Do You Agree with Canada’s Choice of Joannie Rochette as Flag Bearer in the Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremonies?

Joannie Rochette

MAJOR UPDATE!!!
Somebody has come to their senses since Saturday when the Canadian Press was widely reporting Charles Hamelin as our Canadian flag bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies. I have revised the story. Poll is still at the bottom as to who you thought should have carried our flag.

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Canada had a plethora of amazing choices from which to choose as closing ceremonies:

  • Alexandre Bilodeau — first gold medal for Canada on home soil that’s been awaited for a long time. He was a surprise winner in the freestyle ski. He also had one of the most memorable Olympics moment in 2010, with the hug for his brother Frederic who has cerebral palsy but who is his hero.
  • Maëlle Ricker — first ladies gold, not the favoured one, 3rd Olympics. She’s also had 8 knee operations if you want to talk about winning in the face of adversity. She also seemed to be the vote according to the Canadian Press. She’s also local from Squamish, BC.
  • Clara Hughes — bronze medalist to become Canada’s greatest Olympian medalist, Winter and Summer Olympics medals, wrapping up her career.
  • Joannie Rochetteco-winner of the Terry Fox award. It was athletes who endured personal tragedies at the climax of their Olympic careers, only to press on against seemingly insurmountable odds to win medals, being the ultimate embodiment of the best in the human spirit. Despite the sudden unexpected death of her Mother to deal with days before her competition, she performed and carried the Canadian nation for five days. That was also after that dreadful middle weekend where so many athletes did not attain their projected results, including Charles Hamelin on a couple of occasions. Of course, Joannie got a bronze medal to go with it. She’s also got French heritage to match Charles for the Francophones who didn’t think there were enough French representation in the games.

There are other outstanding candidates, like the women’s hockey team. The men’s hockey team still had their final results to be determined so they were not in contention.

If anyone were deserving, though, I think Joannie Rochette was. I think she embodies what this country and its people are all about with her performance at these winter Olympics. I would have pretty much put everybody else on that list above before Charles. I don’t know what that story on Charles Hamelin carrying the flag was all about, or who was propagating it, but that would have been worse than the ice skating judging nonsense over Plushenko and Lysacek.

Let Charles carry Marianne St Gelais at the Closing Ceremonies! They’re wildly in love and she’s REALLY adorable! 🙂

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.6

Favourite Songs I Heard for the First Time in 2009

What were your favourite pieces of music that you heard for the first time last year?

I don’t necessarily mean music that came out last year, just that you heard it for the first time last year because it was new to you. If you care to share, you can put it in the comments following the post. I’d love to know to expand my musical horizons.

Below are a list of favourite songs I heard for the first time in 2009, enough that would fit on CD were I to have made one. Most were from musicals as I really got into them in 2009 after my classic jazz year in 2008. A few were one-off takes on television events, though, so I’ll start with one that was both. It was available on YouTube like most of my selections so I have included the videos to have the music right here for you. I also linked the songs to blog posts I did inspired by them, where I did one.

Someone Like You

from Jekyll & Hyde
Linda Eder & Frank Wildhorn on 2000 PBS Special
Linda Eder delivers a loving performance of this gorgeous song with touching lyrics, accompanied by husband Frank Wildhorn, who had composed the song. (blog post)

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Upload of this video sometimes seems a bit slow so please be patient.

If You Were Gay

from Avenue Q
Rick Lyon and John Tartaglia

Love and humour, not just in song but also video spoof. (blog post)

The Internet is for Porn

from Avenue Q
Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Rick Lyon & the Guys
Possibly the funniest song I have ever heard! (blog post)

Mix Tape

from Avenue Q
Stephanie D’Abruzzo and John Tartaglia

A song that dragged my emotions up and down, enhanced by Stephanie’s nuances of acting while singing this song. (blog post)

As Long as You’re Mine

from Wicked
Idina Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz
An often overlooked song from Wicked that I only heard once I saw the musical, rather than hearing the more popular songs from it. However, I loved it immediately, especially the soft-spoken ending.

Academy Awards 2009 Introduction

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway
This number was both brilliant and unexpected in being clever, funny and spectacularly performed. My intro to the full talents of Hugh Jackman. (blog post)

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Monologue Song

from Saturday Night Live November 7, 2009
Taylor Swift

How to trash everybody you want to with class and humour while being really cute about it. (blog post)

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Dark Eyes

by Bob Dylan
Judy Collins
Judy Collins gives this sad Dylan song a haunting rendition. (blog post)

Better Angels

Lesley Gore
The original It’s My Party girl seriously grows up with this beautiful tune I first heard on CSI Miami (compilation video of episode shown below).

I Got a Feeling

Black Eyed Peas
Just an awesome dance song, ’nuff said cause I’m getting dancing! Best 2009 song in my opinion. (I chose the flash mob version shown on Oprah for the video cause it’s also so awesome!)

Wake-up

The Arcade Fire
I heard this song via the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are and thought they had made a pretty good choice for a theme song.

The Closest Thing to Crazy

by Mike Batt
Katie Melua
Pretty much describes what feeling in love feels like to me. (blog post)

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Gayla Peevey
I heard it on a Telus commercial and loved it immediately, a bit surprised I had never heard this 1950s seasonal classic until now. (blog post)

You’ve Gotta Have a Gimmick

from There’s No Business Like Show Business
Bernadette Peters, Julia McKenzie, Ruthie Henshall
This is probably the ultimate example of my claim that girls have all the fun songs in musicals, and the video only emphasizes the point.

Married

from Cabaret
Ron Rifkin, Michelle Pawk
A charming little song about marriage. A compact version is shown below.

Mystery

performed on the show Inside the Actor’s Studio
Hugh Laurie
A hilarious and charming example of how lyric writing sometimes feels like to me, trying to find desperate rhymes and more desperate words that conform with desperate rhymes. (blog post)

Love, Look in my Window

from Hello Dolly!
Ethel Merman

There isn’t a video for this one but the piece was written for Ethel Merman when she joined Hello Dolly! If you hear her perform it with the emotions she does, you’ll know why it was written for her. I can hardly keep from crying at points in it. Probably good I don’t have the music for that reason!

Listen to Judy Collins Singing a Bob Dylan Gem, Dark Eyes

JudyCollins BobDylan

Judy Collins and Bob Dylan

I am making my way through the Dylan discography to learn more about his music. I have to go slowly because like Emily Dickinson’s poetry, you can only take so much at a time before you either go numb or it hurts your head too much to take any more given the power of all the meanings contained within it. The beauty of good poetry is that it’s like being able to tell many stories in many languages all at once. The beauty of a song with good lyrics is that it adds one more language, the universal language of music, to the power of poetry.

Not long ago, I came across this hidden gem of a song by Bob Dylan, Dark Eyes. Bob Dylan has written many songs amazing to an extent I don’t have words to describe them, but not all are well known. That’s why I called it a hidden gem.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)
From the 1985 album Empire Burlesque, Dark Eyes was written virtually on demand when Arthur Baker suggested something simpler for the album’s final track. Dylan liked the idea of closing the album with a stark, acoustic track, particularly when the rest of the album was so heavily produced. However, Dylan didn’t have an appropriate song. He returned to his hotel in Manhattan after midnight, and according to Dylan:

“As I stepped out of the elevator, a call girl was coming toward me in the hallway – pale yellow hair wearing a fox coat – high heeled shoes that could pierce your heart. She had blue circles around her eyes, black eyeliner, dark eyes. She looked like she’d been beaten up and was afraid that she’d get beat up again. In her hand, crimson purple wine in a glass. ‘I’m just dying for a drink,’ she said as she passed me in the hall. She had a beautifulness, but not for this kind of world.”

The brief, chance encounter inspired Dylan to write “Dark Eyes,” which was quickly recorded without any studio embellishment. Structured like a children’s song, with very rudimentary guitar work and very simple notes, it’s often quoted for its last chorus: “A million faces at my feet, but all I see are dark eyes.”

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As for what I think of Dark Eyes, I would put its lyrics, following the fan video below, on the same level as any other of Dylan’s songs. That’s a general ranking, though, rather than one for purposes like war songs or love songs, etc. I especially like how the “chorus” is just one simple line at the end of the verse, as simple as the musical structure of the song. This version I heard, though, was magnificently performed by Judy Collins who not only had a beautiful voice, but a beautiful one to properly treat this song in performance. Everything all taken into account, Dark Eyes has already become a favourite Dylan song, and Judy’s version a favourite Dylan cover.

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Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside,
They’re drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide.
I live in another world where life and death are memorized,
Where the earth is strung with lovers’ pearls and all I see are dark eyes.

A cock is crowing far away and another soldier’s deep in prayer,
Some mother’s child has gone astray, she can’t find him anywhere.
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise,
Whom nature’s beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes.

They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes,
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I’m sure it is.
But I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized,
All I feel is heat and flame and all I see are dark eyes.

Oh, the French girl, she’s in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel,
Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel.
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies,
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.

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