Mayday For Boats

We love Mayday around here, so chances are good that we’ll give DISASTERS AT SEA a look.

When tragedy strikes on the high seas causing ships to sink, the truth of what happened is often lost to the depths of the ocean. In Discovery’s latest original Canadian series, DISASTERS AT SEA, experienced and dedicated marine investigators track down new evidence to solve the mysteries behind some of the most devastating and unexpected real-life marine disasters in recent history.

I’ll spare you the rest of the rambling press release and skip straight to the episode descriptions and air dates, which Bell was helpful enough to include.

Episode 101 – “Coffin Ship”
Tuesday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Derbyshire
Type: Bulk Cargo Carrier
Date: September 9, 1980
Location: South China Sea
When an underwater image of the Derbyshire suggests the crew is to blame for the shipwreck the families of the dead refuse to believe it and launch an intensive quest for answers. What the investigation uncovers not only clears the crew of blame, it also reveals a shocking problem that’s putting other lives at risk.

Episode 102 – “Shipwrecked in Alaska”
Tuesday, April 23 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: Fishing Vessel Alaska Ranger
Type: Commercial Fishing Vessel, Trawler
Date: March 23, 2008
Location: Bering Sea, Alaska
Deadly flooding forces the crew of the Alaska Ranger to abandon ship into frigid waters off the coast of Alaska, setting off the largest cold water rescue in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Investigators have little to go on until a visit to Ranger’s sister ship reveals a shocking secret affecting other ships.
Episode 103 – “Deadly Rescue”
Tuesday, April 30 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: SS Marine Electric
Type: 605 ft Bulk Carrier
Date: February 12, 1983
Location: Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Virginia
The SS Marine Electric went down in a storm 30 miles off the coast of Virginia in February 1983. Despite passing its inspections, the coast guard discovers that the ship was badly maintained and not seaworthy. In the wake of the accident, inspections of other aging vessels are stepped up, and the Coast Guard develops its now world famous Coast Guard Swimmer program, which trains rescuers to enter the water to save the lives of survivors who don’t make it onto lifeboats.
Episode 104 – “Wreck of the Rocknes”
Tuesday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Rocknes
Type: 166 meter long Rock Discharge Bulk Carrier
Date: January 18, 2004
Location: South of Bergen, Norway
The largest rock discharge carrier in the world, MV Rocknes, capsizes off the coast of Norway. A rescue team works overtime to save trapped sailors in the now upside-down ship. In their search for answers, investigators discover a baffling twist – the Rocknes’ last turn was executed extremely poorly by a very experienced crew.
Episode 105 – “The Ice Ship”
Tuesday, May 14 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Explorer
Type: Ice Vessel
Date: November 23, 2007
Location: Antarctica
An adventure cruise ends in disaster when MV Explorer sinks in Antarctica, stranding 144 passengers and crew. In their hunt for evidence about what went wrong, investigators turn to a surprising source – the photos and videos taken by the passengers who survived the ordeal.
Episode 106 – “Torn Apart”
Sunday, March 17 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Vessel Name: MSC Napoli
Type:  904.4 Ft Container Ship
Date: January 18, 2007
Location: The English Channel on-route to Sines, Portugal
When a violent crack tears the MSC Napoli apart and leaves the crew stranded in the English Channel, the first priority is rescuing the crew and moving the ship away from busy shipping lanes. But as the investigators dig into the cause of the wreck, they discover an alarming design flaw.

It says in the release that they’re already hard at work on season two, so hopefully we like season one.

Mini Golf

I saw a strip club across the street from a mini golf place. I’m a liberal, but that’s too much for me. What if you’re just trying to have a nice afternoon with your family and then your kids look across the street and have to see a bunch of losers playing mini golf?

By the way, am I the only one who can’t think about miniature golf without thinking about this?

Northern Access Network: Canadian Low Power Pirate TV Of The 1970s

Another one of those bits of TV history I’ll bet most of us never knew about: David Brough and his Northern Access Network, a group of 30 or so illegal northern Ontario television stations that ran on videotaped programming from Canadian and American channels that he could pull in from Toronto. Why? Because, as the report puts it, “Until Brough came to town, there were 12 channels of snow — and the CBC.”

In places that only got one TV channel — English CBC — the Northern Access Network gave viewers a glimpse of something more.
For them, that meant a low-power station with a roster of TV shows and movies that had already aired on the CTV and Global networks, curated by a former children’s entertainer.
In the late 1970s, entrepreneur David Brough owned and operated dozens of “flea-powered” TV stations in remote northern Ontario towns.
CBC current affairs program The Kowalski/Loeb Report took a ride in Brough’s Winnebago en route to one such station to find out how he did it.

“Without permission, Brough records programs from every TV network, Canadian and American,” explained host Henry Kowalski. “He constructs videotapes that are ten hours long.”
The tapes were sent several at a time on a route that took them from one station to another. They included the commercials, often for local businesses, that had aired as part of the broadcast in Toronto where the tapes were made.
Brough had permission for none of this — not from the TV networks whose shows he was recording for rebroadcast, nor from Canada’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC.
It was a functioning network of 30 micro-stations that were each helmed by a local manager and supported with cash contributions by each community.

The whole thing is quite interesting, but I think this right here is my favourite part.

When the RCMP and the department of communications tried to forcibly shut down Brough’s first operation, in Pickle Lake, Ont., they were thwarted by loyal viewers.
“There was an interesting confrontation between a few dozen miners who were down at the local bars and found out that this was happening,” said Brough. “They politely informed [the authorities] that if they tried to take away their TV station, they probably wouldn’t get out of town.”

Keep in mind that this is the 1970s, not the 1870s.

Brough did end up getting some of his stations licensed, but the network eventually faded away as the major players started serving more communities and he turned his attention to other things.

Who Actually Watches Trade Deadline Coverage?

Somebody must because all the networks keep doing it, but I’ve never understood it even as a sports fan. I care about what happens, but not once have I ever had even the slightest desire to sit and watch talking heads go on about nothing for hours on end and try to make marginal guy for draft picks 3 years from now deals sound exciting. I especially don’t get it now that we have an internet. Everybody has a deal tracker or an app, so why not just look at that once in a while? I’ve got the Score app going, and every time something actually happens, it lets me know. It’s great because I can look at it for a minute and then move on with my day, assuming somebody hasn’t ruined my team with some dumb deal or other (hey Sens fans, how’s it goin’?). There’s no need to sit through a feature about player X and his family’s dream of one day owning a horse farm just to get to the two minutes of useful recap I’m looking for.

To be clear, I’m not saying don’t put anything on TV. These are sports channels. They should be reporting on sports. But since there are brief, regularly scheduled updates throughout the day anyway, why not just use those? Considering how much major news generally goes down on these deadline days, they should provide more than enough time to get everything in.

Proof Positive That I Do Not Belong On “Jeopardy!”

No more must I sit in front of the television each evening wondering if I am smart enough to one day be a contestant on “Jeopardy!” The answer, I discovered last night, is fuck no!

What has brought me to this conclusion? This damn All-Star tournament, that’s what! One second I feel like I completely understand it, then in the next I realize I absolutely do not.

I missed night one which probably doesn’t help, but last night I watched night two with my own eyes and am still utterly confused. On night one, there was apparently a Jeopardy round but no Final Jeopardy. How did they make a half hour out of that? Last night there was Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy, which I’m told marks the end of game one of match one. Ok, fine. Each match is a two game affair. If the first game took two days, then this one will too. Got it. But according to this here, each opening round match is played over three days. The hell, Jeopardy? Does that mean that tonight will be more of a standard game without all of the extra bantering and such so you can get it done in one episode?

I figured out the part where each player on a team gets to play a round. That makes sense and is actually quite interesting. But then we start getting into top earners and point totals and who gets to come back and oh my god watch this video ow my brain.

Yes, I am feeling somewhat ill right now. But I have a strong sense that even were I not, I would still be wrestling with a similar degree of bafflement.

I give everyone involved in this all the credit in the world for trying something new and keeping things fresh, and I’m sure I’ll love the concept by the time it’s over. But right now, I am old, I fear change, and would love nothing more than to just watch “Jeopardy!” without having to think about it.

Not Everything That Sounds Like A Slur Is A Slur, Trigger Happy People Of Rochester

Rochester's WHEC Channel 10 decided to slip a little racist reference to Dr King in close to his birthday. This aired 1/4/19 @ aproximately 5:30 pmListen as the newscaster decides that Martin Luther King should be referred to as Martin Luther Coon King and keeps it moving the other day. I have already asked for an explanation from WHEC about this:

Posted by Alan Majors on Saturday, January 5, 2019

The audio isn’t great here, but what you’re listening to is a guy getting himself fired and thrown under the bus by his employer for what I personally feel is not a very good reason.

A television meteorologist is out of a job one day after Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott called for his firing for making a racial slur during a broadcast. An executive at the station, WHEC (Channel 10), apologized to viewers on the air during an evening broadcast Monday.
During a WHEC weather forecast on Friday that showed a live shot of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Jeremy Kappell appeared to call it “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park.”
The station’s vice president and general manager, Richard A. Reingold, confirmed Kappell’s dismissal in a statement Monday.
“As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC,” Reingold said. “We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard.”
Kappell, who had been WHEC’s chief meteorologist since October 2017, said Monday evening that the incident had been “a simple misunderstanding” that arose because he “jumbled a couple of words.
“I know some people did interpret that the wrong way. That (“coon”) was not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did  feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize,” Kappell said in a four-minute video statement he posted on his Facebook page.

General manager Reingold said during an interview that the complaining from the mayor and Councillor didn’t factor into the station’s decision to terminate Kappell, a line which would be much easier to believe had he then gone on and answered the obvious question of whether or not he felt the mistake was actually an intentional act. If you can’t answer a question that simple and important yet you’ve still fired a guy, there’s either interference involved or you personally were looking for a reason to get rid of him.

Obviously if he did it intentionally he should be gone and never hired again, but what seems to be getting lost here is just how difficult talking for a living is. There’s a reason that blooper compilations exist, you know. If you talk long enough, eventually you’re going to make a mistake. And sometimes, like in this case, the mistake is going to be an unfortunate one.

Do me a favour. Think long and hard about the words “king”, “junior” and “coon”. Say them all out loud a few times and really listen to how they sound. Once you’ve done that, think about all of the times you’ve gotten tongue tied in your life and ended up mixing parts of your words together. It happens so often that there’s a word for it. It’s called a Spoonerism, and although they’re absolutely used on purpose for comedy, it happens every day to all sorts of people completely by accident. If you trip over king and junior, you’re probably getting coon. It’s almost unavoidable. And you can clearly hear Kappell correct it immediately, so quickly that I’m willing to bet most people didn’t even notice it until the big to-do was made. This is clearly something that a fellow whose line of work is generally managing a television station should be taking into account before making a decision and opening his mouth, but I guess that might be too much to ask.

Again, unless there’s more at play here than we know about, this firing is absolutely ludicrous. If we need to fire everyone who ever makes a mistake, we’re all going on a big ass vacation because everyone in the world is out of a job as of right now.

Bell’s Everything Tracking Is Back And Very Slightly Less Creepy

It appears Bell is taking another crack at the tracking every customer’s every move thing that went so well a few years ago. And though the end result still sounds like a whole lot of garbage from a consumer point of view (there’s still nothing in it for customers aside from ads the company thinks you’ll like more), it’s at least not as much of a surface level privacy nightmare as the last one. All that basically means is that you’ll have to opt in instead of out and that Bell claims not to be selling your data to third parties directly, but hey, it’s something, I guess.

Canada’s largest telecommunications group is getting mixed reviews for its plan to follow the lead of companies like Google and Facebook in collecting massive amounts of information about the activities and preferences of its customers.
Bell Canada began asking its customers in December for permission to track everything they do with their home and mobile phones, internet, television, apps or any other services they get through Bell or its affiliates.
In return, Bell says it will provide advertising and promotions that are more “tailored” to their needs and preferences.
“Tailored marketing means Bell will be able to customize advertising based on participant account information and service usage patterns, similar to the ways that companies like Google and others have been doing for some time,” the company says in recent notices to customers.

If given permission, Bell will collect information about its customers’ age, gender, billing addresses, and the specific tablet, television or other devices used to access Bell services.
It will also collect the “number of messages sent and received, voice minutes, user data consumption and type of connectivity when downloading or streaming.”

“Bell’s marketing partners will not receive the personal information of program participants; we just deliver the offers relevant to the program participants on their behalf,” the company assures customers.

It’s interesting that Bell’s entire justification for such a massive data grab essentially seems to boil down to well, Facebook is doing it, so why not us, completely ignoring the fact that Facebook isn’t having the best time at the moment. This really isn’t a great look for a company that isn’t exactly well known or beloved for its treatment of customers, to put it mildly.

I hope customers are savvy enough to ignore this program to death. Failing that, I hope Bell does absolutely everything right so I won’t have to write about the inevitable data breach or the part where Bell gets caught doing things they say they’re not doing.

A Miserable Day For Childhood Steve

2019 seems to be getting off to a rather 2016-like start on the celebrity death front.

Mean Gene Okerlund and Super Dave Osborne both died today. Both were 76 and awesome in their own ways.

Mean Gene is the best wrestling interviewer I’ve ever seen. He had a way of making bad promos decent and good ones better that we could really use in wrestling today. Even in the era of big personalities that he worked in, he always seemed to know how to react and stand out just right and just enough to be useful and memorable. He could also be pretty subtly funny for a guy whose job it was to be a straight man. I feel bad for all the kids today cutting promos to themselves and their friends. They don’t have an easy starting point like “Well ya know somethin’ Mean Gene!” to fall back on the way we did.

Also, have this video of him interviewing The Crusher, because it’s hilarious. Wrestling today needs more Crushers and more Mean Genes.

Speaking of hilarious, even though it was kind of a one note joke, I can’t think of too many times when Super Dave Osborne didn’t make me laugh. Everything from “Saskatchewan seal skin bindings” to him cursing out Mike Walden and the assistants after he’d been maimed always brings back happy family memories for me.

That last one isn’t great quality, but I’m glad I found it because it used to be my sister’s favourite when she was little. I’m pretty sure somewhere my mom still has an old VHS tape of her dancing along to it on TV.

We’re All Getting A Little More Bob Cole

I’m still no fan of the way Rogers has treated Bob Cole, but at least there’s been a wee bit of good news on that front. He’ll be sticking around to call an additional six games, winding things up on the final Saturday night of the season by calling Leafs vs. Canadiens. I still wish he was doing the playoffs, but this is about as close to as it should be as we could have hoped for.

Bob Cole was never going to go out quietly. That wouldn’t be his way.
But as the clock was ticking down on his 50 years as the voice of hockey in Canada, he thought the end was coming a week from Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
But then Scott Moore was pushed out as boss of Rogers Sportsnet and Cole’s farewell tour, orchestrated by his employers, was suddenly extended by six games — with the perfect ending for the brilliant broadcaster, the last Saturday of the regular season, Hockey Night In Canada, Toronto at Montreal.
What could be better than that?
“Whenever it ends, it ends,” said Cole in a lengthy telephone interview. “We had it finalized, then it wasn’t finalized.

“I never wanted to make a big deal of any of this. I never wanted a (farewell tour) of any kind. All this attention is kind of crazy to me. It’s not me. I’ve never been one of those guys who knew how many games he’d done or kept any records of those kind of things. I just liked what I did and I loved the games and I still love them and love doing them.
“I never thought about how long I would do this job or when retirement was coming or counted the days to retirement. But I’ve been humbled the last while, the way people have reacted all across Canada.”

He doesn’t want any good-bye parties or pity parties. In fact, he wishes he wasn’t going anywhere at all.
Retirement wasn’t his idea. It was pushed on him, almost taken away, and then there were so many good feelings that it was extended.
“All I do is go to work and I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” said Cole. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel when it’s all over. If I had my way, I’d just keep on working.”

If you have time, read the whole story. I especially enjoyed the part about how he got his start, even though something like it could almost certainly never happen today and that makes me a little sad. I’m not sure who the modern equivalent of Foster Hewitt would be, but no way in hell you’re talking your way anywhere close to the guy let alone spending two hours in his office getting compliments and advice.