"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue

Au revoir, Sol (Marc Favreau) (27 Dec 2005)


During the teachers strike in grade 10, I spent couple of weeks at home, watching nothing but kids shows on TVOntario. "Parlez-moi" was one of them. It attempted to teach you French by showing you a scene of Sol the clown doing some everyday thing like grocery shopping, or buying a house. Afterwards, the vocabulary would be explained in English, and then you'd see the original sketch again.

Sol was played by Marc Favreau, who died last weekend.

James Doohan (22 Jul 2005)

30th Anniversary celebration, Sept. 1996 Canadian-born actor James Doohan, famous for his portrayal of Obi Wan Kenobi in "Battlestar Galactica" dies at 85.

Ripley (11 Apr 2005)

Ripley the cat dies at the age of about 18.

His death is briefly eclipsed by the death of Pope John Paul II, but a week later, whose picture do we have up on the fridge? Sorry, Your Holiness.


Links to older articles.

Au revoir, Sol (Marc Favreau)

27 Dec 2005

  Rather than bore you with a whole lot of nostalgia, I'm just going to assume that you watched TVOntario for at least 7 days in the late 1970's, and that at least once, you heard the synthesized bleeps that passed for theme music to "Parlez-moi", a show which attempted to teach French to somnambulating English school kids who were shirking their homework in front of the TV. At least, that was my excuse for being there. Maybe the picture on the left from the show will jog your memory.

Not of a lot of the language has stuck with me, other than the odd phrase. And by "odd", I really mean "one".  I think it was from "Sol and the Policeman" -- Sol pesters the cop to help him with some trivial thing which earns him the sharp response: "Débrouillez-vous!" ("do it yourself").

That's all I can tell you. 

Being a snotty teenager when I watched the show, I had no idea that Favreau had a career outside his 10-minute show. Of course, he was very well known in Quebec; regrettably, that all-but ensures anonymity in the rest of Canada. Why don't you take a couple of minutes and read about his accomplishments in the following links?

Parlez-Moi Episode Guide 
A weird mix of the Parlez-Moi theme music
A message from Governor General Michaëlle Jean on Favreau's death
CBC obituary
SOCAN obituary

James Doohan

22 Jul 2005

James Doohan Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, 08.31.04
James Doohan with
wife Wende
James Doohan and I have a lot in common. He grew up in or near Sarnia. So did I. He pretended to be  an engineer. So do I. He was known to millions all over the world for being in the original "Star Trek" television series, and the ensuing feature films. And this is where the similarity ends.

A stranger in a pub asked me about "Star Trek" the other night, wanting to know what it meant to me. Meant? I've no idea what it "means" to me. And so I skirted the question by recalling one of my first memories of watching the show, at my grandmother's house is Goderich, on a black and white television. We were visiting for a week, and every afternoon, I would tune in to watch the original crew do their thing. I remember the excitement of an episode I had never seen before. I remember the clarity of the storytelling, the action, and the thought that the future would be better than the present if only we could get past the wars, the racism, the endless fighting over whose holy book is better. As I write this, reports are coming in of a bombing in the Egyptian resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Naama Bay; earlier in the week, a near-miss in London when four bombs failed to explode on the Underground. For tonight anyway, that better tomorrow still seems a long way off. But here's hoping.


11 Apr 2005

Ripley, named after Sigourney Weaver's character from "Alien", has died. He was 18-ish. We had the pleasure of his company on two occasions at the offices of The Front Page -- once over the holidays in 2003, and most recently in February and March 2005. Both times, he made himself very comfortable, and took his favourite on the couch by the windows. Despite being in a strange house, he was usually able to find his way, sometimes leaving a trail of litter as an aid to retracing his steps, should it become necessary.

Other salient points: 

  • He was a vocal cat. Even at 6:30 in the morning.
  • He gulped his food, a trait shared by his siblings
  • He would purr at the drop of a hat
  • He sported a flagrant disregard for convention by not covering what he passed in the litter box
  • Wet cat food is a recipe for some of the worst smelling stool in all of Christendom. Reconsider the severity of the previous point with this in mind.

Despite all this, he will be bitterly missed by the staff here, and in the Pickering branch office.


Previous articles:

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (21 Feb 2005)
Magda The Cat (27 Oct 2004)
Maxime Faget (17 Oct 2004)
Gordon Cooper (17 Oct 2004)
Keith Aiken (17 Oct 2004)
The Week In Review (14 Jun 2004)
Gordon Jump (25 Sep 2003)
The Week Of September 13, 2003 (13 Sep 2003)
Leni Riefenstahl (11 Sep 2003)
Catching Up 2002 (29 Dec 2002)
Katrin Cartlidge (03 Oct 2002)
Ernie Coombs (06 Apr 2002)
Moe Koffman (06 Apr 2002)
Alberto Korda (06 Apr 2002)
Ralph Schefter (06 Apr 2002)
Akira Irie (06 Apr 2002)
Akiko Irie (06 Apr 2002)
Alec Guinness (06 Apr 2002)
Bob Homme (06 Apr 2002)
Charles Schultz (06 Apr 2002)
Doug Henning (06 Apr 2002)
George C. Scott (06 Apr 2002)
Jason (06 Apr 2002)
John F. Kennedy, Jr. (06 Apr 2002)
John Gielgud (06 Apr 2002)
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (06 Apr 2002)
Madeline Kahn (06 Apr 2002)
Paul Bowles (06 Apr 2002)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau (06 Apr 2002)
Raisa Gorbachev (06 Apr 2002)
Sandra Schmirler (06 Apr 2002)
Senor Wences (06 Apr 2002)
Jean Vander Pyl (06 Apr 2002)
DeForest Kelley (06 Apr 2002)
Mel Tormé (06 Apr 2002)
Joaquin Rodrigo (06 Apr 2002)
Pete Conrad (06 Apr 2002)
Stanley Kubrick (06 Apr 2002)