitars
Keith Slack vocals
Shane Gaalaas drums
Barry Sparks bass guitar
Wayne Findlay keyboards/ rhythm guitars

Also see:
Michael Schenker Gives Fans A Concert Momento by MuzikMan. All his postings.
Schenker's Greatest Hits by Marty Dodge. All his postings.
UFO Regenerator by Tim Hall. All his postings.

review - The 40 Year-old Virgin

3.5 /5

This is a lowest-common denominator film, full of swearing, etc., but also very funny. I found it to be the funniest film that I have seen in a while, and funnier than Wedding Crashers.

Steve Carrell (42) is Andy, a 40 year-old guy who works in an electronics store, who lives alone and who is very much like the nerd Comic Book guy. He has a huge collection of action figures that are still in their original packaging, paints minature action figures, and plays gladiator-type video games. He sort of gave up on women after a few failed relationships.

Steve's co-workers figure out that he is a virgin and set out to help me get over it. Meanwhile, he meets up with Trish (45 year-old Catherine Keener, playing a 40 year-old), a businesswoman from across the street, who he really, really likes. At the same time, other ladies come into his life, in ways that are not too terribly convincing, but with hilarious consequences. During one lunch hour, they convince him to join them for turns out to be a speed dating club. Of course, he meets nothing but misfits while one of his co-workers meets an ex who he is still hung up on. We later this see this guy melt down.

In one scene, he goes for a hot waxing to remove his chest hair. There's no special effects here, they really do rip out his hair and it's both painfull and very funny at the same time.

He relationship with Trish is not totally honest, however, as she doesn't know that he is a virgin. Of course, along the way, she thinks he's some kind of deviant.

When you scrape away all the crudeness, this film does have enough of a heart to make you not feel like you've watched something totally juvenille.

The 40 Year-old Virgin isn't a film to take the whole family to, but it will be popular among a lot of people.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Loney's Golf in receivership after 22 years in Winnipeg

I must admit that I never set foot in Loney's Pembina location until today, based on this article from the Free Press.

My goal was to find a Cobra driver at a really good price. Mission accomplished. When I arrived just after 11 am, they had been open since 9 and there were two Cobra drivers to be found. I selected the larger one, the 440 SZ, which normally retails for $399. I was told it was going for half price. At the till, they said it was actually half price from $288, so it was mine for $144. I also bought some oversized irons that were demo models: Ping G2 4 and 7, and a Callaway Big Bertha Fusion 6, for $25 each. The complete iron sets (8 clubs) of the Ping G2 and Callaway Big Bertha Fusion irons cost about $1500 each. I thought this would be a good way to try out some higher end irons until I buy my next set of clubs. I also bought a used Cobra five-iron, also oversized.

Loney's Golf in receivership after 22 years in Winnipeg

Sat Aug 20 2005

By Nick Martin
LONEY'S Golf Shop has gone into receivership after 22 years of operating in Winnipeg.

Inventory at the Pembina Highway store will be sold off beginning this morning, receiver Lazer Grant LLP Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors said yesterday.

Regina businessman Loney Anderson, who opened the store in the early 1980s and sold it 12 years ago to Dwayne Couldwell, said from Regina yesterday that the opening of big box golf stores such as Golf Town, combined with "brutal" weather the last two summers, have hurt the small golf retail business.

"The year 2004 was absolutely brutal for golfing. This year hasn't been much of a better start," he said.

Anderson said that he was unaware of exactly why Loney's Golf Shop had gone out of business, but said the opening of large golf stores would be a factor. Couldwell could not be reached.

Anderson pointed out that Nevada Bob's had closed down stores in Winnipeg earlier. "The market was over-retailed to begin with," he said.
Anderson still has two Loney's outlets in Regina, but has also sold the outlet he opened in Saskatoon when he built his small chain in the 1980s.

He said that the original Loney's was on Regent Avenue and Couldwell had moved it to Pembina Highway. There was also a store which operated on Portage Avenue for about five years in the 1980s.

Dave Comaskey, executive director of Golf Manitoba, said he was saddened to hear that Loney's is going out of business.

"The merchandising side of golf has been extremely competitive, with big box stores, and also the Internet," Comaskey said. "There's thousands upon thousands of websites people can go on and buy anything.

"I remember going into Loney's to look at equipment, and that would be 20 years ago," Comaskey said.

"It was great service, and that was what appealed to people," he said.
Officials at Lazer Grant were unavailable to elaborate on the receivership.

Golfing the Steinbach Fly-In Club

Still on a high after shooting an 85, may best game ever, the day before, I had high expectation for my round at the Fly-In Club. Without a doubt, they have the nicest fairways that I have played on this year. You can take divots very easily and the grass feels very plush.

I hit some nice drives, but overall, I played poorly. My wedge shots were awful. I topped several shots from the fairway. I failed to have that one spectacular shot to keep me going, but I place all the blame on myself. You can either play this course the smart way or the risky way. With the risky way, you are hitting driver as often as you can, and you try to reach the par fives in two. The smart way is to think of where you want to play your second shot from and tee off accordingly. There's a lot of water in the form of creeks so you can easily lose balls if you hit or roll into them. The next time I play this course, I will try to play it smarter and shoot for lower than 106!! While not huge, the club house has a buffet for less than $9 that goes until 2 pm and is a good way to get a hot meal.

Friday, August 19, 2005

DVD - Give 'Em The Boot

You have to wonder if Joe Strummer knew that he would be used to help sell a DVD og punk artists when he appeared with Rancid's Tim Armstrong in the opening scene. The footage is very grainy and the audio is assisted with subtitles. You can't actually hear Strummer's final words, but a clean take would have been so cynically corporate, right?

Rancid are the main feature here, but there's oodles of concert footage and rare performances of several Hellcat Records artists. Rancid is up first with their insanely catchy "Ruby Soho" track from 1995's ...And Out Come The Wolves. It consists of live footage from several shows around the world and also introduces all the groups who appear on the DVD. Some of the bands just don't do anything for me. Tiger Army's "Never Die" (from 1999's Tiger Army)was an exercise in power and speed, but the song didn't grab me at all. Still, the live scenes show pools of kids bopping along and having a ball. The same can be said of the female-fronted F-Minus.

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros offer up The Clash's "Rudie Can't Fail" (1980's London Calling) which only makes me wish I had actually seen The Clash, or Strummer.

One of the treats is an acoustic rendering of Rancid's "Roots Radicals", complete with an explanation about how it's a song about taking the bus.

Nekromantix have some of the coolest haircuts you can imagine, and are an eye-catching band live. On "Gargoyles Over Copenhagen", the bass player sports a coffin-shaped upright bass. The song itself doesn't quite do the band justice, however. Iggy Pop and Davey Havok (from AFI)show up, as well.

What's the purpose behind this DVD? Was it a tribute to Joe Strummer? No, although they do have one for him towards the end. It just seems like "Give 'Em The Boot" is meant to market Hellcat Records' artists on the shoulders of the popular Rancid. There's not enough discussion with the bands about their songs or the inspriation behind their music. And, unless you are a serious Rancid fan, you might the footage of them overwhelmed the other groups. There are ten Rancid performances out of 25 songs. Among my favorite performers were The Slackers, and The Dropkick Murphy.

Rancid - Ruby Soho
Tiger Army - Never Die
F-Minus - Light At The End
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Rudie Can't Fail
Rancid - Roots Radicals (acoustic)
Rancid - Maxwell Murder
Nekromantix - Gargoyes Over Copenhagen
U.S. Boms - U.S. Bombs
Transplants - One Seventeen
Guitar Joe
Rancid - As Wicked
Rancid - Old Friend
Rancid and Iggy Pop - No Fun (acoustic)
The Slackers - And I Wonder
Horrorprops - Julia
Roger Miret and The Disasters - CrucifiedDropkick Murphy - Good Rats
Rancid - Red Hot Moon
Rancid - Rate In The Hallway
Rancid - Bloodclot
Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards - SkunxNerve Agents - Evil
Joe Stummer tribute
Tim and Davey Havok - Knowledge
Rancid - Radio
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Minstrel Boy

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Windsor Park Golf Course - my best round ever!

Today, I took the afternoon to play the Windsor Park Golf Course with three of my co-workers. This is one of the easiest courses in town due to its short length, but we played it since it is located not too far from one of my co-workers.

I ended up shooting 41 and 44 for 85, my best round of golf ever. I should really always break 90 on this course, since it is fairly short. I putted fairly well. I mostly drove the ball well. Once again, my approach shots to the green with the pitching wedge, were really lousy. I simply don't get under the ball as well as I should.

Everyone agreed that the shot of the day came on the 12th hole. The ideal drive is with about 150 yards, to the 150 yard marker. From there, you will have a clear shot to the elevated green. I duffed my 5-iron drive and landed it on the side of hill. I was about 160 yards away, but my side hill shot flew high and straight at the green. It landed less than ten feet from the hole. I just barely missed getting a birdie.

The first hole was a huge surprise. There is a temporary green that you can see from the tee box, but you can't see how flood damaged the fairway was. It looked like most of the grass had been scrapped away. I'm not sure I would have played this course if I knew the first hole was so damaged. The other holes were in fairly good shape. Yesterday, we thought it was supposed to rain all afternoon, but it didn't rain at all on us. However, it was really humid. We would have welcomed cooler weather. The cost to walk 18 holes was $24.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

catching up with a cousin for the first time...

Yesterday, one of my uncles from Trinidad called me. We spoke briefly before I ended up chatting for a while with his 21 year-old son, for the first time. In this age of instant and relatively cheap communications, it's amazing how easy it is to not keep in touch with certain people. Out of site, out of mind, I supppose.

Turns out my cousin is trying to get into the IT field. He's certified in A+ and Network+ and is going for some other certifications.

Coconut trees in Mayaro.

Let's see if I can remember my cousins on my Dad's side:
Riaz, Tariq and Idris.
Ferraz, Fazee and Farah
and there's a few more whose names I can't remember. I really have to learn their names!

Gaza, Israel, and Me

Here's an interesting post from one of my Blogcritics colleagues.

Gaza, Israel, and Me
Posted by gypsyman on August 16, 2005 10:35 AM (See all posts by gypsyman)

Israeli security forces clashed with protesters in the largest Gaza settlement on Tuesday in the run-up to the midnight deadline for Jews to leave the occupied territory. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem.

For over a thousand years, Jewish people throughout the world have commemorated their escape from Egypt and the pharaohs with the observation of the Passover holiday. The name’s origins lie in God’s orders to the Jews when he sent down the angel of death to smite all the first sons in Egypt. If they put lamb's blood on their doorframes, the angel would pass over their houses.

The first two nights of the seven-day festival are highlighted by the ritual meal, the Seder. (I have always contended there are two Seders to ensure family peace; couples go to one set of parents one night, the other set the second.) Throughout the evening, the story of the exile is read, and foods symbolizing aspects of the journey are eaten - unleavened bread called Matzoth represents that they were in such a hurry there was no time to wait for the bread to rise, salt water symbolizes the tears shed on leaving their homes, and bitter herbs express the bitterness of the journey.

After these and other foods are eaten and the story is told, there comes the final ritual event of the evening. All of those assembled stand facing east, raise a glass of wine, and proclaim "Next Year in Jerusalem!" For Jewish people scattered across the continents of the world, this statement epitomized their longing to return home out of exile. Like Moses and the Israelites, they saw themselves as wandering the desert searching for their promised land.

One can only imagine the poignancy of these words for people walled up in the ghettos of Europe in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; or even worse, those people trapped in the camps of Nazi Germany or the soulnessness of Stalinist Russia. How empty they must have sounded echoing off the walls of Auschwitz and Belsen.

The creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948 was supposedly the answer to the years of exile. When the creation of the Israel was first being discussed, the first geographical location that was considered was actually where modern day Uganda is located. However, it was obvious that any Jewish homeland would have to include Jerusalem, as it is the heart and soul of their faith.

There was a slight problem. There happened to be people living there already. Some of them were Jews who had continued to live there through the years of conquerors dating back to the Romans, and others were Arab who had lived there since the time of Mohammad and before.

Both groups of people, along with Christians, consider Jerusalem their holiest city. For the Jews, the Wailing Wall is the last remaining piece of the great Temple. For the Muslims, The Dome of the Rock is the holiest Mosque in the world, because it’s here that Mohammad is said to have ascended into heaven.

The months leading up to the declaration of statehood were marked by acts of terror aimed against both Arabs and Jews. The Stern and Irgun gangs of Zionist terrorists blew up a major hotel in Jerusalem and wiped out a whole village of Arabs, which would have been within the boundaries of the new state of Israel. Whether it was true or not, Arabs, justifiably, inferred from these attacks that they would not be welcomed in Israel.

When the first war of survival was won by Israel, the Muslim population became the displaced. When they left Israel looking for succour in the arms of their fellow Arabs they were turned away by all except Jordan. They were allowed to set up camps in the territory bordering the new state.

It was not until 1967 and the six-day war that the present day boundaries of Israel were created. In what was called a preemptive strike to prevent war, the Israeli armies occupied the territories now known as the West Bank and The Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem. These incursions created the massive amounts of refugees that flooded the camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

The Gaza Strip, which is the territory being ceded to the Palestinian Authority, was part of the original cease fire agreement between Israel and the Arab nations in 1950. Home to the Palestinians who fled Israel after its creation in 1949, it remained under Egyptian rule until 1967.

Since the war of 1967, Israeli settlers have been forming armed enclaves in the Gaza Strip. Sometimes in opposition to government policy, other times with their tacit support. The current prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, was a proponent of the settlements, but has since changed his tune.

Although it is not often reported in our press, the majority of Israelis support the withdrawal of the settlers from the Gaza Strip. These settlers have long been seen as provocateurs that make life more difficult for those living in the rest of the country. Ariel Sharon has finally bowed to the demands of the majority of his people and world pressure to finalize complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, settlers and military, paving the way for Palestinian autonomy.

Israeli soldiers and police have spent the last few days delivering eviction notices to all of the settlements in Gaza. Thousands of settlers and their supporters have tried to thwart them through a variety of means such as tire fires and physically obstructing them with human blockades.

Like many other people of Jewish descent, I have often struggled with the costs involved with the creation and maintenance of Israel. How can our people justify treating any other people in a manner similar to that which motivated the creation of Israel? Our continued ghettoization of Palestinians is reprehensible and irresponsible.

Just over sixty years ago, the majority of the world turned a deaf ear to the cries for help issuing from Europe as millions of our family members were exterminated in the camps. How can we turn a deaf ear to the cries for assistances from our neighbours, especially when we were responsible for their plight.

The suicide bombers and the Hamas rocket attacks are not going to stop no matter how security conscious Israel gets. Instead of continually meting out retribution against innocents, why not isolate the terrorists from the rest of society by acting in a manner which in no way can be construed as coercive?

Ridding the Gaza Strip of all illegal squatters is a first step. Pressure must be kept up on Israeli governments to continue to treat its new neighbours with respect. We need to take the words “Never Forget” and start applying them to others as well as ourselves. We insult the dream of “Next Year In Jerusalem” if can’t carry out that simple task.


Comment on this post and/or leave a message for the author here.
Comment 1 posted by dietdoc on August 16, 2005 01:27 PM:


Thanks for this informative analysis of the crisis that is Israel. I learned more in this small piece than I have in some time on BC. It is so refreshing to read something that is not cluttered with radical venom - be it liberal or conservative - but simply a personal, informed analysis.

I appreciate your insights and thoughts.



Comment 2 posted by Nancy on August 16, 2005 02:14 PM:

I have a question for anyone who cares to dredge this one up: in both the bible & the archeological record, it's pretty clear that the original inhabitants of Jerusalem were not Jews (or Israelites) but a whole 'nother group. Going by the bible, the Jews moved in, massacred the originals, & settled themselves into the territory as "theirs" by right of divine gift, as they justified it. How do the Israelis/Jews or anybody else consider Jerusalem to be 'theirs' when they stole it by genocide to begin with? Not that this is a unique situation; lord knows it's how most of us ended up where we are, somewhere down the line in history, especially here in the US. But I wonder, as especially the O.T. is pretty specific about wiping out the originals owners & taking the city, is that just then 'disregarded'?

Comment 3 posted by gypsyman on August 16, 2005 02:27 PM:

You know I almost mentioned something about the cannites(I think that's who it was or at least some variation on that spelling) I've often wondered the same thing myself about the historical accuracy of that whole exodus story and what ever became of those who were there before the people Moses was leading out of the wilderness.

Probably, as is so often the case in these insidences, they were some form of godless heathens, like the snakes of Ireland who St. Patrick had destroyed. Horror of Horrors they could have been godess worshipers.

It seems that everybody's claim to right of possecion is made on the backs of somebody else. Just goes to prove that we are all immigrants.

Comment 4 posted by ss on August 16, 2005 03:10 PM:

I've heard a theory that the Exodus didn't actually happen all at once, but in successive waves, and that the earlier waves had the god that became Yaweah, the unnamed, whatever, but also a female diety, and they more willing to accept local gods, so they were more accepted by the locals.
So much so that the later waves were seen as interlopers, even by their (pre?) Hebrew cousins. So the last waves seperated and had to live on the marginal lands, with ealrlier inhabitants who worshipped differnt god/goddess pairs, and that all these people living on the fringes of Ancient Palestinian society came together under a new monotheism, and the reason our god is named, basicly, 'don't say his name', is because that was the easiest compromise to ditch the goddess, and to call all the polydeists (I think is the word), whether they came fom out of Egypt or not, heathens with unclean sexual practices, etc.
According to this theory Hebrew, as something that can be traced genetically, (if there's even any truth to that claim) started at that point.
It's kind of far fetched and it doesn't really change the violent take over I guess, but it makes our western (relatively recent) obsession with tribal descent seem a liitle silly.
So I like that about it.

Comment 5 posted by Nancy on August 16, 2005 03:20 PM:

Canaanites? Mmmm...yeah, I read that, too, one of the Archeology mags about 2 yrs ago, I think. "God" originally had a wife. Actually, if the O.T. is any indication, the ancient Israelites were pretty tough customers, quite given to genocide whenever it suited them, then justifying it by claiming 'God' made them do it. Where have I heard that one before...? As for the exodus, the bible also has an interesting detail there: when Moses has led everyone out, & they start whining, they moan about the fish & garlic & onions they had to eat in Egypt, the living was easy, & how they wish they were back there. Isn't that a odd reaction for people who purportedly were escaping slavery & genocide? Plus, the Egyptians were maniac record-keepers, and aside from the Hyksos, there is nothing said whatsoever about Israelites, or Semites, or Jews, let alone about an entire population enslaved. You'd think something would be posted somewhere.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

PGA Championship rain delayed an extra day

Fans file out of Baltusrol after play was called Sunday evening.

Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III started the day tied at -6, but Mickelson gained two strokes while Love picked up four. Steve Elkington, the 1995 winner, was +1 today, while Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh were +2. Tiger Woods finished at 2 under, and also shot two under for the day. I would be quite surprised if there was a playoff involving Tiger Woods, but you never know.

1 Phil Mickelson -4 13 +2
T2 Steve Elkington -3 15 +1
T2 Thomas Björn -3 14 +2
T4 Tiger Woods -2 F -2
T4 Vijay Singh -2 15 +2

This will be the first time the PGA Championship has gone five days since Bob Tway won at Inverness in 1986.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Thomas Bjorn shoots record 63 at the PGA Championship

Thomas Bjorn shot a record 7 under par 63, and vaulted himself into contention.

A 63 gave Thomas Bjorn a great reason to enjoy his golf again.

Sweet 63
The following players shot 63 in a major championship:

PGA Championship (9)
Bruce Crampton 1975 (2nd rnd)
Raymond Floyd 1982 (1st rnd)
Gary Player 1984 (2nd rnd)
Vijay Singh 1993 (1st rnd)
Michael Bradley 1995 (1st rnd)
Brad Faxon 1995 (4th rnd)
Jose Maria Olazabal 2000 (3rd rnd)
Mark O'Meara 2001 (2nd rnd)
Thomas Bjorn 2005 (3rd rnd)

The Masters (2)
Nick Price 1986 (3rd rnd)
Greg Norman 1996 (1st rnd)

U.S. Open (4)
Johnny Miller 1973 (4th rnd)
Jack Nicklaus 1980 (1st rnd)
Tom Weiskopf 1980 (1st rnd)
Vijay Singh 2003 (2nd rnd)

British Open (7)
Mark Hayes 1977 (2nd rnd)
Isao Aoki 1980 (3rd rnd)
Greg Norman 1986 (2nd rnd)
Paul Broadhurst 1990 (3rd rnd)
Jodie Mudd 1991 (4th rnd)
Nick Faldo 1993 (2nd rnd)
Payne Stewart 1993 (4th rnd)

Phil Mickelson's lost two strokes and fell to -6, tied with the rising Davis Love III.

After struggling Saturday, Phil Mickelson faces more of an uphill journey to the PGA Championship title.

Tiger Woods shot 4 under par 66 and put himself at even par. By all accounts, this wsa something he should have been happy about, but he refused to talk to reporters after the round. Still, he was 12 strokes behind Phil Mickelson and is now 6 back.

From CNN SI:

"He again tried to reach the 650-yard 17th hole in two, but his 3-wood was so far left that it went beyond a bunker and settled under a fan's portable chair. He chipped weakly to 35 feet and made par. On the 18th, Woods hammered another tee shot down the middle and hit a towering 7-iron that settled 30 feet behind the hole. He gunned his eagle putt some 12 feet by, then missed that coming back."

John Daly's pitching wedge had to do double duty on Saturday.


"John Daly has so much power, he could probably drive with a putter. At the PGA Championship on Saturday, he proved he could putt with a wedge.

Daly made the unorthodox move after the head of his putter came loose on the back nine of his third round, and he putted with his wedge on holes 11 through 18.

"I rolled it pretty good. I couldn't get it to the hole, but the other putter was knocking it 10 feet by," Daly said with a laugh.

He did manage to birdie the 650-yard 17th, becoming the only player to reach the green in two shots for the second time in two majors at Baltusrol. He missed his eagle chance and had a tap-in birdie with his wedge.

Daly was the only player to reach the green in two shots during the 1993 U.S. Open."

Friday, August 12, 2005

review - Broken Flowers


Broken Flowers is the latest film from director Jim Jarmusch.

Don (Bill Murray) is a seemingly retired person, who made a fortune in the computer business. One day, he receives a letter with no return address or signature, claiming that he fathered a child with the writer and that the child, almost 19 years old, is now one his way to find his unknown father. With the help of his would-be detective novelist neighbour (Jeffrey Wright, someone we should see more of in film), Don embarks on a trip to unexpectedly drop by a few former girlfriends, to try to figure out who sent the letter and who his child is.

There are too many quiet, contemplative moments that worked in Lost In Translation , that don't quite work here. It's true that sometimes less is more, and that much can be communicated without relying on a lot of dialogue. But after a while, the numerous quiet moments made the film seem tedious. There are also parts that are meant to titillate, always involving females, but they don't really add to the story in any germane way, with the exception of playing on men's interest in attractive women. Was this some type of social commentary on the director's part? Probably.

The real estate agent former flame (Frances Conroy)looked embarassed and the dinner scene was painful to watch. However, it was also realistic. We've all been in situations with that type of tension. Jarmusch also tried to juxtapose the dry real estate agent and her bourgeois lifestyle with the hippie that she used to be when Don knew her. The change is apparent without having it trumpeted. The animal communicator on one hand seemed loopy and self-imporatnt, but on the other hand, stand-offish. Real people are like that: more complex than mere stereotypes. The redneck former girlfriend (Tilda Swinton)and her reasons for reacting to him upon his surprise visit, didn't develop any intrigue and didn't contribute to the story in a positive way.

Broken Flowers is not predictable, and that is one of its strong suits. It's slow moving pace and ending may turn off mainstream audiences, however. Those with different tastes may find this to be one of the best films of the year. I can respect this film for trying to be different, but I don't think I would see it again or recommend it to everyone. Winner of the Grand Prix prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Mickelson surges, Tiger Woods barely makes the cut

After shooting a 5-under 65 in Friday's second round, Mickelson took the clubhouse lead with an 8-under total.

The big drama today at day 2 of the PGA Championship, was whether or not Tiger Woods would make the cut, which was projected to be at +4. Woods ballooned from begining to day at +5 to +8. Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, finished his round before Woods began his, at held the lead at -8. Mickelson was five under for the day. He had seven birdies and one eagle.

Defending PGA champion Vijay Singh (R) of Fiji tees off on the 17th hole as Davis Love III of the U.S. looks on during second round play.

On the 17th hole, Woods boomed a huge drive. This hole is 647 yards long and has only been reached in two once before, by John Daly in the 1993 US Open. He had about 260 yards to the green and took out his three-wood. Golfing fans around the world held their breaths. He hit what looked like a perfect shot. Woods initially thought it was going to fly over the green. In ended up in a bunker, on the far lip. He had no choice but to shoot it out, and put it back into play. With his back turned to the flad, he rolled it out to the rough, with bunkers to the left and right. He wedged it and rolled it about ten feet past the hole. If he sank his next shot for par, he would make the cut. He missed.

Number 17

Onto the final hole, number 18, which he had to at least birdie to make the cut. He drove it long and straight, leaving himself maybe just a seven-iron to the green. His second shot on the par five landed on the green, about ten feet away. He could use two shots to finish the hole and make the cut. But, he had a chance to go out in style with an eagle. He missed and settled for a birdie. Over the first two days, his putter has really let him down. On number two, he three=putted from 7 feet! The final two days will be quite exciting. Will Phil hold onto his lead or fold like he done many times before? Will Woods manage to shoot under par enough to have a shot at winning? Or, will someone else make a dramatic run for victory?

After dropping to 8-over early in the second round, Tiger Woods responded with four crucial birdies in a 10-hole span.

Three men were injured, one hospitalized with a broken left leg, when a huge branch of an oak tree snapped loose and struck them.

South Interlake Golf Course

Located about 20 minutes north of Winnipeg on highway 6, South Interlake Gof Course is a wide open course that can be very susceptible to the wind. It was windy today and my drives sliced more than usual and some of them ended up lost.

My most memorable shot was a short one from a sand trap. I gently lifted the ball out the sand with just enough height. I don't think I've hit such a good bunker shot in years. None of us putted well. The greens were fast. They also did not bite. One of our playing partners has a membership there and recommended that we land some of our approach shots before the green to allow the ball to run up. I did this on one hole and it worked just fine. I was quite surprised to see one of my high 9-iron approach shots hit the green and roll off.

I had one really good pitching wedge shot. I took a full swing and followed through properly, resulting in a high shot. Unfortunately, I was tentative with the wedge for most of the day and ended up skulling it several times.

My game was so bad that I shot 20 shots worse than last week's game. Such is golf. The cost for today's round was $25 to walk it.

Thoughts about the 87th PGA Championship

Prior to the start of the 87th PGA Championship, being held at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., there was speculation that Mike Weir was being seen as being a flash in the pan, since they had him scheduled to play with two other golfers who haven't lived up to expectations. Here's what Sports Illustrated had to say.

"THE LOST MOMENTUM GROUP: Since winning the 2003 Masters, Weir has made 47 Tour starts and has one win to show for it. Since winning the 2001 British Open, Duval's game has made a wicked turn south; he's failed to win in his last 72 Tour starts. And since winning the 2003 British Open, Curtis has been shut out in his last 44 Tour starts ... and has missed the cut 27 times."

Two pars 4s over 500 yards in length!!

Arjun Atwal from India, playing in his second major, could bring golf to unheard of popularity in his home country, should he win. Michael Campbell won the US Open this year and is from New Zealand, a country of 4 million people. He's a huge sports hero there now. Imagine what an Atwal win would mean to 1 billion people in India!!

32 year-old Arjun Atwal

Tiger Woods off to a poor start, but six players are tied for the lead, including Calgarian Stephen Ames, at 3 under par. There are 27 players within two strokes of the lead - quite a log jam!

Stuart Appleby
Phil Mickelson
Rory Sabbatini
Stephen Ames
Trevor Immelman
Ben Curtis

Tiger Woods, the world's number one ranked player,is at +5, 8 shots behind the leaders. Vijay Singh is at even par. Mike Weir is at +2. Arjun Atwal is at +4.

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