Saturday, December 31, 2011

Neighbourhood lights

As our snow lay on the ground indecisively while the heavens alternately rained and snowed (and sometimes sleeted, or freezing-rained), this snowman kept hanging around (suspended from a tree) in front of a North Toronto house.

Happy new year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lights! Camera! No lights!

But pictures of lights!

Alas... The Trail of Lights at Downsview Park is not happening this year, due to construction at the site. So here are some pictures shot from the car last year (when, as you can see, it had been a bit rainy).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking out my back door

Actually, looking out my back window. (Taking a break from ranting about dumbing down the language.)

Living in even a quiet, North Toronto residential neighbourhood, their are interesting and sometimes surprising scenes outside my back window. (This is where my office is - hence, the lights from my little office Christmas tree on the left side of the picture).

This is not the first time I've seen men in trees

but it's the first time when it hasn't been summer.

What I didn't capture well enough to post was the tree-trimmer sweeping up afterward.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I feel stupidified

I spoke too soon in my ridicule of the Toronto Star use of the term "storified."

Actually, that should be Storified. "Storify" seems to be a new-ish neologism for a proprietary tool that allows a journalist to pull in elements of "social media" to build a story. Hence, "storify." I mean, "Storify."

It's not that new - I just found an article about Storify, from almost exactly a year ago, on the website of the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I suppose Storify as a verb is no more stupidifying than Google as a verb, or referring to the brief messages that are sent using this global system of interconnected computer networks as "tweets." Tim Berners-Lee, one of the architects of the Internet, famously said, "The World-Wide Web was developed to be a pool of human knowledge, and human culture, which would allow collaborators in remote sites to share their ideas and all aspects of a common project."

I wonder whether Berners-Lee and his colleagues dreamed it would ever become principally a tool of commerce; secondarily a way of perpetuating falsehoods, hate and insipidity; and third, a repository of most of the world's exclamation marks (OMG!). The "pool of human knowledge" thingie has fallen somewhere much farther down the list.

So, mea culpa, Toronto Star - this time. I guess you did legitimately Storify that... story.

However, I plan to continue to resist adopting and perpetuating these wacko neologisms and meaningless buzzwords and catch phrases.

Storify - I'll retire to Bedlam...

Monday, December 19, 2011

English language: 0 - Toronto Star: 1

The Toronto Star today ran a story - online, anyway - about how the children's singer/champion Raffi Cavoukian has started a Twitter campaign to "mute Don Cherry." Raffi encouraged his followers to mute their TVs during last Saturday's Leafs-Canucks game when the "Coach's Corner" segment aired during the first intermission of "Hockey Night in Canada." Cherry is a former NHL coach and flamboyant, loud-mouthed broadcaster, who likes the physicality of the game - including fighting and head shots.

Raffi, a children's advocate who was recognized by the Canadian Paediatric Society in 2010 when the organization made him an honourary member, told the Toronto Star: “For years I’ve been watching him [Cherry] get louder and louder. He sounds and acts like a bully. That’s not fun and it’s not a good example for the kids who are watching. In this day and age of all the hockey violence, we should be putting a stop to this.... I have nothing against the man personally. I’m just saying his act is uncivil and doesn’t belong on our public broadcaster.”

("Hockey Night in Canada" airs every Saturday on CBC TV.)

Good on Raffi! Boo, Don Cherry!

And boo on the Toronto Star. The first story I referenced at the top of this post was nothing more than a series of tweets between Raffi and his followers, and a Toronto Star poll. Okay, I guess. As a sidebar anyway.

But the "byline" read "storified by the Toronto Star."

WHAT? It reminds me of one of my favourite comic strips - "Get Fuzzy," which features Bucky Katt, a perpetually apoplectic Siamese who regularly murders logic as well the English language. One of my favourite Buckyisms is "You can wordify anything if you just verb it." And that's what the Toronto Star has done.

The other guy

Thanks for your expressions of concern, but I haven't lost my job.

You're thinking of that other Terry Murray, who was fired last week ... or "relieved of his duties" as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, as news reports described it.