Anne (2017 CBC) starring Amybeth McNulty

Wednesday, 29 March, 2017

I really enjoy the new Anne (2017 CBC) (Facebook) (based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery) starring Amybeth McNulty (Twitter) in the role of Anne. You can watch the full episodes online at CBC.

I really like this official Facebook page video “Meet the cast and crew who have brought this new take on a beloved classic to life.” where the show creators talk about from episode 2 onward there are more creative story telling with sprinkles of the classic moments added to the inspired story.

G&M, “John Doyle: Anne of Green Gables adaptation is sublimely reinvigorated

Huff Post, “The New ‘Anne Of Green Gables’ On CBC Is Super Dark, Feminist

Anne of Green Gables returns — again (The National CBC)

Amybeth McNulty of ‘Anne’ on the Musical That Changed Her Life

Bonus: Quoting John Doyle G&M, “And it is somewhat startling to find the Tragically Hip’s Ahead by a Century used over the opening credits. It’s a song with profound resonance for so many Canadians. And the line “Illusions of some day casting a golden light” amply works its magical power here.

The Tragically Hip – Ahead By A Century

The Life and Times of LM Montgomery” (poor audio but still nice to watch)

I was told a Japanese animated Anne series was made and I found most of its 50 episodes (with English subtitles) on YouTube where you can watch via this YouTube Playlist. Here is episode #1.

CBC Archives – Japanese adore Anne of Green Gables


Why I think President Trump has made the world a much worse place on Day One of his presidency

Saturday, 21 January, 2017

20170121-elizabeth-warren-just-blamed-president-trump-on-day-one

*** Why I think President Trump has made the world a much worse place on Day One of his presidency *** //I respect my FB friend for his professional work but I disagree with him. Here is my comment (with added web links & slight updates).//

XXXX, One day I would love to chat in person. Until then, here is my wordy take of why I think President Trump has made the world a much worse place on Day One. Starting with the least damaging (the mere “monetary” damages). Trump said the following in his Inauguration Speech and he has said all of these during the campaign so they are not new.

1) “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;
>>> International trades benefit everyone or we just don’t do it. Stances like this is getting China, Canada, etc worrying about trade wars. For the record, //Canada is the top export destination for 35 states. Nearly 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.//

2) “Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;
>>> Forgoing defence of NATO, Japan, etc?? Should they pay? How much? Think like a foreign leader for a moment. Which sovereign leader is stupid enough to be held hostage for a king’s ransom for its defence? This will force the world into an arms race? EU politicians are taking notice and starting to distrust US. Putin’s mission accomplished in Day One of Trump’s presidency. Fantastic!

3) “We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own;” & “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
>>> This is probably one of the saddest part of this cluster-beep.
Spoiler alert, I’m giving the answer before I tell the story.
We Canadians are PROUD of us NOT putting Canada First! We PRIDE ourselves of putting “Others First”!

Some Americans have very short memory. On one sunny 9/11 day years ago, some evil people thought of turning planes into high-tech guided missiles with built-in human collateral protection. In that uncertain time, Canada let ~200 flights fully loaded with people (potential terrorists flown missiles) diverted to our major cities like Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal and Toronto (all with millions of people).

The “Others” we Canadians put “First” happened to be thousands of Americans and people visiting US! I would say the probability of me winning the lottery last night is higher than Trump coming to aid of Canadians if the shoes were swapped.

I’m human but I try to live by the Golden Rule when I can. What kind of horrible world we live in if we always and only put ourselves first?!

Right now, with “America First”, it feels like a great friend has flipped and become a psychopath.

And 1, 2, 3 and many more are the reasons why Trump Day One is the worst day of any US President’s Day One!

P.S. For me to write this wordy blah blah blah, I had to take a strong dose of Trump-vaccination. So I watch a 9 minute CBC News video of U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson paying tribute to the town of Gander, N.L. for “its generosity on 9/11, hailing its residents for their grace and good humour and representing “the best of us.”

//“This could well be the motto of this town: ‘Without waiting to be asked,'” Jacobson said.
He spoke about one stranded passenger, a child, who turned four in Gander soon after 9/11. All his gifts were stuck on the plane he had been on, so to make him feel better, a local Gander family threw him a party.
“They consoled and they cooked, they cooked and they cooked,” Jacobson recalled.//

Ref (with video, an easy Google): Gander on 9/11 told ‘you were the best of us’ CBC News Posted: Sep 11, 2011


PM Justin Trudeau surprised Canada is a bilingual country

Wednesday, 18 January, 2017

PM-Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 2.52.17 PM.png

20170221 update: CBC News, “Trudeau apologizes to anglophone woman for answering in French at Sherbrooke town hall

CTV News, “PM apologizes for answering English speaker in French at Quebec town hall

====

As a former teacher, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sure acted like he needs a few quick lessons. Here are two free lessons from a Canadian to his PM that is facing heat over his decision to speak French only at town hall (CBC News with video).

Lesson 1: Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages. This FB comment elegantly captured what I think. (emphasis added)

Canada is a bilingual country regardless of what province you’re in.

If a Canadian citizen asks the prime minister a question in one of the two official languages the polite thing is to answer in that language.

Otherwise the person asking the question has no idea what’s being said.

Lesson 2: Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all Canadians our “Mobility Rights“. S.6(2)a of our Charter states,

“Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right to move to and take up residence in any province

It is surprising that the Prime minister was so easily ‘surprised‘ to be “asked so many questions in English in Quebec’s Eastern Townships”. Has the PM repealed our “Mobility Rights” and now we need his permission to move? Are English speakings Canadians not allowed to live in Quebec’s Eastern Townships? How about French speaking Canadians living in Calgary, Alberta? Puzzling.

P.S. On a serious note. Bilingual Canadians don’t need to be lectured by the PM. The PM can choose to answer the question in BOTH English (language preferred/decided by the questioner) and then repeat in French (if he wishes)! I expect no less if a French question is asked in Alberta. Answer the question in BOTH French and then English! #PMisOurPublicServant #PMisNOTaboveFederalPublicServant

I don’t expect my PM to never make mistake but I expect him to correct his mistakes quickly. Hopefully he has learned his lessons from this.

P.P.S. I don’t mind my last PM (Mr. Harper) has little charisma but I know he would never dare to face Canadians like this, not after Mr. Harper gained absolute power and showed his disdain of the press (who were there to ask questions on behalf of all Canadians).

Jan 19, 2017 Update: Read the rest of this entry »


Dirty Dancing – Jennifer Grey

Sunday, 25 December, 2016

I love Dirty Dancing (1987) with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. The ending dance scene is one of my most favourite dance sequences!

Insightful & frank interview by ABC News (2012), Jennifer Grey Reveals ‘Dirty Dancing’ Secrets No idea that Grey didn’t know how to dance before Dirty Dancing and the fact that she STOPPED dancing afterwards because the pressure she put on herself. And her later involvement in season eleven of Dancing With the Stars which she and Derek won.

LOVE this: Dirty Dancing – Time of my Life (Final Dance) – High Quality (over 232 million views for very good reason!)

(DWTS) Jennifer Grey & Derek – Last 4 Dances & 5 Dirty Dancing Flashbacks


A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 25 August, 2016
A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Ten years ago in June 2006, I was awarded a CTV Fellowship to attend the prestigious Banff World Television Festival. Since then I’ve attended to report on most of the yearly Banff World Media Festival (Banff’s new name). Based on my personal experiences, I recommend the annual Banff gathering be something someone working in media/entertainment industry should attend at least once in her/his life (and may be even yearly). Great way to pitch projects to concentrated groups of decision makers from around the world, to meet and make friends with industry peers, and learn from the many Master Classes you given by some of the best creatives in the industry.

Take this year as an example, knowing HBO Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard Plepler will attend the 2016 Banff, I did some research including watching these two videos to prepare. And I ended up learning lots from attending and meeting Richard in his Company of Distinction Keynote: HBO’s Richard Plepler Banff World Media Festival Banff. And yes, I felt totally honoured when Richard compared me to his mother after I asked him about his work experience at “RLP International quoting what I learned from his commencement speech to the Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015!

Let me share just another highly insightful and fun to watch video from the 2016 Banff:  In Conversation with Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award Recipient Russell Peters. I love Russell Peters even more as I heard the etalk co-host Lainey Lui asked Russell, “You’ve been making this kind of money for the last few years and you are still hustling, 250 shows, 120 cities, 25 countries, you are still hustling with an immigrant work ethic!

(More info on Russell‘s new show “The Indian Detective“)

In the last 10 years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of creatives and senior executives at Banff. The following are some samples of my video interviews.

*2010) Meeting someone I really admire like Ricky Gervais was epic and wonderful for me. I was able to capture his “Award for Comedy Speech” which I think is better/more fun than the official Banff version shot with more expensive video equipment. (watch and read my full 2010 report of Ricky here)

And asking Ricky a brief question on the 2010 Banff red carpet was something I still remember fondly today, six years later.

*2008) Two years before I met Ricky, Banff attendees had the pleasure to meet the highly successful producer Jon Plowman (photo) who came to Banff to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as former head of BBC comedy and producing/executive producing great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Little Britain, and The Vicar of Dibley! I wrote a brief report in 2008 but didn’t shoot any video. I did walk up to meet Jon and personally thanked him for his great work!
*2011) Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die
,
*2010) TiVo CEO Tom Rogers interview,
*2013) Watching “VICE co-founders Shane Smith & Suroosh Alvi at Banff 2013” was a lot of fun and then interviewing “Shane @ Banff ” was awesome given how much VICE Media has grown since 2013!

*2012) “Masterclass with Terence Winter creator of Boardwalk Empire at #banff2012” (more info on Boardwalk Empire)

*2012) And my video interview with “Terence Winter, Creator of Boardwalk Empire at banff 2012

*2011) Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson,
*2010) Tony Lacavera, Globalive & WIND Mobile Chairman audio interview, (It was fun for me interviewing Tony, an University of Toronto alum, over the years. In March 2016, Shaw Communications Inc. closed its acquisition of Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion.)
*2008) David Hoselton (Producer of House) (I LOVE House so it was interesting for me to know that creator David Shore and producer David Hoselton were University of Toronto Law School buddies.)
*2012) Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012 (Since then, Duncan has been promoted to President FGL Sports Ltd in March 2016.)
*2007) Jane Mote, Director of Life Style, UKTV,
*2007) Vicky Taylor, Editor, Interactivity, BBC Television,
*2007) Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic,
*2007) Greg Goodfried, Co-creator and Executive Producer, Lonelygirl15, (note: In 2012, AdAge reported that “Everyday Health Buys Lonelygirl15 Producer EQAL in Expansion to New Genres” quoting TechCruch which “pegged the price at $15 million plus a $5 million earn-out“. EQAL founders are Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried.)
*2007) Dawn Airey, Director of Global Content, ITV,
*2012) Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me,

One of the most insightful people I’ve met at Banff
*2009) Gary Carter’s Storytelling in the Digital Age (2009) (Long list of videos, highly recommended even the 2009 content may seem a bit dated)

Attended and filmed,
*2012) “In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory)“,
*2010) “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady“,
*2012) “Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff
*2010) “Ian Brennan, creator/writer Glee (19 Emmy nominations) @ 2010 Banff” (extensive video)
*2013) “Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about Veep and other topics at Banff World Media Festival 2013

*2012) This was a lot of fun and insight for me, “Master class Q&A with Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

*2006) Finally, It was my honour to meet and listen to Oscar winning director & writer Paul Haggis at my absolute first Banff in 2006. I wish my “professionalism” hadn’t stopped me from asking for a photo! Oh well, something I have regretted ever since. Anyway, the story of how Paul broke into Television is something I will likely remember for the rest of my life! Enjoy!


*** More
2016 Banff World Media Festival stuff and one 2012 Master Class with Chuck Lorre (creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory).

*2016) I think Girls is one of the most cutting edge and funny TV comedies in recent years. I had the pleasure this year to attend and listen to Jenni Konner talk in person. And I enjoyed the session very much.

Comedy Master Class with Casey Bloys and Jenni Konner (note: Casey Bloys is senior vice president, HBO Entertainment)

*2016) I didn’t know the name Jay Baruchel but after watching this, I discovered I’ve watched A LOT of Jay‘s stuff without knowing his name and I LOVE them all! Very insightful: “In Conversation with Canadian Award of Distinction Recipient Jay Baruchel

Further references:

*2016) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists (background research for Banff 2016)

*2016) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (background research for 2016)

*2016 Banff) “The Night Of” Master Class: A Closer Look at HBO’s Limited Series Model featuring Academy Award-winning writer Steven Zaillian. After watching the video, I realized one of my favourite films “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was written and directed by Steven and he talks about it at timecode 16:10.

*for 2016) Westworld: Teaser Trailer (HBO) (brand new to viewers at Banff, publicly released after 2016 Banff)

*2012) In conversation w Chuck Lorre (Creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

P.S. On a personal note, I want to thank Scott Benzie, Lindsay Nahmiache, Robert Montgomery, and, for the last 10 years, many other team members for their kind help at Banff and arranging my press credentials, etc. I really enjoyed attending Banff and I’m happy to share what I learned with my readers/viewers.

It has taken me some time to create this post and I am still amazed how many great creatives and industry senior executives I’ve met and tried to learn from all these years. And there are still some that I haven’t listed! Like in 2009 when I met and interviewed Ron Moore who amazingly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG)!

Let me mention something most people might have missed. For a few years in a row, I noticed Tony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive & former WIND Mobile Chairman, was sponsoring the Banff CRTC Breakfasts. (see my 2010 report) A side benefit was Tony got some “face time” to chat with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein (photo of the two at CRTC Breakfast). Well, to me, that was money well spent in the long game of business! As you may know, this March 2016 WIND Mobile was sold to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion.

If you ask me, I say the C$1.6 billion deal has to be one of the biggest deals that Banff World Media Festival has *indirectly* facilitated! Pretty cool!


Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy will ‘revolutionize’ treatment of brain diseases

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

CBC News had a great Facebook LIVE Q&A session with neurosurgeons Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. And a great news report (with video)  “No scalpel, no drill: Medical procedure to treat uncontrollable hand tremor a ‘game changer’“. Here is an excerpt,

“The technology “will open up a new era that will revolutionize the way brain diseases will be treated, eventually benefitting millions of patients,” says Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of physical sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He also helped develop the technology. […]

Doctors hope to apply the technology in the treatment of other diseases like Parkinson’s and epilepsy.”

(Note: In the LIVE Q&A you can hear neurosurgeon Dr. Nir Lipsman talk about Parkinson’s disease and this new procedure at timecode 3:03.)

Here is a video “Neurosurgery – with sub-titles, ending with MR image” with subtitle text.

Reference: New England Journal of Medicine, August 25, 2016 “A Randomized Trial of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor” (PDF file)

P.S. On a personal note, it may be way too early to speculate but I do wonder how far can the procedure go (its first pilot study published in 2013 as reported in NEJM), I do wonder openly/hopefully if one day it could be used to help patients with glioblastoma like my friend Maria’s husband Sean had unfortunately suffered. Well, after a quick search, I managed to find this 2014 study reported in NIH, “First noninvasive thermal ablation of a brain tumor with MR-guided focused ultrasound


Omran is alive. His older brother, 10-year-old Ali, is dead.

Sunday, 21 August, 2016

#ArcOfTheMoralUniverse Unfortunately, “on Saturday the story took an even more tragic turn when Omran’s older brother, 10-year-old Ali Daqneesh, died from the injuries he sustained in the blast that destroyed their family’s home on Wednesday.

We in the international community (Canada, US, UK, and others) failed the many Alis, Omrans, and Syrians in this war. They died and suffered under our watch. We, the member states of United Nations, love to *talk* Responsibility to Protect (RTP) doctrine but usually end with massive “Failure to Protect” unless our national interests (oil, other resources, our own securities) are at stake. Have we not learned enough from the tragedies in Rwanda and the Balkans in the 1990s? I hope/wish and agree that “Omran’s picture must be a turning point in Syria’s war“. And I will add my voice to urge our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan to try to do what is right, on our behalf.

At the end of the day, there is no escape that Ali and many other Syrians had died in this war, and Omrans and many other Syrians suffered under our watch and we failed them. Whether we keep on failing our Syrian brothers and sisters, letting them die, allowing the refugee crisis to get even worse, or we say enough is enough and actually commit to stop this massive human atrocity, it is up to us “word citizens” to tell our governments what need to be done.

The arc of the moral universe may be long, but it decidedly and increasingly does not always bend toward justice. Why does that matter? Because it means that too many children will never get to grow up, period. Let alone grow up in a morale universe that bends towards justice.” – The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella (1946 – ), Closing Remarks at Nuremberg Symposium – May 4, 2016

Ref1: “Brother of Boy Who Became Face of Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis Dies

Ref2: “Omran’s picture must be a turning point in Syria’s war

A week later another colleague from M10 hospital rang me and told me he had treated Omran, the young boy whose picture had gone viral on social media. To be honest, I had not seen the picture. He simply wanted to tell me that the boy had survived and he had treated his deep scalp wound and he was going to be discharged home.

I asked him whether he wanted to go on television and contacted the BBC and Channel 4. He was willing to do this but not to show his face, as he would surely have been targeted by the regime. To see him talking on my television brought a lump to my throat. He is the kindest and nicest human being I’ve ever worked with. He has been there from the start of the war and his only words on the television were: “Please help us.” […]

The picture of this little boy must be a turning point in this war. It must not be looked at and forgotten within 24 hours. I have pictures on my phone and in my computer of all the cases that I dealt with when I was in Aleppo. These images are far worse than the image of Omran. They are of dead and dying children. I have given lectures showing these pictures and have had people in the audience crying. Why has the world become heartless?

When President Obama talked about crossing the red line after 400 children were killed by chemical weapons outside Damascus in 2013, he was awaiting the outcome of a vote on action in the British parliament. In the end it was close, with 285-272 voting against military action against the Syrian regime. If the west had shown strong leadership, I have no doubt that the Syrian military hierarchy would have collapsed. George Osborne said prophetically: “I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all the world’s problems.” It’s not often that a politician gets it right, but he did then.

I packed my gas mask and spent six weeks in Aleppo just after that statement in 2013.

[HT Zohreen]

Story of Syrian boy moves CNN anchor to tears


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