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I saw a star last night for the first time in a long time. Just seemed a little brighter than your average cosmic beacon. Thanks for looking over us old friend. LBJ+Sab+Zoë+Jack
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When is US TV cop drama not a US TV cop drama? When it’s shot in Toronto.
You guys should have bought CBC’s The Border when you had the chance.
You can read Alex Beam’s full article in Boston Globe here
“It all started a couple of seasons ago, when CBS picked up “Flashpoint,’’ a series about a Toronto police SWAT team that was popular in Canada. “Flashpoint’’ celebrates everything the Canadians say they hate about us Americans: It’s gratuitously violent and stupid, with the Kevlar-vested lads in blue armed to the teeth with the latest weaponry. They cruise the world in caravans of gas-guzzling, black Chevy Suburbans, just like Canada’s favorite son, Kiefer Sutherland, in “24.’’ They even use the phrase “set up a hard perimeter,’’ which I thought had been trademarked by the lazy writers on “24.’’…
…Yes and no. In 2008, 41 American police officers were killed in the line of duty. In Canada, zero. Per capita, there are more than twice the number of homicides in the United States compared with Canada, where handguns are tightly restricted. I’m saying this is a good thing. I just don’t see why Canada has to pimp itself out as Dodge City North to earn some simoleons south of the border…”
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Since debuting June 24, ABC’s “Rookie Blue” has captured between 6.2 million and 7.2 million viewers — hardly the breakout hit of the season. Even canceled programs such as “FlashForward,” “Three Rivers” and “Ghost Whisperer” have turned in better performances against hardier competition. Yet “Rookie Blue” is being renewed for a second season, and the network is touting the workmanlike police drama the Los Angeles Times called “modest and plain” as a hot commodity. Shows such as “Rookie Blue” are becoming more common, and the broadcast networks want more of it despite the middle-of-the-road ratings…
You can read Brian Steinberg’s full article in Advertising Age here
Where to Find a Summer Hit on U.S. TV? Canada
“There are opportunities at all levels in the U.S., because the networks are sort of more open” to the idea of picking up programming crafted for an international viewership, said John Morayniss, one of the executive producers of “Rookie Blue” and also CEO of E1 Television, one of the show’s production companies. Produced in Toronto, the drama is “going to be really heavily financed through Canadian licensees and other incentives and subsidies in Canada,” he said.
More scripted fare with a decidedly northern exposure appears to be on the way. The CW network recently announced it would air Canadian comedy series “18 to Life” starting in August. CBS recently began airing episodes of another Canadian police drama, “The Bridge.”
As for “Rookie Blue,” ABC is touting it as the breakout hit of the summer. This despite the fact that the recent episode of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch,” highlighting the death of the show’s hero, Capt. Phil Harris, delivered 8.5 million viewers. And even though “Rookie Blue” is airing in the ABC time slot normally reserved for powerhouse medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” this newbie isn’t coming close to delivering that hit show’s average of nearly 14.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen…”
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I’m going to file this one under “Wild and Wacky Americans” To the author Andrew Malcolm, I usually take little samples of newspaper articles, but I just had to rip the full text. It was to good to leave behind. If you need me to tailor it down just leave me a post. And now I bring you the Anthem Wars!
The whole article is here but you can read more of Andrew Malcolm’s work at the Los Angeles Times here
Americans and Canadians go to war over anthems
Now that both the United States and Canada have celebrated their respective national summer holidays, there comes news out of Florida of a simmering dispute over their respective national anthems. With the result that both got banned.
Canada celebrated the oddly named Canada Day on July 1 with much playing of “O Canada,” the national anthem that became official in 1980. This being Canada, it has two versions, one in French and one in English. The versions actually have different lyrics, but that’s another story.
Each summer, July 1 is about the time many eager Canadian families up in North America’s attic begin laying out the planks for their backyard ice rinks.
The peaceful Canadian holiday that roughly coincides with the start of that country’s pro football season marks the hasty 1867 formation of a separate Canada by a Britain that lost its Civil War bet on the Confederacy. Then, it watched the United States buy Alaska from Russia and figured the disgruntled Yanks might try a grab for the British colony in between.
Canada Day comes just three days before the July 4 holiday that marks another one of those rowdy American moments that mixes alcohol and explosives, celebrating the Declaration of Independence and the violent ensuing and elongated break with Britain and its goofy fat king.
OK, back to Florida, which neighboring (or neighbouring) Canadians believe they have a birthright to visit anytime. Especially in winter. You can easily spot Canadians because they’re always putting “eh?” at the end of declaratory sentences to make a question seeking friendly affirmation from listeners. And Canadians are the folks making awful faces when they sip the lame stuff Americans call beer.
Americans are generally gentle with the visitors, even letting them watch the hockey playoffs on the bar TVs. And no one is yet demanding that the Obama administration get off the golf course and get busy building a fence along the world’s longest undefended border between the two countries.
In Florida’s Sarasota County, our news colleagues at Sun-Sentinel.com report that there’s an array of trailers named La Casa Mobile Home Park. Almost 10% of the people occupying the 900 trailers are Canadian, eh?
When the community has events such as dances or other affairs with music, it has become customary to close the evening by playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and sometimes, in deference to the Canadians, “O Canada.”
However, in the interests of equal-opportunity xenophobia, it seems a number of La Casa’s American residents have now complained to authorities about playing the Canadian song on U.S. soil.
As a result, the community’s activity board has just announced a new end-of-evening music policy: No more national anthems for any country.
Instead, as a crude compromise, the musicians have now been instructed to play “God Bless America.”
Now, some might say, “Huh?” eh?
The board’s thinking is that since both the United States and the much larger Canada are part of America, as in North America, no one will be offended. They hope.
Also, they hope, by evening’s end no one will be in shape to try singing the Irving Berlin lyrics because they’d have to alter the words a little:
“God bless America, Land(s) that I (we) love,
“Stand beside her (them) and guide her (them) Through the night with a light from above”
Of course, Mexico is also generally considered part of North America. But that’s another story.
This story started right here. You can read Tom Lyons’ full article in the Herald Tribune here
What’s next: No flags on the Fourth?
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There isn’t much to say about the crazy stuff I’m watching on TV right now. Spent the afternoon in Kitchener for a birthday party at 3pm. Came back to Toronto around 8.45pm and I’m reading reports that between 35 and 65 people have been pick up by the cops, smashed windows and storefronts along Yonge Street, a burned out Police Car on Queen and John. This is what the G20 protest is supposed to be all about. Really? They’ll be more to come I’m sure, but if you have a voice and need have it heard, shout it out. March and be seen and heard. Anything beyond a peaceful demonstration of your right for free speech puts both you and the police in a very bad place.
Full video and pictures can also be found at CBC.ca here
You can read Don Martin’s full article at the National Post website here
A smart response to a bad situation
TORONTO — In the beginning, it was a classic Canadian experience. Police were calmly cleaning up protest signs and collecting stakes after the protest parade left its Queens Park staging area.
Down the road, the throng of lark-seeking, camera-clicking protesters were diverted away from the summit site by a barricade of — wait for it — short-panted cops on bicycles.
Their mission accomplished peacefully, the helmetless gauntlet of officers laughed and pointed at a stoned-out shirtless man standing precariously atop the head of a statue as he dropped his pants to expose his shortcomings.
It had the feel of a family-friendly hike and was so mellow I was contemplating a return to my hotel to write up the spectacularly benign G8 summit results.
Suddenly, Black Bloc tacticians masked up and started their window-smashing, rock-throwing spree.
Police went from friendly to extremely edgy, tensing up their formations, putting on their riot helmets, slipping on gas masks. Smoke wafted up in the distance which, I learned later, were a pair of police cruisers on fire, which was followed by others later in the day.
Among the thousands of marchers, these young male anarchists probably numbered less than a hundred. They were not protesting anything. The Black Bloc is, after all, a tactic not an ideology, a disguise for warped individuals seeking to destroy private property with bats or bricks.
They do not represent the Canadian way.
You can read the full Canada Press article in The Toronto Star here
The Black Bloc strategy is simple: show up at demonstrations and attack symbols of capitalism. The hope is that police will react, while the protesters shed their black clothes and melt into the crowd.
One website claims it is used as a “security and safety measure.”
The idea of wearing the all-black uniform is that everyone in the “bloc” looks alike, so when a brick is tossed through a store window or a car is set ablaze, the group disperses, making it next to impossible for police to identify the perpetrator of the crime.
It also prevents them from being singled out in media photographs or television coverage.
The tactic has been around since the 1980s. But images of these aggressive protesters popped up in North America during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.
Since then, the Black Bloc has been present at almost every world event, smashing, breaking and destroying stores, vehicles and anything else they come upon.
In Seattle, it was McDonald’s and Nike. In Vancouver, Black Bloc members smashed windows at Olympic sponsor HBC’s downtown store displaying Games merchandise and spray-painted the anarchist circle-A symbol on at least one bus and city vehicle.
I’m trying to link pictures and to their websites and photographers so please bare with me during the updates.
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The last time the US issued travel advisories was in 2003. The World Health Organization had issued warnings after several cases of SARS were diagnosed in the city. Seems we’ve hit the mark once more
You can find this document at Travel.State.Gov here
June 17, 2010
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Toronto, Canada to the potential for large-scale demonstrations in downtown Toronto before and during the G-20 Summit scheduled for June 26-27, 2010. This Travel Alert expires on June 28, 2010.
The G-20 Summit, which heads of state and government will attend, will take place June 26-27, 2010, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Previous G-20 summits have drawn large numbers of protesters and activists, and a number of groups have announced plans to demonstrate throughout downtown Toronto. Protesters are expected to gather in Toronto in the days leading up to the Summit and access to parts of the downtown area will be restricted due to security requirements. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. You should avoid them if at all possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local news media has to say.
The Canadian government is constructing a temporary fence in the vicinity of the Convention Centre to create a security zone for the G-20 Summit. As a result, significant traffic disruption in the downtown core is anticipated. Public transportation may also be restricted. U.S. citizens should avoid traveling in or through downtown Toronto during the Summit, if possible. The City of Toronto’s website, available at www.toronto.ca, includes updated information on traffic and security for residents and visitors during the Summit.
Prior to the G-20 Summit, the Canadian government will host the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario, on June 25 and 26. Because of limited hotel space and Huntsville’s location three hours away from Toronto, the Department does not expect significant protest activity in the Huntsville area. However, U.S. citizens should expect increased security in the area before and during the Summit. The Department does not expect disruptions related to the G-8/G-20 Summits in other areas of Canada.
To enhance security measures already in place for the two Summits, the Canadian Government will likely increase passport and security checks at its land borders. All U.S. citizens traveling to Canada at any time must carry valid travel documents. For details, please refer to the country specific information for Canada.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to consult the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet for Canada and the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, located at http://travel.state.gov. For further information, U.S. citizens may also contact the Department of State toll-free from within the United States and Canada at 1-888-407-4747.
The U.S. Consulate General in Toronto is located at 360 University Avenue; Tel (416) 495-1700. The public entrance is located at 225 Simcoe Street. For further information, please visit the Consulate’s website at http://toronto.usconsulate.gov
The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa is located at 490 Sussex Drive; Tel (613) 688-5335. For further information, please visit the Embassy’s website at http://canada.usembassy.gov/
Let’s just make sure not to have the Rolling Stones and Justin Timberlake on the same stage again. No one here wants to explain the pee in the water bottles gag again. If you weren’t in Toronto during SARSfest read on.
You can read the full play by play of SARSfest at CBC.ca here
5:58 p.m. ET
This is not a crowd for Justin Timberlake.
The crowd pelted the stage with water bottles, bran muffins and other objects during his set. “I almost got creamed,” said CBC.ca photographer Dwight Friesen. Several photographers came backstage with similar accounts.
8 p.m. ET
Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger says there’s a “great buzz” at the concert, that “there’s nothing like it.”
“I think it’s the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for,” he said.
At the same news conference, he said he wasn’t writing history. “It’s going to be a big day.”
Guitarist Keith Richards said the band agreed to perform at the concert “because we love you.”
Earlier, Justin Timberlake said he wasn’t offended by the projectiles fired at him from the crowd. “It’s natural,” he said. “If I came to see AC/DC, I wouldn’t want to see me, either.”
Timberlake was more willing to assess the historical dimensions than Jagger. “What’s happened today is a landmark,” he said.
“This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in my life. It really doesn’t get any better for me.”
He can take solace in knowing he has sold out shows at the Air Canada Centre, and that Jagger himself checked out his set.
You can read Jesse McLean’s full article at The Toronto Star here
American tourist beware: Toronto has joined the U.S. State Department’s list of unsafe travel destinations, joining the ranks of gang-war-ravaged Jamaica and East Asia’s typhoon alley.
Washington issued thetravel alert for Americans who live in Toronto or plan to visit the city during the G20, warning that the summit will draw large numbers of protesters.
“Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. You should avoid them if at all possible,” the advisory said.
The alert also advises U.S. citizens to forego travelling in or through downtown Toronto during the summit, anticipating “significant traffic disruption.”
Toronto Mayor David Miller called the alert an “overreaction,” saying that while parts of downtown will be disrupted, other parts of the city will be unaffected by the June 26-27 summit.
Protests and rallies are expected to begin the week leading up to the summit.
On June 26, thousands are expected to turn out to the People First! march, but organizers have vowed that the event will be a peaceful, family affair. However, protest organizers have confirmed that numerous activists plan to splinter from the larger demonstration and continue a “militant” march to the security perimeter.
Washington says the temporary travel alert expires June 28.
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The National Post gives a detailed graphical snap shot of what us Torontonians are about to get into. Harper!!!
A fun and colourful break down of the who’s who at the G20. A leader board listing.
Is there any chance any of these predictions will come true? We’ll just have to wait and see.
and from the insightful lyrics of the Group G*20..don’t worry
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I’ve never had a love of horses…strike that. I am scared beyond reason when it comes to horses. However today, of all days, walking into the Glen Oaks to see my friend again, I felt at ease with these giants. I was amazed at the police presence today at Stephen’s viewing. You completely felt that his short time being a police office mattered to the all of the officers that were there today and will be there tomorrow. They are there for their fallen brothers and sisters. I am so proud of Stephen for his dedication to what he loved.
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This article is from the The Toronto Sun here.
Young Toronto Police officer dies from cancer
By Ian Robertson, Toronto Sun
4th February, 2010
A young Toronto Police officer who has been battling cancer for the past few months has died.
Constables to top cops were there for Stephen Pittman – visiting the 34-year-old’s home or his hospital bedside during frequent treatments in Hamilton.
Pittman, who became an officer in 2007 and returned to duty whenever possible, died Wednesday.
Family, friends and platoon pals maintained a 24-hour bedside vigil since his admission Friday to Milton District Hospital after his condition deteriorated.
Hundreds of officers are expected at his funeral on Monday, to say final farewells and salute the recently-promoted first class constable.
“He was a good guy,” Cal Millar, a retired Toronto Sun and Toronto Star crime reporter, said Thursday from his Burlington home.
A friend of Millar and his wife Penny’s son, Calvin, since grade school and best man at his wedding, “he was a constant visitor to our home since he was a little boy and my wife and I considered him our second son.”
A visitation will be held 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday at the Glen Oaks Memorial Gardens off Ninth Line north of Dundas in Oakville. A funeral service is scheduled there for 11 a.m. Monday.
Pittman will be buried in his uniform.
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From the National Post’s Posted Toronto here
Justice will be served Kenneth. Justice will be served.
By Matthew Coutts, National Post
Toronto police announced this morning the third arrest in the murder of Kenneth Mark, a community activist who has been described as a hero in his west-end Junction neighbourhood.
Homicide Det. Hank Idsinga said on Friday the suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was arrested by police in the streets of Ottawa and transferred to Toronto last night for processing. He was the third suspect arrested in the death of Mr. Mark, described by police as a calculated and “cowardly” attack.
Mr. Mark was shot dead outside a pizza place on Dundas Street West, near Runnymede Road, the evening of Dec. 29 as he was walking to work at a local Walmart.
Police allege one of the three men snuck up behind him as he was listening to music and shot him in the back of the head. The other two, Det. Hank Idsinga alleged, were also involved in the planned attack.
“It’s a very cowardly murder the way it happened,” he said at a press conference this morning. “There was a good community response to it, so obviously people don’t want to put up with that type of behavior in their neighbourhood. And they stood up and did something about it, just as Kenneth Mark did in the past.”
In 2008, Mr. Mark was shot in the back as he shielded a woman and young child from fire. He testified in a trial, but the suspect in that case was acquitted and release from prison on Dec. 17.
Det. Idsinga said he could not comment on whether that incident played a role in Mark’s death, but said it was part of their investigation.
“We could not find any other reason anyone would want to kill Mr. Mark,” he said.
Lamar Skeete, 19, and two 16-year-old boys have each been charged with first-degree murder.