The latest on Lolita Nation

Alex_Chilton_and_Scott_Miller_1986
Scott Miller (right) standing next to his biggest musical influence, Big Star’s Alex Chilton (1950-2010) (left).

The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and group leader, songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Miller (1960-2013) formed the group The Loud Family, which lasted for several more albums until 2006.

But I wish to focus on the latest posthumous offering by Omnivore Records, a reissuing a couple of weeks ago, of the high water mark of the creative powers of Scott Miller and Game Theory, and that was the double LP, Lolita Nation. Omnivore released it on a single CD, and in addition provided another CD of “bonus tracks”. And a booklet of quotes from producers and band members that had a hand in creating the album. Former live-in girlfriend Donnette Thayer talked about her experiences as guitarist and vocalist. Even Shelley LaFreniere was brought out of obscurity to write a few blurbs about her memory of her experiences in helping out as their keyboardist and background vocalist. However, most of the writing seemed to come from producer Mitch Easter, drummer Gil Ray, tour manager Dan Vallor, who also helped out with backup vocals. They would be the people you would want to hear the most from anyway.

lolitanation_front
Lolita Nation, Front cover
Lolita Nation, Back cover (original issue from Enigma Records).

Of course, I found the need to listen to the CD of bonus tracks more than the actual album which I played to death in the 80s and 90s. To play to the fan base, they have the long version of Chardonnay as their first track, which was never on the original album. after that, a few tracks were, to my ears, better left on the cutting room floor. But that’s not what bonus tracks are for. Even bonus tracks for Beatles reissues have a lot of crap on them. But like any cult fan, you are there for the gems. And they deliver on that. There is an interesting cover of The Hollies’ Carrie-Anne, which I have never heard them sing before. They also cover Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. The highlight was the acoustic solo of Game Theory’s own Together Now, Very Minor without the deep space echo of Scott’s voice that was in the Lolita album.

Altogether, I found the album quite enjoyable, and the Bonus CD did not disappoint.

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.

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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.

Famous Teetotalers 06: Very expressive people

American actor Jim Carrey attends the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, April 21, 2014. The 126th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, the largest annual public event at the White House with more than 30,000 attendees expected, features live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and Easter egg rolling, with the theme, "Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape." AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey – Probably one of the funniest comedians alive, the star of the Ace Ventura sequels, The Mask, and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has had a few ups and downs in his private life, including battling depression, he has sworn off all meds, booze, and even coffee, and has been that way since at least 2013.

rollins
Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins – This former lead member of the post punk group Black Flag and later becoming a maker of several spoken word records, appearing in lots of films, found drugs and alcohol to be “a bummer”, and tended to be too much of a bore, and so he has never felt the need to drink. He says he gets his highs from listening to music and performing.

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.

mansbridge
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.

Famous Teetotalers 05: Christians

Hey you! Come here and git yerself baptized!
Hey you! Come here and git yerself baptized!

There are many Christian denominations whose devotees practice abstinence: Mormons, Amish, Methodists, Quakers, 7th-day Adventists, Mennonites, Salvation Army members, and there are probably more that I can’t think of. But not all preach abstinence, including Roman Catholics. Jesus himself turned water into over a hundred gallons of wine (John 2:1-11), seemingly to encourage its use at a wedding.

St. John The Baptist was big on fasting, and abstaining from wine. In fact, the angel Gabriel prophesied that he was to never drink alcohol his whole life. He seemed to have spent much of his adult life in wilderness, subsisting on a diet of locusts and honey. I would suppose he was a bit of a wild-man.

Yeah, not sure how this one works, either.
Yeah, not sure how this one works, either.

Reverend Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), as you might female viagra pill buy online remember, was a fundamentalist preacher who led an organization called the Moral Majority in the States during the Regan era. A bit of a prankster, had a life with more than enough strange twists and turns. The fact that he was teetotal was influenced by his alcoholic father dying of liver disease. Strangely he was friends with Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine. Flynt published a rather racy parody about Falwell, to which Falwell objected and sued him all the way to the Supreme Court. The court rejected the lawsuit, and upheld Flynt’s free speech rights. While Falwell and Flynt didn’t agree on anything relating to the lawsuit, they nevertheless became friends. Larry was lending him his jet in case Jerry’s broke down; they traded photos of their grandchildren; diet tips, … You never know how things turn out, do you?

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

Famous Teetotalers 04: Politicians staying on the wagon

Scarfing down some OJ: about as alcoholic as it gets with Trump these days ...
About as alcoholic as it gets with Trump these days …

There was never any indication that Donald Trump over-indulged in alcohol, but any indulging he ever did came to a halt in 1981 when his brother died of complications from alcholism. From then on, the billionaire politician eventually put an end to all bad habits: no alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs. In all the brouhaha he creates in politics these days, it is easy to forget that when he says all those outrageous things, he does it sober, and in his best sense of mental acuity. Scary.

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Most people don’t, but they like the T-shirt anyway.

Ernesto (“Che”) Guevara (1928-1967) is a tad to the political left of Trump, I would suppose, but they have a lot in common. Both Che and Trump are loved or reviled, depending on who you talk to. Both were political outsiders that want to upset the political establishment apple cart for the sake of their own passionately-held beliefs. Che’s likeness, similar to the image you see to the right, was once used to sell strong drink (30% alcohol) that many people find hard to classify. Not a great homage to someone who not only was a non-drinker, but even tried to get alcohol banned in Cuba. The estate of the photographer of the image, one Korda Gutierrez, sued Smirnoff, the maker of the beverage, in 2000, for breach of copyright in using the photo on their bottles.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 03: David Suzuki and Clayton Ruby

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David Suzuki, Ph D., OC, OBC

David Suzuki, geneticist, outspoken environmentalist, university professor, Long-time host of CBC’s The Nature of Things, writer of many biology books and textbooks, was appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada back in 1977, and became a Companion of the OOC in 2005. He now runs The David Suzuki Foundation, a charitable organization which is involved in environmentalist causes. In a CBC poll in answer to the question “Who is the greatest Canadian of all time”, he ranked #5, but that being said, he had the highest ranking of those great Candians still alive.

Clayton Ruby
Clayton Ruby

Clayton Ruby is a Toronto lawyer whose list of high-profile clients range from Vancouver-based Adbusters Foundation to Human Rights Watch to The Church of Scientology. He represented Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abdurahman Khadr, Mayor Rob Ford, MP Svend Robinson, and cleared the name of Guy Paul Morin. Ruby was made an OOC member in 2005.

Pictures say it all: Some of the world’s worst commutes

Think your commute was bad? The worst I have heard of is one consisting of a 50-lane (that’s f-i-f-t-y lanes) highway, called the G4, which joins up Beijing, Macau and Hong Kong. It has been referred to as “the Great Crawl of China”, and “a waiting area for toll booths”. There exists a checkpoint plaza along the way that narrows the 50-lane highway to 20 lanes, and this can typically tie up traffic for days. In 2010, motorists were stranded for 12 days trying to get to their destination. Pictures from here. There was another major tie-up back in October 2015 linked to a Chinese holiday, depicted below by a drone.

Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam near a toll station as people return home at the end of a week-long national day holiday, in Beijing, China, October 6, 2015. Picture taken October 6, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTS3HL5
Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam near a toll station as people return home at the end of a week-long national day holiday, in Beijing, China, October 6, 2015. Picture taken October 6, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily
Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam near a toll station as people return home at the end of a week-long national day holiday, in Beijing, China, October 6, 2015. Picture taken October 6, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTS3HL3
Another picture taken of the now world-famous commute, with the toll plaza visible in the background. Photo taken on the same day, credited to REUTERS/China Daily.

Famous Teetotalers 3: Keeping your friends close

Al Pacino
Al Pacino

Al Pacino, actor in Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, and all of The Godfather parts, had faced alcoholism once, but swore it off due to a healthy support network of people around him. In the Godfather, Pacino’s character Michael Corleone famously said something like “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. That might work in the movies, but the way to mental health is to stay away from sources of negativity, tramadol buy overnight such as “enemies”, and stick with your friends. He has been sober since 1977.

Bowie
David Bowie

Recently deceased David Bowie (1947-2016) has been much written about in recent weeks, such that it is hard to add anything new. He indeed challenged many things in our culture: ranging from music to fashion to sexuality. Another former alcoholic who quit more than 20 years ago, attributed his staying sober to positive relationships later in life.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 002: Anita Best

Anita Best

Newfoundland is known for, among other things, its own brand of music. Anita Best was music in a space of her own. People not hep to Newfoundland culture would very likely take to her music, since most of it is free of button accordions, harmonicas, bagpipes and the like (sometimes she’s a capella). In my opinion, some of her best music was done alongside Pamela Morgan, and I am not sure if I am the only one who wore out their cassette of The Color of Amber.  She was born on an island in Placentia Bay, and currently is active in preserving Newfoundland folk culture though her office at Norris Point, near Corner Brook.

She received her appointment to the Order of Canada in 2011.

 

Famous teetotalers #2: Humanitarians

mandelaNelson Mandela – An anti-Apartheid activist who paid for it with decades of imprisonment. He led an austere life where he never drank or smoked, and was gracious to people in all walks of life. He became recognized as the father of South African democracy, and has received many awards, among them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

mahatma-gandhiMohandas K. Ghandi – The person who taught us passive resistance, overthrew British rule of India without a shot being fired, and was the inspiration for human rights groups around the world. In India, his birthday on October 2 has been declared a national holiday. He saw India gain its independence in 1947, but died in New Delhi a year later at the hands of an assassin named Nathuran Godse. He and co-conspirator Narayan Apte were sentenced to death by execution in 1949. It is ironic that the manner of justice brought before Ghandi’s assassins would have been something Ghandi himself would have strongly opposed. Back to the topic, where can i buy viagra pills Ghandi was definitely a teetotaler, and his reasons appeared to have been moral reasons. He was a supporter of prohibition, and in Ghandi’s memory, many Indian states have passed prohibition laws. But after our bout with prohibition in North America, we know you can’t legislate morality, since organized crime would push back even more, and deaths linked to distilling one’s own “home brew” will be on the rise, as is still being felt in many Indian states where the law is still in effect. The moral of this tale is that teetotaling, like morality, is as much of a personal choice as it ever was, rather than being something that needs to be imposed on people. I would rather say that “I can have all the booze I like: I just choose not to drink any”, and would feel better that teetotaling is an act of will. Passing laws takes away from the dignity of what ought to be a free choice.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 01: Richard Gwyn

gwynThis is the first article in a series on Order of Canada (OOC) recipients that carry some cachet in Canadian popular culture.

I first heard of Richard Gwyn a few decades ago when I was in high school, and I bought a book by him called The Northern Magus, a bio of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I loved the book, and I loved his way of writing.

Now at age 81, he has lived to having to refer to a second “Prime Minister Trudeau”. He is also a famous biographer of Joey Smallwood and Sir John A. MacDonald. He continues to contribute to The Toronto Star.

He was declared Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002. Officers of the Order of Canada would have demonstrated a high level of talent and/or service to Canadians. Gwyn had seen such service, being an executive assistant to the Minister of Communications in the early 1970s.

Famous teetotalers #1: Starr and Nietzsche

starkey_2015Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) – One of two surviving Beatles who, from the 1960s, said in an interview after Sgt. Pepper words to the effect that drugs make you a lousy musician and artist: “we were just junkies dabbling in music”, he said in 2001. But as for alcohol, it took its toll on him during and after the Beatles’ breakup. He is clear of that now , and has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once for being a member of The Beatles, and once for his solo career.

nietzscheFriedrich Nietzsche (philosopher) – This German philosopher was one guy that never drank. He was frequently in frail health, both physically and mentally. Maybe he should have had a few schnapps. But he lumped alcohol and Christianity together as those two things that prevent us from facing our problems head-on. Alcohol dulls our senses, and never solves our problems, and we need to face life squarely and honestly, he would say. You have to respect that. Sadly, he died at age 55, never knowing the success of his contributions to philosophy. Even after his death, his contributions were used to justify anti-Semitism during the rise of the Third Reich. This was nonsense, of course, but it meant that the true value of his philosophies were not going to be seen until a half century after his death, or until the mid-20th century.

 

Fixing some brokenness in the website

Mostly what are being fixed are media links. Plugins have changed; media files got moved around. Right now some, but not all of the media is working. Since WordPress has native support for a lot of the media, I am trying to move away from using plugins and relying on the native support from WordPress itself, while fixing permission problems and plugging up some security holes. Hopefully all multimedia will be working soon.

New serieses (is that a word)?

I have some ideas for some new series in future posts.

I have to come out of the closet as being a teetotaler, and have been one all my life. In case you don’t know, a teetotaler is someone who totally abstains from drinking alcohol. In celebrating teetotalism, I am proposing a series of famous and very infamous teetotalers throughout history. While I share the title with St. John The Baptist, Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, and Thomas Edison; there are also the infamous who were teetotalers: Jefferey Dahmer, and Adolf Hitler, to name two. Happily, there are far more good people than bad on the list. This is proposed to happen on Saturdays.

I have also thought of making a list of notable Order of Canada recipients over the past 25 years. Of all the ones in the list, I have had the pleasure of knowing one of them: Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, who was my professor in a course on somatic cell genetics many years ago. This is proposed to happen on Wednesdays.

In Memoriam 2015

January

1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82).
1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82).
2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose. A longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry, also made appearances on Johnny Carson (Age 94).
2: Tihomir Novakov: Atmospheric scientist known for his research into a class of airborne particulates known as “black carbon”, contributing greatly to the theory of global warming (Age 85).
3: Bernice Madigan: At the time the oldest resident of Massachusetts, and the world’s 5th oldest living person before her death, died at age 115 in Cheshire, Massachusetts.
4: Bernard Williams: Producer of such movies as A Clockwork Orange and Flash Gordon. (Age 72).
5: Al Bendich: Civil rights attorney who defended poet Allen Ginsburg and comedian Lenny Bruce against obscenity charges. (Age 85).
6: Francesca Hilton: Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Conrad Hilton, lived in poverty toward the end of her life. Died of a stroke (Age 67).
7: The Editors and writers from Charlie Hebdo magazine: Jean Cabut (“Cabu”) (76), Elsa Cayat (54), Stephanne Charbonnier (“Charb”) (47), Philippe Honore (73), Bernard Maris (68), Mustpha Ourrad (60), Bernard Velhac (“Tignous”) (57), Georges Wolinski (80).
8: William Boeing, Jr.: son of the founder of Boeing Airlines (Age 92).
9: Samuel Goldwyn: Producer of many films since the mid-20th century, up to and including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, produced two years ago (Age 88).
10: Robert Berner: Yale professor known for his modelling of The Carbon Cycle (Age 79).
10: Francis Simard: FLQ member, assassinated Quebec cabinet minister Pierre LaPorte in 1971, and sentenced to life imprisonmnent for murder (Age 67).
10: Taylor Negron: Stand-up comedian who played a key scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Age 57).
10: Robert Stone: Author nominated twice for the Pulizer Prize, and once for the Faulkner Award. (Age 77).
11: Darrell Winfield: Was the Marlborough Man (Age 85).
12: Stephen Gold: Hacker and author. Known for hacking into the private information for Prince Philip. Acquitted on charges, since he did not get any material gain, nor was any sought (Age 58).
13: Mike Marqusee: Left-leaning humanitarian writer (Age 61).
13: Frank Mazzola: Editor of many blockbuster films, such as Rebel Without a Cause, Casablanca, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Age 79).
13: H. Wesley Kenney: Director for the sitcom All in the Family; Produced and directed many soap operas such as General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless (Age 89).
17: Don Harron: Canadian comedian, actor and author, best known for his “Charlie Farquarson” persona, as well as his role in the TV variety show Hee Haw as the news anchor for station KORN (Age 90).
18: Tony Verna: Inventor of the “instant replay” (Age 81).
20: Edgar Froese: Founder of the electronic music group Tangerine Dream (Age 70).
24: Toller Cranston: Canadian figure skater, Bronze medalist (1976 Olympics) (Age 65).
24: Joe Franklin: Longest running TV talk show host (10 years longer than Johnny Carson) (Age 88).
29: Bernice Gordon: Crossword puzzle writer for The New York Times. (Age 101).
29: Will McBride: Photographer and author of the controversial 1975 book Show Me! (Age 84).
29: Colleen McCulloch: Author best known for The Thorn Birds. (Age 77).
30: Rose Frisch: Discoverer of leptin. (Age 96).

February

5: Val Logsdon Fitch: Winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Age 91).
8: Thom Wilson: Producer for Burton Cummings, Seals and Crofts, as well as punk acts such as The Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion, and The Adolescents. (Age 55). Note: Wilson’s age was hard to track down. IMDB.com provided his birth date, and calculator.net was used in obtaining his age (exact age at death is thus likely to be 55 years, 9 months and 24 days).
11: Bob Simon: Senior foreign correspondent for 60 Minutes and earlier 60 Minutes II. (Age 73).
12: Sam Houston Andrew II: Founding member and lead guitarist of the rock group Big Brother and the Holding Company. (Age 73).
12: Gary Owens: Radio and TV announcer. Best known for playing the radio announcer on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in. (Age 80).
14: Helen Glass: Saskatchewan nurse. Taught in Regina and Prince Albert. Contributed to the creation of the Canadian Health Act in 1984. (Age 97).
16: Leslie Gore: Singer of such hits as You Don’t Own Me, and It’s My Party. (Age 68).
20: Patricia Norris: Costume designer for movies such as The Elephant Man, and Scarface. (Age 83).
24: Maurice Hurley: Producer of Miami ViceBaywatch and Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Age 75).
25: Harve Bennett: Writer/Producer for Star Trek, The Mod Squad, and The Six Million Dollar Man. (Age 84).
27: Leonard Nimoy: Best known for his role of Spock in Star Trek. He also was one of the lead characters in the series Mission: Impossible. (Age 83).

March

1: Daniel von Bargen: Appeared in sitcoms such as Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle. (Age 64).
3: Lynn Borden: Acted in movies in the 70s such as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. (Age 77).
5: Albert Maysles: Documentarian best known for his documentaries Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens (Age 88).
8: Lew Soloff: Played trumpet for the 70s rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears. (Age 71).
9: Lou Silverstone: Comedy writer. Listed as one of the “Usual Gang of Idiots” in Mad Magazine between 1962 and 1990. (Age 90).
11: Jimmy Greenspoon: Played in the rock group Three Dog Night. (Age 67).
12: Sir Terry Pratchett: Author of comic fantasy novels. (Age 66).
15: Mike Porcaro: Played bass for the rock group Toto. (Age 59).
16: William Ewald Jr.: Speechwriter for Dwight Eisenhower and historian. (Age 89).
19: Michael Brown: Singer (The Left Banke) and songwriter (Walk Away Renee). (Age 65).
21: Alberta Watson: Canadian actress (The Sweet Hereafter). (Age 60).
26: Tomas Transtromer: Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Age 83).
28: Richard Bare: Producer of the sitcom Green Acres. (Age 101).
28: Gene Saks: Directed the original Broadway play The Odd Couple. (Age 93).
28: Tuti Yusupova: World’s oldest person (unverified at this writing). Claimed to have been born on 1 July 1880 in Imperial Russia. (Age 134).

April

1: Misao Okawa: World’s oldest confirmed person, Japan. (Age 117).
13:
Gunter Grass: Nobel Prize-Winning author of The Tin Drum and other books. (Age 87).

May

2: Ruth Rendell: Known for the Inspector Wexford series. (Age 85).
4: Michael Blake: Author of Dances With Wolves. (Age 69).

June

9: Vincent Bugliosi: Prosecuting attorney in the Charles Manson case, and author of Helter Skelter. (Age 80).

July

21: E. L. Doctorow: Author of Ragtime. (Age 84).
28: Ann Rule: True crime author. (Age 83).

August

30: Oliver Sacks: Nerologist and author (Age 82).
30: Wayne Dyer: American motivational speaker and self-help writer. (Age 75).

September

10: Basil Johnston: Author and Historian for the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation on the Bruce Penninsula in Ontario. (Age 86).
19: Jackie Collins: American best-selling author (Age 77).

October

3: Barbara Meek: Played Ellen Canby in the early 80’s sitcom Archie Bunker’s Place. (Age 81).
5: Larry Brezner: Producer of such comedy films as Good Morning Vietnam, and Throw Momma From The Train. (Age 73).
5: Andrew Rubin: Acted in comedic movies such as Police Academy, and comedic sitcoms such as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. (Age 69).
5: Henning Mankell: Author who contributed to the “Nordic Noir” genre of crime novels. (Age 67).
6: Billy Joe Royal: Pop singer (Cherry Hill Park, among others). (Age 73).
6: Otto Tucker: Newfoundland heritage activist and educator. (Age 92).
10: Richard Heck: American chemist who shared the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Japanese chemists Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki. (Age 84).
10: Wesley Funk: Saskatchewan novelist and teacher. (Age 46).
14: Eric Wright: Canadian Crime Novelist. (Age 86).
20: Cory Wells: Original lead singer of the 70s band Three Dog Night. (Age 74).
25: Lee Shaw: Known as “The First Lady of Jazz”. (Age 89).
29: Kenneth Gilbert: Actor who performed in the series Doctor Who. (Age 84).
30: Al Molinaro: Played a police officer in The Odd Couple. Appeared in other 70s sitcoms such as Happy Days, and Joanie Loves Chachi. (Age 96).
31: David Shugar: From his arrest in Canada in 1946 for trading state secrets with the Russians to his becoming professor of biophysics and being inducted to the Royal Society of Canada in 1999. For the record, he was found innocent of all charges in 1946. (Age 100).

November

5: George Barris: Designer of the original Batmobile in 1966. (Age 89).
7: Eddie Hoh: Drummer for The Mamas and the Papas, and a studio drummer for Stephen Stills, The Monkees, Donovan, and others. Led a secluded life after 1970. Died in Westmont, Illinois, a half hour’s drive west of Chicago. (Age 71).
9: Andy White: Susbstitute drummer for Ringo Starr for The Beatles’ first single Love Me Do. Affectionately called the Fifth Beatle. Had no further performances with them since. (Age 85).
10: Allen Toussaint: Arranger, producer, songwriter (Working in a Coalmine, Southern Nights). (Age 77).
15: P. F. Sloan: Songwriter for Barry MacGuire, Jan and Dean, Herman’s Hermits, The Mamas and the Papas. (Age 70).
19: Ron Hynes: Newfoundland singer/songwriter. Wrote Sonny’s Dream, covered by many artists worldwide (Age 64).
21: Gil Cardinal: Canadian filmmaker and documentarian. (Age 65).
22: Albert Pick: German banknote collector. Wrote the first reference book for world bank notes, and it remains the standard. (Age 90).
23: Douglass North: Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics, alongside Robert Fogel (1927-2013). (Age 95).
25: Elmo Williams:  Editor and producer in American cinema. Won an Oscar in 1953 for his editing work in the movie High Noon.

December

2: Sandy Berger: Clinton advisor in the early 90s (Age 70).
4: Scott Weiland: Front man for Stone Temple Pilots (Age 48).
5: Chuck Williams: Founder of Willliams-Sonoma, an upscale kitchen shop known for its innovation (Age 100).
6: Marque Lynche: Former Mousketeer; played in The Lion King in Broadway, and American Idol finalist (Age 34).
6: Holly Woodlawn: Transgender actress and Warhol contemporary. Written about in Lou Reed’s hit song Take a Walk On the Wild Side. (Age 69).
7: Martin E. Brooks: Played in many television drama serials in the ’70s and ’80s: McMillan and Wife, General Hospital, Knots Landing, and Dallas. (Age 90).
15: Harry Zvi Tabor: Israeli physicist, brought solar power to the Middle East. (Age 98).
16: Snuff Garrett: Record producer. Produced hits for Sonny and Cher, Vicki Lawrence, Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Buddy Knox, and many others. (Age 76).
22: Billy Glaze: Accused and convicted serial murderer; died in prison before DNA evidence would have exonerated him. (Age 72).
22: Carson van Osten: Creator of many Disney Comics. (Age 70).
23: Michael Earl: Puppeteer who brought Snuffalupagus to life on Sesame Street. (Age 56).
24: William Guest: Cousin of Gladys Knight, R&B/Soul singer who performed with Gladys Knight and the Pips. The group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. (Age 74).
25: Robert Spitzer: Psychiatrist known for being a major force in the creation of the DSM. Has been called one of the most influential psychiatrists of the 20th century. (Age 83).
25: George Clayton Johnston: Writer of modern sci-fi/futuristic classics such as Logan’s Run, Oceans 11, and The Twilight Zone. (Age 86).
27: Haskell Wexler: Influential cinematographer, known for the production of movies like: Who’s Afraid of Virginai Woolf?, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Bound for Glory. (Age 93).
28: Ian Frazier Kilmister: Known as “Lemmy”, founded and led the heavy metal group Motorhead. (Age 70).

I am a Trudeau fan, but …

justin
Pat Harrington who played the superintendent on the 70s sitcom “One Day at a Time” (yeah, I know it’s an old photo).
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Justin Trudeau. … wait… did I mix these guys up again?

I am a little worried about the fawning admiration the press is giving to our new Fearless leader, Justin Trudeau. It has crossed the border of “good news” reporting to the land of hero worship. Indeed, there is a lot to feel good about: his balance of cabinet among men and women, the bringing back of the long-form census, increasing funding for the arts, and many other things seem to bring back the warm fuzzies.

But not all things give me those feelings. First of all he lost big in the prarie provinces, but won a landslide in the Greater Toronto Area. One can almost feel the days coming back of Western alienation, the days his father presided over. I think that this is preventing him from speaking his mind on Keystone/XL.

Another problem is his choice of cabinet ministers. Yes, it is 50% XY and 50% XX. Trouble is, most of those cabinet ministers come from Quebec and Ontario.  5 of them are from the city of Toronto. There are two more from Markham, which is just north of the Toronto border. That’s more than one in five cabinet ministers. But it is expected since Trudeau did so poorly in the praries, and so very successful in the GTA, where there are about 56 seats extending from Whitby to Hamilton in a sea of red. Two exceptions are the Markham-Unionville and Thornhill ridings, which went blue. Other than that, I notice that ridings have fallen back to their traditional pattern where rural Canada seems to vote Conservative, and urban Canada tends to vote Liberal. The GTA was Trudeau’s trump card, being very densely populated with about one in six Canadian residents.

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

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This satellite shot of Eldred and environs pretty much all that mankind seems to know about Eldred at this point. Take note of Eldred Lake, about 5km southwest of Eldred. Eldred itself is near the top centre of the image.

I’ve written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here.

Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km northwest of Debden along rural route 55. You need to at some point go off-road to an unnamed road to get there. My mother said that it is a community that no longer exists. Well, it appears to exist to someone operating Google Maps, since I can now find it in pretty much the place mom said it was in, so there is no mistake.

So, at this point, it appears that Eldred is not much more than two crossroads: one unnamed road ending on another unnamed road. One is accessible to RR55, and Canwood RR494 (another road); and the other is accessible to RR793. There would be a few homes huddled close together within a 500-metre distance of each other going by this aerial shot, but that’s about it.

At the highest resolution, I can count no more than a dozen or so houses near that intersection. The farms haven’t gone away; they are still there. Eldred is 103 km northwest of Prince Albert, where I went to high school.

Nearby Eldred Lake appears to be just a large slough, being fed only by rain runoff from the surrounding land. I see no river that feeds into it.