Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Connecting with Animals Calendar – February Story


Lindy (L) and Jerroh – true brotherly love

If you're reading this post, congratulations: you've survived January 2016! What a month that was. Aside from all the stunning deaths in the entertainment world, it seemed to me that virtually everyone in my quite-extended circle of friends had periods of varying length where they were going through really rough times. In my own case, the month began with wicked colds that knocked Sarah and me off of our feet for a few days; once I had more or less recovered, I had a few days of peace and then a crash into near-depression seemingly out of nowhere. Maybe there's something to this "Mercury retrograde" thing after all.

....nah. It's just January, typically the "bluest" month of the year in the upper northern hemisphere. There's a reason Bell's "Let's Talk" day comes in January.

But that was last month. It's over. You made it. And this month? Well, this month features my favourite image of the 13 included in this year's calendar. 


You can be forgiven if you think the beautiful tawny lions in February's photo are a loving, mixed-gender couple. In fact, I kind of counted on that possibility when I chose to place this picture opposite the month of Valentine's Day. But the truth is they are 15-year-old brothers, born at the Toronto Zoo on July 14, 2000. They were the second and third cubs for dad Rowdy and mom Nokanda; older brother Simba had already been transferred to Parc Safari in Quebec where he has been a fairly prolific father himself. Lindy and Jerroh were the most recent cubs to have been born at the Toronto Zoo prior to the arrival of our four little white bundles of joy last September. Rowdy was a much-beloved lad who lived to the ripe old age of 20; he passed away in 2011 only two months after his adoring partner Nokanda died in August of the same year. And, as you can see from the above-left photo, Nokanda was a beautiful white lioness. 


Because there isn't nearly as much demand for male lions in Zoos across North America as there is for females – and because Lindy and Jerroh were the second and third of an incredible seven male cubs born in Toronto this millennium (with nary a girl in sight) – the decision was made to keep the happy family together as a unit. This necessitated the neutering of the two boys so they would not grow up to "challenge" their father. I have received conflicting information as to whether Lindy's castration was slightly too late to completely ward off puberty, or whether it didn't "take" 100%, or if there is some other reason, but Lindy managed to grow a "mini-mane" before its progress ceased. It's not nearly as magnificent as his dad's (nor, for that matter, the Zoo's current white lion patriarch, Fintan) but it's clearly enough to be able to tell the two boys apart. They grew up to be quite large for their species and have always been very close to each other, by all accounts.


Ever since the young white lion pride arrived in 2012, Lindy and Jerroh have shared time with them in the public exhibit, The "cuteness factor" gave the whites prime-time exposure for the most part; on the infrequent occasions I have seen these two old boys on display I seem to have kept my camera at my hip, as I can't find very many shots of them in my collection. On this particular sunny January afternoon last year, as Sarah and I entertained our young cousin at the Zoo and showed her around the African savanna mostly for the exercise, I wasn't sure we'd see any of the magnificent big cats in our lion collection. It seemed especially unlikely once we had approached the front of the exhibit and found the heated den to be devoid of any feline presence. I am fairly certain we assumed at that point that they were all in the "house", or perhaps in transition from one grouping to the other. We briefly scanned the visible area and then moved on through the tunnel that splits the exhibit, toward the rest of the savanna. I hadn't even taken my camera out of its sling bag, which is....well, let's just say I really should know better. As we passed through the tunnel I suddenly spied a burst of beautiful golden fur through one of the windows on my right. I took in my breath as I looked more closely and saw the two brothers sitting up high on the hill behind their den – but not high enough as to be seen from the front viewing platform – cuddled up together with a glorious blue sky behind them. I cursed my unpreparedness under my breath, hoped against hope that they would not move from that spot while I fumbled through my sling bag and changed lenses to my zoom, pressed my camera up against the window, and began to shoot.


Most of my best photos are gathered by what I like to call "brute force photography". There are many camera enthusiasts out there who are much more technically proficient than I am – many of them in my peer group, actually – but where I think my main talent lies is in patience and sensing what an animal might do next from many hours of observation. You'll read a lot more about that in later months; however, for all the times I need long hours and diligence to get the shot I really want, every now and then a chance will come along where a classic shot will just fall into my lap, with absolutely no preparation or work on my part, through nothing but dumb luck. This was one of those times. From the time I spotted the pair until my last squeeze of the shutter release I'd be very surprised if four minutes passed, including the time it took for me to get my sh—er, "kit" together to shoot the scene. And when I had taken the last photo, I looked down at the screen on the back of my camera, reviewed what I had fallen backwards into, and declared to Sarah, "Well, that's February taken care of for next year. Just need 11 more shots and a cover." It was obvious to me in that instant that I wasn't going to find a better photo for February in the next 10 months. And I never did. When it came time to choose the pictures for this year's calendar (back in September), I put the photo at the top of this page in the February slot and never touched it again. That's just the way it goes, sometimes. Some very, very lucky times.

If you bought the calendar, I thank you once again. Either way, if you enjoy these stories of the process of putting it together – with all the extra photos – please check back on the first of each month. I will do my very best to have a new post ready to go to coincide with the turning of each page!


BONUS MATERIAL FOLLOWS! 

I mentioned our "four little white bundles of joy" earlier in this post. On September 26/27, 2015, our white lioness Makali gave birth to four male cubs (two late on the 26th, two more early on the 27th). There are lots of amazing and heart-melting photos and videos of their early days on the Zoo's website, but this is far and away my favourite to date. In mid-December, Staff and Volunteers finally got a chance to see them in person; on December 19th, they made their public debut on a cold and windy Saturday. Makali has been an unbelievably patient mom to this point, especially as this is her first litter and four boys must be a handful for any parent at one time. Rumour has it that we're hoping for a March Break "unveiling" of the whole happy family (including dad Fintan and perhaps even Auntie Lemon) in the actual exhibit itself. Up to this point, the as-yet-unnamed cubs have only been viewable in the outdoor area of their barn, which had been set up with a radiating heater and special windows for the occasion. The windows/fencing combination – coupled with the lack of depth to the play area (meaning the cubs are always fairly near to the fence) – has made for some less than brilliant photo ops. but I've added a couple of shots here just for fun anyhow. Enjoy!











Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Connecting with Animals Calendar – January Story


West Caucasian tur adolescents testing their sparring skills

As I was selling my unbelievably successful animal calendars for 2016 (four printings and $511 raised for rhinos – thank you all so much!!!) I would often sit with someone while they leafed through its pages, telling stories about the photos I chose for this year's edition. After a while, I realized that every single photo selected has some sort of back story; at the very least, they can each benefit from a little "fleshing out". So I decided to write a blog post for each of them and publish it in the appropriate month. January's is very late, but I will post-date all the rest so they appear on the first of each month. If you have a calendar and want to know more about the featured animals, please visit often. If not...well, the stories are still likely to be fun!

This month's animal is the west Caucasian tur, found in the Eurasian Wilds area of the Toronto Zoo, directly across from the snow leopard enclosure. These are among my favourite animals in our whole collection, because they are always so calm, sociable and inquisitive. This is one of the extremely rare areas of the zoo where a visitor can actually get close enough to touch the animal on display (but please don't!!). The huge enclosure has a high fence all around it, but one that has a wide weave and which one can very easily walk right up to at most points on its perimeter. These relatively passive goats can often be found on the cliffs (as is the case with the young lads in the picture above), but just as often they will be very close to the fence, nibbling on hay, sipping at their water, or just looking quizzically and comically at the silly human standing mere feet away, making clucking sounds and talking nonsensically at him or her in a sing-song voice. Well, at least that's what I've heard: clearly that isn't something I'd ever do. Heh heh. Heh.


I think this is the photo that I was originally going to go with for January's page, until Sarah came to the rescue. She mentioned that the other shot was much more dynamic and wondered why I had rejected it. I explained that I had tried to use it (the eventual winner) but that it had been cut off at the top and this annoyed me just enough to switch to the one at left. So Sarah went into the Vistaprint program and patiently showed me that the photo could be manipulated within its frame – similar to what one does with one's Facebook avatar when changing it to something not perfectly square – and I sheepishly admitted I hadn't even tried that. When we slid the jousting photo down a few millimetres, it fit beautifully into frame. Since it was the far superior choice, I went with it. This would have been enough of a lesson on its own, but Sarah wasn't finished (luckily for me). She asked how I had been cropping my photos in PhotoShop for the calendar pages. I explained that, because each page was 8 1/2 x 11", I had chosen the closest photo ratio I could (8 x 10) and just let it work itself out. Sarah then asked me why I had chosen that size and not, you know, actually 8 1/2 x 11. Only at that moment did it dawn on me that I could use the "Custom" crop tool to choose a specific size to match the paper I was printing it on; up until that point I had only really used the "Unrestricted" crop or the set ratios for my photos. It was a bit of a head-slapping moment, similar to the time I watched someone take pictures of our brand-new baby gorilla, heard his shutter go "click-click-click-click...", and literally exclaimed out loud, "Of course!!`I`m not buying film any more, so I can use the multiple-shot setting!" I have learned a great many things about my camera and digital photography in general in the past three years; this (multiple-shot photography) was one of the biggest game-changers of all of them. This new cropping discovery is right there with it. I hope I can improve my calendars every single time I print them. The 2016 edition is easily my favourite so far.










All of the above didn't make the cut for various reasons ranging from difficulty to crop to 8 x10, to too much fencing showing (I try to remove any visible fences from all of my shots if possible), to – in the case of the centre one ~ just having the misfortune of being up against more suitable choices. But look how cute!! I was hunting around on my hard drive for a photo of one of the tiny darlings sitting inside the hay-dispenser, happily munching away, because I know I've seen that happen numerous times; sadly, I couldn't find a single one. I can't imagine I've not taken any of those shots, but there you go. Maybe it's somewhere I didn't look. I'll keep hunting.


As for this final shot, there is one very good reason it didn't make the grade. Well, ok, maybe two reasons. In the first place, I think it's a fantastic photo, full of meaning and science and nature and all of that. I'm just not sure that enough people would think it belonged on their wall for the entire month of January. Maybe I'm selling a lot of people short, but after the reactions I had to leaving the blood in a previous year's photo of our Indian rhinos post-courtship, I'm a little reluctant to take that chance.

The second reason is a little harsher: this tiny guy, sadly, didn't make it. He had some very serious issues with his legs and he was rejected by his first-time mother. It didn't make sense for him to be hand-raised with all of the obstacles he was going to have to overcome. In the harsh natural environment that these animals live in, he would have been doomed from the moment his mom walked away from him. At least he was given a fighting chance at the Toronto Zoo until his untreatable front-end issues were discovered. Such is life (and death) in the world of animal care providers. It was still incredible to be there at the moment he entered the world. I didn't see the actual birth, as it happened inside the cave you can see in the photo, but the keepers told me it was happening and I saw mom and kid shortly thereafter.


Well, that's all I have for January. Next up: the photo that I knew was going to be February's offering the moment I took it. Tune in on the first of next month for that story!

Monday, January 11, 2016

There's a Starman Waiting in the Sky


Time May Change Me by Helen Green


I got up this morning to have coffee with Sarah before she left for work at the "crack of stupid", as our friend Ruth Cheesman would say. It's a new routine, begun on the advice of the psychiatrist – Dr. Feldmann – who has been treating me for ADHD. We're experimenting with increasing levels of Vyvanse (an amphetamine – and yes, I do recognize the irony in me needing an "upper" but thanks anyhow) and it seems to finally be having a positive effect on my ability to focus and stick to a task; however, as the good doctor pointed out to me, the medicine is just a tool and the heavy lifting now is left to me to relearn good organizational and goal-oriented skills. So last night I opened up "Google Keep" on my phone and created a long To Do list for the rest of this month. And my first order of business this morning, after seeing Sarah safely off, was to sit down at the computer and create my first new blog post in nearly a year, providing the back story for the January photo in my incredibly successful Connecting with Animals calendar for 2016

It's no longer morning. And this isn't that post. That post will have to wait.

Ordinarily I would check my emails and social media first thing in the morning just to be sure I wasn't missing anything of "vital importance" before getting on with my day, but I was so determined not to disappear down that particular rabbit hole today that I skipped Facebook and Twitter and only glanced at my email headers as I grabbed my mug of remaining coffee and began to head down the hall to my desk. I would, therefore, have missed all news of the stunning loss the world suffered overnight, but for one small detail: I subscribe to an email notification service called "Celebrity Death Beeper." I had received an email from them at 2:32 this morning and the header (in my phone's tiny window) said only, "A celebrity death? LEGENDARY ARTIS..." Assuming the recently departed would turn out to be someone I knew of only slightly, but with whom Sarah would be much more familiar, I clicked on the email in order to pass along the news to her so she might look into it on her bus ride. And of course, I couldn't have been more wrong. "LEGENDARY ARTIST DAVID BOWIE DIES AT 69" read the full header, my first "WTF" moment of 2016. With all of the notorious internet death hoaxes which seem to crop up nearly daily, I quickly went online for other, credible sources. I was met with an absolute wall of messages and laments on every single social media platform currently existing. And I sat down on the couch, knowing in that moment that my morning's plans had been irreversibly altered.

David Bowie, who seemed virtually immortal to anyone who actually considered the possibility of his death, was gone. Dead of cancer, with which he had apparently waged a battle for 18 months. 18 bloody months. How in the hell had I not known of this? How does anyone of Bowie's celebrity stature manage to keep that kind of thing a secret for 18 months?? He had released a brand-new album – his 25th – just last Friday. His first video, for the song Lazarus, I had already viewed without even the remotest inkling of its now all-too-clearly deliberate message. David Bowie, dying as suddenly (it seemed) as if he had been killed in an accident, a mere two days after his 69th birthday, which had coincided brilliantly with the release of Blackstar, an album giving no indication that the legendary rocker was even slowing down, let alone at death's door.


The news hit me like a hammer, which I don't really understand. I've certainly been aware of David Bowie since my earliest days of listening to radio. 2001:A Space Odyssey is one of my favourite movies of all time; likewise, I devoured every grain of information about the Apollo moon program in the late '60s. Thus it was only natural that I would take an immediate shine to Space Oddity when it was re-released by Bowie in Canada in 1973, having flown under the radar the first time around in 1969. But for the rest of the '70s, I really had very little exposure to his music other than the AM hits such as Fame and Golden Years, which was a shame because I really didn't care very much for those songs (and still don't). Being a bit of an unsophisticated music aficionado in my formative years, I stayed away from Glam Rock and Prog Rock and Hard Rock and...well, anything that even slightly required a good, hard listen and not just something you could put on in the background and ignore. I suspect this would have been quite different had I gone to a high school where I would have been the "nerdy kid" on the outside; as I attended UTS where we were all the nerdy kids, I didn't need to find solace or refuge or strength in the quirkiness of David Bowie. I vividly recall the one and only visit I made to a classmate's home in Thorncliffe Park in the mid-'70s when he put on Bowie and Genesis and Zappa and just generally made me so uncomfortable that I never returned.


Three events in my life would change how I felt about David Bowie and his music. The first was my meeting Stephe Yorke (one of the owners of Dead Dog Records on Bloor West in Toronto) in second-year university. He broke me out of the box I had been in and forever altered the way I approached all music for the rest of my life. I am forever in his debt for this. The second event was when my friend John Rose and I went to see Christiane F. at a rep theatre in Toronto in the very early '80s. The movie itself is devastatingly dark and disturbing and depressing and just generally an uncomfortable thing to watch....except for the footage of the David Bowie concert the main protagonist attends. I don't know if I was desperate for something, anything to relieve the incredible tension and angst of the film, but I do know that the songs of the soundtrack which played throughout the movie had a very positive effect on me and I rushed out to buy the album the next day (if not actually the very same evening). To this day, the song Heroes holds a very special place in my heart.

And the third event? Well, the third event is when I realized that this gender-bending, shock-producing, misfit chameleon could actually sing. I mean really, really sing.





In the early part of the 1980s, I was beginning to discover the joy of the old Jazz performers and one of my favourites was Nina Simone. One day around this time I had left the television on MuchMusic but wasn't paying attention to it when the above video began to play. It took me a few moments to recognize the tune being played and by the time I looked up, the name of the performer was no longer showing on the screen. I sat there mesmerized, listening to this amazing rendition of one of Simone's fabulous songs and trying to figure out how this person could sound so much like David Bowie and yet could clearly not be David Bowie. When the song was coming to an end and the credits came back up on the screen I was dumbfounded. How could this rock star, this androgynous performance artist with the bizarre costumes and gimmick after gimmick up his sleeve, how on earth could he produce a sound like this? In those days, MuchMusic repeated its programming every three hours (as I recall) so I set up the VCR to record this song in its entirety the next time it would show. I think I might even still have that tape, but I'd imagine it be worn so thin from repeated plays that one could likely see right through it. Of course, I also rushed out and bought the Golden Years compilation album within a day or two. To this day, no Bowie recording – and there have been some monumental performances – has come close to replacing Wild is the Wind as my favourite of his entire repertoire.

But while I now took his immense talent very seriously, I never truly became a "fan". I've loved many of his songs – some obscure, some not – but I only own one of all of his studio albums (sadly, it's Let's Dance) and three compilations: Changesonebowie, the aforementioned Golden Years, and the 2-CD set Singles: 1969-1993, the latter of which I only purchased, truth be told, because it contained a bonus third disc containing the video of Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy from his appearance on the Bing Crosby Christmas special so many years earlier. So why did his loss hit me so hard? I really can't say, other than that it was so sudden, while he was seemingly still so strong and experimental (his final album one final re-invention); and that he had been such a force in every aspect of the entertainment industry for so long it never really occurred to me (nor, apparently, to many others, judging from social media today) that he might one day simply vanish forever. That is to say, vanish as a living being; it's a certainty that he will never vanish entirely until humans disappear from the universe.

And if you doubt the sincerity or veracity of that last sentence, I will let the final words here be those of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who tweeted this today:


Saturday, January 17, 2015

This Is Not a Blog Post


So it's like this....

I have been fighting depression for a very long time, it seems. I've had a few severe episodes that were worse than the others, to be sure, and one of them cost me much of 2013 and the early days of 2014. All one has to do to confirm this is to look at the number of posts I made in 2012, 2013 and 2014. I made one post all of last year. One. I don't even really know how to react to that.

On Facebook I have been very forthcoming about my struggles and have documented my journey back "into the light" there in some great detail, but I have not been able to do the same thing here, and I know that leaves out a few of you who do not follow me on Facebook. For that, I apologize. In the next few months I will do my best to catch you up on how I got here, if I can figure it out myself.

"Here" is an interesting place, though. For many months last year I was on one long upswing from the bowels of abject despair and, where it once was impossible to see any light, it had become impossible to see any ceiling on my climb. But I think I have reached that ceiling—at least for now—and I don't really know how to react to it.

I started taking Cymbalta early last Spring and it immediately had an overwhelmingly positive effect on me. Everything about my personality changed—not just the most recent depths of depression but paradigm shifts in my core personality itself. My "normal" was new. I was calmer and more focused than I can ever remember being in my entire life (and I have confirmed my beliefs with some long-time friends), leading me to ask, out loud, "Just how freaking long have I been depressed, anyhow??"

On June 23rd of last year, I attended a meeting at the Zoo, for which I had been hand-picked by my Supervisor to represent the entire Volunteer crew in talks with board members and high-ranking Zoo officials. I was able to get it together enough to accept the invitation only because I was on the incredible recovery path that I was on, but I did show up and acquitted myself very well. For the rest of that week, I had a reason to get out of the apartment and interact with society every single day and I took note of that 7-day streak.

I managed to keep it going through the end of last year and it's still intact as I write this. It will reach thirty straight weeks tomorrow when I drive up to Lindsay to visit my Dad. I'm pretty damned proud of that.

But here's what's happening right now.

Sarah is in Kenora, giving her Dad a hand, as he just lost his mother last Thursday. She was 103 (!) years old when she died and I had really thought she was going to be the subject of a blog piece this week, but I have decided to wait until Sarah returns so I can make sure I have all the information about her life as accurately as possible. But while Sarah has been away, I have felt a strange sense of ennui return to my life. I do not feel in imminent danger of it turning into a full-blown depressive episode, but it's not a pleasant sensation nonetheless. I am keeping a very close eye on it indeed and will likely take an anxiety pill today to supplement the Cymbalta. As I type this out, I am sitting in front of my 10,000-lux "S.A.D. lamp" (phototherapy for the dark winter months) and it does seem to be helping a bit. I am also fairly confident my diet in the days since she left has not been a help; I have been doing much of the cooking since we moved into our new place last November, but I have never been one to cook for just myself and I'm ashamed of the kind of crap I have been eating since Thursday.

I have been attending a CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) group session every Monday morning for the past nine weeks and will continue to do so for another six. My task from the past session's homework was to write at least one blog piece before Monday but for one reason or another I just have not been able to sit still long enough or get my head enough "into the game" to do so, so I thought I would instead try to explain why this is the case. Along those lines, I actually am soon to see a psychiatrist to be assessed for adult ADHD, which I am fairly confident I will turn out to suffer from. Even at my new level of calmness I still can't stop feeling restless and easily bored. In fact, it might be worse than it has been for a while, since the depression masked a lot of feelings of unease and replaced them with helplessness and immobility.

I will return at some point—because I need to sharpen my blogging skills (more on that later)—with new and better posts. I have borrowed a friend's macro lens for my Canon; I am sure there will be some cool photos forthcoming. If not, there are about 18 months' worth in the tank, ready to be shared here. Or I could talk about my calendar success of last year. I have lots and lots to blog about, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to do so right now. I simply could not write a "real" blog post.

So I wrote this instead. Hope you're okay with it. We'll talk soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thanks, Jimmy Kimmel.

I've had a chance to digest the squirm-fest that was the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show last night and I've reconsidered my original stated position about the entire event. Now I am happy it happened and Jimmy Kimmel has earned a little of my respect in the process.

It's been clear to most of us up here for quite some time that Rob Ford is mentally challenged in some way. I think he's got a learning disability, but whatever the truth is there is definitely an issue there of some kind. I don't think that's been quite as obvious to the international media, most of whom have come to this story only tangentially and mainly through YouTube. To my mind, Kimmel has likely thought all along that Ford must simply be a brazen, larger-than-life character—a sort that Kimmel himself has probably bumped up against in his own country many times. When he was able to convince Ford to come on the show, I can only imagine he felt confident that Ford knew exactly what the joke was going to be. How could he not, truly, and still be the mayor of the largest city in Canada? It was unthinkable, to Kimmel's mind I am sure, that Ford might not see what was going to happen ahead of time—or at least one of his staffers or family members would advise him against it.


Sweating even before it gets going
But that didn't happen, for reasons we in Toronto are all too familiar with. And Ford showed up looking like he was the best man at a 1985 wedding. And he tossed out t-shirts and magnets and had all his local political talking points in order, because that's all he's ever had going for him in the past four years. But he was not in Toronto and the audience—in person, that is—were not the sheep of our city who still believe everything Ford says because it's on the radio or television. I'd love to have seen the results had there been a poll taken after the show of exactly what percentage of Kimmel's audience last night had even the remotest of clues what "TTC" stands for, for example. No, these were people who had shown up to witness a good stoning and they sure weren't disappointed.


It's never fun to watch a bully—or a group of people "in on the joke"—embarrass and destroy an ill-prepared person. (Think of the movie "Carrie".) It's especially not fun when you know that person being picked on is mentally challenged. But as I watched the show last night, it became pretty clear to me that Ford's low IQ was a surprise to Kimmel; or, if not a surprise outright, then it was probably startling to Kimmel that it had more to do with his shenanigans than any sort of brassy, anti-social, eff-you sort of mindset.


Daughtry sings "The Ballad of Rob Ford" on an earlier show:
how could the Fords not have known how this would end?
What I thought was interesting was the way the host handled it from there. During the video montage segment—clearly meant to be the payoff of this entire show—both Kimmel and his audience were quite obviously uncomfortable with the reaction of Ford himself to the relentless butt-kicking. At the end of each video, Kimmel had a clearly prepared and rehearsed question for Ford but didn't wait for an answer that was so obviously not coming and almost rushed through the segment, I thought. Now, abandoning the segment was not a consideration because Kimmel is not a journalist or a mental health expert; rather, he's in the entertainment business, pure and simple. He was the wise-cracking sidekick on the show "Ben Stein's Money" and co-created "The Man Show". It's not really fair of us to expect him to abandon this gold mine that landed in his lap, but still I felt he very nearly did. He even gave Ford a chance to take all the wind out of his own (Kimmel's) sails in the third part where he gently suggested that Ford might want to seek help for his alcoholism. Had Ford taken that opportunity to show real human contrition and frailty, all the sympathy would have transferred immediately to him and Kimmel would instantly have become the "bad guy". It was a big chance Kimmel was taking, but he took it anyway and I have a lot of new respect for him for doing that.


But, of course, Ford denied, denied, denied and even started to say, it seemed to me, "Maybe YOU'RE perfect, Jimmy" but was quickly cut off by Kimmel.


Two puppets and a host
And you know what? I don't care what the reasons are for Ford being in this situation right now, I was very glad to see him completely ashamed on international television last night, because Kimmel did what Mansbridge et al could not do, and shame on all of those who fell short before now. I'm way past hoping RoFo gets help; I just want him to disappear completely, because Kimmel's other guest was Gonzo the Muppet....and he managed to squeeze in a Ford joke himself. Which led to my favourite tweet of last night:


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