MUSINGS, MAY 12, 2018

TV Political Debates Are A Farce

     As presently constituted, televised political debates are a dismal waste of time, a fact highlighted by this week’s Ontario leaders debate on CityTV, the only accomplishment of  which was proving that CityTV doesn’t have an inkling as to how to mount a debate, and it takes seventeen inklings to make a clue.

     The last such debate that I remember being worth watching was the leaders English language debate during the 1984 federal election campaign.  That was the one during which Brian Mulroney nailed John Turner with the knockout line, “You had an option, Sir.” 

     You’d think that in almost thirty-five years the TV networks and political parties would have figured out that the debates are atrociously bad television, and that the format is the problem. Devising a format that would make for compelling, and useful, programming is really quite simple. For example, the following would work.

     1) Leave the subject matter entirely up to the participants. Don’t have topics suggested or questions posed by the moderator or anyone else, and especially not by the general public.

     2) Impose strictly-enforced segment time limits along the following lines: a three-minute commentary on a subject of choice, a one minute question or rebuttal period by each of the other participants, each followed by a one-minute commentary by the initiating speaker.

     3) Prohibit interruptions.

     4) Don’t assign the moderator’s role to a network “star.” All the moderator needs to be responsible for is seeing that the participants adhere to the agreed time limits and turning off any offending participant’s microphone. This doesn’t require a network star. Any broadcast technician could do it. And the moderator should unfailingly shut off the microphone of any participant who doesn’t adhere to the time limit or tries to interrupt someone.

     Will they do it? No. Why not? Like CityTV, I don’t have an inkling.

The Intriguing Vegas Knights

     Not that long ago, if someone had said to me that Winnipeg and Las Vegas were in the western finals, I would have asked, “What league?” Even if they don’t win this series, the success of the Vegas Knights is one of the greatest sports stories of all time.

     There are many theories, and as many debates, about the reason behind the success of this amazing expansion team. There’s no doubt that the format of the expansion draft this time around was a major factor; some very good players were available, such as Marc Andre Fleury, James Neal, and Jonathan Marchessault. 

     But most of credit has to be distributed among the Vegas team personnel: general manager, George McPhee; head coach, Gerard Gallant; assistant coaches Mike Kelly, Ryan Craig and Ryan McGill; and last, but assuredly not least, pro scouts Kelly Kisio and Vacal Nedomansky. They are the ones who figured out how to take maximum advantage of the draft format by devising a number of deals that even the late Sam Pollock, the wiliest NHL general manager ever, would have admired. They managed to pry loose players from teams that didn’t really want to give them up or had grossly underestimated them, such as leading goal scorer William Karlsson (6 goals last season; 43 this season), and then created a winning atmosphere and culture.

Reflecting On Broken Bones

     For almost six months now I’ve been limping around with a tear in my left calf, which I probably incurred doing leg lifts with too much weight for an old codger like me. It wasn’t bad enough for surgery and has been left to heal on its own which, I’m happy to report, seems to be progressing as expected.

     As this is the first serious injury I’ve suffered in many years, it got me musing about interesting facts about previous mishaps. I’ve suffered a broken wrist, hand, arm, nose, jaw, tailbone, and toe. You might rightly ask, “What’s so interesting about that?”

     Well, although I was a goalie throughout my entire hockey playing days, none of them was a hockey injury; plus the broken nose occurred while I was lined up for a movie, and my jaw was broken at the dentist’s.

’Bye For Now

     As usual the Muses are taking the summer off.

     “Thought For The Day” will continue on Facebook and Twitter.

MUSINGS, MAY 5, 2018