Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Podunkian Brunch Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our weekly review of some of the events of the week begins at the gates of a Florida prison, where one time press baron, member of the House of Lords and scion of Toronto society, Conrad Black found a taste of freedom from his prison sentence this week. Lord Black (we're not actually sure if he still can use the term Lord having been in the hoosegow, but it has an interesting ring to it anyways),  was released this week, while the Illinois justice system takes a break from the Governor Blagojevich tribunals and contemplates if perhaps their interpretation of Lord Black's malfeasance wasn't quite correct under revised American law.

His Lordship currently has to provide further financial disclosures to Judge Amy St. Eve of the Illinois court before she will be satisfied and issue further orders, among them if His Lordship and his lady can return to the ancestral homestead of Toronto, while he awaits further jurisprudence on his many legal questions.

The possible return of Lord Black to Canada of course has received  mixed reviews, many suggest that he's paid his dues to the legal world and should be allowed to reclaim his Canadian citizenship (surrendered upon his peership) and take to his Toronto estate.  Others of course aren't inclined to forgive nor forget and with more than a little bit of glee find great comfort in the stateless, near homeless condition (though not quite) of the one time giant of journalism in Canada.

For now, the Black's will call a Palm Beach ocean front property their home, awaiting approval and opportunity to return to Canada like any other snowbird making their way back to the north.

Perhaps upon his return, Lord Black may wish to taste a sample of what his (hopeful) nations best has to offer, some good ole Canadian beer.

If so, he may find that Okanagan Spring is hard to come by these days.  A batch of Vernon's best never made it to the bottle or can this week after an explosion at the brewery sent some 32,000 litres of the foamy concoction flooding the streets of Vernon.
A build up of carbon dioxide is blamed for the exploding foam, though we suspect that somewhere, somehow, these two fellows had more than a little bit to do with the troubles.

There are some troubles brewing for the film industry as well, with word that the "Golden Goose" of 3 D technology may not be ready for flight after all. Meaning that perhaps you won't want to corner the market in 3D Glasses just yet (not to mention the latest wave of TV sets).

The Telegraph newspaper in the UK explains that many in Hollywood are rethinking the whole next wave of entertainment,  after less than successful conversions of older movies have left audiences feeling let down, if not down right ripped off.  No less a power broker than Jeffrey Katzenberg suggests that these "Cheeseball" conversions are serving to foster the backlash against the technology that everyone once thought was set to change the industry.  If his thoughts aren't enough to help you keep the ole HD TV for just a little bit longer so as to watch your favourite movie releases, perhaps Roger Ebert can help. His impression of 3D: " a waste of a perfectly good dimension and Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal," adding for good measure, "It adds nothing essential to the movie-going experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches".  You can put away the glasses we guess, some suggest that this fad like the 50's and 80's will fade away, destined to return we imagine in 2040...

Maybe live entertainment is your thing instead, if so Fortune magazine suggests that if you had a choice you would be an International soccer fan or be looking for seats to an NFL game. Forbes came out with their most successful financial sports team list this week and all 32 NFL teams grabbed a spot on the top 50 list, a remarkable feat  though not surprising considering the financial power that the NFL produces each year. European football teams or soccer clubs for you and I, grabbed nine of the top 50 spots, including Manchester United which was considered the number one sports club financially in the world.  Baseball claimed five spots, basketball two and motor sports 2. However, for hockey fans there will be no joy in Bettmanville tonight, Hockey did not crack the top 50,  a not surprising result considering the rather worrisome financials of late for a good number of Mr. Bettman's partners. You can check out the entire top fifty list and the accompanying article here.

One team that probably was never in any danger of qualifying for the Forbes list would have been the Montreal Expos, the one time love affair for many a Canadian through the seventies and eighties, died a horrible and very public death when baseball, abandoned the city and rewarded those that oversaw its demise with a trip to Florida, allowing the Expos to then be reborn as the Washington Nationals.

And while baseball's current leadership may have forgotten all about the Spos and Montreal, those that guard it's history haven't.  Andre Dawson will enter the Cooperstown Hall of Fame on Sunday, and while he would apparently have preferred to have gone in as a Cub, it will be in the uniform of the Montreal Expos that he will be enshrined.

While cold comfort for those that followed the Expos as though a religion, it will at least acknowledge that devotion and reflect a time (and perhaps for the last time) when the Expos were thought to be the next possible dynasty in baseball. Those days and the sad ending that the sport came to in Montreal have provided for no shortage of conversation and investigation, a most interesting review can be found from a panel discussion on the topic, where a number of thoughts on those days of the Expos are revealed. Though we, personally prefer the more musical tribute to a team that was long on sports history, but short on actual time among us.

It's something that will have to tide us over until we can once again root, root, for our home team again.
For fans of baseball, even without Nos Amours, our podcast selection of the week comes from the Baseball History Podcast, where you can review some of the famous and perhaps not so famous careers of the game.

And to wrap up our weekend review, a little reminder that you can't take it with you, and in some cases your family doesn't apparently need it. Chinese philanthropist Yu Pengnian has made the final installment of the dispersal of his estimated remaining 500 million dollar fortune to charity.  Since he began giving it away, he has contributed almost 1.3 billion dollars to a number of causes in his Yu Penginian Foundation.

A move he says he has undertaken to show an example for other Chinese residents who have accumulated wealth. Yu says all is well with the kids, who he says  haven't opposed his plan (though no one has actually it seems asked the kids if they think Dad's a tad off his rocker) and he's put in place stipulations with his bank that none of his holdings can be inherited, sold or invested.  He sums up his approach to the spirit of sharing as thus.  “I don’t care what others think. It makes me happy to give my money away. I used to be poor.”

For Yu and all that he do,  the Red Hot Chili Peppers..


Anonymous said...

Just like to thank you, Mr. Podunkian, for posting the announcement of the Gathering Strength Canoe Trip. As a result I was able to determine when and where the flotilla would arrive in Port Edward and get out there to see it.

. said...

Glad to help