Facts About Canada

I have some things to say in response to Mark Rayner’s article, as personal reflections. BTW, Rayner did the usual good write-up job with these kinds of articles. But you know, I can’t read these kinds of “What is a Canadian” article without making a lot of mental responses. Here are my responses to a selection of his articles.

Gordon LightfootInternational Stars. The Canadian vocalists who obtained international fame which Rayner focuses on are the later stars of the past 20 or so years. One exception is his mention of Joni Mitchell. Contrasting the music of Joni Mitchell or The Band with anything in the past 20 years is interesting. For one thing, raw talent is passed up for what becomes instead a compromise between good looks and talent. Today’s talent are more the product of focus groups than anything. In the past 2 or 3 decades, I doubt that anything will have the same staying power as a song like “Big Yellow Taxi” or “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. The only really compelling conclusion is that our music has become more American. I only thank God he didn’t mention Justin Bieber.
Toronto Maple LeafsHockey. My connection with hockey is that my dad drove the Zamboni in Maple Leaf Gardens back in the late 60s/early 70s when rooting for the Leafs actually meant something. Strangely, I was never that much into hockey, and only vaguely know the rules. I also find it obscene that, as of late, the season now goes into mid-June. I don’t know what impression that gives the rest of the world, but trust us you guys, we do have other things to do with our spare time aside from watching or playing hockey. Frankly, since the Leafs are probably now one of the worst teams in the NHL, and have been for decades, I wouldn’t mind if the team got sold to, say, a franchise in Florida or something. Hey, it isn’t that far to go if you want to see them that bad … want to see them lose that bad.
Tim Horton’s. Nope. Not a fan. Coffee’s too weak; and I can taste the lard in the doughnuts. Oatmeal raisin cookies are OK, but sometimes they seem to be half-cooked. Starbuck’s has me spoiled for coffee. I am not fond of most of their pastries either, but the quality is more even from store to store. I’m fussy about my pastries. And thank God, since it keeps me from over-eating even more than I already do. There are few to no 24-hour Starbucks franchises, and thank God for that too, since that keeps my caffeine addiction levels at bay. If they put addictive rocket-fuel derivatives in Timmy’s coffee as Rayner quipped, it didn’t work on me.
The CBC. The CBC may be needed to keep the zombies at bay, but I think that it serves as a foil to media to the south of us. I think this is important, since I wish to be informed of the talent arising in our country (in all fields, not just entertainment), and of news. This kind of thing does not fare so well when it is done commercially, but it is necessary to keep us from being alienated from happenings inside our own borders. What Rayner doesn’t mention is that they also have CBC Radio 3. What Radio 3 is, is an internet feed of streaming music from Canadian talent. I think this is an incredible service, and if you are looking for music that is really different from what your local radio station is playing, then I highly recommend tuning into it. And what’s best, there are no ads, and very little to no chatting from announcers. It’s like listening to college radio non-stop (to me, that’s a good thing).
William Shatner. I don’t think readers of my blog will believe me if I come out in agreement with whatever fawning remarks Rayner has about Shatner. Not after all those crappy album covers I’ve had of him prior to 2010. OK, I admit his “I AM CANADIAN” rant parody was pretty good.

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Happy Canada Day, everyone!