You Can’t Spell Christkindl Without Christ

It’s not every day I agree with church people on something, but it’s hard to argue with them here.

A controversy has surfaced from Kitchener’s Christkindl Market after a group of performers say they were silenced for talking about Jesus.
Pastor Jacob Reaume had to shout his message at the opening night of the market after his microphone was turned off by city staff.
“I thought it was probably an accident, some type of technical difficulty but then I looked around and realized, no this is intentional,” Reaume says.

Hey continued to say the microphone was cut off three times. Once during a German bible reading and twice when he was reading the story of Christ.
The city of Kitchener says the church group did not indicate it was going to be reading from scripture or be providing a sermon during their performance.

And they should have to indicate this because why, exactly? Especially if what they say is true and they gave the same performance last year. Not to mention that they’re representing a church, so what else could anyone have possibly been expecting them to do?

I get that we maybe don’t want to bombard people with nothing but super preachy religion when they just came to skate, drink hot chocolate and generally engage in the less church-laden version of Christmas, but no matter your belief system, I don’t think anyone has the right to expect that they can celebrate Christmas in public without smacking into just a little bit of Jesus along the way. He’s a bit of an important figure, you know.

As Opposed To What?

The Comedy Network says it will stream all 11 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, starting Saturday, Dec. 22. In the midst of its 12th and final season, the channel will air the series non-stop through the holidays, wrapping up on Sunday, Jan. 6.

I’m glad they announced this, because otherwise I would have had no idea that anything special was happening. Non-stop Big Bang Theory is pretty well all the Comedy Network does anymore.

I miss the days when you could flip to Comedy and no matter what time of day it was, there was almost always something decent on that you weren’t going to find anywhere else. Now it’s practically nothing but the same sitcoms everyone else is showing. If I do find something worthwhile there nowadays it feels more like an accident than anything else. It’s a shame, because Canada and the world are cranking out more than enough good comedy to fill a schedule.

And while I’m here, for the love of god, stop saying you’re “streaming” everything. I don’t know exactly when Bell made CTV start doing this, but it drives me nuts. You’re a damn TV station. If you’re putting stuff online that’s fine, but you are not streaming your programming through my old ass cable television. I’d be fine if they said something like watch it or stream it, but it’s all streaming all the time and it’s dumb.

Hey Google, It’s Time To Tweak The Background Noise Filter Again

Not sure about anyone else, but I’ve about had it with the new Best Buy commercials, the ones that say stuff like “hey Google, play my New Year’s playlist.” The damn things have set our living room Mini off at least four times already. And to make matters worse, it was four times in the same stupid night. Every single time it would try to play something on Spotify and we’d have to yell at it to make it stop. And it’s not just us. I was talking to brother Brad on the weekend and he said the ones where he works have been doing the same thing.

When I’m in charge, there’s going to be no more of this let’s intentionally try to trigger the technology business. If you slip a “hey Google” or whatever it is you say to Alexa into your commercials or radio station IDs, somebody is going to be legally obliged to hunt you down and kill you. End of discussion.

One Christmas Down

How’s everyone’s weekend going? Ours has been rather Christmasy.

Today we’re heading downtown to take in some of the Christkindl Market. Today is the last day, so if you haven’t been yet or want to go again, get moving. It’s open between 10 and 4 today. It’s a great way to get some unique Christmas shopping done and give yourself diabetes. I especially recommend the apple fritters and the schnitzel dinner, both of which Carin was lovely enough to pop in and bring home for us a couple of nights ago because it’s close to her office.

As for yesterday, we went to the first of the family Christmas parties. It’s nice to have them spread out this year instead of all in one big clump like usual. It was a lovely time (thanks Brad for having us), much of which I spent playing with the Seppa Tebby Tebby nephew. Apparently he was excited to see me.

“Are you going to uncle Brad’s today?”


“Is uncle Steve going to be there?”

“Let’s go wild!”

Nobody knows where that came from. I don’t think I’ve ever said that to him in his life. But hey, I’ll take being the let’s go wild uncle if it means I’m one of the fun relatives.

And fun we did have. We ate freezies together. We jumped around. We ran. We played with an airplane complete with pre pillow (I had him saying propeller by the end). We made every animal sound you can think of. We walked hand in hand in a giant circle around the house like 25 times saying hello to people including my dad, who decided to slap me on the ass every time we passed him. Don’t ask. These are my family. Just smile to yourself, say “that explains a lot” and move on. We sang songs. Boy were there songs. We were treated to such classics as Hickerary Dock, Humpty Dumpty Haggery Fall, and my personal favourite, Rassie In the Buppy In the Kitchen. I was able, somehow, to determine that that would be this:

There was also much Wheels On the Bus, including verses about lions, tigers, bears, and something that sounded like “the queer on the bus goes tutu ray.” Yup, we’re all just as lost as you are.

I even got to hear him swear for the first time! We’re all sat down to dinner and my sister realizes “shit, I forgot one of the presents!” And of course, of all the things to repeat, “Shit!” as loud and as clear as the day is long. We all nearly died. I didn’t know if I was going to wear Carin’s mouthful of stuffing or if she was going to choke on it, but what a time.

Next up is Christmas with Carin’s family, at least the parts of it that are going to be in the country. It will be smaller than usual, but there will be children, which means there will be fun. I’m sure one of us will be around to talk all about it.

Pay TV Comes To Canada. Canada Yawns And Goes ON With Its Day

I didn’t think I was going to post this report about Pay TV’s impending arrival in Canada in 1982, but then it got to the part about costs and complications. Basic cable service could cost you around $8 per month, I was informed as I did my best not to spit tea everywhere. And say what you want about complications (I do feel for the people with those newer, fancier TVs with the built-in converters), but none of this has anything on Telefirst.

Cable TV just isn’t cutting it any more when it comes to home viewing options for Canadians. Thanks to Anik C, the latest Canadian satellite to be launched, a batch of new movie channels (among them First Choice and Superchannel) are coming, and their promoters are pushing them hard. But there’s a recession on and a subscription doesn’t come cheap, ranging from $25 to $50 per month. In this 1982 report for CBC’s The National, a skeptical Terry Milewski demonstrates the hardware and hears the pitch from companies that stand to get rich from pay TV.

If you’re wondering how rich they got, the answer is they didn’t, at least not right away. Only half a million people signed up for the original services, which was about half of what they were hoping for on the low end.

The Sound Of Music

Why does nothing ever happen when somebody’s music starts playing in the middle of a wrestling match? I know they’ve been doing it forever especially in WWE, but it’s never made any sense. Shouldn’t it result in the opponent of the person being distracted getting disqualified? Why hasn’t the production guy who keeps doing it been fired? Or if he has, why have none of his replacements learned from his mistake? How big of a geek do you have to be to still be getting distracted by music, anyway? This has been going on for like 20 years and it happens at least once or twice on every show. I’m sure if you were in the ring the first, second or hell, even tenth or fifteenth time it happened it would have been a little unnerving, but at this point if you have no idea it’s coming, that’s your problem and you deserve to get rolled up and pinned while you stand there staring at the ramp as if you’re watching a completely unique situation unfold before your eyes, you incompetent buffoon. Seriously, have you never watched a show? Pay the fuck attention, dude! And since nobody can seem to come down to the ring unless their music plays, does that explain why none of the babyfaces ever run out to save their friends from a beating? Or do none of the babyfaces like each other anymore? Actually never mind, that’s probably it. The babyfaces in WWE do tend to act like bigger dicks than most of the heels, who seem to generally be a pretty friendly bunch. That part is at least logical, it’s just backwards. But this music thing, can we stop it now? It was kind of cool once in a while when Stone Cold would do it, but A: the key words there are once in a while, B: nobody in the present day is going to be mistaken for Stone Cold Steve Austin and C: I’m pretty sure the last time Stone Cold wrestled an actual match we were still a few months away from having a blog.

Black Inaccessible Mirror?

This sounds like a neat idea. I wonder if they’ve factored accessibility into it. Controlling it via remote is probably out, but assuming they actually took the time to code and label things properly, using the app could work. I hope they did take the time, because Carin loves the show and trust me guys, you do not want to upset Carin. She is a lovely person, but she will not hesitate to murder you and your poor accessibility policies. She will do so in a constructive way, but you will be well aware that you have been in a scrap and have lost.

Bloomberg reports that Netflix is planning to roll out choose-your-own-adventure programming for adults beginning with the fifth season of Black Mirror, which will feature an episode where viewers have to make decisions that affect where the plot goes. The popular science-fiction series deals with the terrifying implications of technology, so presumably, the decision-making will tie into the episode’s plot in a meta way.
Netflix has never before applied this interactive format to live-action programming intended for adults, although it has done so with children’s shows. For instance, the streaming site previously released Puss in Book, an animated special in which viewers at various points must make one of two possible decisions by clicking on their computer or hitting a button on their remote.

You Have Nice Stuff, But You Have Too Much Of It

Reminds me of our movers.

“We thought this was just going to be a standard job where we drive the truck up to the client’s old apartment, take a look around, and then drive to the new place,” said mover Alexander Manginis, adding that the man who had hired them had given no indication that his studio apartment was full of possessions. “We show up and we see at least a half dozen boxes full of stuff that he expects us to carry down two flights of stairs. Not only that, but there were several pieces of furniture, most of which were quite heavy. We were all like, What’s going on here? Needless to say, we’ll be expecting a pretty sizable tip for going above and beyond.”

Annoyed Movers Weren’t Expecting Client To Have Belongings

I Have NO Good Title For This, Obviously

Today in Mad Libs sounding headlines: Naked Auschwitz demonstrators who killed sheep convicted

If you’re staring at that and thinking to yourself well, surely the rest of the story will make some sense out of this for me, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

Twelve people who stripped naked in front of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and killed a sheep have been convicted of profaning the site.
A court in the Polish city of Oswiecim jailed two of the group for more than a year and fined the rest.
The incident took place last March beneath the site’s main gate, which bears the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work sets you free”).
About 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis at the camp.
At the time of the incident, officials said the motive was unclear but the group later said they were protesting against the war in Ukraine.

The individuals involved, aged between 20 and 27, include six Poles, four Belarusians and one German, police said at the time of the incident.
They launched a firecracker in the car park and chained themselves to the gates before museum guards intervened.
Local media reported that the group used a drone to film the disturbance, and draped a white banner with the red text “love” over the gate.

The sheep, who I assume was not feeling much of that love, was never mentioned again.

No WordPress Gutenberg For Us Just Yet. We Prefer Our Interfaces Accessible

WordPress 5.0 is set to be released tomorrow, and it’s going to be a huuuuuuuuuuuge change. They’re unleashing an entirely new editing and customization system called Gutenberg that’s set to radically change how pretty much everything looks, acts and feels. That link right there will provide you with a fairly simple explanation of what’s happening, as well as caution you about updating if you happen to run a site using WordPress. There’s a lot of potential for site breakage here, both in terms of what you’re all looking at right now and the stuff that allows us to create it. Everything from themes to plugins to whatever else you can think of could cause you some kind of trouble if they and Gutenberg decide they’re not compatible.

I’m quite concerned for all of those reasons plus I don’t like the idea of every post becoming a mini web design project when all I want to do is write my fucking blog, but there’s also the issue of screen reader accessibility. Much of what I’ve seen on the subject doesn’t exactly sound encouraging, and absolute horseshit like this from members of the WordPress team absolutely does not give me the warm fuzzies about the future and my place in it. Nice to know I don’t fit into your release timelines, guys. Merry Christmas to you too.

So where does that leave us? Well, for the time being at least, it leaves us on WordPress 4.9.8, the current stable release. We’re going to stay there for as long as we have to or as long as we can, and if accessibility matters to you, you may want to do the same. There will be security fixes pushed to our version for now, so we can hang back here and do our thing while the various aspects of this hopefully get sorted out.

I should also mention that there is a classic editor plugin available, which could be handy should you decide to update and it goes poorly or the update is forced upon you by your company or hosting provider.