Sunday, August 29, 2010

Margin Notes: Dining Car, Steampunks, I-Lean

Arno Martens and Michael Guy enjoyed the first meal aboard the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre's dining car on 28-August-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Those wandering through Roundhouse Park in Toronto, Ontario this weekend were treated to an unusual sight--an approximately one-eighth scale dining car in use on the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre's miniature railway. The car debuted this weekend. The first meal? Barbecued hamburgers and water--what did you expect, wine and cheese?

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A group of steampunks (note the steam-powered gun at left) gathered at the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre in Toronto, Ontario on 29-August-2010

Across the street from Roundhouse Park, FanExpo Canada was going on at the Convention Centre. That can result in some interesting comic book characters running around, particularly when FanExpo becomes so crowded that some cannot get inside. This year, the only significant spillover to Roundhouse Park, appropriately enough, were a large group of steampunks. Could there be a more fitting place for steampunks than a place where steam engines were in operation?

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Some in Washington state must be thinking they would be better off if they had a steam-powered ferry. The new ferry Chetzemoka's acute vibration problems were apparently solved by a software change this week, but the vessel suffers from a multitude of other design issues, large and small; read this thread on the West Coast Ferries forum for details. Amongst the issues is a four degree list, which has led to the ferry's new nickname--"I-Lean" or "Eileen." Eileen is still on target to replace Bob in a few weeks. Bob, of course, is the Steilacoom II leased from Pierce County--so nicknamed because of its propensity to bob in the rough waters of Admiralty Inlet.

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Water is central to Harry Shearer's new film, The Big Uneasy, about the flooding that caused the damage in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina passed through. The only problem is, Shearer's key point in the whole film, that the problem was flooding, not the hurricane, has been rejected by NPR. As told this week on Shearer's weekly radio show, LeShow, he wanted to buy underwriting announcements for his new film, but NPR claimed that only factually incorrect wording for the announcement would be acceptable. Anyone that believes that Shearer is some powerful influence at NPR or that NPR is not corporate radio should give his story some close attention.

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