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Friday, November 26

Turning on their own 

Apparently, having a film made in France with a French cast and production crew doesn't count as a French film, according to a CBC News story. A French court ruled that the film isn't French because the new movie was funded by a company backed by American studio Warner Bros.

Well, even if some of the French are rejecting this movie, I'm looking forward to seeing the latest work from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and actress Audrey Tautou. They were both involved in the whimsical Amélie in 2001.


Wednesday, November 24

Home again 

HANCOCK -- Back here in Hancock after another jaunt downstate. Hopefully, I'll have a quiet Thanksgiving.

Just to follow up on Monday's trip to the Soo, here's more information on Algontario -- the ship I saw pass through the locks Monday night. It's so impressive seeing how the 730-foot-long vessel slowly and carefully threaded its way through the relatively narrow MacArthur Lock. I definitely gained an appreciation of how these ships and crew do their jobs.

Thanks to for the link to the Algoma central Corp.'s Web site. BoatNerd is a valuable Web site featuring "tonnes" of information about shipping on the Great Lakes.

Speaking of appreciation, I really enjoyed walking through the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Ontario. All those planes and the pilots who flew them did a bang-up job helping to keep the remote parts of Canada connected and safe from fires. I really enjoyed reading the history of the planes and the close access that I got to many of the historic workhorses of the north.

I wasn't excited about losing CDN$20 playing blackjack at the "charity" casino, but them's the breaks I suppose. I was happy about having poutine for the first time and finding a Remembrance Day quarter with the red poppy on it (or the "The Poppy Coin" as the Royal Canadian Mint calls it). It's the first colored coin in circulation and it's a neat way of honoring vets.


Monday, November 22

Tearing down traditions 

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Just wrapping up a day of exploring the city so nice, there's two of them -- Sault Ste. Marie. They're the twin cities in Ontario and Michigan separated by St. Mary's River.

After I got to see the freighter Argontario pass through the MacArthur Lock with its cargo of grain, I walked over to the restaurant at the local Ramada. My eye passed over a portion of the CBS Evening News. CBS presented the news in a way that was an interesting juxtaposition. First, they had a report on the dreadful hunting incident in Wisconsin where a trespassing hunter decided to gun down five people dead and injuring several others. Then, the next story was about the brawl that broke out between the players and the fans at Saturday's Pistons-Pacers game in Auburn Hills.

The other three customers in the bar and I were disgusted and disturbed by both of those incidents -- they transcend the boundaries of the law and ethics and breach the traditions that many of us hold dear. These traditions include professional sports and hunting -- which is a tradition to many if a somewhat dubious endeavor to others.

For many years, I was quite proud of how many Americans conduct themselves during sporting events. I could hold America up on a pedestal while the football-mad Europe tore themselves up into a riotous frenzy over a match.

No longer. I never thought that American fans were genteel when it came to rooting for the home team or razzing the opposition, but I thought that we were generally well-mannered when it came to playing by the rules on and off the field. The NBA incident and the several other acts of violence in recent years gives me pause. I think that we need to question who we are as fans of the sport and take the necessary steps toward maintaining the dignity that most professional sports deserve.


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Music from the UCSD Pep Band
The music of the UCSD Pep Band

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