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There's an old quote that's been coming back to mind after reading news and opinion pieces from places ranging from CBC News to iPolitics.ca. It comes from a book about a TV series - one of the earliest examples of what we now call "dramedies" - a portmanteau showing the blending of comedy and drama - on American television that won many Canadian hearts as well.

“I think there is a misconception on the part of a lot of people in this country that Frank Burns is unusual. My hope is that they see he is not unusual. He is fairly ordinary. He comes in sleeker packages, God knows. I hope when people think about who they are going to vote for, or who they’re going to work for, or whatever, they cast an eye toward Frank Burns and say ‘Now, does this person behave the same way? Am I dealing with this kind of monster?.’ Watch for him, be careful of him. There are Frank Burnses everywhere. Learn to know the type. Don’t elect them. Don’t make them chairman of the board. Frank is a dangerous man because he acts without reason, often without true intelligence, and, perhaps more importantly, with no real knowledge or perception of what consequences an action will bring out. He is not a man with perception and, consequently, he is incredibly dangerous.”

- Larry Linville, interviewed by David S. Reiss for the book M*A*S*H - the exclusive inside story on TV's most popular show (1)

Putting that quote into a more recent, Canadian-minded context: I wonder if those who supported Stephen Harper and his fellow believers might not have had a certain dislike for M*A*S*H while it aired in first-run on TV. Certainly, they had problems with CBC, which had the Canadian first-run rights for the series.

(1) Well, the people at Bobbs-Merrill weren't exactly shy about picking a sub-title for promoting that book, were they?

Home from the Movies

Just got home from watching Spotlight at the movie theatre. Worth the time, worth the money. Packed room, I'm pleased to note.

Personally, I hope it has a very successful run. To those who worked on it in whatever role, whether on either side of the cameras, or in the background nowhere near either location shoots or soundstages?

Thank you all.

Movie plans

Going to see Spotlight tonight. Because I need a palate cleanser after all the action/adventure and SF stuff over the last few months. See you later.


Politics: Harperite Endgame?

A couple of friendlisters have noted elsewhere on the web the existence of an essay for the Ottawa Citizen - shall we rename that newspaper "Postmedia Ottawa" and be done, by the by? - by Andrew Potter on what Stephen Harper's real intentions behind many of his actions as Prime Minister might well have been. Take a look for yourselves. I'm not entirely sure that Mr. Potter's wrong in his analysis, whatever I think of his other writings.

Another Interview Day

I'm off to an interview this afternoon. The travel time's an issue already, but I'll have to just cope with it.

After that's done, it'll likely be a late lunch, and I don't know what I'll be doing from then onward. I want to see Spotlight at the cinema, but I don't know if that'll be tonight or tomorrow.

Rick Mercer: The Honeymoon is Over

Allowing for the fact that a number of items are already in the process of being ticked off the "to do" list as getting done...

After reading new first issues for The Ultimates and Spider-Woman, I'm now sure of this: Marvel Comics is indeed severing the connection between Canada and the Alpha Flight brand. Whatever Marvel Editorial wants Alpha Flight to be now, they've got Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers in charge of it.

Not happy about this, of course, for obvious reasons of atavistic, nationalistic, nostalgic sentiment.
So this got my attention today while I was looking for who-knows-what at the library:


Certainly, I have my own continuing issues with software updates. And changes to the Transitway and O-Train networks. Different issues in each case, mind you...

Happy birthday, leborcham!

Many happy returns of the day to you!

On DAESH and Paris

I agree with John Scalzi. Full stop. Same as with the events here in Ottawa last year.


A Grey Remembrance Walk

It's the day after Remembrance, and the day is grey and wet. I was expecting the day itself to be that way, and there was that brief bout of rain running from 930 to 1030 AM, but it didn't stick around.

We didn't get the helicopter squadron flying over the square this time. That was part of the changes that I found welcome. The most obvious part, in fact.

The last part of the ending, the part called the "Vice-Regal Party Departure" - which unofficially includes the Prime Ministerial party, truth be known - was far more relaxed. Sure, they made for the north-side "back door" of the War Memorial, but there were those crowds, so the new guy did his meet-and-greet thing. Which lasted close to a quarter-hour so far as I know. If you watched the ceremonies on TV or the Net, you might have a better idea of the exact time elapsed before they finally got into their cars.

No, I didn't go to look at all the wreaths this time out. After three hours' standing, I needed to just sit for a few minutes and then made my way up to the Peacekeepers' Monument. And then slowly back down to the Rideau Centre for lunch...and then off to Beechwood Cemetery. My family's got a plot in the Cremation Gardens, so I've got a nice and convenient excuse for visiting on a semi-regular basis.

But no. I wanted to do a walking tour of the place, west to east, and had been wanting it for a couple of years. Much of this was due to pure historical and design curiosity. The first excuse was to see the grave of Peter Henderson Bryce, whose death may have gone relatively unremarked when it happened. But there's the story of how he argued with Duncan Campbell Scott over the fate of kids forced into the Indian Residential Schools who'd come down with tuberculosis.

The story is better told by Charlie Angus, MP and musician. Or maybe Cindy Blackstock. Simply put, Dr. Bryce was a whistleblower and a hero. Neither he nor those he defended got the respect that was their right at the time.

From there, I wandered at whim through the rest of the cemetery, taking pictures as it suited me. I may post some of them on Flickr some day...
We have - among other people - Guy Lafleur to thank for Paul Gross making Hyena Road. That, in itself, is indeed surreal. (Here's a further item from back in September, which might add some context.)

(For those who don't know from Lafleur, here's some context on him. And the full Definitely Not the Opera episode.)

In a semi-related vein: If you're wondering, I will be going to the War Memorial services downtown tomorrow morning. Yes, I might actually feel comfortably uncomfortable again going this year, owing in part to the change in federal management. That is indeed an oxymoron...but there's a truth to it. The last couple of years, it's been the Peacekeepers' Monument for me.

Monday Morning Chores

Job search continues. Research on writing projects also. Ditto laundry as well.

More as it comes to mind.

Weird Habits of LJ

I've noticed over this weekend that LJ has developed a tic. Or a habit. Not sure what the right word for it is, but here it is: after a certain - variable - amount of "inactive" time, LJ will kick you out and you have to log back in again. This was not always the case, and the practice as presently coded into the website is an annoyance to me.

The suspicion exists that I am not alone in either the experience or the annoyance.

Anyone else?

On Remembrance Rituals

I was at an open lecture at Carleton last night discussing monuments and memorials. The guest lecturer of the evening, Karen Franck, observed with mild surprise that in recent years in the States, she didn't see poppies as part of the Veterans Day rituals...as opposed to her observations of people in Ottawa.

TV: UK Avengers Reborn?

I was saying to the friend who pointed this out to me earlier today that this could either be glorious or gloriously disastrous. If it happens.

Why would a data entry job need the applicant to be skilled with web authoring/editing software like Oxygen XML?

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November 2015