Movies Watched in March 2007

1. 2007/03/01 The Big Red One. War. (1980, 162 mins.) NR
2. 2007/03/02 Patton. War. (1970, 170 mins.) NR
3. 2007/03/02 Patton. War. (1970, 170 mins.) NR
4. 2007/03/03 Easter Parade. Musical. (1948, 107 mins.) NR
5. 2007/03/03 Easter Parade. Musical. (1948, 107 mins.) NR
6. 2007/03/04 The Birds. Thriller. (1963, 120 mins.) NR
7. 2007/03/04 All The President's Men. Drama. (1976, 138 mins.) NR
8. 2007/03/05 The Awful Truth. Romantic Comedy. (1937, 91 mins.) NR
9. 2007/03/05 Summer Stock. Musical. (1950, 108 mins.) NR
10. 2007/03/05 The Bells Of St. Mary's. Drama. (1945, 126 mins.) NR
11. 2007/03/06 The Joy Luck Club. Drama. (1993, 139 mins.) NR
12. 2007/03/07 The Awful Truth. Romantic Comedy. (1937, 91 mins.) NR
13. 2007/03/08 Truly, Madly, Deeply. Romantic Comedy. (1991, 107 mins.) NR
14. 2007/03/09 Sense and Sensibility. Drama. (1995, 136 mins.) NR
15. 2007/03/09 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Comedy. (1966, 99 mins.) NR
16. 2007/03/10 Primer. Drama. (2004, 77 mins.) NR
17. 2007/03/11 Possession. Romantic Comedy. (2002, 103 mins.) NR
18. 2007/03/12 Casablanca. Drama. (1942, 102 mins.) NR
19. 2007/03/13 Nóz w wodzie. Drama. (1962, 94 mins.) NR
20. 2007/03/14 Inherit The Wind. Drama. (1960, 128 mins.) NR
21. 2007/03/15 Catherine The Great. Historical. (1995, 100 mins.) NR
22. 2007/03/16 The Philadelphia Story. Romantic Comedy. (1940, 112 mins.) NR
23. 2007/03/18 Family Plot. Thriller. (1976, 121 mins.) NR
24. 2007/03/18 All About Eve. Drama. (1950, 138 mins.) NR
25. 2007/03/19 The Thin Man Goes Home. Comedy. (1944, 100 mins.) NR
26. 2007/03/20 Roxanne. Romantic Comedy. (1987, 107 mins.) NR
27. 2007/03/21 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Drama. (1961, 103 mins.) NR
28. 2007/03/22 All The King's Men (1949). Drama. (1949, 109 mins.) NR
29. 2007/03/23 About Schmidt. Drama. (2003, 333 mins.) NR
30. 2007/03/24 Bronenosets Potyomkin. Drama. (1925, 75 mins.) NR
31. 2007/03/24 Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Comedy. (1987, 93 mins.) NR
32. 2007/03/25 Bridget Jones's Diary. Romantic Comedy. (2001, 98 mins.) NR
33. 2007/03/25 Hud. Drama. (1963, 111 mins.) NR
34. 2007/03/26 Howards End. Drama. (1992, 140 mins.) NR
35. 2007/03/27 They Shoot Horses Don't They?. Drama. (1969, 120 mins.) NR
36. 2007/03/27 Let's Do It Again. Comedy. (1975, 110 mins.) NR
37. 2007/03/28 Thank You for Smoking. Comedy. (2005, 92 mins.) ****
38. 2007/03/29 Rocky. Drama. (1976, 120 mins.) ****
39. 2007/03/30 Libeled Lady. Comedy. (1936, 98 mins.) ***
40. 2007/03/31 Lost in Translation. Drama. (2003, 102 mins.) ***

Listed 2012/03/23 at 23h24ET.

Robins & Mourning Doves

...mourning doves take over the nest...
n the late summer of 2006, a pair of robins decided to build a nest on a spout that ran down from the eavestrough then back under the roof. Where it attached to the side of the house, the spout is almost horizontal giving the birds a flat surface to build their nest and a protected area from rain, wind and I suppose predators.
They worked non-stop to build this nest. An engineering marvel—sturdy—built of twigs, grass, string and mud.
Then came their chicks. Two parents and two chicks. The parents took turns gathering worms to feed the chicks. Flight after the flight, one parent would arrive with food then the other would leave to find more. Hour after hour these chicks were feed.
At first, the points of their beaks were the only thing that popped out of the nest, later, more of the beaks, then more, then their necks showed, until, not less than four weeks later these chicks were as big as the parents.
Then one day, no more robins. The chicks were gone. The parents were gone. They abandoned the nest.
Six months later the nest is still there, but never used, until this morning when I spotted two mourning doves using the nest.
During the winter, I hadn't noticed any mourning doves around. In the summer, I hear them coo as they perch on the peak of the roof. They love to sit on the top of the roof, but otherwise I thought they ventured south for the winter. But like rock pigeons that stay all year, so do the mourning doves.
I know they like the pine trees at the back of the house, but now they like this abandoned robin's nest.
Of course, it's a pair. One in the nest, the other sitting on the down spout.
The male and female look virtually identical so it's hard to tell which is which. I imagined it was the female in the nest and the male on guard in front, but you never know.

Posted 2007/03/17 at 18h54ET in Nature.

How Many English Words Are There

...words, words, words...we got words...
started reading Words, Words, Words by David Crystal (Oxford University Press, 2006) and I was surprised by his statement that there is no definitive word count for the English language.
On a number of occasions I've read and heard that the English language has so many million words and the French language this many or Swedish a much smaller number. I took it that someone went to the trouble of counting the words and came up with a total, but it's not that easy.
Compare a British dictionary to an American dictionary and there are numerous differences—differences that extend beyond simple spelling variations. Words are included in one dictionary but not the other and vice-versa.
Then there is the issue of scientific words. Do you include all those Latin-derived mouthfuls used to name plants and animals?
Lawyers may use stare decisis and economists, ceterus paribus, but should they be counted as words, included in a dictionary, or should they be kept in textbooks?
What about words from four hundred years ago that are either archaic or have evolved in their spelling or meaning. When was the last time you read or heard Sirrah outside of Shakespeare?
Is it, as he questions, flower-pot or flower pot or flowerpot? Does it count as one word or two? What about three words? Flower, pot and flowerpot.
Plus the English language is seemingly everywhere in the world--both proper English, or near to it, and comical misuses such as seen with commercial signs in Japan. Do unintentional misuses count?
Should I mention slang?
It seems to me that a consensus could be reached to define word for the purposes of creating the set of words that make up the English language. With the definition in hand, the word count could begin.
A year from now, the English Lexicon Association of the Galaxy could announce the results to thousands of journalists as if at Canne: and the winner is three million, four hundred and sixty-five thousand, seven hundred and nineteen words. That's a lot of words.
But to what end?
A week later, the total increases by one because in South Africa a judge rules that the word wiggletax means tax evasion and sentences someone to six months in jail.
Now I hear it increased by another word and another.

At least it's not going to start a war.

Religion—freedom—vengeance—what you will,
A word's enough to raise mankind to kill.

From Lara by Lord Byron.

Posted 2007/03/08 at 01h09ET in Writing.

More Violence in Hockey

...Chris Simons' attack brings out the worst in hockey fans...


n Thursday, March 8th, Chris Simon of the New York Islanders thought he was a baseball player instead of a hockey player. Thought his stick was a bat and Ryan Hollweg's head a baseball. With two hands and one swing, Simon smashed his stick into Hollweg's face.

It was a repulsive and barbarous act that highlights the worst aspects of hockey.

There can be no justification for his attack. It was criminal, yet to hear some callers on the FAN 590 in Toronto, incidents like this were bound to happen because of the instigator rule.

They argue that if the instigator rule were removed, the players could police themselves. They could drop their gloves at will and everything would be fine. But it wouldn't be fine.

Chris Simon took matters into his own hands and swung his stick. Swinging his fists instead simply eliminates the stick.

What they are really saying is that they love blood sports, want to watch fights, not hockey. They want one form of barbarism in place of another.

Allowing players to fight at will with no consequences is vigilante justice. No respect for rules or civilization. What matters then is not the rules of the game or fair play, but might and will and individual preference.

When things aren't going you way, just send out the goons. In response, the other side sends out their goons. Each side hires more goons so they can send them out. More goons and more goons.

Do we need more goons? Absolutely not.

Get rid of the goons, get rid of fighting. If that means people won't watch because they want to see fights, then so be it.

Posted 2007/03/10 at 10h28ET in Hockey.


...Me went to the movies ... Hollywood can't write as good as I....


e or I and I am me.

I hear it all the time.

Me and my friend went to the show...

He's not that smart. He's certainly not as smart as I.

The misuse of I and me is so common I ignore it, but then I read this from page 8 of While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer published by Doubleday.

How often had I stood in a New York subway surrounded by men, many of them smaller than I...

Would you say: Me went to the show? No, but every day people say: me and fill in the partner went to the show.

And as smart as I may be, I'm not as smart as I think I am or as smart as me.

Posted 2007/03/08 at 01h09ET in Writing.

CRA & E-Filing

...Online Tax Services Suspended by CRA...


received an email press release from the Canada Revenue Agency late on Tuesday stating they were shutting down the computer that processed e-filed personal tax returns. For many tax preparers the announcement means they will have to file paper returns or wait for the system to come back on, but it could be a long wait.

Until we can announce a business recovery date, the Agency will provide daily updates to the media on the steps we are taking.

On the surface, e-filing a return makes sense because it is more efficient, but at present it only makes sense for simple returns.

If you file a return beyond a T4 and an RRSP deduction, you can expect follow-up letters requesting original receipts. For accountants, this hassle means additional time—time that usually can't be recovered. As result, many accountants file paper returns for their benefit.

What is required is a system that allows the receipts to be e-filed along with the return. No more requests for donation receipts or tuition receipts. I don't know how it would be accomplished without opening holes for fraud, but I'm sure it could be done and until it is, many accountants will file paper tax returns.

Posted 2007/03/06 at 19h38ET in Tax Law.


...a valuable lesson about rabies...


here is a story in the news that a man is in an Albertan hospital waiting to die. There are probably hundreds of people in hospitals waiting to die and it's not news, but for this man, they won't disclose his name, it is news because he is dying of rabies.

As a child growing up in rural Ontario, people talked about rabies. I remember one instance where a dog at a cousin's farm was quarantined to determine if he had rabies and I was in no circumstance to go near the abandoned chick coup where he was held and I didn't.

I also remember horror stories about people who got rabies. They had to spend weeks in hospital getting injections forty times a day with needles as long as my leg and as thick as pretzels.

The treatment seemed horrifying but never once did anyone explain that a bite from a rabid animal (e.g., a bat, fox, skunk) would lead to certain death without medical treatment.

Now, years later, I have a better understanding of the truth, but what's the chance of getting bit? It's all media hype and exaggeration, right?

It has my attention because I have had close encounters with bats on numerous occasions including one time where when I recall it, it sends shivers down my body to think about it.

The big brown bat is native to large regions of North America including much of southern Ontario where I live. They dart through the air at dusk eating insects flying faster than a swallow. In the winter time they hibernate. And at times, they get into my house.

A bat flying around outside or even inside doesn’t scare me because I know they won't go near me. It may appear they are flying straight for my head, but they dart and dash before doing so. At such times, I prop open the doors, stay calm and wait till I see them fly out. They will eventually.

Nope, the scariest moments aren't the bats flying around inside, but the moment I picked up and twirled my jacket to put it. I heard the squeak of a bat as it fell to the floor. It laid on the carpet with it wings spread out as wide as an open book with sharp white teeth. I bolted with such a start that I was surprised I acted as if I were in a screw-ball comedy.

It was roosting inside my jacket as it hanged in the hallway.

The initial start was comical in hindsight and it was able to calm down in a minute, but it's, later reading and learning about the what-ifs, that make me shiver.

At the time, I wasn't thinking about rabies because I didn't know what I know now. I remember not wanting to get bite and I'm pretty sure I didn't, but I had been sleeping prior to that. What happened while I was sleeping? I hope the answer is: no contact with this bat, but I can't be sure.

Once calmed down, I found a pair of leather gloves, ones that come up halfway on my forearms and returned to the bat. It was still lying on the carpet, it's wings spread out, it's pointy teeth showing, but lethargic.

I picked the bat up, walked outside and placed it on the branch of a tree. I checked back a bit later and found it clinging to the bricks on the side of the house. I suppose it wanted to go back to sleep.

It was a story in the last two years that got me thinking about the what-ifs. A mother found a bat in her house in suburban Thornhill. Her infant was asleep in the nursery. The bat went to a lab to determine if it was rabid and the infant went to the hospital for treatment (i.e., shots) because it couldn't be determined if the child was bitten or otherwise infected. They started treatment because you can't wait as this man in Alberta is finding out much too late.

Posted 2007/03/05 at 06h16ET in Nature.

This web site—

...This is the start....


here has to be a start and this is it.

Is there an objective, a purpose? I suppose, but it's personal.

If there are rules, then I set those rules and I like that.

Posted 2007/03/04 at 19h37ET in