On the first date of Christmas, my true love saw with me …

I like going to the movies.
My wife doesn’t like going to the movies.

So we have always compromised: we don’t go to the movies.

But she gave me an amazing Christmas gift –

Movie Certificate

This certifies that Steve Hayman is entitled to one movie date per month with his wife (movie subject to review) with no whining from his wife.

I am a lucky man indeed!

We decided to attend Mary Poppins Returns on December 30, 2018. Does this count as the first date, or is it more like an exhibition date, in the same way that Canada plays Finland before the World Junior Hockey Championship actually starts?

I sought advice from counsel; I happen to be related to a brilliant lawyer, who commented

Very liberal interpretation of contract, construed in favour of the beneficiary. If only she’d consulted a lawyer, she could have inserted “commencing January 1st 2019.” Looks like you are getting a bakers’ dozen.

Followup, if it please the court. The clause that says “movie subject to review” can be reasonably interpreted to mean “reviewed AFTER we see any arbitrary movie of my choice”, can it not?

The clause is ambiguous. In my view, the drafter (your wife) clearly intended to have some say in the movie choice. I would therefore read that word into the contract, as in “movie choice subject to review by wife”. This is a contextual, feminist analysis and should be preferred to the standard approach of “contra proferentem”.

I accept this contextual, feminist analysis, and I’m sure know you know what *contra proferentem” means, but just in case you don’t –

Contra proferentem (Latin: “against [the] offeror”), also known as “interpretation against the draftsman”, is a doctrine of contractual interpretation providing that, where a promise, agreement or term is ambiguous, the preferred meaning should be the one that works against the interests of the party who provided the wording.

So anyway.
We both deeply enjoyed Mary Poppins Returned. Date Night #0! I cheered when Dick Van Dyke appeared. Of course I saw the original when I was a kid, and the fact that Dick Van Dyke is still in it must surely mean that I am not actually getting older myself.

Even though they didn’t use any of the original music in the film, there were plenty of musical quotes of the original themes. Fun to listen to that too. And if you go – not only is Dick Van Dyke back from the original, but watch for the scene where a woman asks Jack and Jane for directions to #19 Cherry Tree Lane. That actress is Karen Dotrice (age 63), who played Jane Banks (age 9) in the original movie.

Many thanks to Cathy for this awesome, selfless present, and I will do my best to suggest movies that we might both enjoy equally. (I’m guessing that any upcoming Transformers or Fast and Furious sequel won’t be on the list.) (although really, we probably WOULD enjoy those ones equally.)

New shirts for the Moon Shot 1969 50th Anniversary

fifty years ago

July 16, 1969. Mom and Dad took my brother and me to Florida to see the Apollo XI launch. I will be grateful to them forever for taking us to see the greatest scientific thing ever.

I took this picture with my Kodak Instamatic 100. It’s still my favourite picture I’ve ever taken. See that white dot above the two puffs of smoke? That’s Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins heading to the moon.

Blurry photo of Apollo XI launch

We watched this from what is now Parrish Park in Titusville, on the SR 402 causeway heading to the Kennedy Space Center. Dad rented a camper van and we patiently waited it out, along with a million other people…

Waiting for launch

and we checked out the same spot in 2015 (this time with a slightly better camera).


Oh, and we got souvenir shirts. Here we are, having just returned from Florida in this spacious camper van – me, Mom (who, sadly, didn’t get a shirt), Dad and my brother. Our family in our MOON SHOT 1969 shirts

Check out the cool shirts with a beautiful late 1960s aesthetic. “MOON SHOT 1969 – I was there.” They weren’t quite bold enough to put the actual launch date on the shirt. Just in case.

Steve in his shirt

My sister was a baby at the time and didn’t come along, and I’m sure she has been very tired of hearing for almost 50 years of what an amazing thing this was. And she didn’t get a shirt either.

I don’t know where my original shirt is. Of course it most likely wouldn’t fit, seeing as how it was probably a boy’s medium, and I’m now an adult extra-medium. Dad still has his – and my brother even wore it to the final Space Shuttle launch.

christmas 2018

But with the 50th Anniversary coming up, I thought of a fun Christmas present. How about getting those shirts re-made in the correct sizes? Michael sent me a snapshot of his carefully preserved shirt, and I touched it up (in Pixelmator) and submitted it to Entripy, a great local producer of T-shirts who seem willing to do really small orders when they’re not cranking out 25,000 at once for the Raptors or Leafs.

I ordered 4 reproductions for me, my parents, and my brother. And then thinking of everyone else we’d see at Christmas, who have all kindly listened to our stories of the Apollo XI launch without complaining, I ordered a few more of a slightly different design. See if you can spot the difference.

Many thanks to Entripy for doing a great job on these. I hope everyone in my family wears the right one next July 16.

the designs

I Was There

Moon Shot 1969 – I Was There

I Wasn't There

Moon Shot 1969 – I Wasn’t There, But I Know Somebody Who Was

the end result

The family in our new shirts

(I’m holding a reproduction of the July 21, 1969 New York Times, headline “MEN WALK ON MOON.” Thanks for that, Michael!)

a Twitter CFL experiment

So this is kind of interesting, isn’t it?

Wow, isn’t that wild. A twitter account called @CFLPredictor that posted exactly one tweet, on June 13, before the season started, correctly calling the outcome of the 106th Grey Cup, played in November! What are the chances of that?

Well … I gotta come clean; as it happens, I have a pretty good idea what the chances of that are, because I …

  • created the CFLPredictor account on June 10, as a private account not visible to anybody.
  • wrote a script (using a nifty command line twitter tool) that posted hundreds of variations of the above tweet – essentially, every possible combination of Team A over Team B
    • in a close one
    • in overtime
    • by a touchdown
    • by more than a touchdown
    • in a blowout

    Essentially it did this ..

    for t1 in BC Edmonton Calgary Saskatchewan Winnipeg Toronto Hamilton Ottawa Montreal; do
        for t2 in BC Edmonton Calgary Saskatchewan Winnipeg Toronto Hamilton Ottawa Montreal; do
            if [[ $t1 != $t2 ]]; then
                    tweet "My Grey Cup 2018 Prediction: $t1 over $t2 in overtime."
                    tweet "My Grey Cup 2018 Prediction: $t1 over $t2 in a close one."
                    tweet "My Grey Cup 2018 Prediction: $t1 over $t2 by a touchdown"
                    tweet "My Grey Cup 2018 Prediction: $t1 over $t2 by more than a touchdown."
                    tweet "My Grey Cup 2018 Prediction: $t1 over $t2 in a blowout."

    To be safe, my script had to include various extremely unlikely options like “Toronto over Hamilton”, because with the CFL’s crossover playoff format, any team can potentially beat any other team.

    (It didn’t post “Toronto over Toronto”. I have my integrity here.)

  • admired the 9 * 8 * 5 = 360 different tweets, none of which were visible to anybody other than me.
  • waited until November 25, Grey Cup day
  • PANICKED because in looking over my script, it had encountered an error months earlier and had neglected to tweet two possible Ottawa-over-Calgary outcomes.
  • on November 25th, watched the game carefully, hoping desperately for anything BUT “Ottawa over Calgary in overtime” and “Ottawa over Calgary in a blowout”.
  • watched with relief as when Calgary beat Ottawa 27-16
  • deleted all but one of the tweets
  • made the account public so anybody could see it
  • retweeted the now-visible one remaining tweet

  • sat back and waited for the flood of people to comment WOW, that CFLPredictor account must be either a football genius or some sort of amazing artificial intelligence to have correctly called the outcome of the Grey Cup months before it happened.

I’m not sure what my plan was going to be if anybody else actually picked up on this but naturally I was hoping it’d get mentioned in the media somewhere.

To my slight disappointment but ultimate relief, everybody on the Internet must be smarter than me because nobody fell for this fake news ruse.

So anyway, next time you see an amazing Internet prediction, consider the possible source.