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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday February 27

So, apparently the only thing in the ENTIRE universe that anyone is paying attention to is the little ol' Oscars tonight. 'Cause, what else could possibly be of any importance?

At least I'll get my work done--all the entertainment blogs are going to be completely boring today. Everyone endlessly debating who "will" win, who "should" win, just so that tomorrow we'll get the lists of who "did" win, and again, who "should" have won. And what everyone wore based on what their stylists gave them to wear based on how good a stylist they could afford, and how good a designer and designer discount the stylist could scare up. And there will be the horrible little diamond blah blah--some jeweller always designs a wildly expensive...something made out of a lot of diamonds, and he picks some minor starlet to wear it, so he gets lots of publicity and she gets lots of publicity. Given that I was anti-diamonds long before any Leonardo DiCaprio movies, I just find the whole thing repugnant (not to mention that 'whole lot of diamonds" is not an interesting design concept in itself, and the design doesn't often go past that).
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An American architect is working in Haiti, with a team, to create homes from whatever materials can be scrounged up from around them. They're called "Earthship homes"--and I think they're amazing. According to the article, the only cost is from the cement and sundries:  each home costs $5,000.


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A writer by the name of Maggie Serota came up with a fun Tumblr site, Daily Urban Legend. You can read Maggie's, or you can send in your own. She has a reader who is teaching various legends to her students with the hopes of getting them to believe in ten of them before Spring Break! Maggie reports that the students believed the entirely newly-fabricated story that every 23 minutes someone gets a misspelled tatttoo, and that they argued that they thought it was actually more frequent than that!


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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday February 26

Hmmm....

after reading about the Conservatives holding a majority in Canadian opinion polls, Libya, and Ontario Hydro spraying Agent Orange all over town up until '79, I'm feeling a little cranky. So, I might start with some crankiness and work up to something, if not happier, more moving...
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I've tried to avoid all mentions of Charlie Sheen--obviously a difficult thing to do, these days. And to me, it's not an interesting story--tv star who makes his network a lot of money is allowed to careen out of control no matter what a danger he poses to those around him. It doesn't help when I do read something and discover that he actually has a very loooong history of women accusing him of abuse and death threats. Matt Zoller Seitz has a very-well written article, at Salon, that I (intentionally) missed when it was published January 31. Seitz makes a lot of interesting, incisive points, and comes up with one of the more quotable--and debatable--lines I've read in a while,
 The minute we start boycotting artists based on their depraved personal lives, there won't be much art left to enjoy.
"Why Charlie Sheen remains a TV superstar" 
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Jezebel was very self-awarely amused by 30Rock's parody of them on Thursday night--we're all agreed that JOANofSNARK would be one of the great blog names of all time! Salon has a very good article about Jezebel, 30Rock, female comedians, feminism and hypocrisy, "30Rock" takes on feminist hypocrisy--and its own.
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Slowly working up to the good stuff...

There are those who despise American Idol with a fiery, fiery passion and contempt. There are those who merely hate it a lot. Those who admit to liking it will do so with lots of qualifications so that they're not sneered at...  I'm past my days of "liking" it...I discovered it the year Fantasia auditioned. I was channel-flipping, bored, stopped on it and watched, rather mesmerized. The Guy wandered into the room, and sat down equally mesmerized by That Girl with the Voice. The children ended up joining in the next week, because they liked that Mom and Dad would argue and comment loudly over contestants and songs, and that they could voice their opinions, too. Is there an inherent silliness to a talent show that only allows singers 90 seconds of song? Yep. Is it a show that's all about the Almighty Dollar? Is water wet? But, it's a show that we watch weekly as a family precisely for those reasons listed before--we watch it together, we comment and critique, and everyone gets a word in. The kids get to hear Dad the musician/singer comment knowledgeably, and get to hear Mom the completely nonmusical one counter or agree. Slowly, they're adding to their musical vocabulary and figuring out what they like and dislike in the world of music.



So, that not-quite mea culpa out of the way, I present to you, Casey Abrams. I'm not going to give him more of an introduction than that--but if you like music, if you like the unexpected, click through. And no, he won't sound the slightest bit like Kelly Clarkson...

Bow to Casey Abrams, your most unlikely "Idol" yet

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Wow, Salon.com really was the only site that caught my attention today. How did that happen?

Here's my last of the morning...I don't actually want to put the title which gives the impression that it's an article about how Adele is the "new gay icon" when it's really about, "wow that Adele--isn't she amazing." I do think Adele is amazing--I love love love this girl.

The Rise of Adele, new gay icon




Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday February 25

Having one of those weeks where I'm a little burned out on the world...I don't care if Jennifer Aniston had a haircut. Actually, I can't believe anyone does...  I get why the world is pretending it matters that Justin Bieber got a haircut:  the kid is worth a lot of money to the entertainment industry right now, not to mention that his movie which was just released into theatres what? two weeks ago, is being re-released in another week as "The Director's Fan Cut". Oh, preteen and teenaged girls--realise now that the Entertainment World just wants your money. It doesn't respect you, babies, and it never will...

So...what's out in the world that isn't politics (I literally don't want to hear about Sarah Palin until she actually is an official candidate for something. Right now, she has as much potential impact on my world as a Real Housewife of Anywhere), civil war and strife (I know that G20 police behaved appallingly to some of the protesters--but the complaints of the protesters seem almost trivial given what is happening to protesters around the world. What kind of insane bravery does it take to protest your government when you know that people have been shot to death for doing so?).

Hmmm....

yep, still thinking.
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So, Toronto's Awesome Foundation has picked it's first winner. If you'd heard of Toronto Awesome Foundation, you might have thought it was a joke--but after giving their first winner "a paper bag filled with $1,000" they're sharing the laughs. The idea was simple:  tell the Foundation something you wanted to do for Toronto that would be awesome. The winner is an artist who wants to put white dots with numbers on Toronto roofs--y'know, "T-dots"--and then, a massive sky-game of Connect-the-Dots will be possible. Click through and read The Toronto Star story and check out The Awesome Foundation-Toronto's website for more info.
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I'm actually well-over 30Rock so I missed that on last night's episode they parodied Jezebel.com as "JOANofSNARK.com", ""It's this really cool feminist website where women talk about how far we've come and which celebrities have the worst beach bodies." hahahahahahhaha! Brilliant! And of course, thank you meta world, I read all about it on Jezebel...
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I couldn't link to this before with the new layout on Jezebel (yep, I'm a hater, too--partly because, you CAN'T link to stories anymore, you can just "like" them. If you try to link to something, the link comes up "empty"), but I too would like to know why Oprah has an affinity for experts who don't actually have any credentials--or who have lost/given up their credentials for various not-good reasons. I realise that Oprah has had a lot of guests on over the years, a lot of experts...but the ones that Jezebel cites in this article, would be the ones most people could name even if they've never ever seen a single episode of Oprah. It is a Strange Thing about Oprah, that I for one don't understand...
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It probably won't last for long but a commenter on a Jezebel story pointed out that if you use uk.[blogname].com for the various Gawker sites (Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Fleshbot, Jezebel, Gawker, io9) that you will get the old layout. Run and enjoy it while you can!
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Okay. Enough for me...I'm off to work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday February 22

So...that was Family Day. Yeah.

I was rather surprised to hear the clank of my mailbox and see the letter carrier walk on by...so, clearly, not Family Day for all. I'm pretty sure there's no mail service on August 1 which is a Civic Holiday here in Ontario--not sure why Canada Post has decided that Family Day is negotiable. Perhaps because no one has anywhere to go for a three-day weekend in February, the month before they might take off a week with the kids?

I didn't make it much of a Family Day so much as a Family Clean Up the House Day. This mostly amounted to me cleaning--and yelling at everyone who wasn't. So, by the time I was just about to drift off to sleep...I sat bolt upright in bed realising the assignment that I had put out of my brain. So, I'm going to put this entry together quickly...and go off and WORK!
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Ah, we Canucks and our Canadian Tire Money. Do we all have some? Perhaps all grownups with their own place of residence? I had a grandfather who was basically obsessed with Canadian Tire...he lived out in "the country" in an alleged town that was basically a bunch of farms gathered together. I think there was a gas station. It was called Nelles Corners...the only thing of interest was the Race Track, but when you listened to the ads on the radio, they always advertised that they were the "Cay-U-GA Speedway!!". Cayuga was the small town "down the street" where I lived with my family. We could tell out-of-towners easily enough...we all say "Cay-u-ga" cay as in bay; others said cai as in by. I have no clue what people say these days...

Anyway, I have no memory of a hardware store in Cayuga (one of those "every store was on the main street" kind of little places. It was officially a "village" at the time...I could probably name almost every store on that street), and I didn't really know what was in Hagersville (a small town, that we regarded as our closest "city"). The Canadian Tire might have been there--because it had to be somewhere close enough that every week, Grandpa would take a look through the sales flier, then head out, and load up. He had this enormous rambling property (so big that part of how he'd made his money was by selling the local Quarry access to themselves by letting them build a laneway from the highway across his land) with equally enormous rambling buildings. At one point, he'd had a chicken farm but the old "barn" was used after that for storage. When he died, someone broke the locks he had on the door to reveal the shelves full of items:  he would go to the Canadian Tire and buy ten, twenty, thirty of whatever was on sale. It was quite the auction after his death...

It also meant that he had quite the horde of Canadian Tire money. He didn't save it up and use it to purchase new items--bills were here, there and everywhere. I heard tales of there being thousands of dollars of Canadian Tire money which just added to the then-endless fights between his children over the division of his estate (word to the wise--if your children hate and despise each other, you might need to be a little more specific with the will than "divide it evenly between all the children". For example, if one of your children lives in a house that you technically owned, but you had always told them that they would get "in the will", that probably should have gone in the will. Not, "divide it evenly between all the children" so that some of those children insisted that it had to be sold and divided between them. So that it had to be evaluated for it's market value, and then the child who had been living in it for fifteen years, who had fixed it up from a small, empty, insulation-less summer-only cottage to a bright, beautiful year-round home wouldn't have had quite so much money to spend from the inheritance in order to buy that home).

Anyway...I very much thought of Grandpa Smith as I read this story from The Globe and Mail this morning, Why we love and hate Canadian Tire money.
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An interesting little read from a Mom about a popular blog topic these days:  the boy interested in those things traditionally perceived as being "girly". She makes some good points, quotes an interesting study, and generally reinforces my belief that Dr. Phil is an idiot to be ignored at all costs.
My son, the pink boy
As always, do yourself the favour--don't read the comments. Unless you've had a lot of Ativan or some sort of mild sedative that's starting to kick in...
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Spiderman Smackdown--a project being organised to put together a fully realised Spider-Man musical and have it open the day before the current big big BIG Broadway version, Spider-Man:  Turn Off the Dark. Well, before it officially opens, given that it's been running for ages now. Popular theory is that the organisers are not the slightest bit stupid and realise that's not the spelling of Spider-Man, and are looking to avoid any cease-and-desists from Marvel, which, let's all remember, is owned by Disney, one of the more litigious companies around. Read all about it at Topless Robot.
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And, while I was on Topless Robot, I read this fun little entry, 8 Movies That Inexplicably Got Cartoon Spin-offs. Much to my amazement, I actually hadn't heard of a couple of these...Robocop?  Seriously?!
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Work well today...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday February 21

It's Family Day here in Ontario, an actual, real official holiday.

Yeah.

So, The Guy has to work tonight so he has to work today so he can take that time tonight...The Teenager has avoided all attempts to get him online to register for next year's classes at high school; today is the last day. So, right now, as a teenager, he is sleeping in.When he wakes up, I'll be chasing him around trying to get him to do that. The two youngest are arguing about...god knows what, I'm hiding up in my workroom avoiding it all.

Today is a work day for me...I've tried to avoid starting by cruising the 'net but the problem with Family Day and Presidents Day in the US--not a lot going on ('cept that whole "news" thing).

Hmmm...

So, I"m just going to put up my favourite I Can Haz Cheezeburger cat pic, and call it a day...(click it for the link, and a slightly larger version)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday February 20, sunny and cold

Waiting for more snow. Ugh. Although it wasn't as sunny, and when the snow first melts the world always ends up so grey for a while (all those pools of water from the huge hills of melting snow!), I really appreciated that little blast of spring.
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So the McMichael Gallery of Ontario has a new show...about Marilyn Monroe? Yep, my brain stopped when I read that, too. Apparently,
Part of the McMichael mandate says the curator “is to reference ideas about influences on our cultural identity, on pop-cultural influences, particularly the image sources of American culture coming through film and other sources. ‘Monroe in Canada’ references the legacy she has left within Canada, with visual artists referencing her image and some poets offering their remembrances of her.”
It's not one but two separate shows:  Monroe in Canada, and Life as a Legend, the latter a photography show that has been touring the world.

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The Toronto Star has another article of interest to me:  Vit Wagner talks to Christopher Butcher about his upcoming talk for Freedom to Read Week. Chris will be talking specifically about the censorship that happens to Japanese manga when it's being translated and published for a North American audience. Other Freedom to Read events are listed at the website.
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A quick read from EW.com on "girls in pop culture with grit". Give it a read, and see if you can think of any others...
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Off to begin my workday...ah, the joys of freelancing when your only day off is a day when you don't have a job.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Morningish, okay, it's after Noon

Was not in the mood for pop culture yesterday! Who knew such a thing could be said? Spent the day trying to get work done, and getting the son psyched for his performance at his high school for the Divisional level of the Sears Drama Festival. Then went to see son at said performance. Then spent a couple of hours talking the son "down" after he'd listened to the adjudicator's assessment of the performances (loooooooooooooong story short:  every one has their own opinion, rarely are assessments of public performances universal...but if you stand up on a stage and give a 20 minute public assessment filled with positivity and praise it strikes me as downright cruel, and a trifle bizarre, if you're then going to take those happy, relaxed students off for a private adjudication and then tell them that you hated every single thing you just told the audience you loved.)

So...a bit tired today. But lots for me to do. I've been reading the intertubes this morning searching for something more interesting than the Cheddar Bear Crackers recipe I found.  Here's an item or two which caught my eye:

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I genuinely thought that the animated movie Hoodwinked was one of the worst movies I've never seen. I say "never" as I used to have my workspace in my kitchen and thus, was privy to everything my children would watch in the nearby living room. I heard the entire movie--and it made me want to HULK SMASH. Wandering into the room occasionally to see if the visuals had any relation to the dialogue did not help matters. I personally found the animation clunky, awkward and visually unappealing. Everyone in the family but the youngest child agreed...and the youngest was five years old at the time. I don't believe the movie has played in the house since she turned 6. Colour me beyond astonished that this one got a sequel--oh, just did a quick Wiki. Yep, the first one was released in 2005; this one was to be released January of last year but the rights got held up. And according to Wiki, I am far from alone in my (intense fiery) dislike of it:

"Critical reception has been mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, as of February 2011, the film has garnered a positivity rating of 48%, out of 122 reviews.[1] On Metacritic, it received a score of 45/100 ("mixed or average reviews").[2] On its 4-day opening weekend, the box office totaled up to $16,879,402. It has grossed $110,013,167 worldwide, including $51,386,611 in the United States.[3] Its major acclaim seemed to be the animation which was considered "loose" and "very real world modern like". It was praised also for its original premise and story."
So...all this and yet there's a sequel. Check out the trailer for Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil if you're curious, or genuinely fond of the first.

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Oh, Salon--thank you for saving me from the boringness that is now Huffington Post. Once upon a time, HuffPo could be relied on for a variety of stories ranging from the serious of World Events to the silliness of Hollywood. Now, it seems like it's about putting a couple of serious stories Front Page just to make it look responsible--then off they go to the glitz and stupidity of the infotainment world. (One of today's headers:  WATCH:  Man-eating Elephant. Seriously--it said "watch". Umm...no. Really. No. And, no, I'm not linking to it. Go find it yourself).

I don't always agree with the individual Salon writers but there is always something to read, even as it runs the same gamut as HuffPo from the serious to the silly. I'm not linking to the serious here...but know that it's there if you want to go find it!

So, today's silly is a slideshow, "What if the villains were the good guys?". The list is soooo much more than I thought it would be (ie, it includes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf). Check it out, maybe discover something new.

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I have this bookmarked as I want to use this as a jumping-off point for a rant, but until then, I thought I'd post it here. The Myth of Joyful Parenthood:  The Ultimate Cognitive Dissonance? (and look--it's from HuffPo! Silly me). Now, I think the ultimate cognitive dissonance was last night's adjudication of the Sears Drama Festival entries...or it could be the belief that the world is clamoring for a Hoodwinked Two, but this does rate up there! An interesting read, some interesting thoughts...
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Off to drive kids around...maybe find a good coffee to help me move my day along.

Enjoy yours...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday February 17

Cruising through the morning internet...nothing catching my fancy. I'm reserving judgment on David Kelley's Wonder Woman until it actually gets made, so there's that...but it is amazing in the world of the internet with all the entertainment websites, what qualifies as "news" now. Why is every moment of casting now news? 


Then, today The Toronto Star actually did a story about the fact that actress Jessica Alba announced her pregnancy on Facebook.  Why does that require a story? Actress publicises self on her page on public site. Wow...there's a radical concept. The story wasn't "she's pregnant", but   "announced on Facebook." No. No, that's not news...  Nor is it news, "Jessica Alba shows off bump on red carpet" and the pictures show her in a beautiful full heavily pleated dress well-designed to skim over almost anything. "Showing off her bump" would have required her to...actually do something to show it off. Like the ubiquitous red carpet shot for pregnant actresses where they turn sideways grabbing the bottom of said bump. Wearing a dress that hides it so well that people were starting to whisper about her weight gain is not "showing off".

 I'm getting tired of an entertainment internet so obsessed with it's own self-imposed mandate to tell us EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME RIGHT NOW that it's full of "showing off her bump" to mean that an actress turned up in public. Or the one that always amazes me, when a couple who the tabloid press is rumouring is on the rocks, "appears in public to shoot down the rumours". I understand that in a world with these very odd people, Heidi and whathisname, that there are people completely and utterly obsessed with their press, and trying to get into the papers/magazines/websites every single day...but I also think that when you catch a telephoto lens pic of a couple at the grocery store parking lot together that it might be that they went out shopping for groceries and not for a moment did they consider how this would "present" to the rest of the world. This idea the "entertainment press" tries to promote that because they exist, no star goes out into the world without first considering how they are presenting themselves to that press is eye-rollingly idiotic.

It just seems like a lame-ass way to continue to assert that it's okay to send out the photographers with the telephoto lenses, "well, the stars expect it--they want it even." I know the world has Paris Hiltons, Lindsay Lohans and too many Kardashians in it, calling up the press to let them know where they can be seen every minute of the day...but I'm pretty sure that the last three years of Brad and Angelina going out to restaurants for dinner has been them going out to dinner, not "putting a brave face on the infidelity rumours" or "showing a united front for the press".
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EW.com has what they have decided are the "15 Worst TV Spin-Offs Ever". Starting the list with Joey shows that they're pretty serious about this...
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Jezebel thinks that a "Baby Gorilla Taking His First Steps Is The Most Wonderful Thing You Will See Today".  
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How well do you think a person would fare without a big chunk of their brain? Much to the amazement of doctors and scientists, a three year old boy has been living without a cerebellum, the part of the brain that deals with muscle control, language and other functions. Ultrasounds showed that he had it before birth, but there is no evidence of it now.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday post-coffee break reading

The debate goes on as to whether Bill C-32 is good, evil or wildly evil...and there's lots to read to make up your own mind.

For fun, you could read the actual Bill C-32

From IP Osgoode, a blog of their Intellectual Property Law and Technology program, an article enttitled,
"Bill C-32:  Copyright and Education in the Digital Age"

And Michael Geist has an opinion piece on his eponymous blog, entitled, Pulling a Fast One?:  Who is Really Hurt by C-32's Missing Fair Dealing Circumvention Exception

I'm sure the conversation will continue for a while...

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Wednesday February 16

Not much is grabbing my interest as I wander about the 'net...I don't want to discuss politics, revolutions and war here. Serious stuff goes elsewhere...

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Thanks to Salgood Sam for the heads up--he posted links to a site filled with Japanese graphic art. The link he expressly posted was Japanese Graphic Design from the 1920s-30s. Having no real awareness of the history of Japanese art/graphic design, all of it was a surprise to me...take a look. There are some beautiful images in there.
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And thanks to Mike Marano for posting the link to this opinion piece from The New York Times:  Would the Bard Have Survived the Web? It's a great little mini-history of what the writers call "...the greatest explosion of playwriting talent the modern world has ever seen..." The piece is about the start of payment for playwrights' work in England, the effect it had on writing...and links to the problems today of copyright and the web.


After you read that, watch this video by some Canadian authors talking about the government's proposed Bill C-32 which would severely compromise some aspects of copyright. Then, head off to the website, www.copyrightgetitright.ca to read more about the proposed changes, including the following:



  1. C-32 punches a hole through Copyright law that could have devastating impact on Canada’s Cultural Industry: new exceptions allow uncompensated use of copyright-protected works by educational institutions, social networking sites and others; markets for the work of creators and publishers stand to be decimated and hundreds of millions of dollars in income wiped out.
  2. The educations exceptions are anything but “fair:” this is not about school children making a few copies of their favourite poems: the education exception will permit mass, industrial-scale copying (equivalent to millions of books every year) without compensation to the creators and publishers who invested their creativity, skill, money and effort to produce this content. Educators around the world, including in the U.S., need to buy licences to engage in this activity

There is information at the site for protesting the changes, and to sign up for more information, etc.  Many might think that this can't be a problem--I remember at university having to buy those big packages of Xeroxes from the bookstore and being astonished at the cost, because that cost would include paying rights to the authors. So I understand the thinking that some have...but the truth is that if authors can't make money from their work, they won't be able to work. Period. We'll have a lot of very erudite Chapter's employees and not so much on the Canadian history shelf, or the Canadian literature shelf. 

And these days, graphic novels are starting to make their way into the classrooms--imagine some of your favourite creators losing out on the entire educational market.

Watch the video and head to the site for some reading.


Update:  Then...you can head over to Boing Boing and read Cory Doctorow's refutation. Then, read the commenters--there seems to be a fairly even division between those who agree with him, and those who don't.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday February 15

Today, the day after Valentine's Day...let the bitterness begin for those who felt that their Beloved didn't buy enough to prove their love.

And for the non-bitter in the crowd...
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According to The Daily Beast, the recipe for Coca-Cola was printed in a newspaper in 1979. They've put it together the list so you can run out to the store for ingredients (just as soon as you figure out what "neroli" is).
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I found the first season of Glee wildly inconsistent--even in episodes I liked there would be moments that would cause me to utterly cringe (almost anything to do with Terri faking her pregnancy). But, there's no getting around the fact that Season 2 has been even bumpier and more inconsistent. Accusations of being too earnest, trying too hard, trying to create role models, stunt casting...some really bad songs. Matt Zoller Seitz of Salon ponders a fix...
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And (oh thank you Salon for having lots to read this morning), Mary Elizabeth Williams talks about The Rise of the Celebrity Stoner, in light of Seth Rogen's less than funny Grammy quip about smoking up with Miley Cyrus.
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And--seriously? SERIOUSLY? There are companies that offer "wedding leave?"
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday February 14 2011

Valentine's Day. Whoop. Have never been able to get excited about Valentine's Day in much fashion. Giving birth to a daughter on February 14, 2001 helped...now it's the birthday of Katherine Rose (For various reasons, my midwife had to call an OB/GYN in after the birth, and she announced that she was busy trying to talk all the parents into Valentine's Day names.  She was pretty sure the boy she had just delivered was going to have Valentino for a middle name. We declined...but by the next day, Ty was pretty wedded to the idea of Rose because, said he, "she's my little Valentine's Day Rose".)

So Happy Birthday, my girl.
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I'm willing to acknowledge Valentine's Day just enough to link to a HuffPo slideshow of funny Valentine's Day cards.
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Watched The Grammy's last night. Was really looking forward to the various performances.

That's three hours and twenty minutes of my life I will never get back.
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(Thanks to Salon) Here's an article which asks and answers the question, "Do funky fonts actually help you remember?"
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I'm still feeling kinda irritated about The Grammy's, so it would be a good time to read about Bristol Palin's income...how could it possibly make me more irritated? This is the world we live in, people.
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An article about Americans, The Bible, and what they've actually read, and what they actually understand...a review of The Rise and Fall of The Bible:  The History of an Accidental Book
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And the latest casting news for Batman 3?  Marion Cotillard.  No word as to who she's playing...kinda interesting casting as more than a few bloggers/opinionators were expressing hope that she would play Catwoman, before Anne Hathaway was cast.
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Okay. Off to find a decent cup of coffee...  And to find some decent music to listen to, muttering crankily the whole time, "This is what good music is! This is how to perform a song! These are actual song lyrics!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Morning, waiting for the snow...

Life would be better if I could find a copy of Season 3 Supernatural in the stores. Someone sent me a link so I could order it online, but I have a whole "wanna grab it and walk out of the store and watch it right away" jones going right now. Obviously, by not being able to find it, that jones is getting pretty bad...but still I search. All the stores have Seasons 1 and 4--what's that about? Also, I refuse to buy from one of the stores where they're keeping the MSR as the price! I saw a listing for an online store which advertised it at GREAT SAVINGS!! Yes...if you're using the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail price (or as you allege it to be) of $70+ (and seriously--what manufacturer would suggest that these days?!!), and that you're offering if on special for only $55+, you're out of your tiny little retail mind.

It's hard to wait...but I'll get my copies someday. And then I'll watch the hell out of them.
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I try not to check out any of Salgood Sam's   DreamLife before I start colouring work, or I'm too demoralised. That's my own little angsty artist moment--but damn, the guy is good! And as good as he is with colour, look at the drawing! Love Max's stuff (Max Douglas for those not in the know). Check out DreamLife, then head over to check out Revolver (can't get that last r backwards, sorry!). Less colour, just as much talent...

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Not an online comic, but if you're on Facebook, click through to take a look at the art from Monolith, as drawn by Phil Winslade. The book was written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and only ran for twelve issues. There's a Facebook Fan Page for the book, oh-so-politely titled Monolith needs a trade (please)! trying to drum up interest and show DC Comics that...well, just what it says actually.  If you've never seen Phil Winslade's work before, and you're a comics fan, click through and take a look. It's staggering...grown men, especially grown comic book artist men have been known to grow weak and cry when they took a look at it.
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Keeping on the webcomics theme for one more entry, Salgood Sam gathers up a collection of links to online comics every weekend, and publishes them over at Sequential (another one of his websites--Salgood is a busy, busy man!). 12.Feb.2011. Hey Kids, Comix! 
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EW.com has a slideshow of 24 Rom-Com Cliches We'd Retire. Yes, yes and yes. It will of course just lead to a chorus of people asking, "Why can't Hollywood make romantic comedies that are romantic...and comedic?"
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...and EW.com has an interview with Charlaine Harris about her...videogame? Yep, there's a videogame based on a vamp she created for her Sookieverse.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday

Today is The Teenager's birthday! Yay, the big 1-5...  The Guy always makes fun of me for "feeling" the kids various birthdays but when I reminded him, in passing, that the boy turns fifteen, there actually was a moment when I turned to see why The Guy had gone silent and realised that he was actually winded! (And, The Daughter's birthday is Monday...and as she keeps cheerfully reminding us she's "going to be double-digits now!")
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I've never claimed that my kids are more creative because of their AD/HD...I just figured it was the environment they grew up in. A house filled with craft supplies, paper, pencils, paints, etc. with a mom who does crafts, a father who writes and draws--wouldn't it be strange for us to have non-creative children? But a new study suggests that AD/HD kids are more creative than the average bear...sez an article over at The Daily Beast, "ADHD's Upside is Creativity, says New Study".
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And here's one for my overdrawn "Duh!" reaction face:  "Peanut allergies more rife in well-off boys".  Realistically, did I think they would be more prevalent in well-off children than not?  No--but I have always thought that the numbers are skewed. I have enough experience of parents making announcements that because their child is allergic to A, it obviously means they're allergic to B.  The big one is that if they're allergic to nuts, they're allergic to peanuts and vice versa. Trying to explain to parents that nuts and peanuts are not related is a useless process. "But that's what the doctors say..."  Perhaps there are doctors that "say" that...that doesn't make it true. I'm allergic to almonds--which means I can't have fruit with pits, as almonds are in fact the pit of a tree. No one has ever suggested to me that I not have peanuts (so I was able to have too many of the peanut butter cookies my son happily made the other day:  peanut butter and sugar. Can't remember if there was an egg. They were ridiculously amazing). Peanuts, for the record, are a legume...and as I've cheerfully (spitefully?) pointed out to more than a few parents, if your child is allergic to peanuts, which are a legume, there's a good shot they're allergic to soy beans...which are not only a legume but just as prevalent in modern food as peanuts and peanut products. Soy products are not banned at schools, but under Sabrina's Law, kids can not have peanuts or nuts at Ontario schools. Figure that one out...

There are also parents that so live in fear of the terror induced by this subject:  the warnings to make sure that their child has no peanut product before the age of one, the idea that it might induce anaphylactic allergy reaction. There are some (I think in the States, not Canada) who now give their children their first tasting of peanut butter only in a doctor's office under supervision. I kid you not. (Actually, now that I think of it--it would have to be in the States, as we couldn't add that level of cost to our overburdened universal health care costs.) And there are parents who announce that as they are allergic to A) then so must their children without understanding that the children might inherit the tendency to allergies; that doesn't mean they inherit the specific allergy. (If one parent is allergic, I think the child has a 75% chance of having allergies, if both parents have allergies it goes up to 85%. Which is to say:  not a guaranteed thing by any stretch).

This is one of the subjects that obviously irritates me a lot...I have three kids currently in Ontario schools. The law was not in place when my eldest went through--he probably would have starved to death as one of the very few things he was willing to eat was peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Now, my kids are terrified to have peanut butter on any day they're going to school or even the night before, on the off-chance that it gets anywhere on them and they will go to school and kill a classmate. The argument is always that a child does not have to have peanut butter at school; they can have it at home. But it has genuinely added to/created an atmosphere of some hysteria with children causing them heightened anxieties, added to the hysteria of parents, and frankly, deprives poorer families of a good source of cheap, healthy protein for their kids. (I know parents who, if their child has peanut butter, literally make them change their clothes after before they can be with other children.)

Now, obviously, I'm not a big fan of killing children...and clearly, my kids don't have anaphylactic allergies. But I've read more than one article by specialists who say that peanut allergies just aren't as prevalent as people think, as accurately diagnosed--or the prime killer of children. One pediatric allergy specialist pointed out that more kids die of bee stings every year than peanut allergies, but no one is making laws to take flower gardens away from public schools. His suggestion, like those of many experts, is that banning peanut products just gives a false sense of security:  my kids' schools send home constant notices to remind us, but the onus is completely on us. In the younger grades, teachers and lunch supervisors go 'round and check the kids' lunches, but are obviously only able to check the ingredients on items that are labelled. They have no idea what products are used in home cooking/baking and whether there was any level of cross-contamination.

And because the law is in place in Ontario, schools individually can exercise their own levels of caution or hysteria. One of my kids' schools constantly sends home notices reminding us that "there are children in the school with allergies to fish, peanuts and nuts so please do not send peanut  or nut products to school." Notice anything strange about that sentence? Fish is not banned at my kids' school. Not in any way, shape or form...but that sentence sure leaves the implication in people's minds. One of my kids' refused to eat tuna at school any more as he was convinced it was essentially a murder weapon.  And there's a boy at the school who is allergic to eggs, so the school has now decided that eggs are not allowed; but they don't send any notices home, they just wait until kids bring products with eggs in them to school and the item is confiscated, put in a plastic bag and returned home with a note saying that it has a banned item in it. To me, an interesting move that always leaves me wondering if it's not actually legal, just trying to leave us with the overwhelming impression that we have no choice.

I don't want to endanger children's lives and obviously children are messy creatures who get food all over them at certain ages (or genders) and thus, could endanger others. Handwashing is not enough at these ages...but it's not possible to absolutely, utterly guarantee the complete and utter food safety of children with anaphylactic allergies. And when you look at the numbers of kids with anaphylactic allergies and compare them to the kids who have to go without that food item, it seems a bit odd...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday. Is Wednesday.

Middle of the week...already! I have no idea how that happened...  I've got work to be done that has to be done more-or-less RIGHT NOW so I'll make this quick:
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from The Nerdy Bird's blog, an optical illusion for DC and Marvel fans (I'm not adding the illo here 'cause you HAVE TO CLICK THROUGH.)
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CollegeHumor saves the day for every awkward teenaged boy, Learning Guitar Well Enough... to get you laid.
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From The Toronto Star, "Woman buys the sun, plans to charge tax on the rays". Really. Seriously.
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The day after the Super Bowl, I was trying to describe the now-infamous Groupon ad to The Guy. He thought I was kidding. He eventually hunted it down--and came to tell me open-mouthed with shock. He was far from alone, so Groupon has issued a statement. Excerpts are on Jezebel along with other "Backlash and Backpedaling...,"
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I actually managed to muddle my way through io9.com's horrible, horrible HORRIBLE new layout (all the Gawker sites have changed to it and did I mention that it's HORRIBLE) and found this...What if Superman was a Disney cartoon? Seems like it's tempting fate even to ask the question, but click through to see Superman Classic, by animator Robb Pratt.
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And io9.com has an interview with Dean Haspiel, one of the founders of ACT-I-VATE, comic book artist for American Splendor, and the man who does the opening credits and supplies the artwork for HBO's Bored to Death. 
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That's it for now...driving back from dropping my kid off at high school, I actually had this weird sense memory of a really, really good coffee. I have no idea where to get a really, really good coffee in Mississauga, so I had to settle for a run through Starbucks. So I'm going to drink my latte and finish my work, so I can start my work, so I can get to my other work...

Monday, February 7, 2011

And here it is...

The New Yorker article about Paul Haggis' expose of Scientology...
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Monday Morning Links

Yeah, Super Bowl, yeah Football, yeah obligatory jokes about how I would never watch it...oh, wait I didn't!. So, here from Gizmodo.com is a collection of the various trailers that premiered during the game...TRAILERS., and if you need someone else's opinion on them, Movie/Line rates them HERE.
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The King James Bible was first put together four hundred years ago. Read an article from Toronto's Globe and Mail about "How the mighty has fallen..."
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Missed this on Salon when it first appeared; nothing major, just a nice little essay from Meg Whitlock about helping her transgendered child pick out a new name.
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And because we all love pictures, Salon has a slideshow of Places that prove Darwin was right

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Sunday SUNDAY!

While the rumours go 'round and 'round and 'round about the Arrested Development movie (which I actually can't believe anyone in the cast cares about other than to constantly stay in people's minds enough to get other casting calls...is there anyone from the cast who hasn't had a couple of jobs in the last year?), Paste found these Arrested Development paper dolls. Yep. Paper Dolls. Click through for the story, the amusement and...a link to the dolls.

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EW.com has the Barbie Dynasty dolls. Seriously.

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The Joe Shuster Awards has an article about the effect of Comics Education on children's literacy...  Click through to read about a special program from Kurt Lehner and Shane Kershenblatt.

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For those of you who haven't yet recovered from the cancellation of Pushing Daisies and wonder why Lee Pace really doesn't seem to get much work (like a whole 40 seconds in When in Rome), he's co-starring in a movie directed by Max Winkler (son of Henry). Movie/Line can't resist a "jumping the shark" joke, but has the trailer for Ceremony, starring Uma Thurman, Lee Pace...and Michael Angarano. Because, let's face it, movies these days have to star Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg and if they don't, then Michael Angarano gets the job. (I actually like him, and realise just how long he's been around and working...from the looks of the trailer this looks like a role that requires him to act and not just exercise his Michael muscles).
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And for no reason whatsoever, my favourite photo of the week (via Jezebel via AP)...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something to read...

One of the great joys of the internet for me, and for many, is that when you get just a snippet of an interesting story you can chase after it...  Despite the disdain, I always start with Wikipedia if I can--if there's an entry, someone has probably gone to some trouble to put a lot of information there and there's usually some links to articles I might not find easily. After that, I start searching to see what else I can find.

I was reading one of Huffington Post's little click-through "articles"; Leonard Maltin recommending five indie movies that you "really should see". "Animal Kingdom" was on the list which I wanted to read about--the lead actress has been nominated for an Oscar for this little movie from Australia which I hadn't heard a thing about. A couple other interesting ones...but then he mentioned "Skin". A little independent movie about a girl, born to white parents in South Africa during Apartheid, with "white" features but brown skin who becomes darker and more obviously black as she gets older. Easy to see how that could be a story--a couple who love their child, but are racists who slowly realise that some genetics from a past black ancestor have turned up in their immediate family. One of the younger brothers is obviously black as well.  So, imagine my surprise when I read "based on the true story of Sandra Laing." Who could read that and not go running to do some more reading?

And--it is, in fact, a true story. Born in 1955 in South Africa, under apartheid, to white parents, Sandra Laing was eventually thrown out of school and classified as black because of her dark skin. Her parents underwent blood tests to prove that the father was the father, but eventually the stress of all the hate, the invective, the difficulties at school, the general nastiness of the culture around her cause Sandra to look elsewhere for acceptance. Read this Sunday Times article about her published when the movie was first being made. It's an incredible story.



I think this is one of those stories that will stay with me for a long, long time...thinking about Sandra, wondering about her parents and what they thought and felt about their daughter. Wondering about her brothers who reject her to this day--including the brother who is almost as dark as she.

update:  (Although I am generally leery of Daily Mail articles, this is a well-written one about Sandra Laing. It also has a lot more details than all the other reading I've been doing...the other articles suggested that her children were from two fathers; here, it seems that four men were involved, and that her first husband was already married making her the "little wife" to the senior wife. It's silly--her story is tragic enough without all that extra information, but without having read her bio, it adds to the sense of how lost this girl was, looking for love, acceptance and safety in a world which only saw her skin colour).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Morning Links

So, online sites, including The Daily Beast, are getting their hands on David E. Kelly's draft for the pilot of his Wonder Woman tv script  (of course!), and writing up the best bits for us. Superhero fans can be heard snickering all over the world. Oh boy. Oh boy. The "progressive" feminism of Ally McBeal is firmly in place...I'm picturing the opening credits looking like an old Charlie's perfume commercial from the late 70s.


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And superheroes are in the news in a strange, strange way:  I completely missed the first part of the story but apparently, Superman producer Ilya Salkind has been found. A website had been set up to ask for help after he disappeared while in Mexico.
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Jezebel.com has a link and an article about "Born Gay, Born This Way" a site which features childhood photos of gay people which they think shows something about who they were, who they would become.
 Says Jezebel writer Dodai Stewart,

"All of the kiddie photos are adorable, and each story is unique. It could be argued that these tales are preaching to the choir — it's not like right-wing homophobes or "chosen lifestyle"-believing wingnuts are going to check the site daily. But as long as young people are terrified to come out, as long as gay people are harassed, assaulted or bullied, as long as same-sex marriage is illegal or not recognized, we need to be flooded with images and stories that remind us of the human faces behind the issues."

Read more: http://jezebel.com/5751213/what-we-can-learn-from-born-this-way#ixzz1Czl4VITD"
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An article from The Toronto Star, "NASA Telescope finds more than 1,ooo possible new planets"...so that's ridiculously cool.

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(thanks to Mike Marano for the heads up!) apparently, all the speculation about Lois Lane casting is for naught--Superherohype has an article about the three actresses in contention for the lead in the new Superman movie and they're all blondes...  no word on who the character is so let speculation begin anew.

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HobbyStar's one day Toronto ComiCon is on Sunday. Georges Jeanty, Mike Del Mundo, Marcio Takara and Dave Ross are scheduled guests. Sunday February 6 2011, 11-6pm at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Morning Links

So, The Toronto Star headline asks, "Do 8-year-old girls need anti-aging makeup?". Really--without even reading the article, there is just no way that the answer to that question could possibly be yes. Unless it's a review of a science fiction/fantasy book. Click through to read about Wal-Mart's new makeup line for the 8-12 year old demographic.


Thanks go to Leonard Kirk for again providing me with some of my biggest laughs yesterday--first the Volkswagon Star Wars commercial, then at the end of the day, he posted a link to a cartoon. "Carl Sagan and his Fully Armed Spaceship of the Imagination" from Ninjerktsu. (I've commented on several posts Leonard has written about his views on homeopathy, mine not being dissimilar. If you're offended by those views--as expressed in the cartoon--read it a couple more times.)



EW.com suggests that The Simpsons have the makings of a McBain movie from all of their clips over the years. Click through to see if you're persuaded...

...and perhaps the whole 80s revival thing is now over and it's time to move on to the 90s:  according to Gawker, MTV just announced that Beavis and Butthead will return this summer
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