Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Now it's time to put the old year behind us and bring out our good wishes for the new one to come. I was thrilled that my last year's wish (which I thought was just a pipe dream) actually came true - when Richard Armitage visited Canada - Toronto, Ontario (to be exact) even if only briefly.  The interviews he gave there were some of his best, IMHO!
RA at Toronto Union Station (photo courtesy of RANet)

I have had a good year here in Blogger land, meeting new bloggers and fans and watching Richard Armitage's career finally begin to take off into the upper echelons of stardom!  (Currently his starmeter on IMDb is at #2 after languishing in the triple digits for years.)  It was wonderful to read the stories of several fans all over the world who were lucky enough to catch a real life glimpse of him, get his autograph or actually have a conversation with him!

We have a lot to look forward to seeing in his career for 2013.

Summer of 2013 will be the debut of Black Sky starring Richard Armitage as teacher from the American midwest who is searching for his son in the aftermath of a tornado.  December 2013 will be part 2 of The Hobbit, which I am sure I will enjoy even more than the first part!

In between those two projects we are hoping he will finally start work on his dream project for a movie about Richard III.  Please read the latest news about it at this blog.

Plus, I am still hoping to hear more about this movie, which has been stalled due to "a certain actor's" casting commitments.  (I am hoping it is Richard they have been waiting for!)

I have so many good wishes for Richard for the coming year, for his career and also for his personal life - too many to list, but mostly they are the same as for you, my dear readers.  As I always wish: May you be happy, healthy, and wise! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

ChRistmAs Wishes to Armitage World

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled with the 4 fabulous "f's"  food, friends family and fun!  I also hope everyone gets the chance to get to a theatre to watch The Hobbit movie over the holidays (more than once if you can)!  I finally got to see it, the week after it opened in Canada.  I will have to post about that soon.

This is the only kind of Blue Christmas 
I would ever want to have.

Unless it is THIS one, kindly shared by Tanni Tani :
Watch the animated version (with audio!) from her website:

But being a romantic at heart, here's what I really like 
at Christmas (and all year through!):

I made this video a couple of Christmases ago, but I hope you don't mind me sharing with you again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Voice - Singing!

There are so many great Hobbit cast interviews out there, but I had a definite fangurl moment while listening to this interview.  Richard Armitage SINGS!  Without a costume.  In his street clothes. And it is soooo gooood!  The rest of the interview is good too, but if you can't wait - fast forward to 2:06!

Thanks so much to RichardArmitageNet for the upload and to Fuckyeahraaarmitage for posting it on Tumblr (which is where I found it). :)

But wait!  Now Judiag has made a clip of the best part on her blog: Confessions of a Watcher.  See it here:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strombo interviews RA

George Stroumboloupolous with Richard Armitage
From Twitter (thanks to Tracey)
To say I was thrilled to hear that Richard Armitage was going to be interviewed on Canadian television by George Stroumboulopoulos is definitely an understatement.  George (or Strombo as he is affectionately called) purports to be everybody's boyfriend. So to have one boyfriend interview the other one was a "squee" overload!  But seriously, George is one of the best interviewers I have ever known so I knew Richard would be in for a treat.

Even though the actual interview happened on December 3rd, it didn't air until December 12. (What a torturous wait!) But right off the bat, Strombo hit all the right notes with his detailed introduction.  The usual questions that interviewers begin with, Richard has repeatedly answered in as varied and enthusastic manner as he can manage. (He could probably do an interview in his sleep now). Anyway, those questions were answered by Strombo's introductory montage before Richard even entered the stage.  So when he finally sat down for the interview, he looked rather relieved and intrigued for what was going to come.

The highlights of the interview for me were:

  • Richard's insights into what might have inspired Tolkien's portrayal of the dwarven race.
  • Strombo showed the clip of RA's speech at the Maori welcoming ceremony
  • Richard's reaction when George and the audience donned their Gandalf hats.

  • His obvious discomfort with the discussion of "naughty grass". (He is so endearingly conscientious.)
  • Romana55's fanvid and Richard's reaction to that!

screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageCentral

Apparently that was only a portion of the actual interview.  Here is another part.

The lucky fans that were in the audience remember a bit more of the interview than is shown here.  Here's hoping we get to see even more clips soon!

 Let me leave you with the fanvid Strombo highlighted which provoked such a hilarious response from RA.

by Romana55

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RA in Toronto (Pt.2)

There was so much excitement about Richard Armitage's whirlwind trip to Toronto that I couldn't fit it into one post. It started out in Union Station when his train arrived at 7:00 am on December 3rd.  Canadian fans had to rise very early that morning to be ready to greet him but they couldn't miss this opportunity!

  Here is another fan's experience meeting the man himself! 

photo courtesy of Damzell
Known to her friends on the Forums as Damzelle, she has been a fan of Richard Armitage for over 10 years! Here is her account of the meeting:

 Leslieg and Puff and I met in Union Station at about 6 am. Leslieg had yellow roses for us to wear. She had the sign and a T-shirt to give to Richard that the Wellington fans had been wearing at the premiere. At 7 they handed out movie passes for the advance screening, Gandalf hats and mini-posters for the movie. I asked an official looking woman if Richard was coming. She said no. But another woman said he would be there around 8. 
"He's there!" And he was standing in a big crowd of people getting him to sign things and take photos. I was actually concerned that there didn't seem to be anyone protecting him. Leslieg got her sign signed and gave him the t-shirt. He was very gracious. They moved him over to the Hobbit door that was decorated up and 
he stood there doing taped interviews for quite a while. Then people moved closer and a girl ahead of me asked for a picture. He said fine and she handed her phone to me. I took the picture and then handed my phone to her. Puff and I sandwiched him and pictures were taken. I don't think I said anything to him. I don't think I looked at him. I literally have no clear memory of this point.

People were leaving. Then he was standing relatively alone and I went up and asked if he would sign my magazine. He did and I said thank you. He said, "Well thank you for coming." I looked at him like he was crazy and walked away.

More people left. I went up and got him to sign the mini-poster. That time I managed, "Thank you. You're a brilliant actor." I think he said thank you as I walked away.

They dragged him back for more pictures. I went up with one of the give-aways that turns out to be wrapping paper with pictures of all the dwarves on it. I asked him to sign it and started unfolding it. He said, "Are you looking for me?" He started helping me and said, "I'm on the fold." He signed it and said, "You can get them all." I once again looked at him like he was crazy and thought "but I only care about you." 
I explained that he'd signed things for me before that we'd put in an auction to raise money for Equality Now and that these things would also raise money for charity. He said, "Charity, that's wonderful!"

My overwhelming sense is that he was behaving very normally and trying to put everyone at their ease while we were crazed. He was wonderfully patient signing and posing for photos for about 45 minutes. And unfailingly lovely and cheerful the whole time when he must have been soooo tired. 
Damzelle gets his autograph! (photo courtesy of Jonia)
Then Puff and Leslieg and I had tickets for the talk show Strombo where they gave us more Gandalf hats and we watched him interview RA. Then we had to hot foot it to the theatre for the advanced screening. RA gave a very brief introduction and then ran off to catch a plane. It was a long FANTASTIC day.
Thanks so much for sharing your exciting experience with us Damzelle!  

The following video by the Space Channel not only interviews Richard but also many of his fans, as well as showing the hub bub at the station.

Here is another version of the fan event at Union Station, with more fan interviews. There is a particularly good interview of Damzell plus the complete studio interview of Richard Armitage where the interviewers unfortunately mispronounce his last name.

Next up: The Interview with George Stroumbopoulos!

Monday, December 10, 2012

RA in Toronto! (Pt.1)

Well, my New Year's Eve wish came true!  I had hoped that Richard Armitage might visit Toronto and on December 3rd, 2012 - he actually did!  Unfortunately I was not able to get to my provincial capital to be a part of the festivities, but there were several lucky fans who were there. Two of them, known fondly as Puff and Leslieg have been telling their story on one of the C19 Facebook pages (a private group unfortunately).  They are also long time members of the C19 Forum and have been posting the whole story on threads there.

RA fans pose with him at Toronto Union Station

Leslieg kindly consented to an interview:

Please tell me how long you have been an RA fan. How long have you been active on C19 forum?

I first clocked RA when my beloved Sparkhouse aired on BBC Canada in the spring of 2003. I watched the scene set at the top of the stairs in Hebden Bridge, then realised it was that Wuthering Heights adaptation, and changed channels!!! I saw him in things over the intervening years, but it was Robin Hood that dragged me to the internet, as I am the Dial-up Queen, and I found C19 first, in June 2007. I've been active in the wider community ever since.

Have you met up with other RA fans before? If so, about how many times have you gotten together?

I've been to several meet-ups over the years: RAC meet-ups in Dallas '07, Detroit '09, and Ottawa '11 (hosted by me); an AA meet-up in '08 at Horsted Keynes train station with my daughter in tow, age five at the time; BAFTAs in '08, but no RA; annual meet-ups with various members of the forums in the UK, including an annual playdate for E with the daughter of another member. I've done trips up north, and had visits with people in my home stomping grounds of London and Kent. Everyone has been wonderful. I even managed to meet one dear friend who lives near Perth, Australia when we were both in the UK at the same time. She came south and I went north to meet her in London.

What was it that made you a fan in the first place?

I think it's Richard's ability to inhabit the character and his choice of characters that display character development. His messages to us all drew me in further.

I have heard that you are a frequent traveler to Great Britain.  Did you ever encounter him over there?

 I have always expected that I was more likely to bump into RA in London than in Canada. Our country is so big, that logistically, it simply made more sense that I would see him across the pond on one of my many trips. So when I found out he would be in Toronto on the George Stroumboulopoulos show, within 400 kilometres of my front door, I decided that I would make the journey.

What (if any) difficulties did you encounter with this trip to see RA?

Giggle!!! When I left the house on Sunday to drive to Toronto, approximately four hours away, I was leaving my husband with a questionnable vehicle, for starters. Then I had icy road surfaces on the drive on our dirt road to the main road, where I nearly slid right off the paved road! I had to change my driving route, and drive more slowly as I headed southwest, to avoid dangerous backroads I would normally take. Then I had pelting rain on the 401 all the way to the big city, and drizzle all the way home in the wee hours.

Please describe your first glimpse of him.

We weren't sure what direction he would be coming from, and so we had stationed ourselves near the hobbit hole display in the station.  I loved [I think she meant to write "leaned" but that mistake is very telling] over towards the KISS 92.5  (a local radio station) table and said, "There he is!" I could see his head above most people around him!

You were dressed as a Hobbit, is that right?

No, I had on a Thorin Oakenshield t-shirt my husband had bought for me, and we had to wear "Gandalf" hats with The Hobbit on the brim.

That sign was a wonderful idea. May I use the pictures?

Oh, yes. My daughter and I made it together.  It said “A Canadian NOT Rubbish Richard Armitage Sign,” as an in-joke to all the rubbish Richard Armitage signs that people took to the sets of Black Sky in Michigan over the summer. Richard looked at it and laughed and signed it for me.

And here is Richard Armitage's reaction to the sign:

(Photo courtesy of Puff)

And here he is autographing their sign!
photo from Warner Brothers Facebook page

The Marilyn Denis interview went very well. Did you get to see him after that?
Please tell us more about your day.

No one in our group was able to attend Marilyn's show, because tickets had to be ordered three weeks or more in advance, and we only learned late last week that he would be a guest. I watched the interview from the comfort of my hotel room overlooking Union Station. Then it was off to George Stroumboulopoulos at the CBC. We had been given passes for the advance screening that evening, so we knew we would see him both times.

You attended the George Stroumboulopoulos show. How did that interview go?

Stroumbo is one of the best interviewers in Canada, and I had high expectations, which were exceeded. George asked intelligent questions and allowed Richard to talk about Tolkien at length, as well as the aspects of the filming process. I don't know how much of it will make it to tape, but I told George afterwards that it was the best interview I'd ever seen of Richard. And there were no references to the circus or our overall community in a negative way.

Had you ever attended an interview show before? Would you enjoy going again (even if it wasn't RA being interviewed)?

No, I hadn't been to any taping of a television show of any sort. I doubt I would ever go again, unless it was for RA.

Did you get to the premiere as well?

Yes, we were very lucky to have passes, although we had to walk very quickly to the theatre after the Stroumbo taping, so we missed seeing Richard inside, except for his introduction of the film. Then he left, and we settled in to enjoy watching him rock the role of Thorin.

Please tell us anything else that was memorable about the evening.

I think I've covered it, pretty much. It was in the morning, when I was able to talk to Richard a few times that things were most memorable, and I am keeping those moments for my reports on the forums. It's our last chance for Richard to be our little secret, before the wider world recognizes what we've known for years, that he's a wonderful actor, consummate professional, and a very kind gentleman.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. We will all enjoy reliving this wonderful memory with you.

photo courtesy of

Note: The interview with George Stroumbolopoulos will be aired on CBC television on Wed. Dec. 12, 2012.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


While catching up with The Hobbit worldwide premiere tours and the gorgeous pictures and exciting videos along with blog posts from fans about it all that  are deluging my email and Facebook accounts, one particular video finally stopped me in my tracks.

The interview in Japan with Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman and of course Richard Armitage, kindly made available by RACentral, in particular Part 4.

(Any underage readers please skip this next bit...)  Peter Jackson's words of praise for Richard Armitage actually gave me an eargasm!  I don't know how else to describe it.  Have you ever been brought to tears by a particularly strong orgasm?  Well that's kind of what it was like to hear Peter Jackson's praise for Richard Armitage!

It's a good thing that I was alone in my house when I saw it because I immediately burst into uncontrollable sobbing.  How wonderful to finally hear the things we fans have been trumpeting out into cyberspace from a world class Director about a performance which will illustrate to the world what we have known all along!  I feel vindicated!  It was a "See! I told you so," kind of moment, but so much better!  Because that feeling was tied up with so many others.

It has been rather a lonely experience being a Richard Armitage fan.  I have treasured the virtual contact with his fans from all over the world which has been a truly unique and creatively stimulating experience for me.  Still it is disheartening to endure the blank looks I encounter when I mention his name in my real life relationships.  (Except for family members who usually roll their eyes while thinking, "There she goes again, I'll just humour her and pretend to listen!")  I have been longing for the day when I can have a discussion about him in the real world and now I'm realizing that the moment is almost here for me.

But never mind me!  I am also so excited and overjoyed for Richard Armitage himself!  What must it be like for him to see all his dreams finally reaching fruition?  It's just such an overwhelming emotional tsunami!

Here are Mr. Jackson's words which I needed to transcribe because I was so pleased with them:

In many respects I look on the characters Bilbo and Thorin as the heart and soul of the story.  And if Bilbo is the heart, then Thorin is the soul. We auditioned the role, saw many, many actors and Richard really managed to capture for us the very important ... the sense of nobility because essentially he is playing a king. But also the conflict as to whether or not he has the ability to lead these dwarves on this very difficult quest - a small number to fight a dragon to reclaim a homeland.  That's a very noble thing he's trying to do and yet he doesn't really have the resources (if you like) to do this.  And so it's...  And also with the character, there's a sense of honour that Richard - (that sort of quiet honour) that Richard carries which I think is absolutely superb.  And as an actor, Richard is one of those very rare actors which ummm... he uses stillness and he uses quiet to draw your eye.  That there can be a lot of things happening on the screen and many characters on the screen and yet Thorin - in his stillness draws your attention.  It's a very, very rare skill.  He's somebody who, when he's on the screen that your eyes go to that you want to watch.

I couldn't agree more, Mr. Jackson.  Richard Armitage is a very rare actor indeed.  But I counter that even though he does have an innate sense of nobility and honour, he was definitely drawing on that natural ability to the nth degree in this role.  As for using stillness and quiet, that is exactly what he does so admirably!  I have never seen an actor that can speak such volumes with the merest flicker of an eyelid!

He is so like a movie star of old, with his star quality.  I have likened him to Cary Grant, and Gary Cooper! (Thanks to Face in Hole). :) In other posts I have pointed out his similarities to Rudolph Valentino, and Paul Newman. There are many more screen stars of Hollywood's heyday that I haven't gotten around to comparing him to yet, but the fact is he has been star material since he first strode across the cotton mill floor in North and South.  Yes, our eyes gravitate to him.  When he is in a scene he holds our entire attention.  (Who would want to look anywhere else?)

This reminds me of one of my favourite fanvideos which was recently updated for RA's birthday. 
Here is GiztheGunslinger's second fanvideo to the tune of Filmstar by Suede.

And now he really is a Film Star!
Whether fans like it or not, (but hopefully he likes it) - that is how it is going to be.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Got Mail!

Yes indeed!  A package arrived for me today, the old school kind of mail - in a big blue bag labeled Royal Mail!  Score!  My copies of Empire Magazine have finally arrived! I ordered all five covers. Of course I am especially pleased to have this one.  It was also the first one to be SOLD OUT!

Empire Magazine Cover
3D photography by Nels Israelson
(Thanks for sharing the link Meredith!)

I am getting very excited about The Hobbit movie.  Christmas will almost be an afterthought once I have experienced this long awaited triumph!  To sit in a darkened theatre seat and finally see my favourite actor in a major role on the big screen in 3D no less!  I can only hope I don't have a heart attack!!

I haven't posted any trailers for this movie yet, but now I've come across a fan-made compilation of all the trailers so far!  Thank you to Diane at C19 for posting the link to this!

I won't be getting into the city to see this when it first premieres but hopefully by the next week I will have seen it.  How will I stand the wait?!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Storm Watch

Seeing the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has wreaked on the east coast of the United States made me a bit embarrassed of my complaints about my own experience with the first winter storm of the season on the days before Thanksgiving Day weekend.  After all, I live in Canada's north.  I am used to snow storms and power outages (although winter ones are much worse).  But what the people in the wake of Hurricane Sandy have had to endure is like nothing I've ever experienced!  And, although I've never had the pleasure of visiting New York City, it was heart breaking to see the images of floods and damage, not to mention the crowds of homeless people in that great city.

I couldn't help thinking about the only person I knew who lived there.  We haven't been hearing from Bccmee much lately since she took an indefinite hiatus from her blog.  I knew she was a very proud New Yorker and I very worried about her.  So I sent her an email a couple of weeks ago to see how she was doing.  I figured the rest of you would want to hear about her too.  Here is her reply to my query about how she had weathered the storm.

Thanks so much for your note! It's really terrible what happened. Iwas very lucky since I live inland. Our power stayed on and there was no flooding. The biggest damage was to our trees and cars and some buildings sustained relatively minor damage. Here are some photos I took yesterday of the aftermath in my neighborhood:
October 30, 2012

 You can see plenty of damage from downed trees

After the tree was hauled away 
Luckily no one was hurt!

 She said that she had thought about posting this on her blog, but she wanted to keep that space "happy".

Well, since today is her birthday, I would like to wish Bccmee a very Happy Birthday, and send her many good wishes.  I am very glad she is doing well and though I miss her amazing blog posts I hope she is enjoying herself out in the real world.

And to those people who were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy, I hope things get better for you very soon!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day for Remembrance

Today, I remember my father.  He was born 100 years ago yesterday.  He is not alive today, having been grateful to pass away in his 90th year, long after life ceased to be of interest to him.  Although he was lucky not to suffer any real physical ailments, he was a proud man and he was tired from the gradual loss of his independence and his sense of dignity.

He was a hard man to know -- incomprehensible to his children.  His frequent bouts of bombastic temper are family legend now.  But despite his failings as a parent, we knew he cared about us.  He was there for us, to support us in every way that a father can.

What I remember most about him was his sense of humour.  He loved wordplay and our family had quite a few invented words (almost our own language) which we all contributed to, and he enjoyed very much. As he was in his late 40s when I was born, I don't remember him as a very active father, our shared pursuits were more sedentary - reading, watching television, and playing board games like checkers, crockinole and chess.

His old friends remembered his sense of humour. When I was in my late teens and we moved to southern Ontario I had the privilege of meeting one of Dad's friends from his RCAF squandron in WWII.  I could tell from his manner that he still held a lot of respect for my father and my Dad was equally thrilled to meet with him again.

Here is a picture of the squandron taken in 1945 at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Thanks to my sister for providing the picture!

For more about my Dad, here is my post from last year:

And last, but not ever least, here is Rick Mercer ranting about the Canadian federal government's latest injustice to our Veterans.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


by karichristensen
Do you find scarecrows frightening? They are supposed to scare the crows away from farmers' fields, but they manage to frighten more than just the birds!  At this time of year when darkness falls ever sooner, and the air turns to chill, an encounter with a demonically smiling effigy mounted on a stake and dancing in the wind is bound to send anyone running for cover!

I love this song by Canadian singer/songwriter Brock Zeman.  This vidder obvious agrees.

Scarecrow Blues / Brock Zeman

Occasionally in my research, I stumble upon little gems, but this one really amazed me!  
I have always been a HUGE fan of Elton John, and especially of his songs with Bernie Taupin as the lyricist.  Well, here is the first song that Elton John ever composed from Bernie Taupin's lyrics which is entitled... Scarecrow!

To learn more about this song, please click on the video which will open on the Youtube page and read the notes which accompany this video. 

This scarecrow is definitely terrifying! 
In the movie Batman Begins, Cillian Murphy played Batman's arch enemy The Scarecrow.

Path - Scarecrow Tribute / by Allure75

I almost forgot about this television show from the 1980s starring Kate Jackson  and Bruce Boxleitner.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King
It wasn't really about a 'scarecrow' though.  That was the code name for Bruce Boxleitner's character.  He played secret agent Lee Stetson.  Kate Jackson was a divorced mother with 2 sons who gets caught up in one of his adventures.  She eventually becomes a spy herself!

Everyone's favourite scarecrow has got to be from The Wizard of Oz!

The famous movie version starring Judy Garland, had Ray Bolger in the character of the Scarecrow.

Do you think they would ever make an updated version of that movie?
Of course you can guess who I would suggest to play the part of the Scarecrow!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Listen to: When the Snow is on the Roses
On Sunday I hosted Thanksgiving supper for my family. My son was home for the first time for this holiday since he started University four years ago.  My husband's parents were there - his father having recently been released from hospital for a mysterious fainting spell for which the test results have not been received yet.  My sister and brother-in-law were also there.  Usually I get to skip out on making the turkey dinner as my sister with her well appointed dining room, does the honours.  She and her husband were still recovering from a nasty cold bug so she was quite happy to share our meal in my tiny eat-in kitchen.

Quite prominent in the thanksgiving toasts, besides the happiness of good health and being together, was the fact that we were able to eat a hot meal in the light and warmth of modern electricity.  We had just endured a 24+ hour power outtage due to an unexpected early snowstorm.  Both my mother-in-law and myself had been stuck on the highway due to an accident ahead of us (separate incidents).  I ended up being towed off the highway and had to wait for someone with 4-wheel drive to take me home.  People with wood stoves were able to keep warm and heat their food, but my home didn't have that luxury.  At least I had phone service, as I still have a land line.  People with cordless phones were suddenly incommunicado.  My iPhone with 3G still worked for several hours but eventually there was no cell service either.  I had never felt so isolated in my life!

The view from my dashboard as I was being towed

After an idyllic summer and the late arrival of Fall, Winter sprang upon us with no warning. 
Here was the view from my cottage last weekend, when the temperature was around 24 degrees Celsius.
Luckily my husband decided to pull the boat out
Here is the same scene exactly one week later
Note the snow covered boat and squashed willow tree from the heavy snow.

This weather has brought me to mind of the first historical incidences of Thanksgiving in North America.  It seems that survival from the harsh elements is quite a Canadian theme.  Martin Frobisher, (1539-1594) was an English explorer and privateer who was looking for the Northwest Passage to by pass North America on the way to the riches of the East Indies. Of course, he was not successful, but he was so grateful to survive his third journey across the Atlantic that he celebrated a service of Thanksgiving in 1578 on Baffin Island in Canada's eastern Arctic at the bay which now bears his name.

I couldn't resist this.  Can you see the resemblance?  

Sir Martin Frobisher by Cornelis Ketel, c. 1577
RA as Martin Frobisher

Then in 1605 Samuel de Champlain (fondly known as the Father of New France) founded the Order of Good Cheer. It was basically a weekly feast and kitchen party that lasted all winter long. The idea was to keep everyone's spirits up and share food during the long, harsh winter at their settlement at Port-Royal in the Annapolis Valley of present day Nova Scotia.

According to Wikipedia, "no authentic portrait of Champlain is known to exist".  But his likeness is usually shown as similar to the drawing on the left.  I used a Face-in-Hole portrait of Rene Descartes (who is dressed in a similar fashion) for my purposes. Doesn't he seem to be in Good Cheer?

Samuel de Champlain by Albert Descaris
RA as Samuel de Champlain

In Champlain's own words (translated from French), here is how he describes it in his diary:
We spent this winter very pleasantly, and had good food because of the Order of Good Cheer which I established. Everyone found it beneficial to his health, and better than any medicine we might have used. A chain was placed around the neck of one of our men every day. It was his job that day to go hunting. The next day the chain was given to someone else, and so on in order. Everyone competed to see who could do the best, and bring back the finest game. We did not come off badly, nor did the Indians who were with us.

The Order of Good Cheer by C.W. Jeffreys

Here is my wish for all of us:

May we all be warm, well fed and happily entertained 
in the company of good friends and family.

And now, if you have read this far, I do thank you.
For your entertainment, here is a treat from Servetus, at Me + Richard Armitage blog.

A Collection of clips of RA saying "Thanks"  by refgeek

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


(This post was begun August 17, 2010!  I am so glad to have finally finished it. I haven't really said all I could about Superman, but at some point - I've just got to stop, take a breath, and press that annoying button "Publish Post")!
Thanks to the folk who bring us Comic-Con for the much needed impetus!

Is there any hero more fantastic than a comic book hero? Superman was  my favourite hero. I also liked The Flash for a brief period, but always Superman was the one for me. (I guess I like fast men?) :)
Let's see, what was it about Superman that intrigued me so much?  Well, he started out in a small town with older than normal parents -- I guess we had that in common! But that wasn't it.  He was an refugee alien from a dying planet who came to earth as a helpless infant and was lucky enough to find loving foster parents. (That's quite a story, isn't it? Very intriguing!)  In order to appear like a normal Earthling, he has to hide his super powers under an alter-ego. Now that's where things get complicated! Although his real name from his parents on the planet Krypton was Kal El, on Earth he goes by the name Clark Kent, the name given to him by his adoptive parents. Because he is such a good person, he can't help but use his powers of flight, super speed, super strength, xray vision, imperviousness to bullets or any other known human threat --  to help save those who are threatened by any danger. I actually used to wonder sometimes when I heard about disasters on the news about how Superman would have been great to have around. He seemed very real to me somehow. Thinking about it as an adult I can see what an awful obligation it must have been to be always on duty. Unless...oh yeah, there was that Legion of Superheroes group. I guess they could have given him a break now and again?

The history of Superman is told in "Look, Up in the Sky!: The Amazing story of Superman".

(The previous clip keeps disappearing as the uploaders' accounts get challenged by those who hold the copyright.  I wish therefore to let it be known that I actually now own a copy of this DVD, which I would not have even known about had I not first seen this clip on Youtube.  So that means, that by repressing this video clip, the company is actually limiting possible future sales!)

Siegel and Schuster were the team who created the comic book hero. Canadians love to lay some claim to Superman as Joe Shuster was originally from Toronto, Ontario and a cousin to another famous Canadian of the comedy duo Wayne and Shuster. Here is a commercial from the CBC network in a series called Heritage Minutes which celebrates Joe Schuster's creation.

This next video is from the CBC Digital Archives (which I hope you will be able to view) with lots of great background information including Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's long struggle to win compensation from DC comics and their parent company.

There were many actors who portrayed the caped superhero over the years on screens both large and small.

 Kirk Alyn (1948)

George Reeves (1951)

Unfortunately, George Reeves believed himself to be typecast as Superman and was never able to move beyond that role.  He had a string of bad luck which eventually ended with his own mysterious murder.

George Reeves was portrayed by Ben Affleck
in the biopic Hollywoodland

The most famous Superman of them all -- Christopher Reeve became a superman in real life by showing what great strength and fortitude really is, even at the worst time in his life.  After a horse back riding accident caused him to become a quadriplegic, Chris never gave up fighting to walk again.  He began a crusade for new treatments to help regenerate nerve tissue which has helped countless people so far and will help even more in the future.  Unfortunately, his struggle finally ended nine years later with his death on October 10, 2004.

Here is a tribute to Christopher Reeve, a true superman on screen and in spirit. The video is set to the song Superman (It's Not Easy) by Five for Fighting.

What was I saying again...?
Oh yes, what intrigues me about Superman the most, was how he was able to handle his real persona, and his alter ego (who seemed to be such a wimpy guy). Well, I actually liked Clark Kent (of course I was in on his secret). But he was still the same hunky guy, just hiding(?) behind a pair of glasses. I never could understand how Lois Lane couldn't see the resemblance between the love of her life -- Superman, and her best friend and colleague -- Clark Kent!  Sheesh! "Go for Clark!", was what I was always thinking. Of course, he made himself seem unattractive by acting as cowardly as possible. I remember reading a certain issue of the Superman comic which was all about various scenarios where Lois marries Superman and / or Clark. I read and reread that issue more than any other. I think I must have finally decided I had read it enough and traded it for a newer issue (yes, I used to trade comics with my friends). I usually could trade a comic and get it back later, which is probably what I thought would happen. Well, I never saw that issue again...  (The things I go on about!)
Lois and Clark (sans glasses) in Superman II.
Lois chooses Clark over Superman

After Christopher Reeve retired his cape, the best representations of Superman 
were to be found on television.

Lois & Clark (1993-1997)

Starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher

 Smallville (2001-2011)
Starring Tom Welling

I guess besides my fascination for the main character, my main interest is the love story between Lois and Clark.  This next fan video does a great job showing highlights from their relationship in various recent movie and television portrayals.  The song is Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional.

Lois and Clark over the Decades - Vindicated / by KEakaCK

Don't we all wish we could fly like Superman?

Well, apparently he wasn't always capable of this feat. Originally in the comic books, he was described as being able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound".  But when Fleischer Studios began to make the first animated series of Superman movies in the early 1940s, they realized that merely jumping around wasn't nearly as impressive for a superhero as flying!

(Fly Like) Superman / The Kinks by TrenRojoCruzandoo

If you'd like to enjoy some great fan art and retro comic book covers here's another video featuring the original version of the song later covered by R.E.M.  It's the 1969 version by The Clique of (I Am) Superman.

There has been a renewed interest in making Superman movies  in the last few years.
My son is a fan of the comedy writer/director Kevin Smith and not long ago he showed me this monologue about how he was hired to write a script for a Superman movie (which thankfully was never made!). It is a hilarious portrait of the craziness of Hollywood and a producer who is clueless about the importance of the Superman legend to pop culture tradition.
If swear words offend you, then you won't like this clip.  But if you are at all interested in this topic, it is well worth watching!
Thank G*d that movie never got made!

I was quite excited when Superman Returns came out. I can't say I didn't like it, but it did leave something to be desired, and I can't even put my finger on what exactly that was. Perhaps it just didn't live up to the hype.   

Starring Brandon Routh

I have heard a lot of buzz about the newest Superman movie, Man of Steel which is due to arrive on movie screens in June next year.  It looks good, I think I'll like it.  My biggest problem with this movie is that Amy Adams is playing Lois Lane.  Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Amy Adams, and I would watch her in almost anything.  But wouldn't you think her lovely auburn tresses would make her more suitable to play Lana Lang (Superboy's early love interest) than the raven-haired Lois Lane?   Well, they messed around with that in Smallville too, where Lana had the dark hair and Lois was a dark blonde.  I did love it in television's version of Smallville that Mrs. Kent was played by the original red-haired Lana Lang from Christopher Reeve's Superman movie - Annette O'Toole.

On the left, here she is with Christopher Reeve in Superman 3, and on the right she plays Martha Kent, (Superboy's mom)!

Man of Steel (2013)
Starring Henry Cavill

Nothing was more disappointing to me then when they had a comic book storyline for the Death of Superman.  Although I hadn't been a reader of the genre in years, just the idea of it saddened me. The following song by the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies, was written before this storyline appeared in print.

I love this song so much.   
This video is my whole excuse for this post. 

Superman's Song / Crash Test Dummies

Here is another sad Superman song by the Stereophonics.  It is also a fanvid about the character of Lucas North in Spooks/MI-5.  He was a hero that turned out not to be one after all.

Spooks -- Richard Armitage - Superman / by utubeacct2008

But I'm holding out for a hero. Luckily John Porter from Strike Back fits the mold very nicely!

Lucas North & John Porter - I Need a Hero / by Tassuett

But this got me to thinking about Harry Kennedy who could easily pass for Clark Kent.  Could he have a hero hidden inside him?

What if our dear Harry Kennedy had an alter ego?

See that phonebooth in the back there? 

After removing the glasses and changing outfits...

Yeah, I know.  It won't happen. But a girl can dream...
 Just in case anyone thinks I am taking this Superman thingy too seriously -- have a look at this video: Superman Song That little kid is very entertaining!