More political articles on the Silent Majority

I believe the third time anyone writes an article on the same creepy topic, it is time either to cease and desist, or to make this into an ongoing series, embracing the concept whole.

Twice before, I have written with a straight face about how the dead participate in all parts of the electoral process, being both the voters, and those being voted on. And I have written more than once, that dead people have often win elections against their living opponents. While all this sounds both creepy and hilarious, these stories are utterly true. And before you think this is a liberal or conservative conspiracy, I also reiterate, that the dead benefit both sides of American politics. Since there are more dead people than living, we call them the real Silent Majority in this blog. We ought to root for them, since many of these are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes, and don’t bother anyone.

After paying $1.50 for this issue of The Sun yesterday, I find that the cover story is an opinion piece.

Just yesterday in The Toronto Sun, the front page — yes, the front page, in the biggest screaming headlines you have ever seen in your life, decried the Liberal practice of leaving dead people on the voter rolls. So, now the silent majority have invaded the Canadian Liberal party, according to The Sun. While I understand that the Sun takes every opportunity to attack the Liberals, and have never met a politician to the right of Atilla the Hun they didn’t like, I have to say, the dead are not a voting block. I am certain that the list contains conservatives and liberals in fairly equal numbers. Regardless, no one can control the voting preferences of the Silent Majority, since you can’t speak to them, and they can’t speak to you. Even if you could speak to them, the Silent Majority will just vote as they damn well please. Or, do anything else they damn well please. You may have your perceptions and illusions about the Silent Majority, but we can both agree that you can’t tell them who to vote for. They just won’t listen, and you can’t change that.

You can call me a leading authority on the voting behavior of the Silent Majority. I have been observing them for quite a while now. And a good many years from now, I too will some day go to the Majority. To be honest, it’s pretty boring watching them, because I never see them move. I guess that’s part of their mystique.

Catherine McKenna taking things personally

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna entered a heated exchange yesterday with a right-wing nobody from a far right-wing website which nobody reads that I can’t bother to look up the name of. This happened in Vancouver in front of a small scrum of journalists which included more recognizable outlets such as the CBC, CTV, and The National Post.

The far right-wing nobodies referred to her as “climate change Barbie” on their website. No one would have cared about or known about this had McKenna acted as their publicist by giving this crank website the kind of publicity they could never have purchased at any price: a public outing and heated discussion in front of national media that attracted all kinds of attention. It really doesn’t matter if the journalist at the brunt of the discussion is ashamed to work with such a pack of neanderthals (he should be), or even admits to being ashamed (which is not clear). It doesn’t matter whether the journalist was part of the problem or part of the solution in spreading sexist descriptions of female politicians. What matters is that this backwoods website had been catapulted into the national consciousness and national conversation and thus have the appearance of being taken seriously, when it was completely un-necessary.

Why give vent every time some third-rate reporter from some obscure website utters something offensive about women? If they were ignored, no one would care. After all, this is how journalists on the left had been ignored for years. This technique has been well-known to politicians for a long time; but I guess someone forgot to tell McKenna.

From coronation to Elbowgate: the extremes of Trudeau coverage

elbowgate_1
Elbowgate and over 300 witnesses.

By world standards, the Parliamentary melee that happened this past week is pretty tame, but what has now become known as Elbowgate brings down our insanely high expectations of Justin Trudeau, fuelled by the media. The melee was nothing, Trudeau apologized, and sensible people are moving on.

shawinigan_handshake
Chretien applying what is now known as the “Shawinigan Handshake”

But in essensce it is a shock that it happened to anyone at all. This is the first time I have ever heard about it happening in a Canadian parliamentary session. The first thing that crossed my mind was: was Trudeau trying to out-Trump Donald Trump? In America, high-ranking politicians get goons to beat down undesirables. In Canada, the Prime Minister does the dirty work. Remember that creepy incident between Jean Chretien and that protester over a decade ago?

I think that this means that in Canada, the Prime Minister doesn’t order the army to bring order to the state. The person a rabble rouser would really need to fear is the Prime Minister. I mean, no one wants The Shawinigan Handshake done on them. There is a “goon” shortage in Canada. People here are too nice. The Prime Minister is the only nasty one among us.

Things cross my mind about Elbowgates, and Shawinigan Handshakes. Political theatre is done with a message in mind. I just can’t see a clear message. The Shawinigan Handshake was clearly political theatre. I don’t think that the PM was in any danger, otherwise, Chretien would never be allowed to be that close to a protestor. Both incidents defy logic in a similar way.

Recognizable OOC Recipients: Comedians

akroyd
Dan Akroyd

Dan Akroyd was a comedic actor who got his start in Saturday Night Live, then he and John Belushi formed The Blues Brothers which went from a blues/comedy act to a full-length film. Among the films he starred in, were Ghostbusters, Trading Places, Ghostbusters II, and the satire Dragnet. He was made a member of the Order of Canada on 7 November, 2000.

kissinger-levy-brezhy
Eugene Levy is the one on the lef- uh, ri- uhh… Aw, crap.

Eugene Levy worked for years on the comedy show Second City, both live in Toronto and on the 80s hit TV series, SCTV. He has won numeous honours for his comedic creations, and by the time he was awarded the OOC in 2011, he already won many awards and honors. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in November of 2011.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 05: News anchors

Lloyd-Robertson
Lloyd Robertson

Lloyd Robertson (OOC 1998) — He was six years an anchor for CBC news in the early to mid-seventies. He later moved to CTV, and had been anchor there until 2011 when he retired. He has been news anchor longer than Walter Cronkite, and is in fact the record holder for the longest-serving anchorman in television history.

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Peter Mansbridge

Peter Mansbridge (OOC 2008) — A youngster by Lloyd Roberson standards, Peter Mansbridge has been news anchor at CBC since 1988, and is still working at CBC. It will be another six years until he beats Robertson’s record. He does hold the record for the longest serving anchor still active.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 04: Musicians

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell

There are actually quite a number of Order of Canada recipients that are musicians. More musicians will appear in later installments.

Saskatoon native Joni Mitchell graced our radios in the decades since the sixties with her folk/pop singing that had been the influence of a great many musicians worldwide. Some of her album covers were self-drawn, and one was a self-portrait. She was made a companion of the Order of Canada in 2004.

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Paul Anka

Going back a generation in music history, Ottawa-born Paul Anka is only two years older than Joni, but had his first hit song at age 15 when Diana went to the top of the Billboard charts in 1957, and was a hit on both sides of the Canada-US border. He continued to produce hit singles well into the 1980s. Greatest hits compilations have been showing up as recently as 2013

Rob Ford: A comedy Review

Rob Ford, played on SNL by Bobby Moynihan.

The Saturday Night Live (SNL) parody of the Toronto Crack-Smoking-Mayor-in-name-only Rob Ford has been roundly declared, from many sources in radio and blogs, and me, to be not funny. A post-mortem is in order as to why SNL, the foremost bastion of coolness-and-funny, dropped the ball bigtime on this one with last Saturday’s show opener regarding Rob Ford.

Writing comedy is hard work. Parody and satire are the worst to write about. Satire can’t not be funny. Satire that does not make you laugh quickly becomes a big turn-off. And to make things worse, in this situation, it is Rob Ford himself who has all the best lines, and he delivers them deadpan, with no sense of irony. That would be the mark of a great comic actor, but he is not acting. He is the definitive windbag, with his grandiosity billowing in full sail, and no one wants to tell him how full of it he really is. And so not being told, he keeps going full steam ahead, the gift to The Comedy Network that keeps on giving.

SNL was going for something truly ambitious when they broke ranks with other comic satirists such as Bill Maher, David Letterman, Steven Colbert, and the best of the bunch Jon Stewart by actually making a skit of this.

A skit. Like, you know, with actors and saying lines, and stuff.

And who would play Rob Ford? And would they do justice to him and the whole situation? It’s hard. Try it, sometime. That would mean that your punchlines have to compete with Ford’s. And SNL, populated with the best comic writers in America, couldn’t match him. All they could muster were a few sentences ending in “eh?”, a drunken “best mayor” song and dance followed by a “crowd-surf” dive gone badly and couple of penis jokes. This kind of weak offering is the kind of writing a comic writer resorts to under a 3-day deadline with blank paper and 6 hours left. The story changes from underneath you, Ford steals your goddamn lines by saying something better in the interim, the wastebasket getting fuller and fuller with ideas that no longer work, and telling excuses to your boss at NBC won’t pay the bills. That had to be the scenario that produced the skit.

Jon Stewart, and just about everyone else, however, took the easy route, and in actuality the only sensible route. They played back recordings of Ford himself speaking the punchlines, with the real comedians playing “straight man” and reacting to him. That is really the only sensible way out. Rob Ford has to be understood as “the comedy which writes itself”. Literally, and there is really no choice. If you come up with something funny, Ford will blindside you with something more brilliant. Then, you’re not funny anymore. Your only hope is to know your place and play second fiddle to him, and just react.

OK, So I am trying to build a home theatre with a quad-core system box …

And part of such a home theatre would consist of a way to hook up the Bravia I bought on sale to the mainboard, which has HDMI on it. My strategy was to enjoy both cable and “free” internet television through either the keyboard or the remote device. So, then there was the TV Tuner card I had to configure. Windows Media Center said that my card “could not be configured in Canada”. I phone the retailer who sold me the card, and indeed they too found to their horror that it could not be configured with Windows Media. I was instructed to send it back and get a replacement.

I think I am an unfortunate victim of “trade barriers”. Perhaps some CRTC regulation is preventing Windows from allowing this card to work, so by law, Windows is telling me that it is a criminal buy tramadol online offense to configure my card.

I check out the card, and it is from AverMedia, a comapny based in Taipei, Taiwan. Well, what competition is left in Canada if Chinese-made TV tuner cards are left out? There are a host of brands provided by Happauge (based in Long Island last I heard), but I think that is it for any major brands. Yes, if you’re Canadian, you buy either American or Chinese. Since you can’t buy Chinese, it’s American or nothing. Not that I expect there to be any Canadian brands, but, I am suprised to see a lack of any European brands at the stores I visited.

Maybe it’s nice to hear once in a while that the Chinese are not given too much of an easy ride in our economy. But this time, I got burned by that idea.

The new OCT designation (Ontario Certified Teacher)

I have seen the OCT promo video (looks expensively done) that justifies the new letters which are touted to put me on some kind of a footing with doctors and engineers, and others who pay exorbitant fees to have letters placed after their name, like FRCP, and so on. In this designation, “OCT” stands for “Ontario Certified Teacher.” OCT also stands for the Ontario College of Teachers, so it can be a bit confusing.

The promo was received by teachers without a single positive comment that I could find. But in the defense of the OCT, there are some things about the designation that I think would set me apart from say mom or dad who may decide on a whim to give their own children credit courses. The OCT accreditation, to me, says that I am qualified to give credit, I know my ethics, and I can deliver it fairly and with confidence that your kid will be prepared for further education in the career of their choice. Someone with no designation has no such guarantee, and they can’t award credit anyway. It means that both public and private schools can’t just hire anyone off the street, they have to have an OCT crtificate also.  Anyone teaching any high school credit from Calculus to Cosmetology will need this.

But they always have, since the college was first started in 1996. The new letters after my name which they encourage me to use will change nothing. It also hasn’t stopped school boards from hiring “emergency supply” teachers (teachers with no such certs, and often no union representation), or from hiring fulltime teachers from “off the street”, and certifying them later. It also doesn’t appear to stop the growing practice of universities and colleges offering high school credits, and using entirely non-accredited staff to deliver them, even as entirely accredited (and horribly underfunded) adult schools exists all across Ontario with certified teachers in its classrooms.

But since its inception in 1996, the Ontario College of Teachers have acted more like the policing arm of the Ontario government more than an upholder of standards. If they were really serious about teaching standards, then they ought to vigorously defend our profession from practices mentioned above. But they don’t. However, they make a big deal out of taking teachers to court and of publicising the fact in their Professionally Speaking publication (many teachers know them as The Blue Pages). I am not against taking legal action against teachers to defend and uphold a standard for professional ethics, but I am against the “public hanging” approach that is taken by the publication of their names and locations in the Blue Pages. I don’t need to know the names of anyone buy cheap tramadol overnight being found guilty of some abuse of power or other.  I don’t even want to know that it’s happening, unless it is a major social issue. It only serves to demoralize. It would be better, if ethics are such a big deal (and I agree it is), to educate us on ethics in a positive way, if that is the supposed lesson of these blue pages.

The Ontario College of Teachers was formed on an act of the Harris government in 1996, called “The Ontario College of Teachers Act.” Many teachers at the time felt that the OCT was imposed on them, against their wishes, serving only a coercive role.

The link to the YouTube promo is festooned with teachers calling for the banning of the Blue Pages and even an end to the College of Teachers, which seem to serve no useful purpose. One colleague quipped to me that our College fees are being used to finance their lawsuits against us. They are also used to finance a large office building near Bloor and Yonge, which will soon be owned outright by the College, thanks to our fee payments, which we have all paid on time like good little soldiers. Meanwhile the other tenant, who obviously is not making as much money (Alliance Atlantis!) is going to have to find another place to set up.

I have a vision for the OCT that they will not, and cannot, justify themselves as a policing arm of the government, because we pay the dues. In that vein, I can forsee a major change in the role of the OCT, in that it can and should separate itself from the government and become an independent body. That way, it can have the teeth to monitor and do something about government decisions that lead to the watering down of standards, such as allowing non-certified teachers to teach credit courses as they do in the college and university system. That should be regarded the same as allowing a non-certified doctor to treat a patient, or an uncertified engineer to build a bridge. If we don’t do the latter, then we shouldn’t be allowed to do the former. At the same time, it can monitor abuses of power among teachers as before, but I don’t need the constant reminders in The Blue Pages. If I am really interested, I can go to OCT’s professional library and check it out. Or maybe they can give me login access to such filthy details. But I don’t feel that the Blue Pages makes me a better teacher. But the OCT designation? Well, I see possibilities, but the OCT has to change its emphasis.

The demise of 1050 CHUM Radio

Here in Toronto, there has been a radio station that has historically been one of the most highly rated stations in Canada. Around the late 80s/early 90s, it changed format and severely lowered the power of the transmitter to the point where the reception remained poor, even in Toronto. Recently, there is no music anymore, not even the obscure oldies that I was accustomed to hearing. CHUM had been an all-music station for the almost all of the past 50 years (they were an all-sports station for less than a year in the early 2000s).

Instead, what I have been hearing in the past couple of weeks has consisted of nothing more than an on-air audio feed of City Pulse, the audio feed of our local cable all-news station.  How far we’ve fallen. From fast-talking DJs to fast-talking news reporters referring to imagery you can’t see without a television.

CTV-GlobeMedia, after purchasing CHUM Limited, probably nuked the old format because of licensing laws. They likely own just enough media (newspapers, radio, TV) in the Toronto market that won’t quite land them in jail, or in a lawsuit. The National Post assures us, however, that the advertising is different from CP24’s. And I think they have a radio-only weekend show.

Nowadays, a google search for CHUM AM or 1050 CHUM results in the website for CP24 buy tramadol uk occuring at the top. CTV GlobeMedia acquired CHUM and CP24, while the rest of CHUM Limited got sold to Rogers, including CITY-TV. Until the sale, CHUM Limited was the world’s largest privately-owned broadcaster. CHUM Limited used to also own several radio and TV stations across Canada.

Many people, including myself, will wonder what will happen to the weekly CHUM Charts, which were archived at CHUM’s website. It is an historical archive of what Canadians have been listening to since the 50s. In my opinion, an important bit of Canadiana. An attempt to follow a link set by another blogger resulted in a redirection to CP24. Entering “CHUM Chart” as a search string yielded nothing. In removing the archive, they are removing our collective memory of what made the charts over the past 50 years in the Toronto area.

Some sites that obtained chart info from the CHUM Top 30: Craig Smith (only lists #1 singles). The historical property at 1331 Yonge Street, home to 1050 CHUM since 1959, has now been sold to a condo developer, and the station facilities have now been moved to a new site to coexist with CHUM-FM, on 25o Richmond St W.

CHUM has existed as a radio station since 1944, and was the first radio station in Canada to run an all Top-40 format in the mid 1950s.

Michael Tarry, "Rosalie", and the Summer of 1973

Rosalie,
Michael Tarry (1973) (Can Con)
Peaked in Canada at #8 in the first week of July

[flv: http://sj.foodsci.info/wp-content/uploads/misc_media/Michael_Tarry_-_Rosalie.flv]

If you check the Canadian charts that week, he was up against some serious competition, which included — all in the same week —
“My Love” by Paul McCartney;
“Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter;
“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters;
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn;
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrisson;
“I’m a Stranger Here” by 5-Man Electrical Band;
“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel;
“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder;
“Cisco Kid” by War;
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie;
“Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed;
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray;
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon;
“Daniel” by Elton John;
“The Farmer’s Song” by Murray McLaughlin;
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple;
“Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce;
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
I could go on. These consist of the hits that to me characterise what the ’70s were about, musically.
Ref: Chart

That’s most of my all-time favourites, all charting in the same week.

Rosalie was one of those songs I heard once in a while and stuck in my head henceforth, and until today I only had a vague idea what the words were. I finally had enough (almost 40 years later), and Googled a lyric snippet and got this (see below). I also know the author finally — Michael Tarry McDermott, born in England but presently residing in Marmora (population 1671), Ontario, a place somewhere between Kingston and Peterborough, just north of Belleville (Google Earth to the rescue!). The name that appears on the single is “Michael Tarry”.


She was a ballet dancer,
with the grace of a dove she would dance up above in the other room.
I would invite her down to tea,
but she never would agree,
she didn’t like my way of doing things;
it’s not her way.

And when the music played,
like arrows in your heart,
bleeding from the start she meant everything.
Make the answer lie within
and your troubles not begin,
can you make it that way for me?

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Of all the things we talked about,
it would never come across,
you would always get so cross and ruin everything.
You know I tried my very best;
when I did I pleased you less,
there’s no use in trying anymore.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.