Archive for the ‘Random Stuff’ Category

My Thoughts on the Vancouver Riots

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
photo credit: Mark Donovan

photo credit: Mark Donovan

Last night the inevitable happened. My Vancouver Canucks (of whom I’ve been a fan for over 15 years) lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. I say inevitable because a storybook ending to a storybook season would have been too good to be true. When the Canucks finally win a Cup, it will be in a year that they finish seventh or eighth in the Western Conference. (more…)

What Happened In Buffalo Yesterday?

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

A lot of Canadians spent the day today saying to themselves (and anyone else): What happened in Buffalo yesterday? How could things go so wrong? What are we going to do about it?

Well, here’s just a sampling of what happened in Buffalo yesterday:

How could things go so wrong and what are we going to do about it?

It’s All In The Timing

Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Creative Commons License photo credit: How can I recycle this

I was recently reminded of this little story and thought I’d share.

I was at a “local search” conference and one of the keynote speakers was the owner of an upstart yellow pages publisher that was taking a huge chunk of the market share in a major Metro.

In the Q&A, the guy was asked: How did you erode the incumbent’s market-share so quickly?

His answer went something like this:

“Ma’am, what do you do with your old yellowpages book as soon as the new one shows up?”

Her answer was, predictably, “Get rid of it.”

He continued: “Of course! Which is precisely why we publish our book three months after the other guys.”

Beautiful Decay

Monday, January 4th, 2010
Michigan Central Station - Marchand and Meffre Photography

Michigan Central Station - Marchand and Meffre Photography

I have no idea why I’m subscribed to the RSS feed… I’m sure I had a reason. But when these photos popped into Google Reader this morning, I was awestruck. Dumbfounded. Speechless.

As a guy with strong ties to Michigan, I have a soft spot for Detroit. I think it may be one of the most interesting cities I’ve experienced – but folks rarely get past the “Motor City” moniker to see the beauty of Detroit.

This collection of photos by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre capture an unusual beauty – the beauty of decay. It is not really beautiful, of course, but heart-breaking to see these architectural masterpieces crumbling. Michigan Central Station has always intrigued me as it is plainly visible from the interstate feeding the Ambassador Bridge and I have stared at its broken windows many times over the years wondering what would become of it.

Marchand and Meffre’s photographs make me a little sad – but I’m glad that they’ve been able to create some beautiful art from such miserable circumstances.

A New Year, A Fresh Start

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Hi there. Remember me? I own this little corner of the web but have been something of an absentee landlord of late. It’s not that I haven’t had any interesting ideas or any shortage of things to say, it’s just that, well, let’s not dwell on the past.

The future is what is important! And the future of this blog is looking much brighter today. Today I have resolved (albeit a few weeks early) to re-energize and re-invigorate this blog. I will be posting more often, and on a wider variety of topics. This blog will be me – in all the various places my brain takes me.

So with that promise to you, dear reader, let wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I will see you in 2010 – renewed and refreshed!

from a 12 year old girl

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

{a guest post}

hi i think canada should stay as one country.if my teacher was writing this she would say that the political leaders of Canada have poor problem solving skills.You probably think i’m too young to have a say in this but just because i am young dosen’t mean that i don’t care

bye from amy nevins

Monbiot for UK PM, media democratization

Monday, September 15th, 2008

[A guest post from Dr. Adam Davidson-Harden, post-doctoral fellow at Queen’s University in Kingston and an old friend.]

Well, pleased to be a guest here! I’ve been catching up on some of my reading, and the most recent piece by British journalist George Monbiot got me worked up again. Here is a journalist who is completely open about his position, and is never afraid to write from that premise, comprehensively and critically.

I think it’s true that journalism would be better if there were more openness about political positions.. or perhaps a two-pronged approach of laying out the facts and competing positions, as well as the opinion of the journalist.. balance, in this sense, would mean a balanced presentation of two arguments, which the public/reader can pick through, disagree with, etc. This is part of the power of the web – print media would likely balk at this kind of task, because of space issues. Incidentally, a reporter at the Waterloo Record confided in me that many of her colleagues share a displeasure that the paper has been thinned out beyond belief (she reacted when I made a comment to this effect).. the web is democratizing media, in a de facto, automatic kind of way.

I wonder how many students here at Queen’s (was in Kitchener-Waterloo until awhile ago) actually read broadsheets? Or do they get their news, as I now do, online from rss feeds and the like? Well, there’s a couple of cents for you.. in the meantime, I continue to be stunned and outraged by the politics of food and hunger, which Monbiot explicates well (along with Raj Patel in his book Stuffed and Starved).

To be further incited on the politics of exploitation of Africa, see Patrick Bond’s book Looting Africa…pleasure blogging here, my friend!

Is The Press Too Objective?

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

At the Cambridge Reporter meetup on Tuesday, an interesting discussion sprang up about transparency of media bias.

Here’s what I said, more or less:

No-one is truly objective. I’d rather know where my media talking heads are coming from than to try to decipher disingenuous attempts at sounding un-biased. In other words, journalists should wear their opinions, political and otherwise, on their sleeves in the interest of transparency and fairness. I also said that I’d rather have Bill O’Reilly anchor the nightly news on Fox and Keith Olbermann anchor the news on NBC because at least then I know how much salt to apply and where. Williams, Kouric, etc, have zero credibility for me because I don’t know where they stand.

In the Canadian context, there are no O’Reillys or Olbermanns that I’m aware of because even our commentators bend over backwards to apply criticism evenly. Rex Murphy would be so much more credible, for example, if he was open about his true opinion – not to mention Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson.

When I watch Steve Paikin on The Agenda with reps from each party – I constantly wonder – who’s he secretly rooting for here? Because he is – he’s human.

Why is it that Jon Stewart is increasingly becoming the primary source of political news for my demographic? Part of it is his humour to be sure – but part of it also is that he’s not afraid to let his guests and his audiences know where he’s coming from. He’s not bound by archaic and deceptive ‘code of journalism’ that expects the press to pretend they are doing the impossible – be objective.

I remember watching the 1995 Quebec Referendum through the national media because, though a Montrealer by birth, I had since moved to central Ontario. I distinctly remember watching Quebecois journalists on CBC and CTV reporting on the campaigns in their diluted, objective way and screaming at them in my head to “Please just tell me what you think! I’m not there – you are!”

Chantal Hebert is well respected journalist in Quebec – but I can’t trust a single thing she says about the Bloc Quebecois because I have no idea where she stands on the sovereignty issue. I’ve heard her both praise and criticize the BQ on tactics but those are delivered through a Quebecoise filter that either agrees or disagrees with the Bloc in principle. So which is it? Are they right or wrong? I can’t trust you, Chantal, if I don’t know you.

So that was a little more than what I said the other night, but you get the idea.

My question to you, then, is this:

Should we allow and encourage the members of the press to shed their artificial objectivity in the interest of transparency and full reporting?

Election 2008: A Tie?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Did you know that it’s possible to tie the Presidential election?

The Presidential election is decided by Electoral College votes which are distributed among the fifty states roughly by population – California gets lots, Delaware not so much. There are 538 electoral college votes up for grabs – and they way they are distributed makes it entirely possible that the election could end in a tie! Using the LA Times interactive Electoral College map (hat tip) it’s clear that not only is it possible – it’s really not much of a stretch.

What are the odds of this happening?

I’m a moron

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I have a nice contact form to let people get in touch with me… except it doesn’t work very well if you don’t put in the email address that messages should be sent to. Sigh.

If you’ve tried to send me a message using the contact form and I didn’t respond it’s not because I’m rude, it’s because I never got it because, well, I’m a moron.