Wednesday, June 30, 2010

O Canada!

The Fathers of Confederation
Our home and native land,
True patriot love in all thy sons command,
With glowing hearts,
We see thee rise,
The True North strong and free.
From far and wide,
O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee!
God keep our land,
Glorious and free,
O Canada we stand on guard for thee,
O Canada we stand on guard for thee!
July 1st 1867, with the signing of the British North America Act (now called the Constitution Act), Canada became a sovereign nation. Without too much fuss, an assortment of political leaders from places like Ontario (called Canada West), Quebec (called Canada East), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and later, Prince Edward Island, agreed to join together in a dominion of provinces under the The Commonwealth of Great Britain (apparently they forgot to invite Newfoundland until it was too late to change the plans!) Newfoundland went on as it's own entity until finally joining Canada in 1949, amid some local dissent. As the plans for a transcontinental railway were brought to fruition thanks to the forcefulness of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, other provinces joined Canada along the way, Manitoba in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.

Why did the British colonies in North America decide to join together instead of just maintaining the status quo? Well, talks had begun of a union of Maritime provinces as early as 1864 at the Charlottetown Conference. Britain had actually suggested this first union as a sort of insurance policy for the tiny, far-flung colonies who were basically abandoned for 6 months of the year by their mother country due to inclement weather. The two halves of the province of Canada (English and French) had thought this union a capital idea, and joined on for the ride. Basically, they were looking for safety in numbers, as they were tired of being invaded by marauding Fenians and feeling threatened by American politicians with their dreams of Manifest Destiny.

Canada's dream was much simpler, "peace, order and good government". The union of provinces has always been a precarious one, but Canadians are very practised at compromise -- the various differences in each province's cultural identity has been enshrined within our Constitution.

Elijah Harper
The Native peoples of Canada have always played a vital role in its history--from Native Leaders like Tecumseh who defended Canada against the U.S. in the War of 1812 to the revolutionary Métis leader Louis Riel who is recognized as the Father of Manitoba.

In modern Canadian history, Elijah Harper made his point by quietly saying, "No" in the Manitoba legislature to the Meech Lake Accord which would have recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" but completely ignored any mention of the First Nations peoples.

One hundred years after Confederation, Canada played host to the world at Expo '67 in Montreal. It was a watershed moment for Canadians to take pride in their country. There were countless projects in communities across the nation that were opened during Canada's centennial year, new libraries, parks, highways, town halls, bridges, etc. It was a very happy time for Canadians and there were good repercussions for many years afterwards.
Here is the song by Bobby Gimby that was used to promote Expo '67 to Canadians.

Well, since I missed posting on Victoria Day, I think my Canada Day post will do for both! This is about as Canadian as it gets...Scott Thompson from The Kids in the Hall (circa 1990) spoofing the Queen.

Here's an old clip of Jim Carrey's stand up routine about Canada. I love his voice impression of Chief Dan George.

And now...for the pièce de résistance....
Here is Stick Figure Richard to help celebrate Canada Day!


My dear friend Natalie (an American) has made this cartoon for me (a Canadian) which is about an actor whom we both admire and hold in high esteem (who just happens to be British)!

Yay! Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians, or wannabe Canadians,
or those who just wanna visit Canadians.
Youtube video: Canadian, Please!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

From Georgia to Ontario

I was so excited to see a package waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday. Avalon sent me my prize! I won Charlotte Hawkins' "The Tempest" on Avalon's blog a couple of weeks ago.  I see she mailed it on June 9th and it arrived on June 23rd. That's 2 weeks to go from a small place in the state of Georgia, U.S.A. to an even smaller place in the province of Ontario, Canada. Snail mail indeed!

Dear Avalon,
It was so neat to see your address and imagine what it might be like where you live.  So I got to thinking about Georgia -- which immediately brought to mind the song  Georgia on My Mind.
I love when Willie Nelson sings the Blues. You have to wait a bit until Ray Charles comes in, but he's worth waiting for. What I like most about this video is it shows how much fun they seem to be having as well as their mutual respect for each other.
As far as biopics go, one of my very faves has to be Ray with Jamie Foxx deservedly winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles. If you would rather hear just Charles's version of this song, please follow this link. It's worth clicking on just to read the introductory blurb below the video!

One of my favourite songs to sing at Karaoke Night down at our local Royal Canadian Legion Hall is Gladys Knight and the Pips' Midnight Train to Georgia. I am always looking for a few good Pips!

How romantic is that? "I'd rather live in his world, than live without him in mine."

Then I remembered my all-time favourite song about Georgia! Brook Benton's 
version of Rainy Night in Georgia.
This is the live version, which is very nice but I still  prefer the original radio hit as it had a more bluesy feel to it. Brook Benton has such a deep and emotional voice, I can't enjoy anyone else's version of it.
The lyrics are wonderful too: "A distant moaning of a train, seems to play a sad refrain to the night..."

Aren't there a lot of wonderful songs about Georgia? Those are my faves, but some of you Country music fans may prefer "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", or how about the theme music for the Harlem Globetrotter's basketball team, "Sweet Georgia Brown". The Globetrotters actually visited my High School way back in the day! There were only a few of them, not the whole team, but they were very impressive and entertaining indeed. ...But I digress...

So now my train of thought has arrived with the book to the hinterland of Ontario. Unfortunately there are not as many songs about Ontario as there are about Georgia. And even less about my neck of the woods -- Northern Ontario, which is as different to Southern Ontario as the proverbial North and South miniseries I keep blathering about!

But luckily, two of my favourite songs by Neil Young are about places in Northern Ontario (or it is at least mentioned).

The first is Helpless from the Crosby Stills Nash & Young album Deja Vu (1970). **UPDATE: I had to replace that video with a LIVE performance from The Last Waltz (with The Band.) I hope this video doesn't disappear too, from the video police! :p

This might well be my very favourite Neil Young song, probably because it does have special meaning for me. But k. d. Lang does a fabulous job of her cover version of this song, performed when Neil was recovering from surgery. Listen to her version here.

 The second offering I have from Neil is Long May You Run

Yeah, I know it's only about his car...(you know how goofy guys are about their cars)! But did you catch the lyrics "Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962..."  That's Blind River ONTARIO, near Elliot Lake where Neil came from before he moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and his music career took root.  Blind River could arguably be the halfway point between Northern and Southern Ontario (on the TransCanada Highway).  It's still part of the North, but it's within a looong day's drive to Toronto. Ontario takes about 3 days to traverse, if you are not a crazy driver. I've known some people to do it in a 24 hour driving stint without stopping. (That's 2 drivers with one sleeping while the other drives.) Which makes me think that Neil Young's paean to his car is not really so silly. A reliable car that won't break down (literally) in the middle of nowhere is a very good thing indeed!

So now, I get to settle down and read Charlotte Hawkins' lovely alternate ending for the Guy of Gisborne story. If you would like to win a copy, you can visit her blog here and leave your email address.
What a treat! I come!

I can't help it! This picture makes me melt!
Or you could say, it leaves me helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless...
(Source: Richard Armitage Central)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's not easy being green...

Having to spend each day the colour of the leaves...
(Richard Armitage in Strike Back)
Although doesn't the camo paint make Richard's eyes look green? I thought they were blue, but after some discussion over on the Me + Richard Armitage blog, an anonymous commenter pointed out that they were really grey!  Nothing wrong with green though! It's my favourite colour actually. And green is the colour of frogs!
Frogs! Yes, frogs. I love them.
Why do I love frogs (you may ask)? Let's see, like a frog, I am happiest near water (or in it). Frogs look like they are smiling, which makes me happy! They eat bugs, (which I hate) so they are helping to make my environment bug-free. They are also known for their springtime serenades!

Kermit is my favourite frog!

The things I learn by blogging! Apparently dear Kermit is a world traveller! Here is his World Tour website:
Here he is in London, England!
Exactly where I will be travelling to soon. I wonder if he has any pointers for me?

Favourite Literary frogs:

by Beatrix Potter  

This series of children`s books was written as easy readers in the 1970s. In 2008 the author`s daughter discovered some unpublished stories, which she decided to illustrate herself. 

Grandfather Frog 

Now here is something old, but new to me. I can`t resist including it, as it is a children`s song and cartoon written by none other than Paul McCartney!

Wouldn`t it be great if kissing a frog really worked
 Presto -- Changeo!
A Prince among men if I ever saw one!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fanvidding with Coldplay

I love this band's music and I have noticed that quite a few of us fans of Richard Armitage seem to feel the same way. No wonder there seem to be so many fanvids set to Coldplay songs which also feature Mr. Armitage (in various roles)!

So here we have it. Sit back and enjoy the music and feast your eyes on some great videos!

I'd like to start off with my favourite Coldplay song, Yellow which is also the first tune I ever heard by this band. I always loved the music but the lyrics had me stumped for quite awhile. I couldn't figure out if it was complete gobbledygook supposed to sound somehow meaningful, or it was actually quite brilliantly deep! I finally decided that since I loved the music so much I was going to have to believe the latter, just to make myself happy!

I was very pleased to find how well Liisakee made this song fit with the BBC's Robin Hood miniseries. (I knew the lyrics were brilliant!!) Love her use of colour to emphasize the theme. Oh...and watch out for Season 3 SPOILERS!!

yellow3 from Liisa on Vimeo.

Liisakee must really like Coldplay because she also has another song, Spies which of course fits very well with Lucas North and the gang in Season 8 of Spooks / MI5.
UPDATE:  Oct. 13, 2011 Unfortunately her video has been removed from Youtube for some reason.  But I have just found another video with the same song done by PrinceZukoFanGirl.

And now, here is a fanvid about my favourite miniseries North and South using Coldplay's The Scientist. I know that quite a few vidders have used this song as well, but Videosbyloo's version is definitely my favourite!

I am very happy to include a video by graphic artist and fanvidder extraordinaire HeathDances. This song has special meaning for her as it was made during a very difficult time in her life.  Here is her version of Fix You, based on Season 7 of Spooks / MI5.  It is very suitable for Lucas North, who was just released from a Russian Prison Camp. All his fans would certainly love to "fix" him! You can really notice HeathDances's editing skills near the end of the video when the music speeds up and the clips are perfectly in time with the music.

And now for a little break in the RA fanfest, here are a couple of different videos to Coldplay songs.

First we have a lovely video from KatSw3 which celebrates so many wonderful movies using the film Pleasantville as a frame in which to set the lyrics for the song Life in Technicolor.
Unfortunately she has not enabled embedding so I cannot display her work on my blog! So here is a link to follow. Don't miss it, it's worth a bit of inconvenience to see! You might even catch a glimpse of a couple a quick scenes from North and South!

Trixterrr has done a tribute to one of my favourite detective shows starring Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Remember I posted about him before? This one is to the song Green Eyes. This video really shows their complex relationship very well. I was always hoping they would get together -- the romantic tension was incredible!

The last two videos are from Robin Hood BBC again. They both contain spoilers, especially the last one -- so beware!
The following video is by QueenBee2881. It is a wonderful tribute to Robin Hood and all who follow him to the tune of Viva La Vida.

Last but not least, this video by Giz the Gunslinger really ties up the Robin Hood series. It is very touching -- and like I said -- BEWARE of SPOILERS! The title might give you a clue why it is so sad: It's called Those Who are Dead -- otherwise known as 42.

I have so enjoyed watching all the fanvids which I never even knew existed until I began my obsession with that certain actor! I have discovered so much new music (new to me at least), which has been such a joy. I have also discovered new movies and television shows which I have since seen or at least attempted to watch. 
Thank you to all those talented vidders out there. Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cousin Phillis book giveaway!

I am still enjoying a collection of Elizabeth Gaskell's short stories which is named for her longest and final one: Cousin Phillis. So far the story Manchester Marriage is my favourite, but we'll see if I change my mind after finishing the last one.

If you would like a chance to win this book, (and some other ones too!)  head over to Maria Grazia's blog at FLY HIGH! where she has posted an interview with l'il ol' me! The book giveaway deadline is for this book is Monday June 14, 2010.

Maria Grazia informed me who was the lucky winner of this book on June 16th.
I ordered it from The Book Depository that same day. It is a very easy to use online book ordering service which provides Free Shipping almost anywhere in the world! Thanks for letting me know about this company, Maria Grazia!
Oops! I just realized that had I used the link from to The Book Depository website, that a percentage of the profit would go to one of Richard Armitage's suggested charities!
So please follow this link instead!
I just checked the status of the book and it has been dispatched, so it should be on arriving very soon to Claudia in the province of Florence, Italy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drink to me only with thine eyes...

I had forgotten there was a song attached to this title, let alone such a lovely poem written in 1616 by Ben Jonson. It is entitled To Celia.

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
     And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup
     And I'll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
     Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
     I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
     Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope that there
     It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
     And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
     Not of itself but thee!

When I first planned this post, I was going to use several pictures of Mr. Armitage enjoying a drink, but I guess RA fans must think alike because Mulubinba beat me to it! Here are some lovely screencaps of Richard imbibing various fluids.
Photo Friday: Trivial Questions for Mr. RA
Scroll down to question 7 - that 's where the pictures start.

I had picked the title for the post as a further tribute to RA's eyes, but when I did some research I discovered the poem -- and then the song! The music was familiar to me and I wondered if my mother had ever sung it. I think there is a hymn that may be based on the tune.  Youtube had several versions of the song but it was either in an operatic version or Johnny Cash's version, neither of which really appealed to me. I dug a little deeper into the web and discovered a marvelous website where musicians post their own music and there was a lovely folk version of the song:

I decided the poem reminded me of North and South so I came up with the idea of another fanvid. I hope you will like my second attempt at video making. (Another musical slide show.)