Worth his weight in… grasshoppers?

GrasshopperHere’s a quirky story from Saskatchewan dated August 28, 2002, via the CBC: Top grasshopper catcher wins Elton John tickets. Unfortunately, I can’t link to it because the CBC Arts Canada section uses Flash exclusively, so here it is in full…

Regina – A woman who collected 39,000 grasshoppers last weekend has won a pair of tickets to Elton John’s sold-out Saskatoon concert this Friday. Brandy Elliot, 26, beat her closest competitor in the radio-station contest by 6,000 bugs. “I had started on Friday by hand initially, and just put them in a bucket, but then I thought this is ridiculous I can’t get this many grasshoppers,” Elliot said. “So what we did is made three huge nets with the netting from screen doors and basically took our quarter ton truck and drove through the ditches. As soon you touch the grass they fly up. It was unbelievable.”

Elliot said she estimated the number of grasshoppers by counting the number that fit in one pail, and then counting the number of pails used to fill each of the bags she took to the radio station. After the official count, the grasshoppers were put in a dumpster behind the radio station. Elton John’s first-ever concert appearance in Saskatchewan sold out within minutes when tickets went on sale last month.

Saskatchewan is completely flat, so there’s not much else to do in summer except count the grasshoppers. Still, I bet it will make Elton John’s prairie debut pretty memorable.

Goodbye Lineone (aka Tiscali)

Here’s a story that’s rather relevant to this weblog: BBC NEWS | Business | Tiscali back in the red. As the BBC story says:

Tiscali cut its sales forecast for this year to 800m euros, down from 1bn euros, after losing almost half a million subscribers in April, May and June.

Earlier this month Tiscali blocked the transferring of files on all carriers except their own dial-up and broadband connections. This is why my weblog stagnated in August. Tiscali barred Blogger.com from transferring any files, so nothing I wrote appeared on my site.

Tiscali has initiated this policy in the hope of forcing its customers to use its carriers and thereby generate revenue via the telephone. Well, not me. I refuse to pay for Internet telephone calls, and so have purchased web space elsewhere. In fact, if you’re reading this post I have already moved my website from Lineone (a part of Tiscali) to my own domain, and so contributed my part to Tiscali’s decline. Not only will this policy fail to increase revenue, it will drive viewers away, which will simply worsen the decline in advertising revenue. Goodbye and good riddance!


Chateau RoutasThe south of France is an amazing part of the world. My wife, Ann, and I have just spent another two weeks here and many things still remain to be discovered. For example, I have just discovered that one of the most highly rated vinyards in the region is located only 10km from the village in which my parents live. The wine is called Chateau Routas, while the vinyard appears to be known as Rouviere Plane. The whole place sleeps 12 and can be rented by the week in the summer, with or without the executive chef who used to work at Lalime’s in San Francisco. Click on the image above if you want to know more.

Sydney Surprise

Here’s an hilarious story of some confused British tourists who travelled to Sydney, Nova Scotia, instead of Sydney, Australia (Britons fly to ‘wrong’ Sydney)! In what must be the British understatement of the month (and today’s only the 5th) one of them was quoted as saying “Obviously, it was a big disappointment.”