snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
Regular readers of my blog have no doubt clued in that I really think Donald Trump is the most glorious joke of national leadership since Emperor Tiberious told his nephew Caligula that he was going to rule after him*. That being said, I have to give him credit for the invaluable legwork he is doing, legwork that will make it so much easier for his neo-nazi successors to finish the job of destroying American democracy.

Face it guys. If you don't have a free press that's able to freely report on government without being retaliated against, maligned, and excluded then you won't have a democracy for much longer. That's how it works.




*Legend has it that when Tiberius told Caligula he would rule after him Caligula asked "Is this a joke, uncle?" to which Tiberious replied "No, but it will be."  I'll leave it to you to decide for yourself if Trump's actions so far fall into the same category. As for me, I had my answer long ago.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
As probably most people know Fidel Castro passed away and I find the reactions to his death interesting. Perhaps evenmore interesting then that are the reactions to the reactions. Lets just say I think it provides an interesting time to comment on the difficulties we as contemporaries have in objectively judging certain polarizing public figures and by just about any standard Castro fits that shoe all too well.

Lets face it. He was absolutely hated by the United States, both for nationalizing Cuban resources that the US made a lot of money from during the preceeding Bautista regime, and for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA tried to kill him, Kennedy sponsored an invasion against him, and US immigration policy is well, lets just say "special" where Cuba is concerned.  His human rights record is dismal, and the Cuban economy is not booming by any standard.

And yet its possibly to see why he's held in high regard. In an era of Imperial America he was not only willing to stand up to the US, but he was able to do so successfully. Education and health care for Cubans rose in ways that likely would have been unthinkable under a pro-US regime, and his use of health care assistance as a foreign policy tool made Cuba an attractive friend to many places that found themselves on the wrong side of the US. The fact his Cuba was able to do it under an embargo that was of questionable merits in the past few decades only enhanced that stature.

So, how should historians see him? I think he will not be seen as hero or villain but rather as a complex man of a complex time, where things are not easily seen in the terms of black and white that people demand. I also don't think the people of my generation and older will get the whole picture as well because his final chapters have not yet been written. Raoul Castro is still alive, and even were he to die tomorrow the post Castro era would be a time of complexities and shades of grey to rival the times of their lives.

We should let that era come to pass and play out before we judge.

 
snowywolfowl: (Senators)
As I mentioned a few posts back I've been enjoying watching the classic games CBC has been posting, and just have to say there really isn't much that beats the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry, especially in the tight confines of the old Boston Gardens during the finals*. I also have to commend CBC for not only airing them but also providing little footnotes about historical events, player biographies, and other trivia. So, with that in mind, here's a few things that struck me as interesting....

1. Ken Dryden would be a big goalie in the modern era. In the 1970's he's a freakin' tree. And a lawyer...and an author...and a future Liberal Member of Parliament. Ok, he is the original sports Renaissance Man.
2. Hearing the announcer mention that Pierre Mondou is a rookie is really sad considering how his career ended**. It's even more heartbreaking considering visors were available when he played. One of his injured teammates was wearing one during this game after the Bouchard-Jonathan fight in the 1st period.
3. Love him or hate him, even then Don Cherry knew how to rock a suit, vest and tie.
4. Larry Robinson came by his nickname honestly. He really does look like Big Bird***.
5. I mainly know (and deeply respect) Brad Park for the ultimatum he gave the Hockey Hall of Fame about Alan Eagleson****. It's a shame he never won the Norris Trophy as the best defenceman.
6. Gerry Cheevers has the Greatest Goalie Mask of ALL TIME******. http://www.hockeymasks.com/details.html?msk=5


*It was something like 9 feet shorter and 4 feet narrower than a regulation NHL rink, which made games very contact filled affairs at the most passive of times. The playoffs were just nuts.
** Lost an eye from a high stick from Hartford's Ulf Samuelsson. Jesus Murphy, how many careers did Samuelsson end? That's at least two.
***He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP for these playoffs.
****He told the Hall of Fame to remove him because he didn't want to be on the same wall as someone who was stealing from the pension fund. The Hall kicked Eagleson out.
******While not the first to wear a mask some people credit him with making it more socially acceptable to wear one during a game. Prior to the mid 1950's only wimpy girlie men wore masks. Real men stopped hockey pucks traveling 100+ mph with their face...or so the prevailing culture at the time said.


snowywolfowl: (Beer!)
Ok, this is really cool! Apparently they've discovered Roman jewelry in a tomb dating back to the Fifth Century A.D.  The jewelry in question are tiny blobs of multi-layered glass about 5 mm across, and heavily faded, with most of the gilt completely worn off.

What, you mean you're not impressed yet? What if I said they were found in....

....Japan?

Looks like Rome's arm stretched a lot farther than originally thought, and even though it's the briefest, most insignificant of touches its still awesome that something like that can wind up 6,000 kilos from where it originated, in a place the artisan could never have imagined.

Isn't that awesome?

Links here if interested:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/japanese-tomb-found-roman-empire-artifact_n_1621090.html

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/5mm-diameter-piece-glass-jewellery-believed-made-roman-photo-163550349.html
snowywolfowl: (Beer!)
Ok, this is really cool! Apparently they've discovered Roman jewelry in a tomb dating back to the Fifth Century A.D.  The jewelry in question are tiny blobs of multi-layered glass about 5 mm across, and heavily faded, with most of the gilt completely worn off.

What, you mean you're not impressed yet? What if I said they were found in....

....Japan?

Looks like Rome's arm stretched a lot farther than originally thought, and even though it's the briefest, most insignificant of touches its still awesome that something like that can wind up 6,000 kilos from where it originated, in a place the artisan could never have imagined.

Isn't that awesome?

Links here if interested:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/japanese-tomb-found-roman-empire-artifact_n_1621090.html

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/5mm-diameter-piece-glass-jewellery-believed-made-roman-photo-163550349.html
snowywolfowl: (Beer!)
Ok, this is really cool! Apparently they've discovered Roman jewelry in a tomb dating back to the Fifth Century A.D.  The jewelry in question are tiny blobs of multi-layered glass about 5 mm across, and heavily faded, with most of the gilt completely worn off.

What, you mean you're not impressed yet? What if I said they were found in....

....Japan?

Looks like Rome's arm stretched a lot farther than originally thought, and even though it's the briefest, most insignificant of touches its still awesome that something like that can wind up 6,000 kilos from where it originated, in a place the artisan could never have imagined.

Isn't that awesome?

Links here if interested:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/japanese-tomb-found-roman-empire-artifact_n_1621090.html

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/5mm-diameter-piece-glass-jewellery-believed-made-roman-photo-163550349.html
snowywolfowl: (Me and My Mumbai Guitar)
Jim Marshall, the man behind Marshall Amps, has passed away.

Would I be over-reacting if I plugged my microphone into my Marshal MG15, dialed the master volume knob all the way up, and gave a William Shatner-esque scream at one in the morning? 

Marshall posted a very nice obit about him here: http://marshallamps.com/

Father of Loud, indeed. He will be missed. The world of music just became quieter place and we are all the poorer for it.



Edited to add: I just posted this comment on the condolence board:

"I know I won't be the only one to say this but the sound of a humbucker through a Marshall amp is why I started playing in the first place. Lots of people deserve a moment of silence after their departure. Mr. Marshall just happens to also deserve having that moment sandwiched between the loudest chords possible.

To paraphrase the Thunder from Down Under, "From those you allowed to rock, Guv'nor, we salute you."
snowywolfowl: (Me and My Mumbai Guitar)
Jim Marshall, the man behind Marshall Amps, has passed away.

Would I be over-reacting if I plugged my microphone into my Marshal MG15, dialed the master volume knob all the way up, and gave a William Shatner-esque scream at one in the morning? 

Marshall posted a very nice obit about him here: http://marshallamps.com/

Father of Loud, indeed. He will be missed. The world of music just became quieter place and we are all the poorer for it.



Edited to add: I just posted this comment on the condolence board:

"I know I won't be the only one to say this but the sound of a humbucker through a Marshall amp is why I started playing in the first place. Lots of people deserve a moment of silence after their departure. Mr. Marshall just happens to also deserve having that moment sandwiched between the loudest chords possible.

To paraphrase the Thunder from Down Under, "From those you allowed to rock, Guv'nor, we salute you."
snowywolfowl: (Me and My Mumbai Guitar)
Jim Marshall, the man behind Marshall Amps, has passed away.

Would I be over-reacting if I plugged my microphone into my Marshal MG15, dialed the master volume knob all the way up, and gave a William Shatner-esque scream at one in the morning? 

Marshall posted a very nice obit about him here: http://marshallamps.com/

Father of Loud, indeed. He will be missed. The world of music just became quieter place and we are all the poorer for it.



Edited to add: I just posted this comment on the condolence board:

"I know I won't be the only one to say this but the sound of a humbucker through a Marshall amp is why I started playing in the first place. Lots of people deserve a moment of silence after their departure. Mr. Marshall just happens to also deserve having that moment sandwiched between the loudest chords possible.

To paraphrase the Thunder from Down Under, "From those you allowed to rock, Guv'nor, we salute you."
snowywolfowl: (Default)
In an earlier age they deified people like him after they died. I'm being serious. He may very well be the most important person in the history of recorded music.

Here's Les with his wife Mary Ford showing off two innovations of his, multi-track recording and the Les Paul electric guitar.

snowywolfowl: (Default)
In an earlier age they deified people like him after they died. I'm being serious. He may very well be the most important person in the history of recorded music.

Here's Les with his wife Mary Ford showing off two innovations of his, multi-track recording and the Les Paul electric guitar.

snowywolfowl: (Default)
In an earlier age they deified people like him after they died. I'm being serious. He may very well be the most important person in the history of recorded music.

Here's Les with his wife Mary Ford showing off two innovations of his, multi-track recording and the Les Paul electric guitar.

snowywolfowl: (Default)

 So, over the past week I decided to spend some spare time with some Canadian cinema. I like to do that if for no other reason than that we are a nation full of great stories that deserve to be told. With that in mind here are a couple of reviews of two well told tragic tales.

The first is “Passchendaele”, which was written, directed, produced and acted in by Paul Gross, the actor best known for playing Constable Benton Fraser in “Due South”. While it was based on a few anecdotes Mr. Gross's grandfather shared with him about that battle it isn't a straight biopic. It's a drama, with the requisite love angles, massive set piece battle scenes and themes of heroic self sacrifice. So if it has all this what makes it worth watching, especially when movies and series like “Saving Private Ryan”, “Band of Brothers”, and “The Pacific” would appear to have already cornered the market?

Well, three things come to mind in answering that question. The first is simple novelty, and the second the historical importance of the events in question. World War I movies are not nearly as common as movies on other conflicts, and movies showcasing Canadian involvement are perhaps rarer still. Since World War I was one of the defining moments in the creation of Canadian nationhood its a time period that deserves to be seen and understood by all generations of Canadians as well as those who wish to understand a bit of the Canadian mindset. While no movie can ever hope to explain everything about an event it can inspire viewers to learn more.

The third part is the strength of the movie is showing the Canadian home front of WWI and its accompanying issues. We're not only shown the issues of PTSD that returning soldiers faced but also the incredible pressure society put on young men to prove their manhood by signing up to fight the “godless Hun”.* Individuals who didn't were often shunned and shamed by their own neighbours, behaviour that nowadays, despite the permanent warfare that Western nations are likely to experience for the next several decades, would be foreign to most viewers.

With regards to the battle scenes themselves they are as intense and often as horrific as one might expect. As a hint of foreshadowing the myth of Germans crucifying Canadian soldiers against barn doors is explored and explained as being the result of artillery fire and psychological trauma. The Canadian troops are shown as living, fighting and dying up to their shoulders in mud, blood, and other assorted gore. While terrible to watch it does serve to illustrate the horrific casualties the battle involved.

Ultimately if you are a fan of history and/or war movies “Passchendaele” is a very worthy flick to check out. I give it four out of five stars.

*Direct quote from a recruiting poster in the movie. My apologies to any and all Attila the Hun fans.


snowywolfowl: (Default)

 So, over the past week I decided to spend some spare time with some Canadian cinema. I like to do that if for no other reason than that we are a nation full of great stories that deserve to be told. With that in mind here are a couple of reviews of two well told tragic tales.

The first is “Passchendaele”, which was written, directed, produced and acted in by Paul Gross, the actor best known for playing Constable Benton Fraser in “Due South”. While it was based on a few anecdotes Mr. Gross's grandfather shared with him about that battle it isn't a straight biopic. It's a drama, with the requisite love angles, massive set piece battle scenes and themes of heroic self sacrifice. So if it has all this what makes it worth watching, especially when movies and series like “Saving Private Ryan”, “Band of Brothers”, and “The Pacific” would appear to have already cornered the market?

Well, three things come to mind in answering that question. The first is simple novelty, and the second the historical importance of the events in question. World War I movies are not nearly as common as movies on other conflicts, and movies showcasing Canadian involvement are perhaps rarer still. Since World War I was one of the defining moments in the creation of Canadian nationhood its a time period that deserves to be seen and understood by all generations of Canadians as well as those who wish to understand a bit of the Canadian mindset. While no movie can ever hope to explain everything about an event it can inspire viewers to learn more.

The third part is the strength of the movie is showing the Canadian home front of WWI and its accompanying issues. We're not only shown the issues of PTSD that returning soldiers faced but also the incredible pressure society put on young men to prove their manhood by signing up to fight the “godless Hun”.* Individuals who didn't were often shunned and shamed by their own neighbours, behaviour that nowadays, despite the permanent warfare that Western nations are likely to experience for the next several decades, would be foreign to most viewers.

With regards to the battle scenes themselves they are as intense and often as horrific as one might expect. As a hint of foreshadowing the myth of Germans crucifying Canadian soldiers against barn doors is explored and explained as being the result of artillery fire and psychological trauma. The Canadian troops are shown as living, fighting and dying up to their shoulders in mud, blood, and other assorted gore. While terrible to watch it does serve to illustrate the horrific casualties the battle involved.

Ultimately if you are a fan of history and/or war movies “Passchendaele” is a very worthy flick to check out. I give it four out of five stars.

*Direct quote from a recruiting poster in the movie. My apologies to any and all Attila the Hun fans.


snowywolfowl: (Default)

 So, over the past week I decided to spend some spare time with some Canadian cinema. I like to do that if for no other reason than that we are a nation full of great stories that deserve to be told. With that in mind here are a couple of reviews of two well told tragic tales.

The first is “Passchendaele”, which was written, directed, produced and acted in by Paul Gross, the actor best known for playing Constable Benton Fraser in “Due South”. While it was based on a few anecdotes Mr. Gross's grandfather shared with him about that battle it isn't a straight biopic. It's a drama, with the requisite love angles, massive set piece battle scenes and themes of heroic self sacrifice. So if it has all this what makes it worth watching, especially when movies and series like “Saving Private Ryan”, “Band of Brothers”, and “The Pacific” would appear to have already cornered the market?

Well, three things come to mind in answering that question. The first is simple novelty, and the second the historical importance of the events in question. World War I movies are not nearly as common as movies on other conflicts, and movies showcasing Canadian involvement are perhaps rarer still. Since World War I was one of the defining moments in the creation of Canadian nationhood its a time period that deserves to be seen and understood by all generations of Canadians as well as those who wish to understand a bit of the Canadian mindset. While no movie can ever hope to explain everything about an event it can inspire viewers to learn more.

The third part is the strength of the movie is showing the Canadian home front of WWI and its accompanying issues. We're not only shown the issues of PTSD that returning soldiers faced but also the incredible pressure society put on young men to prove their manhood by signing up to fight the “godless Hun”.* Individuals who didn't were often shunned and shamed by their own neighbours, behaviour that nowadays, despite the permanent warfare that Western nations are likely to experience for the next several decades, would be foreign to most viewers.

With regards to the battle scenes themselves they are as intense and often as horrific as one might expect. As a hint of foreshadowing the myth of Germans crucifying Canadian soldiers against barn doors is explored and explained as being the result of artillery fire and psychological trauma. The Canadian troops are shown as living, fighting and dying up to their shoulders in mud, blood, and other assorted gore. While terrible to watch it does serve to illustrate the horrific casualties the battle involved.

Ultimately if you are a fan of history and/or war movies “Passchendaele” is a very worthy flick to check out. I give it four out of five stars.

*Direct quote from a recruiting poster in the movie. My apologies to any and all Attila the Hun fans.


snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)

For anyone who likes those intersections where history, music and theatre meet:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=1639918569

The play is called "Billy Bishop goes to War". An amazing work of drama, I think.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)

For anyone who likes those intersections where history, music and theatre meet:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=1639918569

The play is called "Billy Bishop goes to War". An amazing work of drama, I think.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)

For anyone who likes those intersections where history, music and theatre meet:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=1639918569

The play is called "Billy Bishop goes to War". An amazing work of drama, I think.

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