Just three weeks into their first season as the guardians of a sacred public trust, Hockey Night in Canada's new overlords bore a heavy burden. They had to balance traditional Saturday night escapism with real world tragedies that were still reverberating across the country, and they were equal to the daunting task. Between a brilliantly written and produced opening segment, the coordinated coverage of pre-game ceremonies in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, and giving Don Cherry carte blanche to turn Coach's Corner into a military tribute that was passionate and emotional without being maudlin, Hockey Night in Canada demonstrated an uncanny sense of occasion and tapped perfectly into the prevailing national mood.
In the aftermath of last week's game-changing national security crisis and the polarizing debate over Muslim extremism, it's useful to have at least a fundamental understanding of the modern Islamic world. The non-partisan Pew Research Center published results of a global survey that makes for instructive reading for anyone interested in the basics of Muslim beliefs, attitudes and trends. Not surprisingly, the results suggest Islamic extremism is neither Nan aberration nor is it monolithic. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, which is where the debate needs to focus. The extreme views at either end of the spectrum are worse than wrong and useless - they're detrimental to the pursuit of understanding and peaceful co-existence.
British entertainer Russell Brand is a natural comedian, which makes it odd that he would take himself seriously as a social commentator. Brand made me laugh out loud towards the end of his 15 minute You Tube rant against Prime Minister Harper. Unfortunately, he spent the first 14 minutes proving that as a geopolitical analyst, he makes a fine actor and comedian.