Last night the Toronto Criterium was held near our place. I had no idea it was planned until my friend Duarte told me on Wednesday. I didn’t even know what a criterium was. It sounds like the name of a Tool album.

Scheduling didn’t allow for much viewing time — I worked later than I’d planned, we had to get some dinner and then Nellie went to see Sex And The City with her friend Cyndy — but we did catch the first few laps of the pro/elite race. I thought it was cool how they just shut down a couple of city blocks like that on a Friday night and held a race. Granted, the people trying to get to the shops (and their homes!) on Front Street didn’t seem too pleased, but for the most part everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I threw a few more pictures up in a Flickr set if you want to see them. We didn’t have Nellie’s SLR with us, just my little point-and-shoot, so I apologize for the dodgy quality. Those riders were less blurry in real life, honest.

Anyway…I still think criterium sounds like a part of the human brain that sits between the hippocampus and the cerebellum.

[tags]toronto criterium, sex and the city movie[/tags]

Michelle Malkin wants to be Ann Coulter 2.0 so bad…it's almost cute

The media hurts my head. First up: a short presentation from the TED conference demonstrating, in graphical form, why the American news media is failing its viewers:

Speaking at the TED Conference, Alisa Miller (CEO of Public Radio International) explains why Americans know less and less about the rest of the world. Along the way, she uses some eye-popping graphs to put things in perspective. Watch the video below or find it on our YouTube playlist.

Next, we have Scott McLellan criticizing the news media for…umm…believing what he told them.

He excludes himself from major involvement in some of what he calls the administration’s biggest blunders, for instance the decision to go to war and the initial campaign to sell that decision to the American people. But he doesn’t spare himself entirely, saying, “I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be.”

He includes criticism for the reporters whose questions he fielded. The news media, he says, were “complicit enablers” for focusing more on “covering the march to war instead of the necessity of war.”

Kind of reminds me of when I was kid and my older brothers would grab my wrists and beat me in the head with my own hands, asking “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” Anyway…

My final example is a bit of a stretch, since Michelle Malkin can hardly be considered “media” but really, any news organization which actually reported on Malkin’s silliness and put pressure on the advertiser deserves ridicule.

Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray after criticism from conservative U.S. bloggers over her choice of scarf.

Ray, while promoting an iced coffee, was wearing a black-and-white scarf, similar to the kaffiyeh, a scarf commonly worn in the Middle East. Critics, including conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, argued that Ray should not be wearing such a scarf because, they said, it has come to symbolize Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The kaffiyeh “has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,” Malkin said in her blog last week. Malkin welcomed the decision, saying, “it’s refreshing to see an American company show sensitivity to the concerns of Americans opposed to Islamic jihad and its apologists.”

Amahl Bishara, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Chicago who specializes in the Middle East, said complaints about the scarf reflect a misunderstanding of Arab culture. “Kaffiyehs are worn every day on the street by Palestinians and other people in the Middle East — by people going to work, going to school, taking care of their families and just trying to keep warm,” he said.

Malkin really does have a knack for picking the most absurd arguments out of thin air. Hey Michelle, I notice the Klan always carry around crosses (and occasionally burn them, but that’s neither here nor there); has the crucifix come to symbolize Christian extremism and racism? Should advertisers distance themselves from anyone who wears a cross around their neck?

[tags]news media, ted conference, alisa miller, scott mclellan, rachel ray, michelle malkin, dunkin donuts, kaffiyeh[/tags]

Planning cat is not ready…I can has spare time?

In less than a month we’ll be in the Rockies. This both worries and excites me. I have read no books. I have scoured no websites. I have studied no maps. I feel ill-prepared.

The MBA schedule won’t really afford me a lot of planning time, so I think once I’m done reading this Ibi Kaslik book (which should be any minute now) I’ll begin combing through the BC book we bought.

Our plan, should anyone have any suggestions, is:

  • four days in Yoho National Park, hiking at or near Lake O’Hara
  • two days driving to Whistler, stopping at Kamloops overnight
  • two nights in Whistler, maybe (depending on how well we’ve recovered from O’Hara) some more hiking
  • two nights in Vancouver, relaxing and eating well

[tags]rockies, british columbia, lake o’hara, whistler, vancouver[/tags]

Empty (ostrich) nest

The sexy & beautiful* girls are gone, flown back to Halifax. I miss them. It was nice having them here, and they were gracious guests: when we got home today there was a charming note and a funny list of rules on our message board and cold beer in the fridge. They’d even cleaned up the fresh cat puke.

I hope we’ll get to see them in October when we’re in Halifax. And they’d better buy some message boards; I have a few rules of my own. They involve the words “handsome” and “pipe-swinging.”

* Rebecca made me say that part. It was one of the rules. Not that they aren’t sexy and beautiful.

[tags]house guests[/tags]

Pink? Really? I'd have said "tangerine" myself

Stop hiding!

It’s been a great weekend so far. It’s been fun having Nellie’s friends around, though they’ve been off gallivanting about the city most of the time so I’ve had plenty of time to myself too. Today, for example: they’ve all gone off to Niagara for god-knows-what. Yesterday one went to visit nearby family while another went shopping with Nellie (following a shopping trip of my own…stupid Harry Rosen private sale). On Friday they went to the zoo, as you can see above. Click the flamingos to see some other great pics Nellie took.

While they were out last night enjoying some Korean barbecue I stayed home and relaxed, read and finished watching A Mighty Heart (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which reinforced my love for all things Michael Winterbottom. It wasn’t until this morning that I remembered last night was Modernmod‘s last night spinning at the Mod Club or I might’ve gone.

Today was a brootiful spring day in Toronto. While it’s still pretty windy up this high I spent some time out on the balcony, and left all the doors open so the wind could pound through. The cats especially seemed to enjoy sitting by the screen door and letting their fur ruffle in the breeze. However, the girls will soon get home and my quiet, fun weekend will come to a close. I’ll wake up early tomorrow and start a week that includes long meetings, an MBA assignment and a trip to the dentist.

Those birds have the right idea. Time to hide.

[tags]harry rosen, a mighty heart, korean barbecue, mod club, toronto[/tags]

"If we have a hormone race I'm bound to finish first."

I’m supposed to be at a friend’s house for a barbeque right now, but whatever I had for lunch has made the idea of eating anything very unappealing. Really, the only thing getting me through the shaky afternoon at work was — once again — the Frightened Rabbit album. While the whole thing’s fantastic, I tend to really fall hard for one song at a time. First it was “Floating In The Forth,” then “The Modern Leper,” then “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms.” Today it was “Keep Yourself Warm”* but I can already tell my next favourite is going to be “The Twist.”

Once I got home and called in my bbq regrets, all I had the energy for was to do a couple of computer-based errands, including downloading a bunch of music: A Silver Mt. Zion‘s 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, Sigur RosHvarf-Heim, last year’s Frightened Rabbit album Sing The Greys, and the special tenth anniversary edition of Mogwai‘s Young Team. Ye olde eMusic subscription got a workout tonight.

However, just as my energy was flagging, I’ve been dealt a blow that will surely relegate me, bummed and queasy, to the couch for the rest of the evening: the Led-Zep-in-Toronto rumours appear to be groundless. Crapmonkey.

* Not only is this song excellent, I suspect it’s the only song ever recorded to feature the words “choo-choo train” while also including five instances of the word “fucking.” Suck it, Raffi.

[tags]frightened rabbit, silver mt. zion, sigur ros, frightened rabbit, mogwai, emusic[/tags]

Teach your children…well, better than that

Worrisome goings on in classrooms. From the Toronto Star (via Quill & Quire): “[Toronto District School] Board removes book on genocide.”

Barbara Coloroso’s Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide had been selected as a resource for a new Grade 11 history course about genocide and crimes against humanity, but the book and the course came under review after they were challenged by members of the Canadian Turkish community.

And, more worrisome still, from MSNBC: “Creationism edges into U.S. high school classes.”

One in eight U.S. high school biology teachers presents creationism or intelligent design in a positive light in the classroom, a new survey shows, despite a federal court’s recent ban against it.

Apologies to CSN&Y for this post’s title.

[tags]toronto district school board, censorship, msnbc, creationism[/tags]