Two Greats’ Birthdays

https://digitalcitizen.ca/category/writing/January 26th is Wayne Gretzky’s birthday. Happy birthday, Wayne! If my memory were correct, it’s a big birthday year for you, 2021. Arguably, the greatest hockey player of all time, you are, not arguably, my favourite hockey player of all time. Yet, on your birthday, while I’m happy for you, I’m always a little wistful for me from a little chance incident back in my childhood as a nine year old refugee in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Gretzky’s Backing of Harper Leads Conservatives to 99 Seats!

How influential was Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement for Stephen Harper in Canada’s recent federal elections?

It was so influential that Harper’s Progressive Conservatives won 99 seats… Wayne Gretzky’s number uniformly retired by every team in the NHL!

Do you believe in omens?

The Conservatives strategists must have seen this coming, though. They knew they were going to get a butt kicking after all the shenanigans they had pulled in their decade of power. It was just a matter of where the votes were going to go elsewhere. So to help their case, they recruited the athlete who wore the highest number possible. I mean, it could have been worse. They could have gotten Sidney Crosby (87), Mario Lemieux (66) or a goalie wearing number 1 (like the Green Party might have done), to endorse them.

Whether true or not, though, it’s nice to see Stephen Harper rewards his backers well. Wayne doesn’t need any more money. A symbolic statement like winning his number of seats to affirm how much of an influence he had on the campaign, though, that’s priceless!

Watch Kings Ransom on the Gretzky Trade to LA (entire documentary)

If you were Canadian and alive on August 9, 1988, your life stopped at least for a little while, if not got changed entirely. I know my life got changed entirely. That was the day the Edmonton Oilers traded the greatest NHL player ever, to an American team, in the same division. It was the trade of the century, without a doubt.

Over 20 years later, ESPN produced a phenomenal documentary on that trade called Kings Ransom, as part of their fabulous 30 for 30 series of documentaries. It puts a lot of new perspective and filled in a lot of gaps to the story. Also, with time, we could follow all the story lines to their conclusions, some of which were quite surprising, from the destinies of Peter Pocklington and Bruce McNall, to Wayne himself, his marriage, and what he has done for hockey in the US, especially California area, as well as hockey in Canada and hockey as a business.

It was too bad this documentary hasn’t gotten more buzz in Canada.

Below is the documentary in 4 video clips posted by a YouTube user called HockeyWebCaster. Thanks for posting.

I hope you enjoy and recommend to others who may be interested.

I cried a lot that day when Wayne was traded. Watching this documentary, I did it again. I wonder what the guy next to me on the Air Canada flight to San Francisco thought. πŸ™‚

What Did You Think of Canada’s Choice of Wayne Gretzky as the Final Olympics Torch Bearer?

There’s been a lot of anticipation, debate and polling over the past week on who would be the final torch bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

After Rick Hansen, Catriona LeMay Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene, it was the Great Wayne Gretzky as highly speculated. Technically, he did not light the torch at the ceremonies, as all but Rick Hansen were supposed to have lit a torch.

But technically, in more ways than one, that didn’t happen, either. That hydraulic system raising the five torches could have used some Viagra. Only three of four got up. The fourth one couldn’t manage.

How embarrassing! The world was watching and we couldn’t get it up!

Catriona LeMay Doan was left standing without lighting the torch. So sad, as it’s a great honour and it got taken away on a technicality.

Wayne then went off to light the Olympics cauldron outdoors because technically, there has to be a cauldron lit that could be seen for miles around, and that can’t happen with the torch in BC Place where the ceremonies took place.

So what did you think of the choice to have the Great Wayne light the torch? And if you didn’t like it, who did you think should have been given the honour? Serious choices preferred, but don’t let your sense of humour or creativity through.

I was all for Wayne, myself. πŸ™‚

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.6

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My Video for The Lies of Handsome Men, sung by Margaret Whiting

Jack Wrangler & Margaret Whiting

Jan 2011 update:
Margaret Whiting passed away on Jan 10, 2011. It is sad, of course, but what a legacy she left us with, including the song in the video below written by Francesca Blumenthal in 1986. Rest in peace, Margaret.

At this time in 2009, I started building this blog as part of my year to learn about social media. In 2010, I am learning about multi-media and this is my first video. I should point out that like my study of social media, it’s about knowing its capabilities and potential more than the technical stuff, though a lot can be learned by doing hands-on technical stuff. It’s too bad all too many “boss” types in the world never really learn the details of things they “manage” from doing to appreciate the challenges and power of those things.

I used Windows Movie Maker to make this video, with its rather limited capabilities and features. I know it’s not a great video editing program, but I’ll get around to one soon enough. I created the images from Photoshop actions I made to save a lot of time and repetitive effort.

The idea for this video first came to me in the middle of 2009 when I wanted to social media share the 1986 song The Lies of Handsome Men, written by Francesca Blumenthal, sung by 1940s crooner Margaret Whiting in 1990 when she was 66! Thank you to Francesca for correcting my mistake in a comment below. What a beautiful song this is and I hope you’ve got more such songs in your repertoire, past and future!

In my opinion, Margaret’s version is the definitive version of the song. I haven’t heard anybody else sing it like it, and I love it when I find definitive versions of songs that just blow the rest of the versions away. What made the difference for me, as I later found out through research, was that Margaret had been involved in acting and she used those acting skills to put just a little more intonation and feeling into the song. I listened and I really believed she meant everything she said. Mind you, the way she ended up with a former gay porn star 20 years her junior while in her 50s for 33 years of her life (see notes near the end of the notes before the video), she’s a mighty fine actress to have convinced me she believed those lies when she obviously brushed them aside!

Usually, I can find what I want in music online on YouTube. However, there was no version of this song I could find anywhere to share so I penned it down as an idea for a video in 2010 when I would be focusing on learning multi-media. I thought of it as a simple project, to create a slide show video where the images would be male movie stars and musicians of an era past, in black and white.

Images were mostly from an amazing site of black and white movie portraits called Dr Macro’s High Quality Movie Scans. Portraits were so beautiful and noble back in those days! Order of the portrait tied the images to something in the lyrics as much as possible, albeit sometimes rather vague and sometimes without connection because it isn’t easy to have a limited collection to suit any old set of lyrics, you know! Names of subjects are at the bottom of this post.

I wanted to use past celebrities’ B&W portraits because they were more true to the song’s age and feel, as well as avoid all the people today created out of hype with faults yet to be found. The stars in the past have had their good and bad days and have their legacies pretty much written so they are more “timeless” since public opinion won’t likely change much on them any more.

Had I thought of this video in December, I might have gone after the images of the women of Tiger Woods. Hahaha!

But I can still dedicate it to them, can I not?

Alas, they ain’t got nothing on Margaret! On her fourth marriage, Margaret married a gay porn star 20 years her junior in the late Jack Wrangler (neΓ© John Stillman), who eventually also came to do straight porn.

Ooops. Bad pun intended! πŸ˜‰

According to Jack, this was how they met.

In 1976, Jack Wrangler met celebrated 1940s pop singer and film actress Margaret Whiting when she attended one of his one-man erotic shows in New York. As he later recalled, “I was with my manager when I looked over at Margaret, who was surrounded by five guys at a booth. ‘There she was with the hair, the furs and the big gestures. I thought, ‘Boy, now that’s New York! That’s glamour!’ I had to meet her.” A relationship developed. He was 33; she was 55. When Wrangler confided to Whiting that he was gay, her response was “only around the edges, dear.” The couple has never married. As Whiting told People magazine in 1987, “There’s no point in us getting married. We’re not having kids.”

Remember, Margaret Whiting made her debut as a crooner in the 1940s! Those women of Tiger Woods ain’t got nothin’ on her!

Margaret is still alive so far as I know. Jack passed away in April 2009 from emphysema after 40 years of smoking. Their picture together is the slide in the video.

Seems Margaret didn’t believe in the lies of handsome men if she convinced Jack to be her mate despite his openly gay declaration. πŸ˜‰

Here is the video below. Please give constructive criticisms if you can afford the time. Thank you.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.1

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LYRICS

I believe in star signs
And I believe in film romances
I believe in in fantasy
And I believe with just one glance he’s
Crazy for my eyes
‘Cause I believe the lies
Of handsome men

I believe in witchcraft
And I believe in Cinderella
I believe in gypsies
And I believe I cast a spell that
Sends him to the skies
‘Cause I believe the lies
Of handsome men

Somewhere in a corner of my mind
I’m not a fool, completely blind
But even though he’s hooked me on his line
I find the pleasure has been mine

I believe in love songs,
They seem to know just what I’m feeling
I believe in Prince Charming
I never guess he’s double dealing
How my spirits rise
Believing in the lies
Of handsome men

Sometimes in a dark and quiet place
The truth and I meet face to face
And even if his Highness disappears
I keep some lovely souvenirs

So I believe in heroes
And I expect that happy ending
Wishing on some rainbow
I pretend he’s not pretending
Someday I’ll get wise
But right now I need the lies
Of handsome men

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STARRING
(in order of appearance, group by song verses)

Margaret Whiting

Bing Crosby, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Duke Ellington, Paul Newman, Basil Rathbone, Tony Curtis

Lex Barker, Gene Kelly, Rudolph Valentino, Cary Grant, Louis Armstrong, Robert Young, Elvis Presley

Rock Hudson, Humphrey Bogart, Ray Charles, Henry Fonda, Warner Baxter, John Wayne

Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Rudolph Valentino, Rudolph and wife Natacha Rambova, Clark Gable, John Garrick, Ronald Reagan

Ralph Bellamy, Robert Montgomery, Buster Crabbe

Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Vincent Price, Sidney Poitier, Laurence Olivier, Johnny Mack Brown, Errol Flynn, Claude Rains

Muhammad Ali, Gene Autry, Fred Astaire, Joel McCrea, Vic Damone, Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood

Jack Wrangler and Margaret Whiting

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