Looking back on 2013

It’s been quite a year, both personally and politically. The best of times, the worst of times, to paraphrase Dickens. Looking back on 2103, it was a busy, eventful, successful, and yet often challenging year. I accomplished many things on different levels – personal and professional – and, I believe, overcame some of the challenges I faced. A lot happened locally, too, much of which development I … (more–>)

Six Rules for Politicians Using Social Media

This is an updated version of the talk I presented at the the eighth annual Municipal Communication Conference in Toronto, November 2013.   I use social media regularly and frequently. As a politician, that makes me either very brave or very stupid. But I’ve been doing this for the last 30 years, long before I ever got elected. Social media isn’t new to me.* It may … (more–>)

We have heading up for your net

I have to admit that I frequently read the spam comments WordPress traps for my moderation, and I often do so with a smile. The clumsy, crazy constructs, the awkward English, butchered punctuation and the twisted word use just make me laugh. Yes, like everyone else, I detest spam, and I quickly delete the comments into whatever digital wastebin they descend to. But I often chuckle … (more–>)

Anti-Intellectualism: The New Elitism

There’s a growing – and disturbing – trend in modern culture: anti-intellectual elitism. The dismissal of art, science, culture, philosophy, of rhetoric and debate, of literature and poetry, and their replacement by entertainment, spectacle, self-righteous self ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. These are usually followed by vituperative ridicule and angry caterwauling when anyone challenges the populist ideals or ideologies. As if having a brain, as if having … (more–>)

Words, words, words

Writing before the arrival of the internet*, Bob Blackburn commented on the nature of exchange on then-prevalent BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), words that could as easily be written today about the internet: “…the BBS medium reveals not only a widespread inability to use English as a means of communication but also a widespread ignorance of that inability, and, in consequence, a lack of interest in doing … (more–>)

Why do so few Canadians get a flu shot?

That’s the headline for a recent Toronto Star story. It suggests that as few as one third of Canadians get a flu vaccine, and in some place the number may be as low as 20 percent. This despite Ontario having the world’s first universal free flu shot program, introduced in 2000. The 2013-14 vaccine is on its way to doctors’ offices now. It’s also available at … (more–>)

Digital Attachments

It’s tough to lose a solider. Especially one like Dimitri. A fine sniper, with a good kill record. I had trained him for so long, raised him from a lowly private to sergeant, then to lieutenant. He was equipped with the best gear. His accuracy had improved to a deadly asset. He was a cornerstone to my tactical approach. He was also an investment in time … (more–>)

The (sometimes violent) urge to write

As of this writing, I will have published 253 posts since I began this blog at the ending week of December, 2011. Two hundred and fifty three posts in 21 months. Just over one post every two-and-a-half days, on average. Plus 30 or so still in draft mode. Another half-dozen scribbled in word processing notes or notebooks. And that doesn’t include the six years of blog … (more–>)

WP theme experiments ongoing

With the latest update to WordPress (3.6) comes a new theme, Twenty Thirteen. I’ve activated it with the upgrade, and I like it so far, but I’m not 100% satisfied. I preferred the dimensions of the header image on the Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve themes. Proportionately they were more humanistic. The new header is 1600 x 230, which is rather thin and proportionately difficult. Using … (more–>)

Kill the Apostrophe? Rubbish! Keep it!

A site has popped up with one of the stupidest ideas about English I’ve read in the past decade or two. It’s called Kill the Apostrophe. Subtle. At first, I thought it was a joke, a spoof. After all, how can one realistically get rid of perhaps the most significant element of punctuation based on the rantings of a website lunatic? And some of the counterpoint … (more–>)

Losing the world, and some sleep, but enjoying it

  Brave New World – not the novel of a dystopian future by Aldous Huxley – is the name of the latest add-on for Civilization V, following after Gods & Kings, released in 2012. BNW was released last Tuesday, and I was at the local EB Games store to get one on launch day. Over the weekend, I took a look at it, playing for several … (more–>)

Small glitch, please stay tuned

Oops. Seems there’s a coding glitch in the latest WordPress update. Comments are getting attached to a header image rather than to the post they’re supposed to be associated with. And it’s not a new glitch – the WP support forums have discussions on this that go back at least a year, albeit an earlier version of the software. So I suspect there will be a … (more–>)

The Decline in Media Credibility and Profitability

Last August the Pew research Center released the results of its latest study on how much the American public trusts the media. This has been part of an ongoing study since at least 2002, and ever since the first report, the amount of trust in media has fallen. This has been a hot topic of discussion online ever since, and the source of much hand-wringing at … (more–>)

Not All Words Are Equal, or Used Equally

There’s an economic principle known as the rule of fungibility that states a commodity is equivalent to other units of the same commodity. For example, a litre of gasoline is the same commodity regardless of the brand or source. A bushel of wheat is the same regardless of the country. Ten dollars is ten dollars whether presented as a single bill or in smaller denominations. These … (more–>)

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