Sneaky Preview

So last night we were watching the CBC Edmonton news, which included a story about the closing of Sneak Preview, a video store with good selection of older, esoteric, and hard-to-find titles. (The story line was about finding a copy of “The Last Picture Show” which padded a 30-second story to 4 minutes, but I digress.)

I didn’t notice this before but there was something missing in the story. The co-owner of the shop, who was interviewed in the story, has a second job — as a video editor for CBC Edmonton. Isn’t this a pretty clear conflict of interest? As a sometime student of media, it strikes me that if you’re doing a story on a co-worker – even if that story is about the demise of your co-worker’s second job — it behooves you to mention the connection. No?

And, We’re Back.

It’s been a while, dear reader. Yes, singular – though I suspect even that one’s left. Apologies for the radio silence. Alas, we have lost our previous domain, pontificate.ca, to a scum-sucking, cretinous domain squatter, who has decided to put it to use driving traffic to @toronto, some generic squatter Twitter account, which I suppose has the benefit of actually being updated once in a while. Yes, I hope there will be more to this blog than some pedantic once-a-year posting. With that, I’m off to bed.

Too Much Ado Over Radio 2

It’s been said that Canadians are slow to change. Ample evidence of this comes from this week’s reconfiguring of CBC Radio 2. I will admit it right now — classical is not my usual cup of tea. It’s pleasant background music, I suppose, but so is, for example, Buddha Bar. Consequently, I didn’t tune into Radio 2 very much before the “format change” (quotations to be explained later). Every time I did it was classical of some kind, or Vinyl Cafe with warm stories about the gentle shenanigans of Dave, Morley, and the Turlingtons — for the American readers, think Lake Wobegon but more (maple) syrupy — or some opera.

As of September 2, Radio 2 has reduced the amount of classical to 5 hours a week day, and added a morning and evening show. The hosts are no longer those who tut-tutted at Trudeaumania; bypassing those who were actually caught up in the PET fad, they went with people who were, well, conceived around the time Pierre took Barbra Streisand out on the town. In short, they’ve rejigged the station for an audience that might have been influenced by disco and synth pop, but who also want a dose of Mahler, Peer Gynt and Glenn Gould. They’re trying to convince a new group of listeners who loved Paul Potts’s Nessun Dorma that there’s a whole opera surrounding it.

The old have decided this is a bad thing. Continue reading “Too Much Ado Over Radio 2”

Velvet John Baird and Poker-Playing Dogs

Nobody else seems to have caught on to what would usually be an instant poopstorm, so allow me.

Edmonton is on track to win a bid for a National Portrait Gallery. See, the federal government, whose power base is the west, doesn’t like that all the good stuff goes to Ottawa, so they opened up the location of the NPG to private-sector bids in nine Canadian cities, including Ottawa. Turns out Edmonton is a favourite, with a bid to locate it in the new Epcor building downtown. There has been much debate over the “proper” location of a gallery, and I do not wish to wade into it; there are excellent arguments both for and against. However, Jim Gray of the Ottawa Citizen has some opinions on the matter, not least of which have to do with the quality and seriousness of an Edmonton-based gallery. In a story on the Ottawa bid, he writes and I quote:

The gallery would normally be the purview of Ottawa – you know, musty paintings of the Duke of Somewhere, Governor General Something or Other. But the most recent acquired collections in the spirit of Western culture at the Edmonton portrait gallery/P3 livery stable would be so un-Ottawa: Environment Minister John Baird in black-light poster; Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon finger-painted; and the prime minister himself, Stephen Harper, on velvet or whatever medium is playing well in Fort McMurray these days. Doubtless, they would all look good in the Elvis wing, certain to be the most popular exhibit in the Edmonton gallery besides the poker-playing dogs. Those cute little pooches always knock ’em dead with the dice-on-the-rearview-mirror set. Found art to be sure.

Pardon my (implied) French, but WTF?

Billions in Profit, $500 at a Time

An entertaining bank story for your Monday reading pleasure.

With our old home equity plan we had a line of credit (Old LOC) and a Visa (Old VISA). When we bought the new house we needed to pay off the old stuff, and we got New LOC and New VISA as part of the new home equity plan.

In the process, I overpaid the old Visa by $500. I didn’t catch this until a few months ago. Called the bank up, asked them to please transfer my credit balance from Old Visa to New LOC. Sure, they said, no problem.

Two months later, another round of statements and I realize they had transferred the credit amount from Old Visa to Old LOC. Not so helpful, so I call again, explain my problem, and ask them to transfer credit balance from Old LOC to New LOC. Sure, no problem, we’ll get on that right away.

A week later, transfer hasn’t shown up in New LOC, so I phone to see what’s going on. Transfer never happened, much apology, will re-authorize. Then a phone message at home: we can’t do the transfer, would you mind going to your branch and getting it done?

Three days later, I check New LOC. I find the $500 transfer in there, but it’s been transferred in the wrong direction. Now, instead of having two closed accounts with $0 balances, I have Old LOC, which I can’t access or check online, with a credit balance of $1000. The extra $500 came from New LOC. Pretty impressive given I was told they couldn’t actually process the transfer for me.

The status now is a promise to transfer all the money back into new LOC, backdating as appropriate to avoid interest charges. If this happens without further intervention I will have to schedule time to retrieve my jaw from the floor and reattach it.

The Cluster-F**k that is Voting in the Alberta Election

My wife forgot that it was election day in Alberta today. I must admit, I almost forgot myself and realized this past weekend that I needed to vote today.

So on my way home from attending a ceremony celebrating my employer’s $500,000 gift to the UofA I stopped at the usual polling station in my neighbourhood. Or at least, what I thought was the normal polling station. I do live in a new area, but for the civic election I voted at the Summerside Community Centre… seems like a reasonable place to vote in one’s community. When I got there, there was a sign that said that there was no polling place there. So I went home, assuming that the polling place would be a few blocks away at the Ellerslie Elementary School where I voted in the last federal election… (I think… I’ve voted in three different places for the last five elections at various levels, so I might have lost track). Alternatively, I thought that it might be at one of the elementary schools in Millwoods… which becomes a pain, especially in the weather today. But that’s where I voted in the second-to-last federal election, so maybe that’s where I needed to go.

Turns out that even though I live in a presumably urban centre, I need to go from 79th Street south of Ellerslie Rd (9th Ave SW) to J. Percy Page High School, which is 5.4 KM away according to google maps and is very tenuously connected by public transit. (I do drive, as would most voters in my ‘hood, but still!)

I’ll be interested to see what voter turnout ends up being in my riding. Well, and in several others. In trying to find out where the polling stations are in my riding (couldn’t find it unless I randomly input addresses), I came across information that the Windsor Park polling place has been moved away from the UofA campus… doesn’t Elections Alberta work for all of the people, not just those in power?

The thing that ticks me off is that with the rural domination that is Alberta politics, we’re just in for another four to five years of the same old, same old anyway.