Saturday, September 10, 2005

ASSORTED RANTS AND MUMBLINGS

Well, it's the weekend and I'm just gonna rant tonight about some of the usual topics that I care about for our international audience of friends and relatives who tune in all over the world- and I do know for a fact we get people from all over the world looking in on these rants so hello, world.

THE CBC LOCKOUT CONTINUES

Well, no one really knows when the CBC lockout is going to end, but there was apparently some more progress made today and they plan to meet tomorrow. So there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, we hope. Meanwhile, the rebel podcasting and broadcasting continues unabated. The other day locked-out TV anchor Diana Swain was on Andy Barrie's lockout show, and Shelagh Rogers was in Saskatoon talking about the lockout for her podcast.

You know, I think these people are partly doing these podcasts and broadcasts just to preserve their own sanity. Heck, the last month has been huge for news. Hurricane KATRINA has turned out to be a monster of a news story, and these people would normally be chomping at the bit to go down to what's left of New Orleans and Mississippi to cover it. By having these podcasts and rebel broadcasts, they have an outlet to vent about the hurricane so it encourages their union members to stay loyal to the union and not give an inch on their demands.

I notice there are a few familiar faces occasionally popping up on the "official" CBC broadcasts on the main network these days- guys like Henry Champ, Ann MacMillan, Nancy Durham etc. I read on the Daily Planet site that most of these are local hires who are not part of the union. And in Ann MacMillan's case she is actually part of management, she's the manager in London. Anyway, that's why you're seeing them on the "official" broadcasts, which seem to be getting better. They're actually able to fill a full half-hour now. Actually, this was a pretty good week for the lockout-ridden CBC. They ran that big two-part documentary about the '95 referendum this week, so they actually looked like they had some good, original programming, even though their workers were still walking with pickets outside.

But tonight was back to normal. Winnipeg versus Saskatchewan, with no announcers. Again.

CBC, get back to work. Enough of this nonsense already.

THE NFL: BACK JUST IN TIME

I think it's great that the NFL is back. And just in time, because the auto racing season is going in the toilet fast.

The NASCAR "Chase" is all set, and NOT making the field are those two bums Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. The two biggest names in NASCAR don't get into the CHASE, so they can't win the Cup. Well, why bother tuning into any of these bleeping races coming up on NBC? Might as well tun into the NFL.

And Fernando Alonso is all set to clinch the F1 title, any race now. Like I say, it's about this point in the season when the auto racing season goes downhill fast. For some reason, auto racing always ends with a whimper, not a bang. NASCAR has the right idea introducing the CHASE, but like I say, what point is there to having a Chase without Earnhardt Jr. or Gordon? Might as well forget it.

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IS ON

I amused myself yesterday by going downtown to check out the film festival happenings and look for celebrities. I went down to the Four Seasons and stood with a bunch of gawkers waiting for celebs to drive off in their limos. The only celeb I was able to see go by was Steve Martin- he waved to everyone. Then I got bored and decided to head downtown to see if there were any happenings down there. Supposedly Yorkville is the place to spot the celebrities: there were some guys claiming they saw Mary Kate and Ashley walking down the street, and saw Tom Cruise at some restaurant. But I'm thinking these folks are only thinking they saw these people.

I walked by the red carpet at Roy Thomson Hall but there was nothing happening there, so I wasted some time and later checked out the Star! Schmooze down at the Citytv building on Queen and John around 10PM. I saw Larysa Harapyn and Terry David Mulligan interviewing big celebs, doing their big show live. That was good fun. I was quite impressed with their production and with their coverage of the film festival, and again I kick myself for not going into entertainment reporting. Covering a film festival has to be the best gig in the world, you get to sit and watch movies all the time. And most of them are good movies. I should actually go to one of these movies this year at the film festival some year, but I never do for some reason. These are all "art" movies and my preferences are definitely downmarket, of the comedy and buddy-action-movie variety.

This is rapidly turning into one of the premiere film festivals in the WORLD, right up there with Cannes and Sundance in my book. The charm of it all is that for a few days Toronto gets to host all these big freaking celebrities and gets to be this big glamorous city. Then they go home and Toronto returns to being a nice boring town again. That's the fun about Toronto. The celebs don't stick around long enough to really spoil the locals. So the locals still have the capacity to be awestruck by these people.

Here I am back to being a tabloid artist again.

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