July 11, 2009
I feel somewhat dissappointed with Sunfest this year. Yes, yes, yes. The musicians are fantastic, professional, and talented. Inarguably top flight. All of them.
The treasure this year is Umalali.
But where is the Tinarawen? The Yakudo? The Tuvan Throat Singers? The Pygmys? The African Women drummers? The Dobet Gnahore? That really awful Indian brass band? There’s no discovery, no spine tingling, hair raising, tickling discoveries.
Yes, we get world class acts from some exotic places around the world that play fusions of ethnic and western music, acts from Quebec that have fused their immigrant homeland music to western music and a jazz stage that I just don’t go near anymore even if it does have the best shade.
Bellowhead was rockin, but they just ain’t World Music.
And what’s with all those plastic tables and umbrellas? They really get in the way of decent sight lines and take up good sitting space that could be occupied by people.
Sent from my iPod
August 6, 2008
August 26, 2007
From Newsweek: Into Thin Air He’s still out there. The hunt for bin Laden.
The frustrations of the snake eaters are well illustrated by the recollections of Adam Rice, the operations sergeant of a Special Forces A-Team working out of a safe house near Kandahar in 2002. … In July 2002, a CIA case officer told Rice that a figure believed to be Mullah Omar, the one-eyed chief of the Taliban, had been tracked by aerial drone to a location in the Shahikot Valley, a short flight to the north. The Taliban chief and his entourage would be vulnerable to a helicopter assault, but the Americans had to move quickly. Rice was not optimistic about getting timely permission. Whenever he and his men moved within five kilometers of the safe house, he says, they had to file a request form known as a 5-W, spelling out the who, what, when, where and why of the mission. Permission from headquarters took hours, and if shooting might be involved, it was often denied. To go beyond five kilometers required a CONOP (for “concept of operations”) that was much more elaborate and required approval from two layers in the field, and finally the Joint Special Operations Task Force at Baghram air base near Kabul. To get into a fire fight, the permission of a three-star general was necessary. “That process could take days,” Rice recalled to NEWSWEEK. He often typed forms while sitting on a 55-gallon drum his men had cut in half to make a toilet seat. “We’d be typing in 130-degree heat while we’re crapping away with bacillary dysentery and sometimes the brass at Kandahar or Baghram would kick back and tell you the spelling was incorrect, that you weren’t using the tab to delimit the form correctly.”
From Rolling Stone: The Great Iraq Swindle
According to the most reliable estimates, [The US] have doled out more than $500 billion for the war, as well as $44 billion for the Iraqi reconstruction effort. And what did America’s contractors give us for that money? They built big steaming shit piles, set brand-new trucks on fire, drove back and forth across the desert for no reason at all and dumped bags of nails in ditches. For the most part, nobody at home cared, because war on some level is always a waste. But what happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future. If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where’s the incentive to deliver success?
Where is the American guerilla of the Revolution? Overcome, by managers driven by profit as god, who keep themselves safe from blame and risk.
In this sense, I am a Libertarian; use your own money—don’t steal it from taxpayers then bury the theft in paperwork and legal language. Climb down from the White House and pick up the landmine in your own bare hands. Living the idealogy of capitalism isn’t the same as actually doing the work.
Clearly the bureaucracy of cover-your-butt is in the way of actually getting the work done, yes, but, so clearly, those who would practice profit and capitalism have buffered themselves from actually handling the landmines, from actually taking the risks so much, that this is not capitalism, this is not actually hands on work, but this is idealogy of capitalism—all the reward and none of the risk.
This is why America will lose this war.
In this sense, I am a Capitalist; individuals have a right to profit from their own work—but don’t sit your life away as some middle management cog in the business machine and exclaim the virtues of risk and reward. Don’t mistake a salary for profit. It’s better to admit you’re a cog in the machine and not lie to yourself. A lifetime in a risk averse culture living the comfort of someone else’s profit is blindness, hypocrisy, not capitalism.
June 30, 2007
“Two boys … one from Saskatchewan and one from Ontario, were stopped while trying to board flights last week because their name matches a name that appears on a no-fly list.”
Aged 10 and 15 years old they share the same rather unfortunate name of Alistair Butt. If I were a terrorist, that is certainly one the low-profile innocuous names I would choose.
“Transport Canada won’t confirm if the boys are on [one of three lists] a United States no-fly list, an airline no-fly list or Canada’s new no-fly list, which … is “believed to contain fewer than 1,000 names…”
“We regret any inconvenience, but security must remain of paramount concern,” the airline said in a statement.
Security? How about stupid irrational foolish fear? How about “I am so stupidly single-minded and directive-driven that I can’t look at a ten year old boy and decide that he can’t possibly be the person we’re looking for!” Wouldn’t these no fly lists actually be helpful if they held information useful towards actually identifying the suspect? Like; Alistair Butt: Caucasian, Male, middle-aged, approx 5 to 6 ft, tall, weighs slightly more than 100 lbs.
June 18, 2007
The Toronto Star ran this article about guerilla bike path painters…
“Perfect,” one says, as they notice a red Honda parked only feet away from a large Chevy. With lookouts at the ready, the pair crouch between the two bumpers. One holds down a large cardboard stencil, while the other traces the image with paint. Once the diamonds and bike logos are done, the woman puts on an orange emergency-worker vest and walks straight into oncoming traffic. As she signals for cars to pass into the centre lane, another walks behind her, using a line painter. Commuters instinctively take their positions, and bikes head right for the new lane, as drivers dutifully merge left. “Are we finally getting a bike lane?” asked a passerby heading into a corner store. “Yes ma’am,” one of the Repair Squad replies. “How exciting!”
…reminding me of this cartoon from 2005
June 14, 2007
For Londoners contemplating who to support in the debate over the direction of development, the risks and costs of unmanaged, developer led growth are becoming all too clear. The societal, environmental, and economic costs all erode quality of life and threaten prosperity. If Londoners want a city that remains livable, and viable, they need to support councillors who recognize growth must have limits.
and from Glory Be We’re Saved
So let’s recap: The G8 agreement on climate change, hailed by our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, as a great step forward, lays the framework for the world’s largest and most polluting industrial economy to think about making a commitment about committing to do something, but only on a condition dependent on third parties who have already said “no way, José.” Does it get any better? I wouldn’t think so, except then I got this photocopied flyer in the mail from MP Joe Preston that says “Hey! Don’t worry about climate change. We’ve turned the corner!”
This is the kind of stuff I miss from altlondon, which has recently found it’s footing under new leadership. It’s a shame Sean and the old altondon crew, hasn’t a regular voice in London anymore. I think that some folks are feeling less heat, and a bit more room to sprawl with you guys out of town.
May 20, 2007
A technical tour de force. The rendering looks real. The story is flat, straight-ahead, no surprises. It’s a good thing we had a fat lady in the row behind to laugh when things were, uhm, funny, cause I couldn’t tell.It’s like they stuffed actors in the costumes and stuck to the script. They sail away, they find Arthur, they come back, everyone is captured, they escape and pose threateningly when they have the chance. Puss in Boots does nothing adventurous, heroic or catty. Shrek plods along and stops to explain everything once in a while. In fact every moment you might expect something exciting to happen, a story twist, or some exciting adventurous animated action sequence, they stop and explain what’s going on. Arthur jumps daringly from cloud to cloud, lands on stage and … speaks. Puss and Donkey switch bodies and … switch back.Everyone in the production seems so scared to do anything surprising, fresh or original with the characters. There is nothing underneath the characters, no one in the costumes anymore, no psychology, no surprises. Everything is what it seems to be. Loosely, but not really anymore based on a story by William Steig.I was hoping that Charming actually did kill Shrek. Too bad.
May 19, 2007
I picked up this booklet at City Lights some very long time ago, and recovered it from basement obscurity just last year. There is no publication date, no copyright notice, no ISBN, but I can only assume it was published at the end of 1957, as per this reference at the McMaster Library archives. The last dated cartoon in the book is June 12, 1957. It would have been the first of the cartoon collections. Merle “Ting” Tingley has a brief reference in the Canadian Encyclopedia article on Cartoons, Political; the Tingley collection at University of Western Ontario library archives houses a large collection of his work; a few entries in books – Best Canadian Political Cartoons 1984 and various National Cartoonists Society albums – collected at Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection – as do I, incredibly. Two articles in The Ryerson Review of Journalism, Spring 1990, and Summer 1999 mention him in context of the politics and the workplace of the time. From a piece by Bill Brady in the May 19th Free Press;
It all started in Montreal as Ting began to draw in school, then there was an art course and, with no jobs in commercial art, he got work as a draftsman. But he soon grew bored and, in 1943, joined the army, where he found his true love — cartooning. While serving in Germany, Ting met someone who would become a lifelong friend, Jim Bowes of London, Ont. Bowes introduced Ting to the army weekly paper Khaki, and it was here that his real career began. At war’s end, without a job and no desire to return to the drafting table, Ting compiled a list of newspapers that did not have editorial cartoonists. Then, on his ancient motorcycle, he crossed Canada, visiting those papers, but headed back east with no prospects. He decided to drop in on his old army pal Bowes, who was working at The London Free Press. Bowes suggested that the paper really needed a cartoonist, but didn’t think they’d go for it and encouraged Ting to “get his foot in the door” and take any job available at the paper.”It sure wasn’t what I had in mind, and a long way from drawing cartoons, but I took the job anyway,” said Ting, who started at the paper washing prints in the basement darkroom, deep in the bowels of the newspaper building on Richmond Street. When George Wenige became mayor, an editor thought a political cartoon might be in order. Ting was summoned from his subterranean post, picked up his pencil and drew “King George” in a crown — Ting’s first Free Press cartoon.
If the ‘Common Man’ were to draw cartoons, that would be Ting. He wasn’t Duncan MacPherson. He wasn’t Aislin. Where they had sabres, Ting had table knives.
For forty years he showed up for work and drew cartoons, gentle, funny cartoons about our city and the province and the world.Even if we kids didn’t understand the issue, every day we would scour the cartoon for a glimpse of Luke Worm. Not only was I a cub scout on tour one day – no doubt Mr. Tingley would never recall the meeting, nor the example he set – but I was also a Free Press delivery boy. I loved those papers under 30 pages. That four-fold was easy to hurl from a big black Raleigh rolling down the sidewalk.
Retro future stuff has always been fun. Some of these things have come true… (sure). The phonograph is an iPod… the TV, a DVD player… that parking radar – think GPS, or internet connection to Google maps – that would be useful – and that is a Smart car in the trunk isn’t it?Parking downtown has always been the issue we all scream about. There was never enough enough of it. Never will be.
And look at this from 1954. From a retro-glimpse to the future, to a retro-glimpse of the past. As businesses move to city outskirts … downtown London may become a ghost town. Over 50 years ago. The issue hasn’t changed, and hasn’t been resolved.
April 28, 2007
I almost always come away from an Original Kids performance impressed. Jesus Christ Superstar – Millenium Edition was powerfully moving. Scrooge was wonderful. And this presentation of The Mikado was more than competently done. Bravo. I need to be a better writer and critic, ’cause I can use ‘Wonderful’ only so many times.By now you all know the tale of Rachel McAdams, originally an Original Kid. Well, I tell you there are more of those kinds of stars coming out of these casts than you’re gonna believe in a few years. Singing talents, acting talents, comic talents, technical talent, faces, personalities…This is where London, The Creative City will shine, in supporting these ever so safe back waters. The prices for any Original Kids show are so low and the value you get worth so much more.
April 20, 2007
From the Free Press storyPublic fails to buy Sifton scheme to build office tower
Facing 150 angry residents of Oakridge Acres who oppose plans by Sifton Properties to build an office building along the Thames River, an official hired by the company began by saying she didn’t expect to change anyone’s mind.She didn’t.…Wiebe maintained her composure, keeping her presentation focused on the planning process except for her one comment that drew the loudest jeers of the night.Asked by a resident if the office building would block the views of neighbours, Wiebe said that view was already obstructed—by trees.
Yep. Pave the World. That’s it. The trees are the obstacle.