December 21st, 2012
Daniel Davies On Not Believing In Canada:
Over time, all sorts of supporting myths and rationalizations grew up to support the "Canadian" faith. Apparently they fought a war against America in 1812, although not one with any noticeable or measurable political consequences. They don't have a football team because they play "hockey on ice" (really!), a sport at which they are world champions (naturally, because it is a fictitious sport). They have all the nice characteristics of America, but have a healthcare system rather suspiciously similar to the British one, and so forth, and so on.
As anyone can see, this isn't a country – it's far too perfect to be convincing. It's a fantasy roleplaying character invented by a kid who goes to mock United Nations camps instead of playing Dungeons & Dragons. Occasionally this is recognized in little cultural hints – a "girlfriend in Canada" is American slang for "an imaginary girlfriend". But in general, people humour them – these days, if you want to make it in Hollywood, you've got to be either a Canadian or a Scientologist. Then the concept was discovered by that sizeable contingent of French people who always want to pretend to be Americans, and the Canadian faith had to pick up yet another massive and glaring inconsistency in the shape of a massive linguistic minority who lived in a state of peace and friendship with the rest of the country. Do I have to mention that they struck oil and invented the Blackberry?
November 1st, 2011
The Law of Unintended Consequences was in full effect in Canada in 1923:
At 2:00am on Sunday, 15 April 1923, the "rule of the road" changed, in Nova Scotia. After this day, all traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. Previously, automobiles, streetcars, horses, bicyclists, and all other vehicles and travellers adhered to the left-hand side of the road. [...]
[...] In Lunenburg County, 1923 is still known as The Year of Free Beef; the price of beef dropped precipitously because oxen which had been trained to keep to the left could not be retrained – oxen are notoriously slow-witted – and many teamsters had to replace their oxen with new ones trained to keep to the right; the displaced oxen were sent to slaughter.
[Via James Nicoll]
June 19th, 2011
This is a few years old now, but still worth a read: David Rees deciphers Cormac Ignatieff's The Road…
Hello everyone! Personal message to all the New Yorkers out there: Did you read Michael Ignatieff's essay in the the NY Times Magazine? If so, contact me ASAP to let me know you're OK. I put your flyer up at Grand Central Station, but have heard no response.
Myself, I'm just making my way out of the debilitating Level-Five Mind Fog that came from reading the thing. Even my "Second Life avatar" has a headache! (Hey young people, did I get that right? Hope so! See you in "Warcraft Worlds!")
The essay is called "Getting Iraq Wrong." And baby, if Michael Ignatieff got Iraq wrong, I don't want him to be right! Because this essay can MAKE LEMONADE IN YOUR MIND. [...]
[Via MeFi user docgonzo, posting to this MetaFilter thread]
December 29th, 2010
I wonder if the stock in a human library wear an arm-band that signals what genre they're in:
The idea of a Human Library first emerged in Copenhagen about a decade ago, as a way to break down prejudice by bringing people of different backgrounds together for one-on-one conversation. The Toronto Public Library held its first Human Library event at five branches on Nov. 6, attracting more than 200 users who checked out the likes of a police officer, a comedian, a sex-worker-turned-club-owner, a model and a survivor of cancer, homelessness and poverty. They're all volunteers whose lives would make good reading, but even better one-on-one chatting. The library is considering make the program long-term, so a supply of human books will be regularly available to readers.
Seriously, whilst I don't think the concept is for everyone, I can see how the right 'human book' could be fascinating.
Then again, there could easily be a dark side to this. Can't you just see David Cameron's 'Big Society' requiring recipients of out-of-work benefits to spend a few hours a week as 'stock' in a human library.
[Via The Millions]
April 24th, 2010
The Niagara Falls as you don't usually see them: minus the water.
[Via Word Magazine Blog]
April 12th, 2010
Alaska eagle survives mating dance fall:
An acrobatic display of passion proved too much for a pair of eagles engaged in a mating dance over Alaska's Prince William Sound. [...]
Be sure to follow the link and scroll down to the second photo of a dazed, post-coital and thoroughly confused female eagle. Poor thing.
[Via James Nicoll]
November 11th, 2009
Note to newspaper publishers everywhere: if you announce that you're going to contract out the work of your copy editors, you can expect the memo you issue announcing the decision to be copy edited to within an inch of its life.
June 3rd, 2009
March 7th, 2009
January 22nd, 2009
Joey deVilla has been visiting the city of Fogcouver.