Saturday, April 30, 2011


The highly anticipated arrival of Canada's Sun News Network has been a mixed bag: No, it is not a "Fox News North"; no, it's not an unofficial "mouthpiece for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives"; as for being "on your side", well, it doesn't really do that either. All said and done, it's another... news network. And hardly one that talks about 'issues nobody else will touch'. That pompous and often repeated line is nonsense. I have not seen a single story where I'm thinking, "Wow, nobody else would dare cover this!"

So, is Sun News a disappointment? Probably. It does not push any boundaries in the profession of journalism here in Canada (and it certainly will not single-handedly send the CBC's news division packing), nor would it impress the average angry right-winger who is looking for a channel where "Socialists", "Liberals", "Lie-berals" (I just love that one, from the brainless twit), and "Commies" get raked over the coals 60 times an hour. Far from it. (By the way, don't you love name-calling? If those right-wing, loony-toons, wingatics spent as much time readin' as they do dispensin' insultin' words they don't even understand, they might actually advance intellectual-like.)

Maybe Sun News is a disappointment as it is getting terribly low ratings -- odd for a new channel, where what often happens is ratings are very high, even if they drop over time and rest. Sun did have okay numbers in the first half hour, to carry over the next day or so, but after that it was a big plummet job. Even hot-head Ezra Levant is getting very low audience counts... 19,000 for Canada-wide is pathetic. And those are the high numbers. The average is around 4 to 5 thousand. (It's not for lack of coverage; Sun is carried by many cable companies, plus it is offered over-the-air on the 'old' SunTV spot of channel 52, UHF, in the Toronto broadcast area.)

From a technical standpoint, the channel is amateurish; looking like 'community access television', more often than not. The news set is junk. More suited for an Entertainment Tonight-type show than a news network. Now that I think about it, Sun News does look kinda....

We'll see how long they continue in this mode. After all, it is very tempting to turn it up a notch when blessed with continually low ratings. As a friend said to me after I told him that I was impressed that Sun News was "not that bad" and explained why: "Yet..."

We'll see.


Like many Canadians I was not looking forward to yet another Federal election. Stephen Harper and his Conservative (minority) government were given a vote of "non-confidence" after they produced their new budget recently. One thing led to another... we Canadians go to the polls on Monday, May 2nd.

The "advance" poll days indicate a much higher than average voter turnout. NDP (New Democratic Party) leader Jack Layton is enjoying a wave of positive momentum, essentially snagging Quebec -- at least in the many polls taken in the last few days. This is big news in Canada. (For non-Canadian readers I should say that the NDP has been around for years, decades; but they have always been a distant third, after the Liberals and Conservatives.)

The feeling now is that a lot of Canadians are looking forward to Monday. A friend told me yesterday: "Have to say, this election which I first thought was a waste of time and money is VERY interesting -- I'll actually be glued to the set Monday night."

The initial lack of enthusiasm seems to be eroding.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


TVOntario's outstanding public affairs program The Agenda does not often cover such territory as this (clipped from an online tv guide)...

Episode: Peter Bogdanovich: Citizen Kane at 70
Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich reflects on Orson Welles and Citizen Kane and why the film has endured over the years.

I'll be there with bells on... for 8pm. (The show is repeated at 11pm.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Toronto Star today did a photo feature on Canadian politicians who 'were young at one time'. The above picture was of NDP leader Jack Layton and NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow dressed in Starfleet-issue garb from Star Trek. This pic was taken in 1991... they are both now married to one another.

My editorial to the above photo: All I can say is, "I knew it!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Just received this from a friend of mine who thought I would be interested...

Elisabeth Sladen was a "companion" on the classic Doctor Who series, specifically a travelling partner to Jon Pertwee for his final episodes and the beginning of Tom Baker's.

Sad news, indeed. Ms. Sladen was one of the more memorable companions, injecting the type's potential flatness with some personality. "Sarah Jane" was a mix of sweetness, vulnerability, and professionalism.


This is not news but it cannot be said enough...

I don't have cable tv -- have not had for years and do not miss it -- but I manage to pull-in quite a few channels, with good reception. As indicated in the linked article, having line-of-sight with the CN Tower is nice if you live in Toronto. I do, I'm looking at it as I write this... I should walk down to Above-All Surplus and pick up an 'HD' antenna.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I just found out that SunTV News starts at 4:30 this afternoon. That's no good, I have things to do and will miss the shouldn't-be-missed kick-off.

I'm sure it will be a priceless moment. (I could set the timer to record the opening; but it's not that important. More a case of "I watched!")

As Edward Judd said at the end of First Men in the Moon, "I was there!" That too was a creepy scene.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Hours ago I found out that new (right-wing) Toronto-based news channel SunTV News is replacing Sun TV on channel 52 on the dial; broadcast! That is great news for me. I don't have cable -- I get my programming from the rabbit ears.

Sun TV News is kicking off at 6am, Monday. As I write this it is exactly 8pm Sunday. Ten hours to go; I look forward to a round-the-clock comedy channel. I keep an open mind.... hopefully.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Even though I have no interest in daytime soap operas, the news that ABC is canning two of their long-running shows, All My Children and One Life to Live, is a bit sad...

An era is coming to an end.

Maybe I'm sentimental. I remember when Ryan's Hope premiered with a lot of fanfare. And when it was cancelled years ago.

(Before uploading this post, I decided to read up on Ryan's Hope. This was interesting to the television historian in me...
... Be sure to read the first paragraph of "Production Changes". Why did I have to miss those episodes?)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Hard to believe it was 50 (fifty) years ago today that man first travelled in space. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was rocketed aloft on "Vostok 1" on April 12th, 1961, and became a hero across the globe.

(Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space the next month when he journeyed in "Freedom 7".)

Vostok 1...

Monday, April 11, 2011


Here in Canada we are running up to yet another federal election. I was not originally intending to vote, but have decided to do my duty. It cannot be said enough that we enjoy a pretty charmed life here in the Great White North. I implore my fellow country men and women to cast their ballot. I'm amazed at how many people here refuse to vote.

Do they read the international news, much?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Minutes ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated from this year's upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. This was how it happened: Buffalo beat Tampa Bay 4-2; Washington beat Toronto 3-2; and Toronto beat themselves 82-0.

Some things never change.