Monday, April 19, 2010

Electric 2010 Junos Heats up St. John's and Canadian living rooms

The two hour broadcast of the 2nd Juno awards show in St. John's in 9 years was electric, fast paced, with a heavily music based component to the show rather than a more host(s)-centered show. There were two venues for the broadcast, the main Mile One Centre, and a live feed from a lively sardine-packed George Street.

The live awards show kicked off with rap group Classified rapping their crowd supported "Oh ... Canada". The trio walked, rap-danced through the crowd of possibly 1000's of George St. fans, chasing the camera, as an aerial cam panned the group making the way through. They ended their performance on a circle in Prince Edward Park, which immediately was sequed by the announcer to inside Mile One where fan favorite Michael Bublé took the stage to sing his hit, "Haven’t Met You Yet".

At first, it appeared, at least on my tube that the sound was somewhat stifled, but it improved toward the end of his performance. The crowd reacted with enthusiastic appreciation, and was acknowledged by the BC crooner.

Bublé went on to win three Junos during the night, and shutting out teen fave, Justin Bieber. Whenever, either of their names or appearances was announced, the fans harmonized well practiced screaming. A few other acts were prominent during the night. K'Naan, and Drake both picked up two, they are hip hop and rap artists, which seemed to get plenty of exposure in the broadcast, with Drake taking the stage to sing three different times, and two for K'Naan. It is not surprising, as rapper Drake had been a big hit at the Grammys, and thus, is a hope for the less than super hot Canadian music industry right now.

For this blogger, the most energetic, and riveting highlight was the explosive sounds of rock group Billy Talent. Their song "Saint Veronica" had a hard edged, catchy melody, but carefully crafted sound that makes their music recognizable as Billy Talent. With great guitar riffs, combined with vocal cord shredding screeches by their lead singer, and solid bass and drums, their interesting hooks and stage presence was the most magnetic stage act of the night - interesting lyrics to "Saint Veronica" as well.

The 2010 Junos will also be remembered for the amazing creative and eye-catching stage design. Icebergs were the backdrop scene, which could also have been versions of west coast mountain ranges, and would have been appropriate since the west coast representation were such a big part of the show.

The iceberg set design allowed many different images, lights, strobe effects, and variations to keep the generation of short-attention span audiences, still stimulated by them. The iceberg light, and image patterns were changed for different performances. For example, in parts of the Billy Talent song, when the song reached a momentum point, the whole iceberg set design lit up bright all of the bergs at once to coincide with the particular musical high point. It was executed with excellent timing, and effect to compliment the emotional energy created by the band's fantastic song.

In 2002, St. John's was a big hit with Juno organizers, being the first city to host the Junos on the road. This year has outdone that first Juno event, and the broadcast will be seen as successful event.

Congratulations to NL musician Amelia Curran on winning for the best traditional/roots category.

As a broadcast, it depends on your perspective how you would describe it. From this one, it was mostly exciting, well planned, generally smooth flowing, with nice production direction, coordinating crews, personalities, and two crowded venues. Up to the time of the blog post, there have not been many show reviews nationally. There certainly have been no negative comments so far. The Vancouver Sun said it was a "a potentially tame awards show, uplifted by the energy of fresh blood into the Canadian music canon"

It was tame perhaps, but had some gracious moments, which from this blog view is much more pleasing than some other obnoxious music awards shows internationally.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

KFC's Double Down - New burger to die from for

If you want to get 92% of your daily recommended dose of sodium in one food item, then Kentucky Fried Chicken's Double Down, will not let you down. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, obesity specialist, at Weighty Matters, reports that this new beast, or beasts (chicken and bacon), weighs in at 540 calories and 1,380 mg of sodium (adults are recommended to get not more than 1500 mg of sodium a day).

It is a "breadless" burger, if you forget the two coated deep-fried chicken fillets, that surrounds two strips of bacon, and two slices of processed cheese.

Freedhoff's food articles remind me of reading comparisons between Canon and Nikon cameras, as if each negative (no pun intended) feature is a positive. In this link he compares the Double Down to a "secret" McDonald's menu item, called the Mc10:35, because it is a combo of egg and bacon taken from the breakfast McMuffin, and added to the McDouble (replacing inadequate McSingle), at the changeover time between bk and lunch (apparently now popular in the San Francisco area .. so far).

Estimated calories 560, estimated sodium 1,300mg.
Nutritionally? Pretty much a wash. Yuck factor? Flip a coin.
The winner?
The Double Down.

The winner will indeed be KFC. For a few minutes, consumers tasting this will feel like they've won a prize. Too bad that all those types of happy meals don't keep us happy after we consume them.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Want to reduce hospital wait times? Hire more clerical support! Soon!!

Eastern Health is apparently making some headway with hiring nurses, that's great! Now please focus on hiring more secretarial help! There are long wait times and delays in large part because doctors do not have adequate and in some cases, any office help. This is truly a ridiculous and unacceptable situation.

This is not opinion, this is fact! Eastern Health, at least, can reduce wait times by simply hiring more secretaries. Imagine this: a doctor is on the 5th floor of the Health Sciences Centre, and while attending to immediate patients, is also thinking of distance patients who require urgent treatment advice. The doctor cannot give an immediate treatment regimen because the patients' records are down several levels of the health science complex, and there is no one to communicate patient records to the doctor. So to get the latest record of patients from some other part of Newfoundland and Labrador, the physician has to take the elevator down several flights, walk through corridors to reach their office. Then, they will have to dig out the files (or order them from another part of the hospital), maybe do some faxing, phoning, researching, or emailing, and then repeat for any number of other patients who are out of town. Meanwhile, seriously ill patients up on the floors are wondering where the doctor is.

This Is the present situation, and it is dangerous for patients and doctors. They often are responsible for 100s of patients from across the province, but then to not have adequate clerical help on top of that will take valuable time and energy away from important patient care. As well, doctors may not be able to take extra patients because they cannot adequately treat them, due to the extra demands on their time.

Eastern Health really needs to address this issue. There is a high turnover rate in clerical positions, and they also need to put in place plans to more efficiently replace workers who once in a new position, need to take maternity leave. We hear about nursing and other health worker shortages, but the problem with office help is also critically important. If it is not addressed it will lead to more stress on doctors, health care professionals, and patients. If the clerical support shortage is addressed, then there is a better chance of timely patient care.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A tragedy that could have been

but wasn't. Now that's luck. Any other Friday, workers would be at this condo work site on Logy Bay Rd., but Apr. 2 being Good Friday, it was a holiday. The cement floor collapse on a 17 degree calm spring day will raise many questions about the structural design of this building. As well, one has to wonder if currently existing buildings were constructed with similar specifications, and are time-ticking flaws. It will be useful to have investigators pinpoint what went wrong. Only by luck were injuries and deaths averted this time. The rate of construction in the St. John's/Mt. Pearl area has been high in recent years, and one also has to wonder if the pressure to build fast, and profit is affecting quality construction, and/or engineering design.

Click photos to enlarge.