Adrienne Rich has died

She was 82. Here is one of her many great, necessary poems that holds up a mirror to her own country: Sleep well, great lady. Blessed be thy name!

Music for a Sunday: Whitney Houston, RIP

This isolated vocal track from my favorite song of hers feels ghostly now that she’s suddenly, sadly gone. But it also illustrates just how well her voice stood on its own, with almost none of the melismatic warbling that her later imitators put on. She could have released this one a cappella without any difficulty.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

I happened by chance on this sad item today in the Huffington Post. A familiar picture caught my eye: It only took me a moment to realize where I’d seen it before: in my Twitter feed. Joe followed me, and I followed back, as I recall. He was fun to talk to; witty, intelligent, kind. ...

Jack Layton on This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Jack gets Marg’d. And other choice moments. Lots of Canadian politicians have been great sports about the merciless satire this CBC fake-news show dishes out on their (usually) all-too-deserving heads, but Jack seems to have had the most fun of all. Certainly he was the least awkward, and the most genuinely tickled. If the true ...

A musical tribute to Jack Layton

“Jack’s Dream”, by Ontario NDP candidate James Gordon (Guelph). Jack’s famous last letter gets a country sound.

Photo du jour

Torontonians remember their man Jack. Full size version here.

Dear Jack…

Dear Jack Layton: I don’t know if you remember me, but I will never forget you. We met in the mid-1990s, briefly, during the city council elections in Toronto. I was a journalism student at Ryerson University then. We were encouraged to take an interest in local politics and report on those issues. And since ...

Music for a Sunday: Gil Scott-Heron, RIP

This great underrated gem comes courtesy of a man who left us far too soon, this past Friday, aged 62. We need him more than ever, especially when stories like this terrible one about Bradley Manning come out. It’s not enough to not send mentally fragile people to war; we shouldn’t be sending anyone, as ...