March 23, 2017

An Open Letter to the Next Generation,

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

I can’t begin to tell you just how much this means to me. You see, for the last few years I’ve been wondering how we were going to cope? The bills keep getting bigger, our savings keep getting smaller, Roberta and I keep getting older; you get the picture. Then on top of all that the added tax burden from every level of government; the future was starting to look more than just a little bleak; and by future, I mean next month!

But then you came along with your incredibly generous offer.

I could hardly believe it when Premier Wynne said our hydro bill was going down by 25% and you guys were going to pay it for us! I mean, really? With all you have going on; struggling with a fledgling career, trying to sort out your gender issues, wondering if 45 down in the States is going to get us all blown up; I wouldn’t blame you at all if you didn’t have a moment’s thought for anyone but yourself. I know I didn’t at your age.

But not you, nope! With all that’s going on in your own lives you’re going to take on the added burden of paying down 25% of my hydro bill. And you’re going to do it at a time in your life when your own struggles are likely to be even worse than they are now. Yeah, by the time this bill comes due you will be facing the disillusionment of you own middle age wondering what the hell happened to all the hopes and dreams you had in 2017. I just hope you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew.

At a time when all the pundits are slagging the younger generations (sorry Millennials) you are shattering the stereotypes by committing your future to making a better today for the people who screwed up yesterday by electing the bunch who came up with this crazy idea to begin with.

You guys ROCK!

Dennis Gray, Guelph, ON

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Really?

Posted: January 23, 2017 in Current Events, Politics, Society

I’ve been avoiding posting about the US election. In fact, avoiding such is why I haven’t posted since July. I have friends on both sides of the equation and I really wanted to avoid getting into it with any of them. My conservative friends say I’m too liberal, my lefty friends say I’m too right-wing, which is why I general consider myself a centrist libertarian (please note the small ‘L’). Personally I want a gov’t that is fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and not one bureaucrat larger than it has to be to get the job done effectively, which in today’s political climate likely qualifies me for membership in the Fantasy Island Party.

Now, I would truly prefer to keep all my friends, even the ones I totally disagree with, because life and conversation is decidedly more interesting with them than without them; so, I have been hoping against hope that there is more to what I have been seeing than meets the eye. I was betting that all the insanity on TV and the Internet was simply smoke and mirrors, setting up the “big reveal”. You see, when you work in theatre, even just community theatre, you soon understand what you are looking at is a thin wall of plywood and paint that hides the real work going on backstage, and a big part of me was sure the American election fell into something of that same category.

I was clinging to that hope because I really didn’t want to believe that what I was seeing was actually real. I still don’t want to believe it; but it’s beginning to look like I don’t have a choice. So here I am, blogging once again.

When I got to work this morning the conversation quickly turned to the “alternative facts” comment and one of my coworkers (who doesn’t blog or even comment on their Facebook account very often so I won’t use their name here) made a very good point; it went something like this.

“I get it, you don’t like the numbers, but it would have been very easy to spin this. You go out there and you say, ‘Yes, the numbers were disappointing. We would have liked to be able to say it was the biggest Inauguration audience ever,but it wasn’t and here’s why. Most of our supporters live in the interior and lower states. They don’t make a lot of money because far too many of them are unemployed. They can’t afford to just skip off for a few days and take a bus to Washington. That’s why we’re here. That’s why they elected us. We’re going to fix that!’ But instead of doing that they do THIS? That I don’t get.”

In less than five minutes they came up with a far better official response than Trump and all his advisers could. Or worse yet, his advisers did come up with it and Trump shot it down and they all said, “Okay fine.”

The one my coworker is really confused by is Sean Spicer, Trump’s new spokesman. They pointed out, and I have to agree, that the conversation in the Oval Office should have gone something like this, “I’m sorry Mr. President. I can’t say this. Bending the truth a little is one thing. Spinning the facts to work in our favour is another, but this is stupid! There’s video coverage, photos all over Facebook and Instagram, we can’t sell this!”

But he didn’t. Instead he walked out there and told what amounts to the biggest bold-faced lie in American politics since “I did not have sex with that woman”, possibly bigger, and in doing so has effectively neutered every press release from the White House going forward. Because if they will tell this lie, how can we ever trust another word.

As so it seems that reality television has become the new reality for American politics. Can’t wait to see what the writers have scripted for tomorrow’s episode.

Shaking My Fist at the Sky

Posted: July 29, 2016 in Personal

I’ve been watching what Kathleen Wynne is doing to the Ontario Health system and found myself wondering if Katy’s blog might contain a little foreshadowing…

Katyboo1's Weblog

My brother was in hospital for surgery today.

He’s had a kidney stone for months. It is one of those things the NHS no longer fix in the early stages. They hope it will just ‘go away.’

I understand this. There is no money, and if you know anything at all about the NHS you will know that they now routinely employ what they call rationing. This means that they do not stop offering certain treatments/drugs, but they do make the criteria to get them almost impossible to achieve. Kidney stones, along with hernias, are things that are often on hospital trust ration lists.

To be fair, sometimes people do pass kidney stones without any help,  but sometimes they don’t and in my brother’s case, he didn’t. In fact his kidney stone got bigger and bigger and worse and worse. In fact, the drugs they gave him several months ago which they swore…

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Happy Now?

Posted: June 28, 2016 in Personal

I’ve been fascinated by the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the UK. Of all the commentary I’ve read I have to say this is my favourite, not because of what it says about Brexit, but because of her comments on the current state of Western democracy and sociopolitical discussion in general. I see the same complaints in discussions her in Canada, in the States, and all around the G8 especially. They say that misery loves company but frankly I’d feel better if Katy’s complaints weren’t so wide spread.

Katyboo1's Weblog

It is day four in the Big Brexit house.

I had hoped after Friday’s absolute catastrophe of a day that the country might somehow magically rally over the weekend. I mean, when you plunge your country into possible ruin on the promise of a golden future that will allow it to rise like a phoenix from the flames, you have a plan, right?

As it turns out, you don’t. The only person that seems to have any plan at all, and be acting on it rather than just spouting meaningless Churchillian rhetoric is Nicola Sturgeon, and I can’t even vote for her.

I was distraught and angry on Friday. I had hoped to feel better by today. Instead I am running on barely controlled rage and getting more enraged by the moment.

Here are a few things I am furious about:

Firstly, leave voters telling me to calm down. I’m sorry…

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Justice

Posted: June 3, 2016 in Personal

I was thinking of writing a post about this myself, but I can’t say it any better than my friend here, so I will let her say it. Good read.

Heart Murmurs

Venom and vitriol. All over my news feed. All over the tv news. All over the internet.

Everywhere.

The reason?

A silverback gorilla was shot by zoo staff after a 4-year old child managed to get into the enclosure. I’m sure you’ve seen the story and perhaps seen the video footage of the child’s foot in the grip of the 450lb ape.

Let me just get something straight here before I hop up on my little soap box.

I love animals.

I love animals and always have. I have been fascinated and enthralled by Jane Goodall’s life story since childhood. I read every book in the library about Jane. I also read every book that I could get my hands on about dolphins, sharks, whales and other marine creatures. I imagined tramping through jungles, as Goodall had, chronicling and re-defining what we know about animals. I dreamed about animal research…

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Headed for the Big Apple

Posted: April 15, 2016 in Personal

My new friend Jennifer Cornish is headed to New York, New York in September to participate in  “United Solo” the world’s largest solo theatre festival. If you’re not sure that you can make it to the festival in the Big Apple this fall, or even if you know you can make it, remember that you can preview this wonderful talent in Fergus this month in “Shirley Valentine.”

Tickets HERE.

 

One Shirley, Two Actors

Posted: April 12, 2016 in Art, Theatre

I know… it’s been a while. But hey, when life does give you a few minutes to yourself – parking in front of the computer is rarely what you want to do as “down time”; so the blog stays idle until there’s a compelling reason to post something. Well, something has come up… so, here you go.

I’m sure many of you have seen, or have at least heard about, the movie Shirley Valentine. Before it was made into a movie in 1989, it was an amazing play written by Willy Russell. Starting the last Tuesday in April, 4thWall Productions will be staging a production of Russell’s play and they have invited me to design the soundscape for it. It’s what is sometimes referred to “in the biz” as a one-hander, which means there’s only one actor on stage for the whole play.

That’s one actor, delivering all the lines, for two hours, every show. And when there are two shows a day for five days in a row, that’s a lot of work; especially if, like most actors in Canada, you need to hold down a part-time or even a full time job just to pay the bills. Add in the kids, and soccer/hockey, and… well, you get the idea. What’s the solution? Before I answer that question, let me tell you a little about Shirley Valentine in case you are among the uninitiated.

Shirley is in a place a lot of us find ourselves at one point or another. She’s in her forties, her two kids have moved on, the bloom has fallen off the romance with her husband and when she takes the time to sit down and have a glass of wine and think about it, she’s saddened by the fact that life is not what she imagined it would be. She wonders where it all went sideways and what happened to all the dreams she had when she was younger. So she goes looking for them and also discovers, as a wise Greek philosopher once put it, “Dreams are never where you expect them to be.”dreams

So what happens? Well, that would be telling now, wouldn’t it?

But, back the solution: as my title suggests, the trick is one Shirley, but two actors! You get two people to share the role, trading off one performance to the next. In this case that also means two Jennifers; first, my good friend Jennifer Barson, whom I’ve enjoyed working with a number of times, and second, my new friend Jennifer Cornish, whom I certainly hope to work with again. Two great actors sharing one tremendous role to the delight of all. It’s a remarkable thing to watch them work. Same story, same dialog, same blocking, but, in a manner of speaking, two great plays. You may have to come see it twice!

So this is my invitation to you my faithful reader, to make your way to the Fergus Grand Theatre in, of all places, Fergus, Ontario and take in a remarkable show. Grab a date and enjoy an evening show together, or round up the book club and grab a matinée. It all starts on Tuesday, April 26th and runs two performances a day (2pm and 8pm) through to April 30th. Tickets are just $25.

To buy tickets online… CLICK HERE!

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