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Getting Prissy?

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 7:20 AM

It’s not easy being a middle aged person. You get set in your ways and you find yourself having expectations, perhaps ridiculous expectations. You go through your day thinking that sanity and courtesy will prevail and it doesn’t and it makes you angry.

The other day, on Facebook no less, a friend accused me of prissiness. Now I have many and sundry faults. There are doubtless people who would be more than happy to enumerate these faults to you and that’s not paranoia; we all like to gossip. Yet prissiness is a fault that I have never been accused of and it occurred to me that perhaps it is my again-ridiculous expectation that folks would think of others besides themselves that might make me look like an extremely prissy old crone.

The accusation came from my complaint that people who snowshoe or let their dogs walk all over cross country ski trails should be ashamed of themselves. I thought my statement was somewhat restrained. After the rotten cross country ski that I had in which my skis could not glide because some snowshoer couldn’t take three steps to the right and snowshoe on the snowshoeing path or some dog walker refused to keep his/her dog out of the skiing trail, I was ready to write something far worse and over the top. After falling and getting tripped up, I was pretty annoyed. To add insult to injury, I got called prissy in public…but the person who wrote that is a really good friend so I forgave her. Besides, some good cross-country skiing friends weighed in so I felt supported in my alleged prissiness.

Then there was the concert at Higher Ground in Burlington. If you are middle-aged and if you have flat feet as I do, I strongly discourage you from going to Higher Ground to see someone that you really like. Feel free to disagree with me but my experience was far from pleasant.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings played there on February 11th. Sharon and the band do the best soul music that I’ve heard in a long, long time. The songs are great, the horn section and bass player are flat-out fantastic and Sharon works overtime to entertain you. What a great voice she has! It was bad enough that she was struggling with a microphone that cut in and out but she had the crowd with her every step of the way. She was terrific.

On the ticket, the show time was indicated as 8:00 PM. In fact, that was when the door opened and let you into a ballroom with just a very few seats in the back. The first band went on at 9:00. The Dap-Kings went on at about 10:30. By then, I had sore feet but I was ready for a great show. Just my luck, some drunk guy, ‘way taller than me decided that he and his girlfriend (both with no sense of rhythm) were going to dance in front of me with no care for who was around them. He nearly knocked over a lady well into her sixties. When he jabbed me in the stomach with his elbow…I was not happy and vociferously expressed that. He didn’t care, he just kept it up, banging into other people and being a regular jackass. Meanwhil,e all the other young people danced in place without hurting others. Curses upon such as he!

Life would be so much nicer if we all took a few minutes to consider how our actions might affect others. We’ve heard it before, but the Golden Rule still stands as a way to get through a day by making the world better for others and therefore, yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you….and if you can see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in Montreal, by all means go!


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Romance Amidst the Horror

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 7:15 AM in ,

I don’t like horror movies or movies that have a blood bath of killing, but there’s one TV show that I’ve watched week after week for the last six years. It’s a show that has more than its share of icky and gory carcasses, and there’s both romance and humour to be had while hanging around those carcasses. That show is Fox’s Bones, which is on every Thursday at 9:00.

The show is very loosely based on Kathy Reichs, a real-life forensic anthropologist who has written many best selling murder mysteries. I am a fan of that genre, but not one of Reichs’ style, which probably puts me in a minority. Reichs produces Bones and I really like the TV show a lot better than her books.

The plot revolves around a brilliant but socially inept forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her F.B.I. partner, Sealey Booth (David Boreanz, formerly the star of the show, Angel) who solve murder mysteries together. Booth is a former U.S. Ranger and sniper. He is warm-hearted and relies on hunches to solve mysteries while Brennan (Bones) is a firm believer in scientific method and logic to solve mysteries. Bones just doesn’t get people. The two spar constantly and the spark between them is reminiscent of the 80’s romantic comedy Moonlighting which spent two years with the tease of whether the characters (played by Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis) would ever become a couple. The two years in which they did become a couple was seen to lead to the cancellation of the show. Obviously, the writers of Bones have spent the last six years doing everything possible to avoid the “Moonlighting curse.”

Bones also relies heavily on the ensemble cast who support the two main players. Brennan’s best friend is Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), the team’s forensic artist and computer whiz, who tries to teach Bones how to behave like a normal person and has her own romance with Dr. Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne). Apparently, the Moonlighting curse has not applied to them because, after an on-again-off-again relationship, Hodgins and Angela were “allowed” to marry and now Angela is pregnant.

They are the more off beat couple on the show as Hodgins, who comes from a ridiculously wealthy family, is mad for conspiracy theories and Angela is a warm, high spirited artist type who doesn’t exactly fit in with the squints or scientists. There is also a series of graduate students, each with eccentricities that adds comic relief to the mysteries that are solved each week.

This is the key to why Bones differs from the Law & Order and CSI series on television. There is more focus on characters and the development of their own lives interwoven with the mysteries makes the show feel more like a movie rather than an episodic TV murder mystery. This is why I think that I’m able to stand all the blood, guts and gore; there’s humour and character development from week to week. The characters have changed and grown from the first year to this, their sixth season.

Will Bones and Booth ever get together? I think that they will when the show has a series finale. Meanwhile the writers will do everything that they can to stretch out that romantic tension for as long as they can to keep Bones going into as many seasons as they can manage.


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Romance Amidst the Horror

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 8:08 AM

I don’t like horror movies or movies that have a blood bath of killing, but there’s one TV show vaguely in that genre that I’ve watched week after week for the last six years. It’s a show that has more than its share of icky and gory carcasses, and there’s both romance and humour to be had while hanging around those carcasses. That show is Fox’s Bones, which is on every Thursday at 9:00.

The show is very loosely based on Kathy Reichs, a real-life forensic anthropologist who has written many best selling murder mysteries. I am a fan of that genre, but not one of Reichs’ style, which probably puts me in a minority. Reichs produces Bones and I really like the TV show a lot better than her books.

The plot revolves around a brilliant but socially inept forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her F.B.I. partner, Sealey Booth (David Boreanz, formerly the star of the show, Angel) who solve murder mysteries together. Booth is a former U.S. Ranger and sniper. He is warm-hearted and relies on hunches to solve mysteries while Brennan (Bones) is a firm believer in scientific method and logic to solve mysteries. Bones just doesn’t get people. The two spar constantly and the spark between them is reminiscent of the 80’s romantic comedy Moonlighting which spent two years with the tease of whether the characters (played by Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis) would ever become a couple. The two years in which they did become a couple was seen to lead to the cancellation of the show. Obviously, the writers of Bones have spent the last six years doing everything possible to avoid the “Moonlighting curse.”

Bones also relies heavily on the ensemble cast who support the two main players. Brennan’s best friend is Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), the team’s forensic artist and computer whiz, who tries to teach Bones how to behave like a normal person and has her own romance with Dr. Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne). Apparently, the Moonlighting curse has not applied to them because, after an on-again-off-again relationship, Hodgins and Angela were “allowed” to marry and now Angela is pregnant.

They are the more off beat couple on the show as Hodgins, who comes from a ridiculously wealthy family, is mad for conspiracy theories and Angela is a warm, high spirited artist type who doesn’t exactly fit in with the squints or scientists. There is also a series of graduate students, each with eccentricities that adds comic relief to the mysteries that are solved each week.

This is the key to why Bones differs from the Law & Order and CSI series on television. There is more focus on characters and the development of their own lives interwoven with the mysteries makes the show feel more like a movie rather than an episodic TV murder mystery. This is why I think that I’m able to stand all the blood, guts and gore; there’s humour and character development from week to week. The characters have changed and grown from the first year to this, their sixth season.

Will Bones and Booth ever get together? I think that they will when the show has a series finale. Meanwhile the writers will do everything that they can to stretch out that romantic tension for as long as they can to keep Bones going into as many seasons as they can manage.


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CBC Radio 2: A Little Something for Everyone

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 7:40 AM in , , , ,

Anyone who has followed my columns knows that I’ve done much whinging and whining about the changes in the CBC Radio 2 format. I liked the old classical station that I came to love when I moved to Canada. If I wanted rock and/or roll (a Reverend Lovejoy reference for you Simpsons fans), I would turn my dial over to CHOM when I lived in Montreal or to some of the obscure New England stations. I don’t know if anyone can still get WBTZ, the alternative music station known as “the Buzz” that broadcasts out of Burlington, but it is next to impossible to pick up in Lennoxville. I always enjoyed their mix of old and new pop/rock music though the commercials made me turn the station off about as many times as I turned the station on.

The thing is, when I get in my car, I don’t feel like futzing with my iPod and all the wires plus I figure it’s not good for the iPod’s battery to leave it in the glove compartment in minus 16 weather, so I’ve been leaving CBC Radio 2 on for the drive to and from work to make my life easier and to pretend that I’m keeping an open mind. I may be middle aged but I’m still curious about new music that’s coming out.

A crazy thing has happened; I’ve started to get used to Radio 2. I’m tentatively admitting that I like it. In the morning, I’ve been listening to Bob Mackowycz who plays a solid mix of old and new music. He definitely has a well loved play list as I’m getting a little tired of hearing We Could Have Had It All by Adele (I’m also getting more than a little tired of singers with only one name, kind of presumptuous, don’t you think? Why should Adele be the quintessential Adele? There are probably some other very special Adele’s in the world…and don’t get me started about Ellen! I had the name first.) Other than that, I must admit it’s kind of nice to turn on my radio in the morning and hear Bob Mackowycz sing the praises of a group like The Clash who I used to love and then hear Rock the Casbah which, politically incorrect as it is, is still a great song and frighteningly timely.

When I come home from work and then hit the exercise or guilt machine, I listen to The Drive with Rich…Terfry. The reason that I put the pause in is that’s exactly how he says his name on the air and all the time. Everybody has his or her eccentricities and that’s his, I suppose. He’s had a running theme to the show for the last few weeks which has been music to exercise to, and for me, that’s been very handy as he’s been playing a lot of upbeat music, like Adele’s You Could Have Had It All, but then, I grew up with AM radio when the number one song was played a lot so that doesn’t put me off too much. Terfry plays everything from Joni Mitchell to Patti Smith to Elvis Costello to a Canadian band called Lazy Susan whose single is called Sweet Thing, (not to be confused with Van Morrison’s song of the same name which is infinitely better), to The Decembrists who have garnered lots of favour, according to my Facebook friends. It’s a great mix of lively music and Terfry is an engaging radio DJ without being annoying.

CBC Radio 2 may not be the class act that it was a few years ago, but in its drive to be all things to all people, there are bound to be some hits and misses. CBC Morning and The Drive are a bit of what Peter Gzowski’s Morningside was, but in a more musical vein. When you play a wide mix of music, you are sure to please some of the people some of the time.


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The Trials and Tribulations of Multiculturalism

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 6:54 PM
This has been a week in which the world seemed to get a little smaller. The demonstrations in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia calling for a change in government and a more democratic government have grabbed our attention. In Great Britain, there have been demonstrations for quite a while protesting governments cuts to students. I’m starting to believe that 2011 is this millennium’s 1968 – people are calling for a world where everybody gets a chance to have his or her say and a world where people just feel that they might have a chance to get ahead period.

It’s very easy to feel that all that stuff is happening over there. On Saturday, I was cross-country skiing in the woods and feeling very apart from the world, but as I was swishing around and falling in the snow, I did get a little quiet time to ponder something that the Prime Minister of Great Britain said. He claimed that state multiculturalism has failed and that countries need to implement what he called, “muscular liberalism.” His idea is that once you immigrate to Great Britain, you have to accept its values. This is not unfamiliar territory. We’ve had a similar discussion here in Quebec with our debates over reasonable accommodation.

With a world so interconnected, I think that Prime Minister Cameron is trying to go back to a 1950’s world that will never exist again. Nowadays, people are moving from one country to the next in search of employment and in search of a better way of life for their families and themselves. With cyberspace, we are connected through Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever social networking system will come along in the next few years, and there are sure to be plenty more with bells and whistles that we haven’t thought of yet. Very few places are isolated anymore; what happens in Egypt may eventually have an effect on us, particularly if oil tankers aren’t making it through the Suez Canal.

You can only ski in the woods for so long nowadays, both literally and figuratively. Whether you are in Montreal, Sherbrooke, London or New York City, you are sure to encounter people whose cultures, upbringings, food, dress are going to be different, maybe radically different, from your own. To think that we can create a national or international system of right values in the twenty-first century is nostalgic daydreaming and it’s the kind of daydreaming that can get us into trouble. We have to recognize that the days of one people of one nationality and one colour living together in harmony are long gone, and let’s face it, even within that same group, someone was always fighting with somebody else anyway.

We have to face the fact that we live in a multicultural world and multiculturalism simply can’t be allowed to fail if we are to live in some semblance of peace. People will come to live in our country and they will have to find a way to navigate through our value systems. Yes, they will have to learn to live side by side with us, but it might be a little much to ask them to accept everything that the rest of us believe in, hook, line, and sinker. Perhaps over time, they will adapt to us, and as our society becomes more diverse, we may adapt a little to them. That kind of give and take makes for a more peaceful and perhaps a more interesting social environment. In a world where modern day fascists are making hay with our fear of terrorism, decrying multiculturalism is downright dangerous. A prime minister should know better.

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