I’m back. Did you miss me? No? Well, some of you did. Mostly nice family members who idly asked me at Christmas dinner why I didn’t write my weekly news roundup anymore. As you may or may not remember, I started writing it in 2015 as Stuff Happens, followed by the smash sequel Stuff Still Happens in 2016, and the conclusion of the trilogy, The Return of Stuff Happens in 2017. I took 2018 off to try to detox myself of the news. It didn’t work.
So why, you ask, am I back to torturing myself by following the news again?
Simply put, there is going to be just too much news in 2019 for me to ignore. A provincial election. A federal election. An impeachment (OK, that’s a prediction, but still). One year closer to the end of the world as we know it. That kind of stuff. And writing is a good brain exercise, and believe me, my brain is in dire need of a workout.
So, I’m back, committing to 52 weekly blogs. This year, when there is nothing much happening, I’ll throw in a few snarky, ill-informed comments (is there any other kind?) about social trends and entertainment . And my always upbeat, happy concluding paragraph about people who have died in the previous week. What fun! So, let’s get to it.
So the first week of the new year is always sleepy, and people around the world wake up to a new day, unsure of exactly what day of the week it is. Here in the People’s Republic of Alberta, a curious story emerged from Rachael Notley’s caucus.
A Calgary MLA, Stephanie McLean – a former cabinet minister, the first woman to have a baby while an MLA, and just the kind of shiny young female face the NDP adores – resigned her seat in the legislature. She had already left cabinet some time ago, and had announced that she would not be running for re-election. But on Wednesday, she resigned her seat, meaning she is no longer an MLA. Oddly, she didn’t make the announcement, leaving it to a tersely worded press release from Notley.
Why would an MLA who is not running for re-election resign her seat with only, at most, four months left before the election? This is very curious. Speaking from experience, I know that an MLA can easily coast and do virtually nothing if they choose to do so. The legislature may not even return for another sitting before the next election. So why would she quit? I don’t know, and the incurious media hasn’t dug too deeply. With the other MLA resignations (particularly from young women, which is also curious) one gets the impression that there is something ugly bubbling beneath the surface of the NDP government.
No doubt you’ve heard of the Canadians being held on trumped-up charged in China. This is certainly in retaliation for Canada’s detention of that Huawei executive at the request of the Americans. It took a long time for the Trudeau government to get angry about it, and they finally have, cancelling some tourist promotional trips. However, a group of MPs (one of them the weasly MP for St. Albert, Michael Cooper) and senators are still going on some phoney baloney trip to China. Nothing stops a good junket, not even the unjust detention of Canadians by a communist government.
And now, on to pop culture.
Netflix has people watching and taking about a movie called Bird Box. Netflix reports some 45 million people have watched it. I’m one of them, and I can safely report that Bird Box is … OK. It is inferior to last year’s similar-themed A Quiet Place, John Krasinski’s smash hit horror film, but it is diverting enough to get a passing grade. Why so many people have gone nuts for this film, I do not know. I do know the most terrifying thing in the movie is what Sandra Bullock has done to her face.
Bullock is 54 years old, and her face is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. It also seems barely capable of movement. So what has she done? Well, she told Ellen DeGeneres that she had a procedure that involved facial injections of a serum derived from (get ready, because this is true) the foreskin of Korean babies. Hey, anything to prevent a wrinkle, right?
Also with Netflix, critics are drooling all over a Mexican film called Roma. It’s on dozens of top 10 lists – some at the very top – and is a dead certainty to be Oscar nominated in the foreign language category. As a service to you, dear reader, I watched it – in two chunks. The first hour was so boring, I stopped watching it. The second hour was better, because something FINALLY HAPPENED. I don’t want to get into what’s good or bad about Roma, but let’s just say that it’s a critic and movie snob film, the kind of ‘film’ (not a movie, but a ‘film’) that has critics stroking their beards and nodding sagely at its brilliance. I think most average movie goers will find it mostly tedious and pointless. But if arty, black-and-white foreign films are your bag, have at it.
Ray Sawyer, the eye-patch wearing singer with Dr Hook & the Medicine Show in the 1970s, died Dec. 28, aged 81. They had hits with When You’re In Love with a Beautiful Woman, On the Cover of the Rolling Stone and Sylvia’s Mother. He retired just last year …‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund, 76, longtime announcer for the World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly known as World Wrestling Federation)
‘Super’ Dave Osbourne, (real name Bob Einstein), 76, towering, deadpan comic actor. He got the ‘Super Dave’ name by doing fake stunts on the Canadian comedy series Bizarre in the 1980s. He was also a recurring character on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and occasionally appeared as Larry Middleman, who spoke for George Bluth when George was wearing an ankle bracelet (you had to be there) on Arrested Development. He was the brother of comic actor and writer Albert Brooks … Daryl Dragon, 76, the cap-wearing Captain of the popular 1970s group The Captain and Tenille. Their hits included Love Will Keep Us Together, Do That to Me One More Time, and Muskrat Love.