Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Monday, January 12, 2009

Excerpt from Ric Dolphin's latest posting...

Back home with our scotches, waiting for the last year of the decade to dawn, my brothers-in-law and I considered how the Zeroes or the Oughts - or whatever this decade will be called - will be remembered. What will define it in people's memories? Probably terrorism and its offshoots: 9/11 and the aftermath, the War on Terror, Homeland Security, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan ... the Great Satan squaring off against the Lions of Islam.

It will doubtlessly be a more definable decade than the 1990s. None of us could figure out the defining characteristic of those final ten years of the 20th century. Most other decades seemed to have had vivid identities - the roaring Twenties, the Dirty Thirties, the wartime Forties, the prosperous, grey-flannel Fifties, the hippy-dippy Sixties, the Me-generation 1970s, the Greedy 1980s. But what were the 1990s? Grant suggested The Internet Decade, but then dismissed the idea because the Internet really didn't become commonplace until the current decade. Ditto cellphones. So although true that the digital communications revolution started in the 1990s, I don't think you can say it defined them. The final decade of the millennium should have something to define it. Maybe its lack of identity defines it. The Lost Decade? I welcome your thoughts.

As for the prospects going into 2009, your guess is as good as mine. The economic predictions are so dire it could happen that the recession helps define the decade, along with the terror stuff. Decade of  Woe?  Regarding the financial meltdown, there is a perverse part of me that says, Bring it on. Let's see what a real Depression is like. Give us the kind of privations with which to bore our grandkids that our grandparents bored us with. Hey, Ma, we cain't afford meat this month. Let's fry up the dawg...

To read more of Dolphin's blog, click here

Posted by Ric Dolphin on January 12, 2009 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Economic freedom, Humour, Media, Television, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hero or hungry? "Hero dog" YouTube video

Is this dog a hero out to save a friend, or just a hungry stray looking for a meal?

You decide:

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 14, 2008 in Television | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Friday, October 10, 2008

Giving credit where it's due

Some time back, I took issue with the decision of the CRTC to allow the Communist Chinese television network to air in the Great White North at the behest (if memory serves) of Rogers.

Well, last week, Rogers brought the dissident station New Tang Dynasty Television onto its list of channels.  I honestly didn't expect they would do that.

Mea culpa, Rogers.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 10, 2008 in Media, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ric Dolphin Writes Again

Although loath to use another of those horrible words  concocted by the geeks  who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com
Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being  censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion.  Be assured, however, that I shall never  use "blog" as  a verb.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on July 9, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Books, Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, Film, Humour, International Affairs, International Politics, Media, Military, Municipal Politics, Religion, Science, Television, Trade, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Western Standard, WS Radio, WStv | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Old news

The CBC's Fifth Estate has made cross-country news today with word that tonight's broadcast will show that Canadian pro wrestler Chris Benoit, who murdered his family and then killed himself, had suffered severe brain damage as a result of repeated concussions.

Sound familiar? It should. CNN aired a documentary in November saying exactly the same thing.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 6, 2008 in Television | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Friday, December 14, 2007

Early morning music

A few of you may have seen a certain Sears commercial on TV with a nice sounding song that has a Christmas-y feel to it. "...something something sleigh riiide." And you said to yourself, oh what is that song? c'mon c'mon... Here it is. Badly Drawn Boy's "Donna and Blitzen."

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 14, 2007 in Television | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A caveman could figure this out

AP: Producers: `Cavemen' Not Racial Metaphor

The producers are playing with words. Yes, the Geico cavemen are not specifically a "racial metaphor". But everyone knows they are a metaphor for any minority in a first world country obsessed with political correctness. The ad team that came up with this cleverly created a safe, non-existent minority group we could all laugh at as they whined about stereotyping. It's a satire about grievance culture. If the TV show moves away from this premise, then it will fall flat. (btw, I still think the first ad was the best, where the Geico guy is buying the two cavemen lunch and saying, "Seriously, we apologize. We had no idea you guys were still around." The two cavemen play it beautifully. You can watch it here.)

Posted by Kevin Steel on July 26, 2007 in Television | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The honourable member for Vimy Ridge

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that Justin Trudeau played a featured role in The Great War, a two-part "docudama" miniseries that aired Sunday and Monday on the CBC. The air dates of the miniseries were intended to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Mr. Trudeau, making his acting debut, played Talbot Papineau, a Miltary Cross winning war hero.

The miniseries featured 150 Canadians who were descended from First World War solidiers, re-enacting what their ancestors experienced in various battle scenes. A Canadian Press story which ran in weekend newspapers (which you may read online at http://www.canada.com/topics/entertainment/story.html?id=78a4e114-dc2a-4e05-bceb-15cd0ea20f20&k=31604) noted, however, that Mr. Trudeau, although a great-nephew of a solider who died on the Western Front, is not a descendant of Papineau.

You may think it odd that Mr. Trudeau was given such a plum part when the "rules"of the miniseries implied that the actors should re-enact what their ancestors did. So did Edmonton Sun readers. This led the newspaper to ask (http://www.edmontonsun.com/Entertainment/Weekend/2007/04/06/3934112-sun.html) producer Brian McKenna why Trudeau got the part. For the publicity, McKenna says. I find it his explanation that they could not find a suitable professional actor for the Papineau part hard to believe, but you may wish to give him the benefit of the doubt.

There has been speculation since the Pierre Trudeau funeral that his sons would follow him politics. Mr. McKenna, or his superiors, must have thought through the ramifications of having a future politician in his miniseries.

It's interesting to see that a probable future MP, who could vote on matters affecting the CBC, was not asked to portray a coward or deserter. (As long as he was playing someone he was not related to--and his role was not ostensibly supposed to have any real impact on how people think of Mr. Trudeau in real life--such a part might have been a brave choice for a new actor.)

Mr. Trudeau will have an extra name recognition advantage now as his Bloc Quebecois and Tory opponents will have to say "Mr. Trudeau is not a war hero. He just plays one on TV." How does Mr. McKenna suggest that Mr. Trudeau's rivals explain this to  voters?

Did Mr. McKenna offer some parts to aspiring Bloc, NDP or Tory politicians? In a group of 150 decendants there should be perhaps one or two, right? Or is the probable future Liberal MP the only politician in the cast? Why?

It was very possible, had the government fallen in a budget vote,  that Mr. Trudeau would have been on the campaign trail when the miniseries aired. Would the CBC have been able to cut or trim Mr. Trudeau's part had that happened? (And why not have Mr. Trudeau re-enact what his ancestor did instead--a smaller cameo role which would have garnered the necessary publicity for the show, but could have been easily trimmed had Trudeau already been an MP or a Liberal cabinet minister when the program aired?)

One question almost answers itself. Had Justin been named Stanfield or Diefenbaker, some of these possible issues would have been raised internally by the CBC,  and could have disqualified him from appearing in the program.  Count on that.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on April 11, 2007 in Television | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Monday, February 27, 2006

Rogers Cable hates you

Has anyone else in Ontario recently discovered that they've lost Fox News on their cable lineup?  A week ago, right before I left Ottawa for Toronto, I called up Rogers to unsubscribe from their magazine subscription, which had become a separately billed item (Negative billing, nice, jerks).  I got back last night and discovered I'd lost FNC, which was one of ten digital channels I had chosen for my cable package.  The others were all still there.  Today I call up Rogers, and they tell me I've never been subscribed to it (I've had it since it aired in December 2004 - after the free trial ended, I dropped MSNBC and asked for Fox).  I ask them to list the ten channels I have, and #10 is "Razor", which I've never even heard of.  I tell them there's been a mistake, and to drop Razor and put FNC back.  She says you can't individually choose Fox News like other channels; it's only available as part of the $8/month News Package.  So what else is part of the News package?  CNN, CBCNW, ROBTV, CNBC, etc which are all included with the base-analog sub, and MSNBC and BBC World.  But, I already have BBC World as one my 10 channels! Why is Fox News getting a special "forbidden unless you cough up extra" status over the other news channels?

First, this bothers me because they're being dishonest.  Second, because they're suggesting that I'm insane for thinking that I have actually been subscribed to FNC for the last year.  Third, because they're pushing this News Package as some sweet deal when it's all already included on the mandatory analog base, like I'm supposed to be happy.

I hate Rogers and am thinking of cutting them out of the $138 I give them every month.  I already left evil Rogers AT&T for Fido, then had Fido bought by Rogers (Ugh! They didn't fail, first month under the "new & improved billing system" and I'd been robbed - another post), but now I'm thinking of ditching @Home (which I'm happy with) for Bell and ditching their TV for DirecTV (still have the dish mounted).

Anyway, I thought you'd all be interested to know of the special status Fox News has been given, placed in a special category over BBC World, etc.  If this has also happened to you, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

Posted by CharLeBois on February 27, 2006 in Television | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Mary Walsh, you presumed right

The quotes below (with the absolute slightest paraphrasing from memory) were given by Mary Walsh (from 22 minutes), appearing on CBC:NW's The Hour just now:

"I'd vote for Hamas!" ... "If I was Palestinian, I'd want my property back too."

"I hoped the Harper lunatics would win because it'd be good for political satire, but I hoped the Liberals would win because it'd be good for the country."

The second quote, fine, whatever; she works for the CBC, we're not surprised.  But the quotes regarding Hamas?  Unbelievable.  In the segment she talks about kissing Harper, and that "even though he's very cold, he's just a person."  Mary Walsh, I will personally promise to buy every season of your lame show on DVD (should it make it that far) if you go up and try the same routine on a Hamas leader.

See the whole parade of ignorance again tonight at roughly 11:30PM on CBC:NW.  Oh and take a gander at the latest nonsense Walsh is plugging, after all you're helping to pay for it.

Posted by CharLeBois on February 1, 2006 in Television | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Moore of the same

Michael Moore is entitled to his express his dislike of the labour-conflicted CBC's decision to air Bowling for Columbine this weekend. But he really should shut up about the fundamentals of contract bargaining, of which he apparently knows very little.

The evidence: His statement, "CBC has locked out its union workers, an action that is abhorrent to all who believe in the rights of people to collectively bargain."

Actually, the right of an employer to lock out its employees is central to the whole union-management dance, in much the same way a union's right to strike is. (The issues get stickier when dealing with essential services, but the CBC certainly doesn't qualify for that designation.) Imagine how ludicrous it would be for someone to say that a union's decision to go on strike is abhorrent to all who believe in the rights of people to collectively bargain--that's the flip side of Moore's utterance.

Or, perhaps Moore believes that collective bargaining should involve only one side, unions, and that management should be only the mute recipient of union demands.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 17, 2005 in Television | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Brat Camp

The opening episode of Brat Camp last night was fascinating stuff, despite the bawling teenage drama queens. One thing I noticed - nearly all the parents of these "out of control" (spoiled rotten) teens were well into their late forties or fifties. With Stats Can reporting that the average first time mother is now oround thirty years old, one wonders if the combination of affluence, fewer (or no) siblings, and the "maturity" that one gains with age and experience (read: too much exposure to child rearing experts on afternoon tv) may not prove to be a recipe for indulgence.

It's going to be interesting to watch these brats - and brat is the word for them - deal with the 40 or more days of winter survival camp before them - it's no walk in the park. (They can earn their release after 40 days, but not before. Some students have spent as long as 3 months.) It will be equally interesting to watch the reactions of the bleeding hearts and child psychologistas over the coming weeks.

Posted by Kate McMillan on July 14, 2005 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 07, 2004

"The stove..."

Now that we've polished off all the leftover Halloween candy--and the spectacle of the political superbowl is over--I guess it's time for us to start thinking about Christmas. Yanks can look forward to Thanksgiving, but we Johnny and Janey Canucks polished off that turkey mid-October.

For all you mystery fans--or I should say more correctly, detective fans--I just want to point out that Monk: Season 2 is being released on January 11. So if you are a fan of the Defective Detective, the "opposite of Batman," you might want to order it now so you aren't faced with a full credit card come mid-first-month of the new year. (I'm posting Western Standard Amazon CDN purchase links for anyone who wants to d a little Sunday shopping.)

I thoroughly enjoyed, and am re-enjoying, the first season (my title is the first line from the pilot). I got hooked on these TV DVD releases after grabbing Columbo: The Complete First Season, at first an exercise in pure nostalgia. As a young boy, before I was able to go out raising h-ll on Friday nights, I would stay in and watch the detective movies, McLeod, McMillan and Wife, etc. But it was always Peter Falk's Columbo that I wanted to see. I'm happy to report that the adventures of the rumpled detective hold up even today.

btw, I'm having a little trouble deciding which Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes series to get since I don't want to end up paying for a bunch of crossover episodes. Right now, I'm thinking it's The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes plus The Return of Sherlock Holmes Collection, but if anybody has anything to recommend, feel free to pop something in the Comments.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 7, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Big Day

Well, today's the buh-buh-big day, folks. The one we have been so eagerly awaiting. Yes, today is the official release day of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 on DVD.

If you are like me, you have been waiting nearly all your life to possess your own clean copy of What's Opera, Doc? and One Froggy Evening. btw, I really recommend you get Volume One as well, since it has as a special feature the documentary The Boys from Termite Terrace. Did you know that Bugs Bunny was a counter-revolutionary? He never attacked anyone until they came along and invaded his space. And here's how Chuck Jones introduces the first DVD collection:

"It's been said that in a nation united by its collective sense of humor as much as by its laws, the Looney Tunes have stood out as icons of America's folk hero tradition for most of this century... Whether it was Bugs Bunny's patriotic, independent resourcefulness and defiant spirit in the face of the world's nastiest bullies..."

What's that you say? Election? Where? You have GOT to be kidding. Now how the heck did I miss that...

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 2, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 28, 2004

This Meme's On Fire

Don Cherry is now at number two on the "Greatest Canadian" voting list.

Keep voting people!!

The Meatriarchy

Posted by Justin Bogdanowicz on October 28, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Al-Jazeera approved

[originally posted to Daimnation!]

The CRTC has approved the "Arab CNN" for Canadian cable television. And the leaps of logic they use to justify their decision is really quite extraordinary, even by the commission's own standards:

The application to offer the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera through Canada's direct-to-home satellite networks was contested by the Canadian Jewish Congress and other groups, which said the network disseminates "anti-Semitic hate speech."

Al-Jazeera is often referred to as the "CNN of the Arab world" and is often the first to broadcast messages and videotaped statements from militants in Iraq and belonging to al Qaeda.

Commission chairman Charles Dalfen agrees that the network had made remarks that held Jews up to hatred and contempt. But he said Al-Jazeera had met the test of being a credible news service, and the commission had a legal duty not to unduly infringe freedom of expression.

"In light of not wanting to ban it because it is, after all, a bona fide service... but fearing that the record showed a large number of abusive comments, we felt someone had to take responsibility for it," Dalfen told Reuters.

In its ruling the CRTC said distributors of Al-Jazeera in Canada will be required to guard against the broadcast of "any abusive comment." That could mean the editing or deleting of some content. [emphasis added]

So, they agree that the station broadcasts antisemitic hate propaganda, but that it's still a "credible news source" that they should allow on freedom-of-expression grounds, but that its content may be edited or deleted to bar "abusive comment".


Ultimately, I'm about as radically pro-free-speech as you can get away with in this country, and therefore I cannot oppose allowing Al-Jazeera to be broadcast here. I'm not sure how the same commission that yanked an "offensive" Quebec radio station off the air can justify allowing a news channel it admits is antisemitic, but I gave up trying to figure out the CRTC a long time ago. In a way, I wish they'd allow the station to broadcast live and unedited in Canada, so we can really see just how "credible" Al-Jazeera really is.

But Canadians who want the Fox News Channel should take heart, because now that the CRTC has allowed Al-Jazeera, it's hard to see how they can justify keeping out (shudder) a conservative news channel. Though I'm sure some Canadian bureaucrats could make up a reason.

Posted by Damian Penny on July 15, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Campaign ads galore

After being hobbled by technical difficulties for the better part of the last two years, the American Museum of the Moving Image has completely revamped and re-launched its online Living Room Candidate exhibition. This is the single greatest resource of campaign commercials ever assembled on the web. Check it out, but be prepared to stay a couple of hours.

Adam Daifallah's Musings

Posted by Adam Daifallah on July 8, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, June 11, 2004

Good news for pervs, I guess

This was the disturbing headline on E-Online: "Mary-Kate & Ashley: Jailbait No More." The girls turn 18 on Sunday.

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 11, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, May 28, 2004

Essential Viewing

I dump on CBC UselessWorld all the time, but I'll give them some credit: they're taking time away from their constant Fashion File/Antiques Roadshow marathons to show an absolutely horrifying documentary, In the Name of God: Scenes From the Extreme, this Sunday.

Regular readers of LGF or MEMRI might think nothing in this film will shock them. They're wrong.

[originally posted to Daimnation!]

Posted by Damian Penny on May 28, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Holding the CBC to the same standard as AOL Time Warner

CBC Watch links to this Windsor Star editorial calling for the CBC to advertise its potential conflicts of interest in its political coverage because obviously the national broadcaster has a "vested interest in who governs the country" -- the head of the CBC is appointed by the prime minister and it is funded by the government. The Star notes that "It is standard practice in the news business to alert an audience to a potential conflict involving ownership, and the CBC should be doing the same thing." The editorial concludes: "As long as the state broadcaster and government are allowed to enjoy a relationship that can be mutually beneficial, the CBC should issue a clear disclaimer any time it carries a news report that involves politics and its owner, the federal government."

Even a friend of the CBC should want such transparency but I doubt the Friends of the CBC would support this idea. I could be wrong, but I doubt we'll be hearing from Ian Morrison et al anytime soon on this matter. Except, that is, to criticize it. Oh, no, they won't criticize it -- that would assume that ideological pro-CBC viewers/listeners ever look at or listen to anything other than their media axis of CBC Radio/ CBC TV, the Toronto Star and Macleans.

Posted by Paul Tuns on May 19, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, May 07, 2004

Fewer friends than many thought

The Washington Post reported that a mere 52.5 million viewers tuned into the final episode of Friends. That's about half the number of the last episode of M*A*S*H* in 1983 and 24 million less than watched Seinfeld in 1998. In fact, it's just 2 million more than voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Perhaps all the media hoopla was ... um, fabricated. Dateline justified its decision to run a two-hour special on its fellow NBC program leaving the network's schedule as news because so many people cared about this cultural phenomenon. Whatever. It may have had commerical success but the talk in recent months of it being one of the best sitcoms of all time was a little much; it would have a hard time qualifying as one of the top five sitcoms of the last 10 years. It seems to have a core of viewers that were much like the six characters of the show -- self-absorbed beautiful people that never grew up; Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe selfishly pursued every want and had few responsibilities -- this is Thomas Hibbs' point about the children in the show. Friends did not connect with those viewers it had in any deep way. The show was the 20-something's and then the 30-something's entertainment (read: not life-altering event) on Thursday evenings. Good riddance.

Posted by Paul Tuns on May 7, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Lloyd Robertson's Product Placement

Did anyone catch this last night? About 3/4 of the way into the national news, Lloyd Robertson had an item about Janet Jackson doing "a taping" in Toronto.

For Canada AM.

(I'm predicting that any reporting from Saskatchewan this summer will be done with the Corner Gas set as a backdrop...)

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 6, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, April 19, 2004

toronto star and harper

From my blog, at www.members.shaw.ca/nspector4

surprise of the day— you have to wonder why chantal hébert writes in the star about the election nightmare shaping up for stephen harper, the same day she writes in le devoir that he has been growing in office much more quickly than Paul Martin. sillly me: here i thought only politicians say one thing in French and another in english.

There are reasons, she says in French, for Quebecers not to vote for Harper. But his supposed anti-Québec attitude, which the Liberals will be stressing, is not one.
Hébert adds that Jean Charest is likely to find that Harper’s vision of federalism is more congenial—including his views on the fiscal imbalance. v Non-surprise of the day

Posted by Norman Spector on April 19, 2004 in Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack