Updates on Rick Mercer and Chris Hadfield

Comedian Rick Mercer visits Canadian forces in Afghanistan in 2005. Image by jmbone, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Comedian Rick Mercer visits Canadian forces in Afghanistan in 2005.
Image by jmbone, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NCPR blogs have discussed Rick Mercer and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield before. Mercer is the long-time host of CBC’s Rick Mercer Report, a reliably funny exploration of life and politics across Canada. Hadfield became an international media darling with his remarkably engaging tweets and photos from the International Space Station.

Those two famous cultural icons are among a longer list of Canadians receiving a national honor called the Order of Canada, typically awarded twice each year. (Actually Hadfield had already been awarded the Order of Canada, he’s getting a promotion to a higher level within that order.)

Mercer’s selection came for “his ability to inspire and challenge Canadians through humour”. The comedian called the award a tremendous honour (using the Canadian spellings). He says he was quite surprised, practically dumbstruck, to get the news in person from Governor General David Johnston.  

Hadfield has retired from a long military career. But the ex-astronaut has become a best-selling author in Canada, with his “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” (2013). Here’s how one reviewer summarized the work on the book site Good Reads:
Depending on your outlook on things, this book will either make you feel like you have lived a vastly underwhelming and underachieving sort of life, full of these lost opportunities, these missed chances… or it will make you feel infinitely inspired, like you can live more and do more just be more in general, and it will serve as fuel to your rocket, to use a hackneyed analogy.Being what I think of as a jaded sort of optimist, I’m somewhere in-between.But Col. Hadfield is definitely leaning heavily towards the inspiring part, and does so with admirable grace and aplomb.
Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency juggles some tomatoes, which he probably considers to be among the more delicious components of a recent "package" that arrived from Earth on March 3. (2013) Source: NASA

Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency juggles some tomatoes, which he probably considers to be among the more delicious components of a recent “package” that arrived from Earth on March 3. (2013) Source: NASA

(Note: I have that book and it’s true – I feel small reading it, but also fired up with the possibilities of engaged optimism.)

Hadfield continues to garner favorable opinions as a singer. While commanding the International Space Station his version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” went viral. That song had to come down after a year due to a licensing agreement. Happily, rights were extended and it can still be viewed, as explained in this chronology.

Chris and his brother David Hadfield produced a charming original song and video just in time for Canada Day. They billed it thusly:

Published on Jul 1, 2014

A polite song from two brothers who are just hoping your day is going okay.

“In Canada” may or may not establish itself as a keeper, although it has over a million hits in just a few days. But it’s a nice take on ordinary life in the “true north strong and free” from two middle-aged men who tried to put that to song. Eh?

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