Best of counterweights 2011 B : Entertainment, heritage, obituaries, sporting life, and USA today

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: In Brief

This is our second “best of counterweights 2011” list, as promised (or threatened may be the better word?) — compiled by X and I, as we recurrently toast the season in this otherwise deserted office, complete with a fake holiday tree, and several boxes of excellent seasonal cookies, left behind by the den mother by mistake. For the general background on the project this year see “Best of counterweights 2011 A : Politics, economics, and philosophy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Beyond” below, or CLICK HERE.

One of our themes in this second list is the fate of the neighbouring USA today in the hinge-of-fate year 2011. We start with a look back at George W. Bush’s presidential memoir, Decision Points. Then we review the remarkable career of Robert Freeman, a California high-school teacher who proves that democracy in America is far from dead yet. This is followed by a tribute to the late great Peter Falk, one of Dr. Randall White’s personal heroes.  And then we have notes on my own encounters with Silicon Valley, and the beautiful Natalie Wood (strictly second hand in the mass media in the second case, alas). And then X remembers some potential up front and personal encounters with Mitt Romney’s dog, on vacation in Southwestern Ontario.

Other subjects from the year whose last week or so is now in motion are the alas-no-longer-with-us Canadian political wit Larry Zolf, the Toronto Blue Jays (and friends), the Arab spring of 2011 and the Canadian winter of 1837–1838, the strangely juxtaposed Elwy Yost and Amy Winehouse, and the late great Canadian social democratic leader Jack Layton (from a conservative family in old Quebec).

I conclude by stressing that almost everything good about the compilation of this list is my work, and everything bad can be laid at the door of Citizen X. Whatever (an over-used term this year some complain, but with reason, I would argue myself), here is the list:

JANUARY 7 — A tale of two reviews of books : on the memory loops of George W. Bush

FEBRUARY 24  — If the USA really did go insane, what would happen to Canada?

MARCH 17 — RIP — Larry Zolf, 1934–2011

APRIL 2 — Blue Jays 2011 : Is the turning point at hand .. at last?

MAY 24 — Middle Eastern pro-democracy uprisings ought to remind us of Canada’s Rebellions of 1837-38

JUNE 26 — Goodbye, Lieutenant .. Columbo and me (1927–2011, 1968–2003)

JULY 23 — RIP .. Elwy Yost and Amy Winehouse .. two very different lives and deaths

AUGUST 1 — The greatest Blue Jay .. and the Paris Hilton of Puerto Rico

AUGUST 22 — Rest in peace Jack Layton .. “Optimism is better than despair”

OCTOBER 31 — Autumn in Silicon Valley .. the end of American exceptionalism?

NOVEMBER 29 — Splendor at the Hollywood theatre : remembering the Natalie Wood who would be 73 years old

DECEMBER 12 — Did I bump into Mitt Romney and/or his dog in Grand Bend, Ontario?

Oh, and btw, in case you’re wondering just how serious the current Canadian federal government is about asserting Canadian sovereignty in our great white north, take a quick look at  “Canada well behind Russia in race to claim Arctic seaways and territory,” in yesterday’s Toronto Star! (And in case you’re wondering whether we left anything out, because the narrow confines of an even dozen selections forced our hands, try “Not everyone agrees with Happy Louis Riel Day 2011 across Canada, but …“, or  “Merella Fernandez .. lost and found!” or even [and we’re not really very sure about this one at all — the attempt at humour doesn’t really work, even if the concept has its virtues]  “Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians are back [or will be soon?].”)

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