Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — October 2006

The Hour

I’m so glad that CBC has started showing The Hour on their main network, which we get on local cable here in Burlington. It’s too bad they don’t get CBC on the UVM network that runs through the dorms. I expect that students would really enjoy this show. Tonight’s show for instance had interviews with Bob Geldof, Margaret Trudeau, and The Killers. I’m still kicking myself for missing Sunday’s special show with The Tragically Hip….

Fortunately, from The Hour website, you can watch the most recent episode and also clips from previous shows. (This clip cracked me up, by the way) The archives of previous clips and interviews is one of the best you’ll find on any website. Just look at all the clips here in the interviews section alone, including George’s chat with Gord Downie from The Hip. How great is that?

October 26, 2006   No Comments

from the page to the screen…

Looks like Canadian lit is going to have a fairly prominent role on Canadian television next year. Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Englishman’s Boy and Mordecai Richler’s St. Urbain’s Horseman are both being turned into mini-series. It might be interesting to see if I can teach both of these books at the same time as the mini-series are being shown in Canada. We’re reading The Englishman’s Boy in English 180 right now, and my students are weighing in on what they think about turning books into movies.

October 25, 2006   No Comments

Martins going to the World Series

My sister and brother-in-law live in Windsor, Ontario, which is just south (!) of Detroit. I’ve been following my sister’s posts about the Detroit Tigers for the last few months as she and Dale attended the last 22 games of the regular season, and now a game from each of the playoff series. Go Tigers!

Her blog post today about the being the first Martin to see a world series game, a game my grandfather loved and played exceptionally well, took me right back to watching the World Series in the small tv room at the farm back in 1979, when the Pirates beat the Orioles in 7 games. I don’t remember much more than the couch, the brown leather lazy bow with the calfskin over the back, the fiddle on the wall, and baseball on one of the two channels we could get out there. It must have been harvest time, or Thanksgiving, as I’m not sure why else we would have been there in the middle of the school year. With all that goes on here, I don’t get much time to watch hockey, let alone baseball. This year, though, I’ll be doing my best to watch the World Series and will be thinking about more than one Martin as I watch.

Here’s just a bit of what Heidi wrote today….

As a writer, it’s distressing when words aren’t there for you when you think they should be. But, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s ok that words fail to appear sometimes. Maybe there are things that you don’t need words for. My Dad once quoted his Dad (my grandfather), as saying: “God gave us two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Thus we should always spend twice as much time listening or looking as we do talking.” My dad then reflected: “When we miss him, we remember his words and we remember to look and listen.” Next Sunday when I’m at what I assume will be the first World Series game ever attended by a Saskatchewan Martin, I’ll be cheering our team on. But I’ll also be there for my grandfather, looking, listening and taking it all in as he would have done.

October 18, 2006   No Comments

I like Michael Ignatieff as much as the next guy, ok probably a bit more, but this really cracked me up….

I’ve been having a great time here at UVM bringing writers like Michael Ondaatje, Richard Harrison, Eden Robinson, and soon George Elliott Clarke to campus. Now, though, I think it’s time to try to find a way to bring Rick Mercer. This post on his blog had me laughing out loud in the office. Loved the bit last week with Bob Rae, too.

October 16, 2006   No Comments

“Skepticism: The antidote to ‘truthiness’ in American government and media”

Citizens must want to be smarter about how to interpret the messages we encounter every day in government, in media, in the workplace, in business and advertising. – Roy Peter Clark

If I had to choose one thing that I hope my students take with them when they leave my classes it would be the ability to think more critically about the world in which they live. On his Writing Tools blog, I came across Roy Peter Clark’s fifteen steps that he suggests citizens of the USA in particular might follow to start to take their country back. (I’d argue that this applies to any country just as much as it does to Americans).

I particularly like steps six, seven, and eight:

6. Recognize the power of framing as a communication device. People may be telling you the truth, but only a part of the truth. They may be framing events to focus on some themes, but not others. In the immigration debate, for example, the “safety of our borders” is a frame, but so is “America opens its arms to immigrants,” and so is “there are jobs in America that Americans will not do.”

7. Learn to recognize the manipulation of language and images. Read George Orwell’s famous essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which argues that language abuse leads to political abuse, and vice versa. Be skeptical of any speaker or writer who calls into question a critic’s loyalty to the country.

8. Learn the differences between forms of political persuasion that appeal to your reason as opposed to those that appeal to your fears or passions. Beware of slogans. They are a substitute for critical thinking.

October 13, 2006   No Comments

Orhan Pamuk wins the Nobel!

This is great, and very well deserved. Read more here….

October 12, 2006   No Comments

Students going on the Ottawa trip might be interested in this upcoming lecture

Group of Seven

with Professor William Tortolano

Pickering Room

Fletcher Free Library

October 18th at 7PM

“Inspired by Thom Thomson, Canada’s unique artists (know as The Group of Seven) felt that Canadians would recognize themselves if they saw the beauty of their landscape. This program presents their works with many slides, video clips, and commentaries.”

October 9, 2006   Comments Off on Students going on the Ottawa trip might be interested in this upcoming lecture

“then again well they got celine dion”

Found this online: Weird Al Yankovic’s version of Green Day’s American Idiot: Canadian Idiot. Hmmmm….

October 9, 2006   No Comments

This is what we’re up against….

Just about to send out essay topics for my Can Lit course. Then I saw this…. I feel the same sometimes 🙂

(via Steven D. Krause)

October 9, 2006   No Comments