Archive for January, 2010

Something strange was in the skies over Harbour Mille Newfoundland on Monday January 25 and the government of Canada doesn’t seem overly concerned.  Whatever was in the skies that evening around 5pm definitely wasn’t an airplane.  But what was it?  That is a bit of a mystery.

What started out as a plan for a local resident of Harbour Mille to take pictures of a beautiful sunset turned out to be a little more interesting than that.  Instead the resident snapped a picture that has garnered national attention and ignited a media firestorm.  The picture shows a silver like object moving through a clear blue sky with a trail of smoke and flames behind it.  According to witnesses there were actually three objects in the sky at the time.   Another resident looked at the object in the sky through a pair of binoculars and described it as a “humongous bullet”.

The sight of the objects was so frightening that it was reported to the local RCMP.  Even the police were stumped as to what the objects could be as they have concluded that the incident is an “unexplained sighting”.  The RCMP don’t seem to be overly concerned and neither does the Canadian Forces. Despite not knowing what the objects were they have confidently stated that there is no threat to the security of Canada.  The sighting has garnered so much attention that it even made tracks in the Prime Minister’s office.  However all Stephen Harper had to say was, “there is no indication that there was ever a rocket launch”.

The explanation that the government is giving for the sightings is that Harbour Mille is a playground for hobby rocket enthusiasts.  Maybe that is so, but in my opinion hobby rockets aren’t that big and they generally go straight up then down and not in a horizontal motion.  So given that three extremely large unidentified objects have flown over a Canadian province one would think that some alarm bells would have gone off in the Prime Minister’s office. Maybe he would even be looking into it more aggressively for say, national security?

Fortunately Senator George Baker who is from Newfoundland is really looking into the situation and not buying the government’s explanation.  On Power Play with Tom Clark on CTV he made his stance clear that what these people saw was indeed not a hobby rocket and was most likely a missile launched from the French territory of St. Pierre et Miquelon which is just off the coast of the province.  He stated that for the government to even suggest that people would be out on that day in Harbour Mille Newfoundland firing off hobby rockets when the temperature was -14 and the windchill was -25 is ludicrous.

I’m not a believer of conspiracy theories, but I think that someone in the higher ranks of the government knows a little more about the situation than they are letting on.  I think perhaps a mistake may have been made somewhere along the line with the situation and the government of Canada just doesn’t want to own up to it.  Someone must know something because three objects roughly the size of 18-wheelers shouldn’t be able to slip across our country with out setting off an alarm on some radar screen.  I definitely hope that more answers come from this one!

—Matthew Casey

Well, it’s only been about 15 months since Mr. Jon Hamm last took over the hosting duties for Saturday Night Live, but he seemed to have a lot of fun then and was an apparent joy to work with. With all that combined, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Jon returned again to helm the long-lasting comedy institution’s 671st broadcast and the 13th one of this season.

Since the average reader doesn’t really know what I think about the rest of the season since I don’t have any reviews from this season written up and posted, but I’m going to briefly explain my stance.

Most people I know have said that the show has taken a creative slump this year ever since the fantastic season they had last year. I tend to disagree with that idea though as I thought this season has started out strongly, took a bit of a quality dip mid-way through the season but after a couple of episodes ago, it has seemed to perk back up again and will hopefully stay that way for the remainder of the season.

Enough about that, though. On with the show!

The Show:

1. Cold Open: State of the Union 2010

Well, what better way to start off than with a politically-themed sketch? In a set that reminds me of the original ‘State of the Union’ sketches with Dan Aykroyd as President Carter, Obama lays out the state of…well, the union while telling everyone that at this point, he really doesn’t care either way about the health care bill. Of course, Joe Biden (Sudeikis) and Nancy Pelosi (Wiig) sit behind him and clap at almost everything, as does the rest of the audience. B

2. Monologue

The Hammster makes his way out and looks as suave as ever in a dapper suit. Instead of making lots of Mad Men references like the first time he hosted, this time Jon introduces clips of several shows that he “appeared” on before Mad Men including a Degrassi-type show, an appearance on QVC hawking jewelry, and finally some stand-up at the Def Comedy Jam (“Wash ye’ ass!”). Of course, all three appearances basically have him playing Don Draper. Jon once again shows that he has a natural presence when it comes to do doing comedy. A-

3. Don’t Make Me Sing

A dinner party in the 1920’s quickly evolves into a performance piece by one of the guests (Hamm) on the piano. Before he really gets a chance though, his wife (Wiig) insists that she sing along with him in a sort of non-assuming way. Wiig’s performance is great as usual while Jon does a good straight man. Another decent sketch. B

4. Digital Short: Sergio

Ahh, yes the good ol’ digital shorts. Every week, these are usually the best thing on the show (with a few exceptions that stink up the joint of course), but last night was no different. A businessman (Samberg) crushes an ancient hobo’s (Armisen) dreamcatcher and refuses to pay for it, so therefore he is cursed. Cursed with what, you may ask? Why a shirtless saxophone player named Sergio (Hamm) bursting through the walls and laying down some sweet tunes. The twist ending in this filmed piece was the icing on the cake. A

5. New Senator

Republican senator Scott Brown has been in the news lately. Here’s a charismatic young guy who is CONSERVATIVE and has a few Obama-like qualities when it comes to his speeches and candor. Here, Scott (Hamm) keeps “accidentally” bursting in on a democratic meeting with Robert Byrd (Hader), Barbara Boxer (Pedrad), Nancy Pelosi (Wiig), Barney Frank (Armisen), and an unnamed senator (Forte). Because of this incident, each senator ends up having their own little daydreams of Scott in various forms of undress, the highlight of which being Frank’s and Byrd’s fantasies. B-

6. Michael Bublé sings “Haven’t Met You Yet”

I had no real semblance of how good or bad Bublé would do on the show since I’ve only heard about two or three songs in his repertoire, but tonight he proved that he could channel Frank Sinatra fairly well and entertain the crowd at least. B

Great show so far, huh?

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Wow, Seth was on an absolute roll tonight. After an incredibly hilarious take/rant on the Obama Q&A at the Republican headquarters, Meyers welcomes two guests this week. First off is Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Pedrad), who talks of the great diversity within the Supreme Court (which includes white guys and one black guy who “might as well be a white guy”). The second guest sees the return of Snooki (Moynihan) from Jersey Shore. The impression coupled with the hair “poof” and bright orange skin is enough to have one laughing for ages, but the commentary itself is pretty funny too. A+

8. Game Time With Randy And Greg

In its third outing since the inception, Randy Dukes (Thompson) and Greg (Hader), who “is not an alien”, host a sports call-in show where several of the people calling in start off with a sports question but then quickly veer off-topic and ask if Greg is indeed an alien. Randy is quick to switch callers and deny these claims, but Greg’s antics are not very helpful in that regard. Soon enough, the aliens multiply (Hamm is one of them) and things go awry. I liked that they added a minor twist here in regards to the last two versions of this recurring sketch, but it fell a little short of being truly worthwhile. C+

9. Hamm & Bublé

In a sort-of repeat from the last time Jon Hamm hosted, his name is used as a pun again. This time, it’s for a restaurant that only serves ham and champagne (Get it? Bubbly = Bublé?). At first, this bit seemed like it was just coasting on one joke, but Michael proved himself a worthy sketch actor by feigning terror at Hamm having kidnapped him and forced him to participate in this strange go-nowhere business venture. The portrayal of Jon Hamm as an insane criminal is enough to send this one over the top. A-

10. Closet Organizer

Talk about bizarre. I thought the digital short was strange, but this commercial piece involves a man dressed in a blue spandex one-piece that catches everything you throw into your closet and “organizes” it. It starts off with everyday things you would put in there, but eventually it gets so ridiculous to the point of hilarity. A-

11. Stenographer

Okay, I have to admit that I liked this one despite its general weirdness and feeling of laziness at times in the writing. Here, Fred Armisen plays a female court stenographer (who is using a typewriter, by the way) who is having trouble keeping up with the case and at several points, has to halt the proceedings to find important items in her purse. This could have been an annoying, grating character sketch, but Armisen makes it work and Hamm plays straight man very well. B

12. Michael Bublé (Ft. Sharon Jones) sings “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)”

I think I am going to be in the minority here and say that I did not enjoy this song as much as some people did. Bublé’s insistence at never speaking directly into the microphone got a little annoying and the two just did not seem to mesh together very well. C

13. Closet Organizer in a Bar

Wow. That’s all I could say at this point. In this sketch, they actually make a callback to the “Closet Organizer” piece by having Will Forte being recognized in a bar by someone (Hamm) who realizes that he was in said commercial. It is an absolute rarity on SNL to make a callback to previous sketches like that. In fact, I believe the last time that happened was about twelve years ago. Either way, this sketch escalates to a great peak and kills. B+

14. American Enterprise

And finally, we come to the last sketch of the night. It’s a quick CNN fluff-piece on Barnes (Hamm) & Noble (Hader) and how they got their business started as a homeless person’s bathroom, but then realized they actually needed to sell something so they chose books. It’s a very one-note joke, but it’s funny nonetheless. B+

And that’s the end of the show. Hamm thanks everyone for helping him perform a great show and waves goodnight to one and all.

Essentially playing variations of Don Draper throughout the night in most of the sketches, Hamm was no Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin, but he is still a very welcome addition to the show whenever he wants to make an appearance. I would not be opposed to Mr. Hamm hosting every year or couple of years as he brings his innate natural charisma and a knack for comedy no one would expect to the forefront. Bublé was also a surprise. Who knew he could be a half-decent sketch player before appearing in “Hamm & Bublé?”

The cast also rocked the house this week even though there were a few that didn’t get too much screentime (Abby, Jenny, Suds, Kenan). The writing has definitely perked up again after a bit of a midseason lull and it’s great to see everything in full swing again.

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: B+

NEXT WEEK: Ashton Kutcher hosts while Them Crooked Vultures are representin’ in the category of musical guest.

One of the best foods available to humans might very well be chocolate. It is so good that it was even used as currency in some areas of the world centuries ago.  Chocolate is a complex commodity that tantalizes the senses .  It’s rich in taste, it has  a beautiful colour that starts the salivary glands watering at its sight, and it has a texture that just seems to sooth the soul when it melts away in your mouth.

There is also a battle that goes on in the mind when eating this divine substance, is it good for you or not?  Well the answer to that seems to be mixed it is a yes and no answer.  The general findings would seem to suggest that yes, chocolate is good for you in moderation, with one caveat–it’s dark chocolate that is good for you and not milk chocolate.

It would be great if a “Kit Kat” bar was healthy to eat it but it appears that is not the case.  Chocolate is most healthy in its purest form. Milk chocolate, which comprises most of the candy bars that people consume,  has many additives to it that make it not so healthy.  Additives like sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla, and milk transform chocolate from a healthy “vegetable” like food to a candy.  The studies that label chocolate as healthy only look at the types that are closest to pure cocoa as it can get.

The higher the cocoa content is in a chocolate bar the better its health benefits will be.  The more actual cocoa in the bar means there is less room for the other ingredients as mentioned above to get into the mix, thus diluting any health benefits.   The issue is many people don’t overly enjoy the taste of dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is known to be bitter, and not sweet.  However, dark chocolate really gives one the true taste of the substance and it allows one to appreciate the nuances of the food without the other nasty ingredients that mask any potential health benefits.

Nowadays everyone most likely hears about antioxidants and about foods that are rich in them.  For those who might not be aware, antioxidants help cleanse the body of harmful free radicals.  These free radical molecules float around the body and can do damage to organs and tissues within.  Many doctors believe that these are the cause of most cancers and other types of diseases and even aging.   Antioxidants are believed to gather up the free radicals in the body and they in turn destroy them by processing them through the body’s digestive system.

Things known to be high in antioxidants are: red wine, blueberries, green tea, and acai berry.  However, in a study by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) they found that dark chocolate contains more antioxidants per 100 grams than even blueberries.  A diet that includes a high consumption of antioxidants could reduce the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, stroke, and even cardiovascular disease.

Now like everything else this all boils down to moderation.  Just because dark chocolate is good for you it doesn’t mean that one should eat four or five bars a week.  Maybe one bar of a good quality dark chocolate a week would be okay as it would add more antioxidants into one’s diet in conjunction with other foods that contain them.  Even though chocolate is delicious and potentially healthy, it should still be limited in its consumption.  After all chocolate is still high in fat and even dark chocolate has some sugar in it–albeit less than milk chocolate.  But sugar is not good for you and there is no way around that.

So the next time you’re craving chocolate, maybe think about going for a dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.  You might actually like the taste and the health benefits from it might make you feel better about eating it when you start to have that battle in your head on whether or not you should actually go for it.

—Matthew Casey

After watching Jay Leno on Oprah’s show on Thursday I have to say that I really do feel for him a little more now.  Some may label me as being too soft, but I think both Conan and Jay got the shaft in this whole ordeal as NBC tried to take something away from Leno when he was on top, and they gambled with Conan thinking that five years would be enough for Leno to want to leave his show when the time came, which of course, didn’t happen that way.  NBC was trying to predict the future and it inevitably failed for them and it ended up thrusting both of these late night hosts into a bad situation.

The only part of the interview that I absolutely disagreed with was when Leno made the comment that he lives strictly on the money he makes from his stand up comedy bits and not the money NBC paid him to do his shows.  I’m sure he taps into his millions from the Tonight Show from time to time to take care of all his cars.

However, in the interview he mentions that NBC decided that they were going  to pull him away from his Tonight Show back in 2004 in five years time despite the fact that he was number one.  Leno claims it was all being done to keep Conan from switching to another network as his contract was almost up at the time in 2004.  It looks like Leno may have been the one who had the carpet pulled from underneath him first.  He really did not seem like he was ready to go from his show and he couldn’t figure out why NBC wouldn’t let him keep it while he was still number one. Honestly, I have to say I can’t blame him for that.  So to make a rational excuse, Leno announced his “retirement” as the reason he would pass the torch in 2009.   This seeming like a logical explanation, no one thought anymore of it.  The thought didn’t cross anyone’s minds that O’Brien was trying to bump Leno.

So after seeing this interview, perhaps it is just that I am gullible and susceptible to the PR job that Leno is trying to do here so that he can repair his image, I have to say that I do feel for Jay Leno more than I did before he came out and talked about the whole fiasco on Oprah.   People often mention that Leno had this planned from day one, but I really do not think so.  I don’t think he knew anymore than the rest of the world did about what was going to happen in 2010 when this whole mess failed. That is simply just another conspiracy theory like all the naysayers on whether or not we actually went to the moon.  Leno was just going along with what NBC was planning to do.

Like Leno, I believe that all of this comes down to numbers.  That is what television is about, numbers.  Conan for whatever reason could not pull in the numbers that NBC wanted in his time slot so they decided to bump him.  Even though I am a fan of Conan I do understand what NBC was thinking about when they were making their decisions.  Although O’Brien wouldn’t agree to the time slot move, I feel that perhaps it would have  helped his show if he had moved to 12:05am.  He was getting a poor lead in from the local news due to Leno failing in primetime.  Had Leno have been his lead in after the news once again, perhaps O’Brien’s ratings would have soared and when Leno finally retired for good at some point O’Brien would have gotten his time slot back with top numbers.  But of course,  all of this is purely speculation because no one knows for sure what may have happened.

I believe the interview shows that Leno wasn’t being selfish about this whole mess.  When he said  that he asked to be released from his contract when NBC approached him to do a half hour show at 11:35pm  it showed that Leno did not want to bump Conan.  The fact that NBC would not let him simply leave the network shows that O’Brien’s Tonight Show was struggling and NBC knew it.  If all of the people had tuned into The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien as faithfully as they had during his last couple of weeks, then it would have most likely been game over for Leno when NBC pulled the plug on his primetime gig.

So as for who is right and who is wrong in this whole late night conundrum I don’t know, and it’s not my place to say.  All I can say is that perhaps neither man was right or wrong and it is the network, NBC, itself that was wrong.  They shouldn’t have tried to take away a show that was number one when Leno had it so far in advance.  Even though O’Brien was threatening to move to another network at the time, they should have waited to see how Leno was going to do before making the announcement official.  I think that NBC just rushed into everything without thinking and did its planning too early.

Finally, I am a huge Conan O’Brien fan but I am just one person and it takes more than just one to keep a show on the air.  As I mentioned previously, if all of the people watching the last couple of weeks on O’Brien’s show had tuned in for the last seven months then this situation would have ended much differently.

I don’t believe that Jay Leno is an evil man who was out to get Conan, I think that this is like everything else in the world of business.  Many people tend to forget that what we watch on television is simply that, a business.  They are in this to make money. If they weren’t making money with O’Brien then they made the obvious business choice to let him go and see if the man who once made money for them can do it once again.  Like everything else in this economy NBC is simply trying to survive.   Jay you definitely have your work cut out for you! And Conan, I can’t wait to see you on another network soon! I’m sure this is just an opening to a better future  for you.

—Matthew Casey

What do you think about his interview?

Hello one and all!

You are probably wondering right now why I am doing a review of Saturday Night Live from the first season and the answer is this: I used to do these on my own personal MSN blog but instead of that go-nowhere venture, I decided to occasionally post one on here as this seems to garner more traffic and comments.

Unfortunately, since I left off at a certain point in my reviews, I start off with this “gem” of an episode.  Louise Lasser was one of the more notorious hosts in the show’s history and ended up being the first one banned coincidentally. According to several sources inside the show at the time, she was currently going through a lot of personal problems and relied heavily on the crutch of narcotics and other various substances to help her make it through her daily schedule.

Not only did the drugs have an effect on how awkward and stumbling she was, she also was an apparent chore to work with and planned on not even doing the show at the last minute until the producers threatened that if she didn’t, they would do an entire show using Bill Murray (who was not a castmember, but rather a small-time comedian in the audience that night) to play her parts with a wig on. Finally, she relented but demanded she only be in sketches with Chevy and also that a short film that was deemed unwatchable by most be shown instead of a much better piece that was scheduled to run.

The reviews of Saturday Night Live (both past and present) will be slightly different than my usual ones. I will delve into each sketch one-by-one and talk about it a bit. That means there will be some semblance of structure. Huzzah! Also, I will be using letter grades instead of ratings out of ten because…I wanna!

1. John & Chevy’s Handshake

At this point, the show had just come back from a brief summer vacation and there had been rumors regarding a tumultuous work relationship that had developed between John Belushi and the obvious star of the show, Chevy Chase. John then confirmed this in public by actually stating that he was tired of Mr. Chase getting all the publicity. This cold open attempts to summarize all that in one swift motion. In the piece, the rest of the cast attempts to settle things between John and Chevy with a little reconciliation. It doesn’t go exactly as planned. C+

2. Monologue

Louise Lasser makes her first appearance in the episode for the traditional monologue and makes a wonderful first impression by looking absolutely coked out to the power of infinity. The idea here is that she acts all faux-nervous, but the actress’ real fatigue, depression, and anxiety shines through and makes the monologue really uncomfortable to witness. There’s also a backstage bit towards the end of the monologue in which Lasser is eventually goaded out of her dressing room by a few members of the cast (Aykroyd, Chase, and Radner), but the set-up was so painful that it fails to make an overall entertaining segment. D

3. Venereal Disease: Nothing to Clap About

Garrett Morris makes his only other appearance of the night (he was briefly in the cold open) and does his impression of General Idi Amin, the lovable dictator from Uganda. But don’t be fooled because this is not a politically-inclined sketch at all. Instead, Amin talks about getting syphilis and how it has only eaten away the weaker parts of his brain, leaving it to resemble a thin slice of Swiss cheese. This was pretty much an excuse to use several “hilarious” terms for genitalia. Although I did like his comment that “it’s too bad that venereal disease doesn’t just strike Jews.” C-

4. Sven & Inger

Oh, here are Louise’s terms coming into play. In this strange piece, a couple (Chevy & Louise) stare at each other while Death narrates in a foreign language. I didn’t really know what to make of this whole piece other than to say it was a half-assed attempt at some type of Ingmar Bergman homage, I suppose. The ending was pretty stupid too, so no salvaging here. C

5. Human Hair Potholders

Most people are probably too young to know who Squeaky Fromme (portrayed by Laraine here) and Sandra Goode (Curtin) are, but in short they were two followers of Charles Manson. Fromme was also known as a woman who tried to assassinate President Ford and failed miserably. Here, the two women speak from their jail cell and advertise human hair potholders. Curtin’s insistence at hurting herself for the slightest little error is the highlight in this bit that just continues the mediocrity. C

6. Woman & Dog

Now we get to the truly ridiculous and brutal material. This sketch involves Louise sitting at a table and talking to a Golden Retriever just as a jilted lover would talk to their spouse. It didn’t even seem that Louise was reading off cards, which leads me to wonder if she just decided to do this and talk to a dog for four minutes about whatever came across her mind. If so, that would explain this sloppy, unnecessary and poorly-written sketch. D-

7. Tribute to Television.

Finally, the first GOOD sketch of the night. Instead of going for broad ha-ha-type laughs, this bit relies in the fact that this musical tribute to television contains so many obscure technical references that “only eight people in the world” truly understand them. Dan is a little bit more mellow than usual as a TV spokesman, while Jane, Gilda, & Laraine lend their voices and fun performances to the sketch. B+

8. Weekend Update with Chevy Chase

“I’m Chevy Chase and boy are you glad to see me.” Truer words have never been spoken. While you could never count on every single sketch working in a given episode, Chevy was pretty reliable for getting yuk-yuks on his delivery of the news. This week, Chevy’s guests include John Belushi interviewing Olympic hopeful Olga Korbut (Radner) commenting on Nadia Comaneci in a not-so-friendly way. In a great anti-climactic ending, Chevy gets a phone call “live” from the Democratic Convention, but it’s already taken place so he just quickly asks for the results and closes out the segment. B

9. Boy Talk

Jane and Gilda (playing younger versions of themselves with the same names, I guess) sit around the living room while Gilda intently listens to Jane’s stories about her boyfriend and their various sexual escapades. This is another sketch that gets laughs (much like “Tribute to Television”) but rely on broad tactics and instead is presented as a well-written sketch. This is what SNL fans refer to as a “Miller piece.” That is in reference to one of the show’s then-writers Marilyn Suzanne Miller, who wrote more of the subtle and more nuanced sketches during her tenure. B+

10. Film: The Diner

Talk about taking a nose-dive. This has to be one of the most incoherent things to ever air on Saturday Night Live. In this film, Louise Lasser and her lover (I guess) sit in a diner as she tries to break off the relationship with him. The only problem is that she keeps “forgetting” her lines and needs to be reminded by fellow extras around the set. Lorne makes an appearance here and so does future host Michael Sarrazin. Simply awful. F

11. John Belushi’s Wardrobe

You would think that the perennial charm of John Belushi would be able to cover for weak writing, but not in this case. In this bit, JB offers to sell the very clothes that he wears day-to-day in order to cover his financial losses. C

12. Carter’s Campaign

Dan Aykroyd debuts his wonderful Jimmy Carter impression, but for some reason it’s not as good here as it would get in the next season. At least it seems like that to me. Again, the writing is the culprit here as we really only get a rundown of Jimmy’s mannerisms and then the sketch ends kind of abruptly. C+

13. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs “Panama”

I’m sorry, Van Halen fans. This is not the “Panama” song you think it is. In fact, it’s a jazz instrumental piece. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has had a rich history and all, but I guess jazz just isn’t my type of music. I’ll be fair and go with a B-

14. Louise’s Year

Oh hoorah, more from our wonderful host! Louise offers her most incoherent performance of the night (okay, maybe aside from that filmed piece) and just rambles on and on…and ON about her life for the past year. She actually had a few moments during this where she looked completely lost and that made it only more painful to view. F

It is evident that the cast is maintaining their distance from Louise during the closing credits as she pets the dog from the earlier sketch and waves goodnight to one and all.

This had to be one of the worst episodes of Saturday Night Live during its entire run (well, except for most of the sixth season, but that’s an entirely different beast).

Host Rating: F

Musical Guest Rating: B-

Show Rating: D-

PS: If you’re interested at all in classic Saturday Night Live, don’t let this episode be a representative of the entire season. Do yourself a favour and pick it up at Amazon. It’s only $18.99 for the first season right now!

In  Toronto fourteen pedestrians have been killed in the last month in motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents.  These numbers are shocking  as that works out to be about two people per day being struck and killed by a vehicle in the city.   Most of these accidents occurred at intersections or marked crosswalks where the pedestrian had the right of way.  But as is plainly obvious, in the battle between human and car, the car will always win most of the time.

Bill Saundercook, a city councilor, is  fighting to have city speed limits reduced by ten kilometers per hour.  Currently in most zones outside of the downtown the speed limits are about 60 km/h.  In my opinion this is far too fast for streets that also channel a lot of pedestrians.  It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the faster a vehicle is traveling the more likely the pedestrian being struck is going to die.  These speeds lead to decreased time for drivers to react to an obstacle that suddenly appears in front of them.

According to a study conducted by NRMA Insurance, risks of death or injury double when motorists violate a speed limit of 60 km/h by a mere 5 km/h faster than the posted limit.  If a motorist travels at 10 km/h above that posted limit the chances of death or injury jumps to an astounding four times the normal rate of a speed at 60 km/h.  In most cases, motorists tend to believe that they can go at least 10 km/h faster than the limit and be alright.  The city should enforce slower limits and have a zero tolerance for even small violations of the limit.

Another study conducted by the province of Quebec found that the average reaction time to apply the brakes of a car at 60 km/h is 1.3 seconds. If the motorist was to spot a pedestrian at 32 metres away, the car will have traveled at least 21.7 meters before the brakes are even applied.  The vehicle will travel a further 18.9 meters before coming to a complete stop.  The total stopping distance at this speed is 40.6 meters making it impossible for a motorist to stop in time before colliding with the person.

The study also looked at a posted speed limit of 50 km/h and found that the reaction time is still 1.3 seconds to apply the brakes. When  a pedestrian is spotted at 32 meters away, the car will have traveled 18.1 meters in the time before the brakes are applied, and it will travel a further 13.1 meters before reaching a full stop.  The total stopping distance is 31.2 meters, making it possible to stop before hitting the pedestrian. So the obvious point here is that slower is safer.  The study even points out that driving a car at 10 km/h above the limit saves the motorist a mere four minutes off of their total trip time.   So speeding is not going to help a motorist in any way.  The only thing it will do is increase the odds of a fatal accident occurring.

If these facts are not enough to convince City Hall that speed limits need to be reduced in the outskirts of the city, then the 14 deaths this month should be more than enough proof.  Hopefully the government will make a decision on lowering speed limits and enforcing them properly in a timely manner before another life is  lost in these needless accidents.

—Matthew Casey

Statistical Information From

“I don’t believe in God.” — Bob (Dennis Quaid)

As I was looking through all of my archived reviews (a whopping total of three if you count The Tonight Show), I came to the conclusion that I am going to start looking like a movie fan-boy if I just constantly see what I want and shell out praise for classics of the past. Granted, Night of the Living Dead (1990) was by no means a classic, but it was still fairly enjoyable as was Youth in Revolt.

So I thought to myself, “Brendan…can I call you Brendan?” To which I responded, “No, that’s Mr. Wahl to you.” I then shuddered in fear at my own power over myself and responded, “I apologize, Mr. Wahl. Anyway, how are you going to write a negative review if all you do is watch good movies?” I then said, “Well, maybe I’ll go see one at the theatre that could go either way.” And as I was wheeled out of the pink-padded room, I thought that it would be a good idea to go see the film Legion.

I’ll never live that one down.

So if you don’t know the story, it basically comes down to this. I’ll even give you the official plot summary right off

“An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel Michael.”

Upon reading this I thought it might be entertaining like the movie Feast or perhaps like The Mist. With the R-rating I thought, well, at least if it sucks there will be some decent blood and gore. Well, here’s the issue with that. This movie treats itself 110% seriously.

The first problem with the movie lies in the acting. When Tyrese delivers the best performance in a film, it’s time to seriously stop and consider what we’re witnessing here. Now I’m not saying that I expected Academy Award-winning performances or anything but almost everyone in the movie was chewing the scenery like it was beef jerky!

I never expected to dislike Dennis Quaid in a film, but he takes the cliche line, “I don’t believe in God” and overplays it to the nth degree. We get it, you’re an atheist which is ironic because the whole thing is about angels trying to attack and blah blah blah, you might reconsider your faith in the end, blah blah.

The other actors are nothing special either (as mentioned before, except for Tyrese). Lucas Black overdoes his southern drawl as much as he can to remind the audience that “gosh-darn it, he’s a good ole boy! Yee-haw!” Paul Bettany plays the lead (I guess) and plays an unemotional angel like…well, an unemotional human. I usually like Bettany in most things, but I think his problem here was the opposite of everyone else’s. He underplayed it too much.

Acting aside, the visual effects were pretty good for the most part with Doug Jones in particular (you might know him as Abe Sapien in Hellboy) looking really bad-ass as a crazy angel-possessed ice cream truck driver. Sometimes, the effects didn’t work so much at all though. For instance, in a scene I’m sure everyone has seen in the trailer, an old woman enters the bar and it turns out she is also possessed by an angel and starts to crawl all over the ceiling. This is the most laughable scene in the film where it’s supposed to be played for sheer shock value and scares. It just doesn’t work.

I think that’s all I can stomach in regards to this film so let’s just pull this review train to a stop. I can say vehemently that this film is DEFINITELY NOT worth peepin’.


Note to Self: IMDB is not to be counted on for ratings. 5.9/10 for this mess? Yeesh.