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John is away this morning so I have to do the Winners & Losers show alone from 7:30 to 9 on WSHC (89.7 FM). To listen on line live from anywhere go to

Elly, of course, is upset that she has to get up so early to take me into the station. John usually picks me up on his way in.

So right now I’m putting my music list together. I’ll be taking requests for music at 304-876-5369 if you want to hear yourself on the air.


Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas Collins, Dies at 87

From the WAPO:

Jonathan Frid, a Canadian actor best knowing for playing Barnabas Collins on the 1960s supernatural soap opera “Dark Shadows,” died last Friday of natural causes, WKTV News in Utica reports. He was 87.

A Yale graduate, Frid was a theater actor looking for a teaching job until he was hired to play a 200-year-old vampire on “Dark Shadows,” according to a biography on his Web site. At its peak, the show was watched by 20 million viewers, according to TV Guide.

From the LA TIMESJohnny Depp, who plays Barnabas Collins in the new  DARK SHADOWS movie, commented:

“Jonathan Frid was the reason I used to run home from school to watch ‘Dark Shadows.’

“When I had the honor to finally meet him, as he so generously passed the torch of Barnabas to me, he was as elegant and magical as I had always imagined.  My deepest condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost a true original.”

We are losing so many people who were the stars of my generation. The world changes. Frid was the first time that I think a vampire became popular on a regular television show, something that seems to be more prevalent, and less sophisticated, now.

Going after old BBC favorites…

On nights when nothing I am interested in is on television, I have been going on line and revisiting favorite BBC channel  series from the previous decade.

I’m halfway through the three year series (six episodes each year) of the great Canadian series Slings & Arrows, the story of a Shakespearian theatre festival in Ontario, covering a different play each season (they opened with Hamlet and, in the second season, I am immersed in the Scottish Play.)

As many of you theatrefolk know, it is bad luck to say the name of the Scottish Play when you are discussing it… you can say the main character’s only in context of the lines in the performance. In the third season we will be getting into King Lear.

I love Slings & Arrows and could watch it many times over (You Tube has each episode in 7.25 minute units, but no commercials.)

Once I’m through these I’m going into two related series that were, at the time, my overall favorite of their seasons: Life On Mars (2 seasons) followed by Ashes To Ashes (3 seasons). These are about English police detectives who get into major accidents in the first episodes of each and wake up in the past (Life On Life on Mars (TV series)Mars in the 1970’s and Ashes To Ashes in the 1980’s. Each time the detective wakes up in Manchester where they are active in the existing Detective unit, but can’t figure out how they got there,

There was an American version of Life On Mars tried some years after the British, but it didn’t last a full season… the British was so much better.

If you’ve never seen these shows, I recommend them highly.

Tuesday Morning in Shepherdstown…

Election today.

I’m not thrilled with either candidate, but I am upset with the dirty campaign Maloney and his crowd have run… so I am voting for Tomlinson.

CATF has announced the dates of the 2012 Season:

Hey… only 10 months away! Plan now!

I’ve been instructed to play no more show music on my radio show. It seems students don’t like it (too educational compared to really awful Rap that fills many afternoons). Yeah, it disturbs me, especially since Shepherd has a great Music Department that has produced wonderful musicals over the years. I guess their program doesn’t need support from WSHC radio.

If you, like me, miss having this on our local radio station, let them know at


West to Chicago, and down south as well. New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Baltimore closed their airports until things could be straightened out.

And I didn’t feel it!

When it hit I was driving up the long, bumpy dirt road to the Folly which always has the feeling that the earth is moving when you bump along on it. But when I pulled into the Folly, Bradley and Carol had just come out of their house which had been shaking for a few seconds and Ben Snyder, who was working at the shops, felt it as he put together Carnival stuff.

The news says it was a 5.9 on the Richter scale (other reports say 5.8) and they are expecting smaller aftershocks over the next few weeks, perhaps at a 4.8 on the scale.

We are apparently over something called the Virginia Fault. It is about 4.5 miles down and is in the midst of the shale deposits that run up through the Appalachians, so any quake reverberates up and down the geographic mass.

The last time we had a quake of this magnitude here was in the 1890’s… and we had a much smaller one in 2010.

Life, however, goes on… and this was much more fun than covering Republicans.

Special guests on the Winners and Losers show tomorrow morning…

Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill O’Meara and Ben Snyder, two of my friends from the Timber Frame Folly who are working hard on the Rube Carnival we’re pulling off for kids and adults like us who never forgot how to be kids, will be my guests tomorrow at WSHC (89.7 FM) starting at 8:00 AM. On line we’re at


We’ll be talking about the Carnival, the Folly in general, music, chickens and just about anything else we can think of. You can also call in and talk with these fellas at 304-876-5369.

We’re getting closer to the Carnival, Sept. 10 and 11, and there’s a lot to get ready, which we’ll talk about tomorrow. Plus I’ll be there at 7:30 AM with my warmup for the morning as I substitute for John Case..

The Timber Frame Folly

I’ll be hosting “Winners and Losers” on WSHC for the next week and a half…

Grandfather Case

John Case called me right after his Wednesday morning show to tell me his daughter was about to deliver his grandchild in Canada and he was taking off and needed to give me the studio key. He will be picking up Carol after she gets to the train station after work and they will be driving to Alberta.

So now I’ll be getting up early for the oncoming mornings to start the show warm ups at 7:00 AM and to open the program at 7:30 AM.  I hope you will all tune in to WSHC 89.7 FM for the next seven weekday mornings (or beyond, depending on John’s schedule.) You can also tune in on the internet at You can call in on the programs at 304-876-5359.

I’m also looking for interview guests who represent things going on in Shepherdstown. If that’s you, reply to this post.

A Few Updates on My Goings On in Shepherdstown…

Last night I got back from one of the Friday 5:00 or so meetings at The Folly where we all sat around drinking beer, wine and Diet Coke (me) and made plans for the Rube Carnival in August. This is going to be fun. I’ve scheduled three days next week to go over and make my slingshot shooting gallery.

This morning Elly and I are running the Four Seasons Bookstore’s booth at the Morgan’s grove market, where we will also be selling her baked goods (spiced breads and the best rugelach on earth!) and some of Ruth’s garden produce.

Coming in August when John Case and his wife travel to Canada where their daughter is due to have their grandchild, I’ll be subbing for a week on Winners And Losers every morning on WSHC. And, as long as I’m talking about the radio station, we recorded my CATF reviews and they will be scattered around WSHC throughout the month until July 31st.

So this is a pretty active summer for me…not something I’ve been used to for quite a while.

Conservative Canadian Govt. Brought Down Yesterday…

The Parliamentary System is so practical. Too bad w can’t do it here…at least in the states with Tea Party Governors.

This from HuffPo:

clipped from
TORONTO — Canadian opposition parties brought down the Conservative government in a no confidence vote Friday, triggering an election that polls show the Conservatives will win.
The opposition parties held Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s government in contempt of Parliament in a 156-145 vote for failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets
Opinion polls expect Harper’s Conservative Party to win re-election but not a majority, meaning he likely will continue to govern with a minority in Parliament, dependent on opposition votes to stay afloat.
But in the latest twist, there is a chance the left-of-center parties might join forces in a coalition if Harper wins another minority government on the expected election date of May 2.
Harper, 51, is a career politician who has spent the last five years emphasizing a more conservative Canadian identity and moving Canada incrementally to the right.
blog it

So Dollar Bills are Costing Us Money?

clipped from

Replacing dollar bill with coins could save billions: government

(Reuters) – Replacing $1 bills with coins of the same amount could save the federal government $5.5 billion over the next 30 years, officials said on Friday.


Analysis by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed the savings would come from replacing bills with more durable coins.

The report was not the first time the GAO has recommended the money swap, but the agency said past efforts to buoy support for the $1 coin have been hindered in part because the $1 bills have remained in circulation.

Other countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada that use a coin advised the GAO to pull the bills from circulation to hasten public acceptance.

The GAO said a change to coins from dollar bills would present some upfront costs and assumed a four-year transition period.

Private companies also said altering current equipment to take and store the proposed $1 coin would be an expense, the GAO said.

blog it
This is interesting…I guess it saves money to make the change because paper money wears out and it costs extra to print more. 

Hey, I’ve got an idea… why don’t we go back to gold? Gold $1 coins would probably be much smaller than silver-ish ones and take up much less pocket space. Easier for private companies to adjust their coin machines…especially if the $1 gold coin is the size of a nickel.

Did you see Justin Bieber’s comment on America’s Health Care compared to Canada’s?

I found this in Ketchup is a Vegetable, but it’s in the new Rolling Stone:

“You guys are evil. Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”

Yeah, but we have more Rock Concerts and TV Shows.

Looks like I’m doing WINNERS AND LOSERS on WSHC tomorrow morning…

…since I haven’t heard from John Case. Guess he’s still in Canada. Oh well, this will round out my week.

I’m going over blues music and such here tonite… and making a list of political stuff to talk about in case anyone calls in to the show (Mark or Dino or Ralph).

By the way… you can listen to the show on line. Just go to and click on “Listen to WSHC Live”.  To call in to the show dial 304-876-5369 anytime between 7:30 and 9:00 AM when I’m on the air.

There’s also the chance that John will walk in during the show and I can turn over the reins and the door key to the real host of the show (and get some sleep on weekday mornings!)

A farewell to Leslie Nielsen…

Actor Leslie Nielsen died in Florida Sunday at the age of 84. The Canadian-born actor had a decades long career, starting in straight roles and ending up in absurd comic films and television productions.

I remember the first time I saw Nielsen was in the 1950s science fiction film, Forbidden Planet ( based, by the way, on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”), where he played a handsome space ship captain. As a young man he came from Canada to NYC to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse drama school and played many parts in early live television drama.

His early television appearances include parts in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Virginian, and The Wild Wild West. In 1961, he was the lead in a taut Los Angeles police drama called The New Breed. In 1968, he had a major role in the pilot film for the popular police series Hawaii Five-O, and also later appeared in one of the episodes in the seventh season. In 1969, he had the leading role as a police officer in The Bold Ones: The Protectors. He played The Swamp Fox (Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion) for Disney over 8 episodes.

Nielsen’s comedic breakthrough came with a supporting role in 1980’s Airplane!, a parody of Zero Hour!, Airport, and other movies that dealt with air travel. In Airplane! his deadpan delivery contrasted with the continual absurdity surrounding him. In the film when asked, “Surely you can’t be serious?”, he responds with a curt, “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” He hit it playing Frank Drebin in the films and television productions of Police Squad and the Naked Gun series, which hit the peak of his comic performances.

On November 28, Doug Nielsen, Nielsen’s nephew, announced to the CJOB radio station that Nielsen had died in his sleep, of pneumonia, around 5:30 p.m. EST, surrounded by family and friends.

A laugh from Canada which I found over at Bic’s Place:

As I did my late afternoon web browsing, I stopped at Bic’s Place and found this Rick Mercer piece:

Chasing Clean Air, the Video…

Donna Barnett sent me a comment on this morning’s article about The Age Of Stupid, which led me to visit ner wonderful blog Chasing Clean Air

There, among a great deal of other great pieces about climate and pollution and what we have to do about the situation, you will find her video, also called Chasing Clean Air. Fom the Info:

Chasing Clean Air: Climate Change features Donna Barnett’s journey out of Los Angeles and into clean air where climate change markers were found along the way.

Athabasca glacier in Alberta, Canada: Accelerating ice melt is going to the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

Central British Columbia: The mountain pine beetle is destroying forests and salmon runs are smaller than in cooler times.

Also featured solutions and positive changes happening now!

Beautiful original photographs and video from Southwest, Los Angeles, Yosemite, and Pacific Northwest.

New music “Turn It Around” by Paul Malysa.

The video was shot, produced and edited by Donna Barnett for the blog

Here it is:

I’ve also added her blog to my blogroll so you can check in regularly.

Oh Canada…

I was watching Dr. Robert Ouellet, the President of the Canadian Medical Association, on C-Span’s Morning Edition as he took calls and questions on Canada’s single-payer system. The most important thing he did was blow holes in the myths which are being actively promoted by the Right-wing health opponents. I wish everyone could be watching or listening to this and, if as is the case on Sundays, C-Span reruns this morning’s program on C-Span 3 in the afternoon, then it would be worth catching it and listening.

In connection with this program, I would refer you to a long article I read last night on Truthout, titled “Don’t Get Sick.” by Gail Pellet, a Canadian living in the United States, who makes a detailed defense of Canada’s system and part of the history of how it came about as a result of the work of T. C. (Tommy) Douglas, a Baptist minister turned politician in Saskatchewan (and, interestingly enough, the grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland.)

This from the article:

In 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation conducted a poll to determine whom Canadians thought was the greatest Canadian of all time. It was not Pierre Trudeau, Joni Mitchell, Dan Aykroyd, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Lorne Michaels, Oscar Peterson, Peter Jennings, Celine Dion, Neil Young, Keanu Reeves, nor Wayne Gretzky. It wasn’t even Keifer Sutherland or his dad, Donald. No, it was Keifer Sutherland’s grandfather, Tommy Douglas, who is credited with making sure that Canadians would have universal, government-funded health care. When Canadians are periodically polled and asked what they are most proud of, in addition to peacekeeping, it is their national health care system.

The Canadian system is single-payer, however YOU select your doctor (sounds a little like what Obama keeps saying and the Repiglicans keep denying). Ouellet, who is the outgoing President of the CMA, originally spent a great deal of effort to get the Canadian system privatized, until a polling of the country revealed that 85% of the population wanted to improve the public system and had no interest in privatization. He then worked to strengthen the one area that has been called up as weak and that is waiting periods for some procedures in some parts of the country. He points out that these are not that great and in the last couple of years since the 2004 poll have been greatly reduced. It should be noted that NONE of the complaints about waiting periods apply to emergencies or necessary needs of major diseases. As one person on the phone with Ouellet on C-Span said: “If you have cancer, Canada is the best place to be.”

It is problematic that we, as Americans, don’t like to listen to other countries and their successes. We have had the same response to systems in Great Britain and France that we have had to Canada, that is, we are unique, and special, etc.etc. etc…. meanwhile our lives are shorter in length and we are further down on the scale (37th exactly) when compared to the Health Care programs in other countries. This is our peculiar problem, and we suffer for it.

By the way, if you are interested in how Tommy Douglas got Saskatchewan and then the whole country to move toward the program they have now, then you might be interested in a speech he is famous for when he founded the New Democratic Party. It’s called “Mouseland” and this animated video is introduced by Kiefer Sutherland HERE Note… this is not about Health Care, but about political change and, glory be, it applies to us as well.

A Canadian Corrects Mitch McConnell (and sooo politely!)

Response to the Senator accusing Canada of having “staggering” wait times from Canadian Surgeon and Hospital Executive Dr. David Zelt

Dr. David Zelt, chief of staff and vice-president, medical administration, at Kingston General Hospital, sent the following reply to McConnell:

I am writing with reference to remarks you made in an address this past week to the United States Senate.

As a surgeon and hospital executive in Canada, I am well aware of the debate now taking place in your country over the role of government in making medical services more widely available to the millions of your fellow U. S. citizens who are now without such vital protection.

The purpose of this letter is not to interfere in that debate, although I would be remiss if I did not declare that I am a proud participant in our public healthcare system in Canada and value its ability to guarantee quality and accessible care to all our citizens regardless of their financial circumstances. Is our system perfect? Definitely not. Are costs and ever-increasing demand a challenge? Definitely yes.

I am writing to you at this time to correct and update information that you provided to the U. S. Senate this week about Kingston General Hospital (KGH), where I am chief of staff and vice-president, medical administration. I am confident that you, as someone playing a major role in the current health-care debate in your country, would want to make your arguments based on material that is both correct and current.

You chose our hospital to provide “a glimpse of the effect that government-run health care has on everyday Canadians and the long waits they routinely endure for necessary care.”

At KGH we are proud of our reputation as a medium-size regional health science centre providing excellence in research, academic and patient care standards. I respectfully submit that the information you supplied to the U. S. Senate is not an accurate or fair “glimpse” of either our institution or our national health-care system.

For example, you state that at KGH wait times can be

“staggering.” This is simply not true. Our average and median wait times exceed provincial targets. Your researchers have taken data and interpreted it incorrectly, with the result that your information is inaccurate.

Your statement to the Senate: “Today, the average wait time for (hip replacement) surgery at KGH is about 196 days.” In fact, our actual average hip replacement wait time is 91 days — less than half of what you stated.

Your statement to the Senate: “What about knee replacements? Well, at Kingston General, the average wait time is 340 days, or almost a year from the moment that the doctor says you need a new knee.” In fact, our average wait time for knee replacements is 109 days.

Your statement to the Senate: “What about brain cancer? In Ontario the target wait time for brain cancer surgery is nearly three months; same for breast cancer and prostate cancer.” These are simply that, targets. In fact, at KGH our average overall wait times for surgical treatment of all forms of cancer is 31 days (16 days for breast cancer, 49 for prostate and eight for neurosurgical cancer).

Your statement to the Senate: “And for cardiac bypass surgery, patients in Ontario are told they may have to wait six months for a surgery that Americans can often get right away.” In fact, the median wait time for cardiac surgery in Ontario is 16 days (32 days at KGH).

In summary, Senator McConnell, in an effort to advance your position opposing public health care, you have maligned a very proud institution whose service to our community dates back some 170 years. The “glimpse” you have provided of our national healthcare system neglects to mention that at its very base is Canadians’ fundamental right to accessible and quality health care regardless of their financial circumstances.

In closing, Senator, I thank you for this opportunity to bring this information to your attention. We have an excellent data collection system at our hospital and I would invite you or a member of your staff to contact me or other officials of this institution for accurate and current information that would be helpful in keeping the American public correctly informed during your important and ongoing debate on health care.

And nowhere in his letter did Dr. Zelt point out what an asshole Mitch McConnell is!