English suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous punctuation

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There’s a chip wagon in town that offers “fresh cut fries.” When I see that sign, I always wonder what “cut fries” are, and how they compare with uncut fries. Does this chipster offer stale cut fries as well as fresh ones? The former library is becoming an old building. The sign in front tells us a “senior facility” is coming soon. Sad to see a relatively new building forced to age. A sign in a local department store advises … click below for more!

The Drummond Report: economic disaster or salvation?

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[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRToWKtrfCo&feature=related”] “It’s not all doom and gloom,” quips Rick Mercer in this video. “Drummond predicts the province could still turn things around, if it acts now, and no one gets sick, needs a job, or educates their children, for the next… ever.” The Drummond Report – from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services headed by economist Don Drummond – was released last week. It’s a sweeping, 529-page, brick-thick study of Ontario’s fiscal policies and structures, with 362 … click below for more!

Not a John Lennon quote… just another bad meme

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Another unsourced, mis-attributed quote is going the rounds, found as are so many on Facebook, this one turning itself into another of those annoying, unsourced Internet memes that people love to share: “When I was five years old, my Mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told … click below for more!

On translating Chaucer and the joys of Middle English

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In my last two visits to the nearby Chapters, I picked up from the bargain books section two recent, hardcover, versions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. One is a new verse translation by Burton Raffel published in 2008, the other a prose translation by Peter Ackroyd, from 2009. These join the dozen or so other versions of Chaucer’s works I already have on my bookshelves: the Riverside Chaucer (third edition), several venerable Penguin editions (both original and translations), the New Cambridge … click below for more!

It wasn’t Einstein who said it…

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Yet another incorrectly attributed quotation is being passed around the Internet, this time on Facebook. This one is, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” A saccharine, touchy-feely, warm-puppy quote that appeals to some who take comfort in them, but Einstein never said that. According to Wikiquote’s page on Einstein, This gets almost 500k hits on google, but … click below for more!

Was Marx right after all?

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[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0″] While Marx didn’t say exactly that the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” he did state that under capitalism, poverty would inevitably increase while more and more wealth would concentrate in fewer hands. Increasing profits and increasing wages, he claimed, were contradictory. Adam Smith – the “father” of capitalism – said much of the same thing, by the way. They were right. Marx’s economic and world views were fermented in the mid-19th century’s industrial age, an age … click below for more!

Santorum’s ‘faith’ attack incomprehensible

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[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyIZIiY81Ek”]I really don’t understand American politics. Watching the current campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination for presidential candidacy only baffles me further. It’s stunning that so many of the Republican candidates appeal – and do so loudly and consistently – to the lowest common denominator among the population. Topping my list of Republicans who bemuse me is Rick Santorum. His campaign only proves that you don’t have to be intelligent, open-minded, visionary, well-educated, focused or wise to run for president. … click below for more!

Why not a Napoleon theme park?

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There’s a sarcastic, somewhat-tongue-in-cheek commentary in the Guardian this week, called, “Why not have a Napoleon theme park?” In it, Agnès C. Poirier editorializes on a recent proposal by a French MP to build a theme park in France dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. She writes, Abroad, observers could be forgiven for almost choking on hearing this news: why not a Stalin or a Kim Jong-il theme park too? That made me choke, almost pushing my half-swallowed tea through my nose. … click below for more!

What Shall We Do With the Mountain View?

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Here’s a new song for Collingwood, sung to the tune of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? Unbeknownst to council, the town wants to own the Mountain View Hotel for $1.9 million. This little-known fact appeared in the 600-plus page budget document without any fanfare. or even any other sort of notice. You’d have to dig through page after page of mind-numbing arrays of figures to find it. Normally, when the municipality wants to buy property, we go … click below for more!

Let’s get the terms of this debate correct

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There’s a recent story in the Winnipeg Free Press with the headlines that, “Liberals fear pro-lifers trying to take over weakened federal party.” Gawd, I hate such inaccurate, slanted reporting. It’s bad enough when politicians engage in it, but the media should be more objective. Let’s get the terms straight, shall we? Then we can try for objectivity. To call one side “pro-life” is to give credibility to the implication that the other side is “anti-life.” That’s spinelessly accepting a … click below for more!

Collingwood’s population on the rise, faster than Canada’s

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Statistics Canada has released some of the key data data from its 2011 Census. In the five years since our last census (2006), Canada has grown in population size almost 6% to 33,476,688. That’s ten times larger than we were in 1861. Once again, our growth rate was the highest among G8 countries. According to the StatsCan analysis of the data, “every province and most territories saw its population increase between 2006 and 2011.” However, it notes that, “The rate … click below for more!

Bad Lao Tzu meme adds to growing list of mis-identified quotes online

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This bad meme is going the Internet rounds: “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” Lao Tzu Well, although deep – if a bit saccharine – it’s not from the Tao Teh Ching, the only work that the Old Master … click below for more!

Why Admiral Collingwood should go ahead

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Juxtaposition. That’s the issue Collingwood Council has to wrestle with, Monday: what effect will the juxtaposition of the proposed development’s size and height have on the existing, smaller buildings? Some people are afraid our existing heritage buildings will be diminished by this project. Last week I was in Toronto. At the corner of York and Wellington Streets, I saw the Toronto Club; a beautifully preserved, late 19th-century red-brick, three-storey building. It’s in the, heart of financial district, surrounded by tall, … click below for more!

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