Misquoting Shakespeare. Again.

Let me begin with a digression on memes. Like a virus, a meme can spread uncontrollably in the right environment and infect millions with an idea or goal. This, of course, is good for such advocates of social ideals as Greenpeace or PETA, but like viruses, there can be bad memes that do more damage than good. More, it seems, than good or socially constructive memes. … (more–>)

The slow death of media credibility

A story in the recent issue of New Republic opens: “A decade of turmoil has left a weakened press vulnerable to political attacks, forced into ethical compromises, and increasingly outstripped by new forms of digital media.” This points to the continuing erosion of public confidence in traditional media. While this piece refers to national (American) and international media, it applies equally to local media – all … (more–>)

Baby, It’s Politically Correct Outside…

I must have travelled to another universe because when I awoke, the world had gone mad. Radio stations were pulling a popular, rather over-played, 74-year-old, playful holiday song because some folks thought it was about rape. Sexual assault. Or at least non-consensual sex. The media was full of Chicken Littles screaming that the cultural sky was falling if radio stations continued to play it. The song was … (more–>)

What’s wrong with local media?

“It’s about trust. Our relationship with our readers is built on transparency, honesty and integrity.” So opens the front-page piece in this weekend’s Connection, titled in all-caps, “Local News Needs Support ‘Now More Than Ever’”. It echoes the theme of”now more than ever” written for National Newspaper Week, Oct. 1-7. And some of it is eerily similar to what Bob Cox wrote about journalism on Oct. … (more–>)

Show me the documents!

The trolls and troglodytes on social media are whinging again about allegedly missing documents that relate to the 2012 sale of 50% of Collus. They want you to think there was a conspiracy by the utility staff not to release crucial documents. There wasn’t. Period. No matter how many times this gets debunked, no matter how often it gets corrected, it rises again and again amongst … (more–>)

The greening of shaving

But my brother Esau is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man. I recall those lines from a Beyond the Fringe sketch first released in 1964 (see below).* And so it was in my family: my brother was the hirsute Esau to my near-hairless Jacob. I didn’t need to shave until my late teens and even then it was iffy. That was in the … (more–>)

Idiot lights: aka fog lights

Have you noticed how many people drive with their idiot lights on all the time? These are supposed to be “fog” lights, but idiots drive with them day and night, good and bad weather. Hence the name: idiot lights.* Not that they’re illegal (they should be…): the Ontario Highway Traffic Act allows a minimum of two and up to four headlights on the front of the … (more–>)

The dogshit dilemma

We have a problem with dogshit. Well, all municipalities do, of course, but ours is increasingly evident: it’s everywhere. And with the growing popularity of pets and our growing population, it’s becoming worse.* How do we deal with it? We pick it up, of course, as we dispose of it in our own garbage bins or in those provide by the municipality downtown or in our … (more–>)

True Integrity? Not The Block…

There’s an interesting article online called, 13 Traits of People With True Integrity that opens with the (unintentionally?) funny line: Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. After you guffaw at that bit, the author continues, “People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, … (more–>)

Book collecting: snobbery or reading passion?

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read. That’s the lead into a recent piece on Aeon Magazine about book collecting and collectors. It’s also about reading and the snobbery of readers. Fascinating piece. For me, anyway. Pretty much everything about books and reading fascinates me, from the art to the … (more–>)

The last walk

“You have to go to the pound. They have a Sheltie there.” Susan called me from work, her voice urgent. One of her clients had told her a Sheltie – Shetland Sheepdog – had been picked up by Animal Control and was in the pound, on Stewart Road about to come up for adoption. She added, “I already have a name for her.” This was in … (more–>)

The dystopian present

If there is one good thing to come out of the election of Donald Trump, it has been the renewed interest in a certain genre of literature. Sales of dystopian novels have skyrocketed on Amazon, in particular what might be called “The Big Three” of dystopian tales: George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. From each of these novels, allegorical … (more–>)

Empathy and The Dog Allusion

Empathy, writes Martin Rowson, is one of the things that make us human, make us civilized, allows us to interact without tearing one another’s throats out. Without it, we’d have no civilization; we’d be like the beasts of the fields. And we’d have no dogs or gods, either. Empathy is what makes us own pets and be religious. That’s one of the thought-provoking ideas Rowson tosses … (more–>)

Reading Moby Dick

Recently, coincidental to while I was reading Herman Melville’s classic novel, I read a story that some folks in Vancouver took offence to the name of a restaurant: Moby Dick’s Fish & Chips. Apparently the property overseers mistook the “Dick” in the name for a euphemism for penis, rather than reading the name of the famous novel in the whole title. A wholly puerile response, I’m … (more–>)

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