Anita Ward: Ring My Bell (1979)

A truly horrific artefact of disco was Canada’s top-selling single on July 29th, 1979.

Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman: The Last of the Mohicans—Promontory (1992)

One of my favourite pieces of cinematic music; the base tune is actually adapted from a portion of “The Gael”, written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean in 1990. MacLean, in turn, was probably influenced by a much older melody which appears frequently in songs collectively known as “Las Foli­as de Espana”, widely adapted by a number of Baroque composers (Antonio Vivaldi, Arcangelo Corelli).  It has also been adapted more recently by Trevor Morris for Season 1 of The Tudors (his version is called “A Historic Love”).

scanzen:

Winston’s shell. Designer Graham demostrates Winston Churchill’s personal pressure chamber, created to enable him to make high-altitude flights safely. In: Life, 10 Feb 1947.
To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta. Churchill was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet. The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere.

scanzen:

Winston’s shell. Designer Graham demostrates Winston Churchill’s personal pressure chamber, created to enable him to make high-altitude flights safely. In: Life, 10 Feb 1947.

To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta. Churchill was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet. The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere.

"Desert Birds" by Werner Bartsch

The Mojave and Sonoran deserts are home to a variety of civil and military aircraft “boneyards”—vast storage areas for craft too old or expensive to fly.  Most airplanes that find themselves in such a location will be recycled in one way or another.  Either a decades-long living death, cannibalised by parts for still-flying brethren, or—when there are no useful organs left to transplant—they may be cut up for scrap.

German photographer Werner Bartsch has taken a journey through these boneyards and amassed a collection of pretty, melancholic images.  These were published in the book Desert Birds, whose first edition was released in Europe in October of 2010; the North American release is scheduled for September of 2011.

Hard Boiled (2011)

The intersection of high-tech social media and ages-old human nature.

On Ramp

Finally started playing L.A. Noire last night, and—well, this seemed appropriate.

On Ramp, originally uploaded by St-Even.

Flaccid Torpedo of Fail

Natalie Kenly and Charlie Sheen (WUF / Splash News)

Well, you knew it was only a matter of time before this happened:

LOS ANGELES — Charlie Sheen is no longer winning when it comes to his so-called goddesses — his last one walked out on him, TMZ reported Monday.

Cannabis magazine model Natalie Kenly, who accompanied the actor on his “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” tour, moved out of his Los Angeles mansion last week, sources close to Sheen told the entertainment website.

— “Charlie Sheen single after last ‘goddess’ walks out.” New York Post, 27 June 2011.

George Lucas Strikes Back

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to an ass-kicking.

Felix dies natalis Christi

Cooper, Austin (1890-1964). For the Empire Marketing Board, c 1926-1934. (Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-27-89)

Cooper, Austin (1890-1964). For the Empire Marketing Board, c 1926-1934. (Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-27-86)

Summation of the Jaffer/Guergis affair

Helena Guergis tries to hold back her emotions while speaking to reporters at her campaign office in Collingwood, Ont., Friday, April 15, 2011. (Canadian Press)

The Toronto media establishment is positively giddy over the announcement that the Hon. Helena Guergis—a former MP and  junior minister in the Harper government—has launched a defamation suit against many former colleagues, including the Prime Minister.  Mrs. Guergis is skilfully playing the tearful victim, and the press—as it always does when there is the potential for blood in the water—is lapping it up.

If the press had a reasonable memory—or was prepared to salivate less at the thought of inflicting damage upon the government—it might recall that Guergis and husband Rahim Jaffer may not have committed any criminal acts warranting prosecution, but in the eyes of Parliament’s ethical watchdogs, they fell afoul of professional codes of conduct.  An editorial by the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin does a good job of summarising the alleged professional misdeeds.

On Jaffer:

In a report released on Monday, [Lobbying Commissioner Karen] Shepherd criticized the actions of Jaffer and his business partner, Patrick Glemaud, who were involved in a political controversy which also snared Jaffer’s wife Guergis, the former Simcoe-Grey MP.

Shepherd said that while Jaffer and Glemaud were unsuccessful in attempts to secure $178 million in federal Green Infrastructure Fund funding, they should have registered as lobbyists.

… This matter has been investigated by the RCMP, which determined there were no grounds for criminal charges.

But Jaffer and Glemaud broke federal rules by failing to register as lobbyists before trying to obtain taxpayers’ money.

— “Jaffer, Guergis still acted contrary to what is ‘right’.”  Editorial, Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin, 17 December 2011.

On Guergis:

Last summer, federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson determined that Guergis broke Parliament’s conflict of interest code by sending a letter to Simcoe County officials, encouraging them to hear a presentation from a green waste management firm’s owner, who had business links to Jaffer.

According to the conflict of interest code, politicians are prohibited from using their position to further their private interests, or those of their family members.

Guergis responded to Dawson’s findings by saying there was no proof she had done anything wrong. She was also investigated by the RCMP and not charged criminally

… Part of her responsibility as an MP, however, is to know what the conflict of interest guidelines are and adhere to them. Most politicians know enough to steer clear of any potential conflicts of interests.

— “Jaffer, Guergis still acted contrary to what is ‘right’.”  Editorial, Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin, 17 December 2011.

Anyone who watches police and lawyer shows on television will know that giving the police no grounds to pursue criminal charges is not the same thing as being spotless and squeaky-clean.  In the eyes of the Lobbying Commissioner and federal Ethics Commissioner, there were violations of professional codes of conduct.  Those details will certainly be relevant to the defence in the defamation suit.