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December 17, 2009

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He's offering climate-change doubters proof -- eighty proof. Scotland's first minister makes an offer to fellow negotiators in Copenhagen, straight-up.

Hidden a-gender. A well-known blogger proves that behind every great man, there's a great woman -- and that sometimes they're the same person.

Short cut turned cold cut. An Alberta man thinks he's saving time by hopping on a train, but nearly dies when it heads out of town.

Jingle beaus. Our look back at the year in traditional dancing proves that the Morris things change and the Morris things stay the same.

Anything but vanilla. We'll rebroadcast our conversation with the proprietor of Manhattan's Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

And...now you're cooking with grass. A Denver-based entrepreneur calling himself the "Ganja Gourmet" cooks up delicious food with one common ingredient.

As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that wonders if he's taken into account that watched pot never boils.


COP SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER Duration: 00:08:16

In this new world of carbon economies and climate-change deals, there are plenty of incentives and disincentives being put on the table. On the "incentives" side, we've got things like tax breaks for industries that pump out modest amounts of C-O-2. On the "disincentive" side, there are things like a carbon tax.

But really, let's be honest -- those things can be kind of dull. All these negotiations might be a bit more exciting if politicians and heads of industry came up with some incentives that really appealed to people. Incentives that might actually lead to an agreement between deadlocked countries at the Copenhagen Summit.

That's precisely the kind of spirit Alex Salmond was promoting earlier this week in Copenhagen. And I stress the word "spirit." Mr. Salmond is Scotland's First Minister. We reached him in Edinburgh, Scotland.


BORROWED NEW AND BLUE Duration: 00:00:21

Album:THREE HENS ESCAPE OBLIVION/FAFARD, JOEL

Label:CUSTOM, JFI-3

Persons/Roles:
JOEL FAFARD - COMPOSER
JOEL FAFARD - GUITAR
JOEL FAFARD - PRODUCER

FROZEN TRAIN HOPPER Duration: 00:08:00

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Jonathan Hambler is a 29-year-old from Wetaskiwin, Alberta who, instead of walking a few blocks, decided to hop a train. But the train didn't slow down as he approached his destination. It sped up -- barrelling through a very cold Alberta winter's night. And that's how Mr. Hambler's split-second decision landed him in hospital.

After his release, we reached Jonathan Hambler in Wetaskiwin.


POP ART BLUE Duration: 00:00:24

Album:YEAH GHOST/ZERO 7

Label:WEA, 2-511724

Persons/Roles:
HENRY BINNS - COMPOSER
SAM HARDAKER - COMPOSER
MARTHA TILSTON - COMPOSER
MARTHA TILSTON - VOCALS
ZERO 7 - POP GROUP

DATELINE: CATALAN BULLFIGHTING BAN Duration: 00:02:19

Dateline: Barcelona.

Ernest Hemingway described it as the only art in which the artist risks his life. But these days, it is only the bull's life at risk when it steps into the ring against the matador. And now, a growing number in Catalonia, in northeast Spain, say it is time to say adiĆ³s to la corrida.

The Catalan Parliament will vote tomorrow on whether to ban the blood sport, in which sequined toreros flash a red cape at an angry, but debilitated bull, urging it to charge. Invariably, the bull is stabbed repeatedly, and frequently, it is killed.

If the vote passes, Catalonia may become the first region in Spain to ban bullfighting, considered by some to be Spain's national sport. Supporters of bullfighting say it is an integral part of Spanish cultural heritage, and that opponents have made it political.

They also insist that the matodors are victims of a national battle that portrays the corrida as a right-wing tradition imposed by fascist dictator General Francisco Franco.

But activists, who presented a petition with one-hundred-and-eighty-thousand names objecting to the sport, say it's simply a matter of barbarism that has no place in a modern society. They have asked that the bull be included in existing animal-protection legislation. They've even suggested that those who currently work in the industry -- the bullfighters and the bull breeders -- be compensated for their loss.

Supporters say the bulls live in luxury for four years before entering the ring. And then, according to one matador, they die "the dignified death of an animal that has been able to fight for its life."

But Catalans, on the whole, seem to disagree. The Plaza Monumental in Barcelona -- the oldest ring in Spain -- now sees more tourists than locals at its sparsely attended corridas, and most of the seats are empty. And that's no bull: figuratively, or literally.


LES BEAUTES DU DIABLE Duration: 00:00:16

Album:IL ETAIT UNE FOIS/DUBEAU, ANGELE

Label:ANALEKTA, AN 2 8719

Persons/Roles:
FRANCOIS DOMPIERRE - COMPOSER
ANGELE DUBEAU - VIOLIN
LA PIETA - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
MARIO LABBE - PRODUCER

REMBRANDT/FREUD EXHIBIT Duration: 00:06:22

There's a big show coming up in January in Toronto. It brings together in one exhibition, for the first time ever, the works of two of the greatest artists of the human figure. It's the art world equivalent of Billy Joel touring with Elton John -- except that, if you say that to anyone who knows anything about art, he or she will either weep, or punch you.

The show is called "Etchings for Life" -- and the artists are Rembrandt and Lucien Freud.

Brenda Rix is the Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings at the AGO, and that's where we reached her.


CLOSING

We're going to sit quietly for the next few minutes while you listen to the news. But there's more As It Happens right after that. When we return:

He said, she said. A male blogger surprises his supporters when he reveals that he's not a he.

A chorus of Morris. Morris dancers, that is -- as we celebrate an eventful year for those who leap around with bells, sticks, and hankies.

Taking his pick. If you thought Charles Dickens wasn't the kind of guy to use an ivory and gold toothpick, you were, surprisingly, wrong.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm BB.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50

Hello again, I'm CO.

And I'm BB. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

Morris code: a look back at As It Happens' extensive coverage of Morris dancing over the past year.

And an hour after you eat anything made by the Ganja Gourmet, you're hungry again.

Those stories and more are still to come on As It Happens.


SHE-HE BLOGGER Duration: 00:07:48

James Chartrand is a well-respected freelance copywriter, blogger and web designer. He owns a successful online business, which he operates from home. But on Monday, Mr. Chartrand shocked the blogosphere by revealing her true identity: she's not a "he" at all.

We reached James Chartrand, who has asked that we call her by that name, in the Laurentiens, Quebec.


196 DAWN Duration: 00:00:22

Album:ONE DAY DEEP/PRAFUL

Label:CUSTOM

Persons/Roles:
ROB GAASTERLAND - COMPOSER
PRAFUL - COMPOSER
DANIEL TESTAS - COMPOSER
ROB GAASTERLAND - PRODUCER
PRAFUL - PRODUCER
PRAFUL - SAXOPHONE
DANIEL TESTAS - PRODUCER

TB: CHIA PET Duration: 00:01:43

It's amazing, the ideas that grow from a fertile mind.

After we replayed an interview we dug up from earlier this year about the Chia Pet -- and its variation, the Chia Obama -- this call sprouted up in Talkback.


DAKONCERTO Duration: 00:00:20

Album:UNFINISHED SYMPHONY/DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA

Label:KUFALA

Persons/Roles:
GEOFFREY GALLEGOS - COMPOSER
DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA - PERFORMER

GANJA GOURMET Duration: 00:08:15

Some people like marijuana. Other people need it. But some people in this latter group don't really enjoy smoking the stuff. And they're not wild about baked goods laced with weed. It leaves them in a plight which, until now, has gone mostly unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Well, Steve Horowitz understands their pain. And he's come up with a solution -- one that he hopes will make him some money as well.

We reached Mr. Horowitz -- a.k.a. "Steve Weed" -- at the Ganja Gourmet in Denver, Colorado.

So, if you know what Bababooey means, give Talkback a call at 1-866-481-5718 or e-mail us.


RACE THE MOON Duration: 00:00:10

Album:ROLL ON/FOUR80EAST

Label:NATIVE LANGUAGE, NLM-0975-2

Persons/Roles:
ROB DEBOER - COMPOSER
TONY GRACE - COMPOSER
ROB DEBOER - PRODUCER
FOUR80EAST - POP GROUP
TONY GRACE - PRODUCER

SC: CHARLES DICKENS' TOOTHPICK Duration: 00:02:43

Charles Dickens was renowned for his empathy with the common man. He was renowned for his disdain for Britain's aristocratic class, with its miserliness and lack of charity. He was less renowned for his toothpick made of ivory and gold.

But just because Mr. Dickens was famous for generous portraits of the downtrodden in his fiction -- and his philanthropy, in the real world -- doesn't mean he was above certain luxuries. The fact is that he did have a toothpick made of ivory and gold. And that the toothpick was engraved with his initials. And additionally, that the toothpick was retractable. Because if you're going to have an ivory and gold toothpick with your initials on it, it would be ridiculous if it weren't retractable.

But let's not get judgmental about Mr. Dickens. He may have had one ludicrously opulent accessory, but he still wrote "Bleak House" and "Oliver Twist".

If you really want to point fingers at people who are self-indulgent and spend too much money on silly things, may we direct you to the anonymous buyer of Charles Dickens's ivory-and-gold retractable toothpick?

On Tuesday, that unknown person paid more than nine thousand dollars American -- nine-thousand, one-hundred and fifty dollars U.S., to be precise -- for that toothpick, at an auction at Bonhams New York.

Now, granted, it belonged to Charles Dickens. Granted, it's made of ivory and gold. Granted, it's retractable. And I'll even grant the slim possibility that something Mr. Dickens once discovered between his molars, with that very toothpick, inspired the part in "A Christmas Carol" in which Scrooge dismisses Marley as possibly "an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato."

But no matter how nice it is, it's still a toothpick. And it's not even characteristic! I mean, if it were Mr. Dickens's gruel spoon, or Gertrude Stein's rose, or Ayn Rand's atlas, it might make more sense to spend nine thousand dollars on it during a recession.

Ah, but let us be charitable. It is, after all, the season of good will. So let us salute the new owner of the most expensive toothpick in the world, and remember the words of Tiny Tim: God floss us, every one.


LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS Duration: 00:00:14

Album:INSTRUMENTAL/ACOUSTEK

Label:BIG CHILL

Persons/Roles:
M GLOVER - COMPOSER
A PATERSON - COMPOSER
S REICH - COMPOSER
INSTRUMENTAL - STRING SEXTET

REPEAT: MORRIS DANCING PAK Duration: 00:12:29

Well, whether that's a small bell or a large martini shaker, that sound tells me it's time for another As It Happens holiday encore. But that jingling has nothing to do with one-horse open sleighs or Miss Fanny Bright. No, this time around that ringing signifies the wonderful world of Morris dancing.

For centuries, Morris dancers have donned colourful garb, hitched bells to their knees, and danced around waving handkerchiefs and clashing sticks. And earlier this year, we heard that, for some reason, Morris dancing is not catching on with young people. Indeed, the "Morris Ring", which represents more than two hundred Morris dancing troupes, or "sides", in Great Britain, has issued a grave warning that the age-old brand of rhythmic stepping could die out in as little as two decades.

In January, Brian Tasker, the Squire of the Morris Ring, spoke to us from Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

And after we spoke to Brian Tasker about the decline of Morris dancing, Talkback showed up with bells on to let us know that the tradition is alive and well here in Canada.

That's the trailer for the film "Morris: A Life with Bells On" -- the first-ever feature film about Morris dancing. It's described as "a funny film with no swearing, no nudity and no violence -- although some of the dances do get a bit rough at times".

Back in February, we spoke to Chaz Oldham, the producer, writer and star of the film. He's also a man with a dream -- to bring Morris dancing to filmgoers around the globe. Chaz Oldham spoke to us from London.

And tonight, we thought we'd give the final word on Morris to Stan, after this suggestion from Talkback.


THE IDIOT Duration: 00:02:42

Album:STAN ROGERS: HOME IN HALIFAX

Label:FOGARTY'S COVE, FCM 010D

Persons/Roles:
STAN ROGERS - COMPOSER
STAN ROGERS - WRITER
STAN ROGERS - SINGING

BEM QUERER (MY DEAR) Duration: 00:00:29

Album:CRU

Label:FLA FLU, WN 145057

Persons/Roles:
DA FE - COMPOSER
MITA - COMPOSER
SEU JORGE - VOCALS
GRINGO DA PARADA - PRODUCER
SEU JORGE - BAND

REPEAT: BIG GAY ICE CREAM TRUCK Duration: 00:09:59

And now here's another story from the past year that had the whole As It Happens office laughing out loud.

This past summer, one of our producers received a series of unconfirmed reports about a new kind of vehicle. The reports originated in Manhattan -- and the vehicle purported to be an ice cream truck. Not unlike other ice cream delivery vehicles, this one was said to look like a parcel truck, and to sell sweet chilly treats to lucky passers-by. But what made this truck a bit unusual was a sign that read "BIG GAY ICE CREAM TRUCK".

So that producer got on the phone.

On September 4th, our guest host Robert Harris reached Doug Quint, on a cellphone inside his noisy truck, at Union Square & 17th Street, in Manhattan.


BEFORE I DRIVE AWAY Duration: 00:01:09

Album:SONGS FOR ICE CREAM TRUCKS/HEARST, MICHAEL

Label:BAR NONE, 0328620184-2

Persons/Roles:
MICHAEL HEARST - COMPOSER
MICHAEL HEARST - GLOCKENSPIEL
MICHAEL HEARST - VOCALS




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