Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Fifty years ago today, on October 29th, 1959, the French comics magazine Pilote published its first issue. Defunct since 1989, Pilote would probably not be much remembered, except that one of its comics turned out to have quite a lot of sticking power, and if you've been over to Google today, you know which one it was.

Yes, today is the 50th birthday of Asterix, Obelix, and the rest of the village of indomitable Gauls, the brainchildren of Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. And anyone who appreciates humour, or ancient history, or any combination thereof, owes those two gentlemen a deep debt of gratitude.

Personally, I think my favourite is Le Tour de Gaulle d'Asterix, mostly because it's the one in which they acquire Idefix, but that's just me...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In Which Chunklets Takes Up New Media

Yes. Yes, I did. And now back to work.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I V vi iii IV I IV V

Hmmm, we haven't had a musical interlude for awhile! So, what to play, what to play... Ok, here's a classic from a few years ago:

Now, even if you're not a Green Day fan, the melody-line of that song may sound just a tad familiar. There is a reason for that, said reason being that Billie-Joe Armstrong borrowed the chord progression from a certain well-known canon:

You fools! Go back and count the "n"s!

Much better. We will overlook for now the fact that the man pictured in the video is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, not Johanne Pachelbel. So yes, there you have it - the strange connection between Baroque chamber music and late-20th-century pop-punk.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

All The Best To You, Theo

Some years ago, when Theo Fleury first started getting himself into trouble, I remember having a conversation about it with a friend of mine. We noted Theo's difficulties, and the fact that he'd played for Moose Jaw under Graham James, and we did wonder a bit if those two things weren't connected. Well, we wonder no more.

Oh, and if you're having warm and fuzzy thoughts about humanity today, a saunter through the comments section of the above-linked story should fix that right up for you! Why do I read those things, anyway?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yet Another Cavalcade Of Randomness!!

Because the first one was such a hit!

  • Open House at the U this past Saturday, which is always good for my fitness, since the Department and the Open House booth are in opposite corners of the campus. The most encouraging sign, on a day that went really well anyway, was the number of high-school students who came up to our booth asking not "So what is History & Classics, anyway, and what kind of job can it get me?", but rather things like "this is where I come to learn about the ancient world, right?" Good stuff.

  • On a related note, I had coffee this morning with the husband of the Director for the archaeological site in Tuscany upon which I have worked. We discussed many things, including which bits of the upcoming site publication I should expect to find myself writing, and the general state of the preservation/conservation business. It was extremely productive...

  • On a completely unrelated note, I went, along with brother and nephew, to see the Major Junior team in action on Friday night. The local boys won 3-2, despite a hairy finish, and afterwards we got to and clamber around on the catwalks up above the arena. Fun!

  • Speaking of hairy finishes, that was not how the Oilies wished to commence their season, I believe. Sigh. On the bright side, overall, the team looked pretty decent.

  • I believe that I saw a beaver swimming in the river last week - spotted him, in fact, from the bus as we were crossing a bridge. Alternatively, might have been muskrat, but it was a little big for that, I think.

  • And a neat little piece dealing with light pollution, accompanied by an absolutely stunning video, is located here. Go watch!

And that's it 'til next time!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Opening Night!

And hockey is now back, or at least will be in a couple of hours, and questions and storylines abound! How about that Tavares kid? Who's going to be worse: Phoenix or Colorado? Will the goonification of the Toronto Maple Leafs bear fruit? Will Chicago take the next step, or be undone by bad goaltending and off-season unpleasantness? Who is this season's Great Canadian Hope (it's Vancouver, BTW)? And, most importantly, who's going to be skating around next June waving an enormous silver flowerpot over their heads? And the answer to that last is... wait for it...

The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Yes, we're going with the repeat winner. They've got top-drawer talent, obviously, and now they've got the experience to match it. The WKS brigade foresees them knocking off the San Jose Sharks in the final, simply on the grounds that one of these years the Sharks are going to have stop sucking in the playoffs, and it might as well be this one. However, any of Detroit, Vancouver, Washington, Chicago, Boston, or even Philadelphia could decide to have their say as well.

As for the Oilers, who get things underway on Saturday night, well, expectations are a bit subdued, despite the arrival of highly experienced coaching.* The general consensus out there is that the Oilers had a pretty good draft, and then spent too much of the summer swooning around after Dany Heatley, resulting in them going into training camp with too many big holes in the lineup. Although the defence is world-class, especially when attacking, there are questions about the size of the forward corps. The return of Mike Comrie, and his solid play, have been positives, but the Oilers are going to need it continue, and then some, if they're going to go anywhere this season. In net, the Oil acquired Mr. Khabibulin, and that's excellent just as long as he doesn't go off form or get hurt. In short, it's going to be a tough, tough year, especially with a deadly schedule right out of the gate.

The following four numbers, however, give some slight cause for optimism, however: 21, 23, 31, 27. Those are the numbers of points by which Quinn-coached teams have improved in his first full season in charge. Now, it is probably a stretch to expect that sort of thing from this year's Oiler team, but those are still very impressive figures, and can't all be due to roster changes. So maybe, just maybe, and with some additions somewhere along the line, the boys can find their way into the second season. And if they can't, well, at least we've got Jordan Eberle and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson to look forward to.


*The official De Koboldorum Rebus opinion on the hirings of Pat Quinn and Tom Renney is as follows: it was a very very very very good thing to do. There are enormous hockey brains in those two men, and I am very much looking forward to what they do with the team. Furthermore, adherents (and there is a distressingly large number of them) to the "Pat Quinn has won nothing in his career" school of thought need to be slapped upsides the head and reminded that, for a coach, an Olympic gold medal, World Cup, U18 World Championship, World Junior Championship, and 657 FLIPPIN' NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE GAMES pretty much amount to "something." To put it another way, the only men who've won more as NHL coaches are named Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Dick Irvin, and Mike Keenan, and Quinn will catch Keenan this season, having coached five fewer seasons than Keenan to boot. There's a solid possibility that he'll catch Irvin this year as well, in seven fewer seasons. In short, I think it was a good hire.