Copyright and the Right to Copy
THUNDER BAY, ON ---- November 28, 2010 ---- For curiousity's sake, I wonder how many readers know what legislative language actually looks like. In relation to the government's Bill C32, amending the Copyright Act, the following is how Parliament describes what you or I know as “a band putting out a CD”:
It is for this reason that no Canadian Member of Parliament will never, ever be seen on stage doing a guest shot with the Tragically Hip.
That was a fairly cheap joke taken at a serious issue, but Copyright Law is dry enough to turn an ocean into a beach, so one must squeeze in the entertainment where one can. This week, a Murderer's Row of Canadian writers from Atwood to Yann Martel signed a letter printed as an ad in the Usual Prominent Dailies protesting C32. So what's the beef? read more........>
The 'Network' Voter
THUNDER BAY, ON ---- November 7, 2010 ------ Although I've been saying if for years, someone actually decided to test my declaration that Paddy Chayefsky's Network was the most prescient picture ever made. We are living only a slightly less intense version of the world of rant over reason that the late screenwriter predicted all the way back in 1976. read more....>
Old Guard on council is returned
THUNDER BAY, ON -------- October 26, 2010 ------- I've always thought that the best thing the late Rod Serling ever wrote and produced wasn't an episode of The Twilight Zone, or even Requiem for Heavyweight. There was an Emmy-nominated episode of Night Gallery in 1971 called 'They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar' in which a down-on-his luck William Windom stands outside his now closed neighbourhood purveyor of liquid pain relief and is visited by the ghosts of his past. It ends with Windom left alone as an emotionally broken man, a grey soul living the words of the under-appreciated William Greenleaf Whittier, “of all words of tongue and pen, the saddest are, 'It might have been'”.
Which of course leads us to election night in Thunder Bay. This will definitely be the last of the parochial Thunder Bay columns for a long, long time – but having begun a story one should finish it. read more.....>
Issues like Tissues - Why Voters Eschew
THUNDER BAY, ON --- October 10, 2010 ------ I have promised, and I mean to keep that promise, that this will not become a parochially interested, Thunder Bay municipality column. we will be switching into Federal election mode shortly, and whatever happens in the American mid-terms - as volatile a situation as I’ve ever seen, even more than the Newt Gingrich Revolution of 1998 - will impact the Canadian election. The reason for the latter of course is that every lazy pundit in Canada will spend column inches and televised minutes speculating on the impact of the American mid-terms on the Canadian election. read more.....>
Sympathy for the Devil
THUNDER BAY ON ----- September 27, 2010 ---- You might think that a deliberative body comprised of the supposed crème de la crème of the world’s diplomatic corps would know better. On Thursday of this past week, Harper addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the failure to reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The problem, was, not much of the Assembly chose to assemble. The last of thirteen leaders to speak on that day - Obama batted lead-off - the video evidence shows an audience of a dozen or two at best at the celebrated and massive hall. Unpopular people have better attended funerals. (Then again, as Red Skelton famously said upon the occasion of Columbia Pictures’ dictatorial Harry Cohn having a jam-packed funeral, ‘You give people what they want to see, they’ll show up.’) read more.....>
As Canadian as a Timmy's eh?
THUNDER BAY, ON ---- September 12, 2010 ----- Its never a good thing watching someone lose their touch in public. One moment, or many moments, you’re Big Johnny Swagger able to make victory appear with a point of your finger; the next, you’re Brian Mulroney. Or Tiger Woods for that matter. This isn’t just a political thing.
I used to like using the ‘jump the shark’ phrase until everybody and their Aunt Mabel started using it and it became like 57 year old white guys with beer guts saying ‘word.’ But jump the shark was a good one while it lasted and deserves a one-time revival.
I am seriously starting to wonder if Stephen Harper has jumped the shark. Granted, I would be delighted if that proved in the affirmative. Equally though, there are all the signs of a politician who has been locked in the bubble too long and has lost his mojo, his karma, his ability to bend minds in order to obey his commands. Or in Tiger Woods’ case, reading eight foot putts. It’s the same thing. Doubt - doubt starts to enter the mind - and doubt is the dark child of fear and the loss of instinct. read more.......>
THUNDER BAY, ON ---- September 2, 2010 ---- I thought of the title for this one as I was preparing to write about the dubious practice of the trial balloon. Those who have fond memories of the pastel T-shirt with unstructured jacket era surely remember 99 Luftballons, the anthemic German-English pop song heartily sung by Nena walking through a war zone. The controversy at the time was that Nena had armpit hair. That was the 1980s. Ronald Raegan was simple-minded and so was the decade. read more.....>
Hello Joe, Waddaya Know?
THUNDER BAY, ON --- August 22, 2010 ---- For this, the first of I hope many political columns to come, I had prepared to write a quite serious piece about the Harper Government’s decision to close the prison farms from the angle that because of climate change, we are actually going to need more people who know how to run a tractor, not less. You’ll be reading, I hope, that take on a present issue quite soon. read more......>
Citizens of Nowhere
THUNDER BAY, ON --- September 5, 2010 ---- I have no intention of turning this into another book review column. While that is certainly an endeavour I enjoy, it is ably covered elsewhere. However, on those occasions when a new book brings up a topic that I believe you should be aware of, it is certainly more ethical to discuss the book with you than to pretend the thoughts are my own and strip-mine the book in return for a passig acknowledgement.
Citizens of Nowhere is a new book written by veteran CBC News and Public Affairs producer Debi Goodwin. It reads, by the way, very much like a documentary. One can imagine the shots on a full-hour of The Fifth Estate, with much of the text as voice-over. That is not a criticism. Rather, it is a metaphor that the video-happy reader will be comfortable with. A bookumentary. read more......>
Municipal Election Notes: Why run for Mayor?
THUNDER BAY, ON ---- October 2, 2010 ----In all likelihood, your home town is in the middle of a hot municipal election campaign. Lawn signs with bold phrases and eye-dazzling colours stand like proud, crisp soldiers lining the streets of your neighbourhoods. Of course, after the first good rain they turn into limp and ragged hobos, serving as markers for the dogs marking the streets of your neighbourhood.
Equal to that in likelihood is the probability that the hottest, headline-grabbing-est race is that for Mayor. As I write this in Thunder Bay, Ontario there’s an interesting enough race for the Big Gold Chain among incumbent Lynn Peterson, multiple times contender Councillor Frank Pullia and past President of the Thunder Bay Police Association Keith Hobbs, a political neophyte who seems to be carrying whatever momentum there is. (Thunder Bay wouldn’t know a properly run poll if it sat on one. I’m going by lawn signs and conversation.) That said, were I a betting man - and I am - I’d raise if I had Peterson as one of my hole cards. Pullia will run third, but he will draw enough votes to split the anti-incumbent chunk of the electorate. read more.....>