Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one” said legendary journalist A. J. Liebling. The writers of Halifax’s urban emergency plan should have read this.  They should also have noted Mark Twain’s much older quote – “[n]ever pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”  You can update […]

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Movin’ and Shakin’

Some say we’re “overdue” for a seismic event on the west coast or a pandemic everywhere.  But you can’t be overdue for a random event.  Random is unpredictable.  But then again, what’s a random event?  Is it a pandemic, as occurred in 1918, 1958, and 1968?  Is it earthquakes?  Is it volcanoes?  How about tsunamis, […]

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February 22, 2017

Hello? Is Anyone Listening?

Much of what we learn about police work is from movies and TV cop shows.  Most of what we learn about the work of reporters is from movies and TV shows.  This sows the seeds of misconception.  We end up “knowing” things we don’t really know and not knowing things we should. Some years ago […]

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February 15, 2017

You Gotta Serve Somebody

Robert Zimmerman, a Jewish man from Minnesota went to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios on May 4, 1979 to record a gospel tune.  It’s the great man’s latest hit, hitting number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.   This was around the time he converted to Christianity. While becoming Bob Dylan, two people tried […]

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February 8, 2017

Your Urban Colouring Book

A great singer in her time, Sandy Stewart appeared on the Kraft Music Hall and many other TV shows to sing her hit “My Coloring Book.”  The song features a series of plays on colours.  There are the eyes who watched her man “as he walked away/ Color them grey.” There’s “…the heart that thought/He’d […]

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February 1, 2017

Stand Up

TV Announcer:  “Stand by.  We are now going live to a news conference in Brisbane, Australia.  Journalists have assembled to question an emergency management official on that city’s state of readiness.  It is not known at this time if Brisbane is facing an urban emergency, but that will be the subject raised in the news […]

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January 25, 2017

Do or Do Not There Is No Try

The air force pilots I’ve worked with have two good expressions.  One is that they don’t see the point of jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft.  This means the pilot should be capable of bring that craft down safely and not ejecting.  The other expression involves a definition of ejecting out of an aircraft. […]

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Hot Enough for You?

It’s an ill wind that blows no good and all that.  The warming trend will allow for longer growing seasons in some locations, reduced snow removal budgets elsewhere, and the sale of parkas will go down, one assumes.  But there will also be ill effects and that’s my specialty. We forget some of the accommodations […]

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January 11, 2017

Mechanized Nuttiness and Wastes of Time

Imagine this, but information

I’m not sure when information became garbage.  It probably coincided with the invention of the Internet.  You can find out anything, including things that don’t mean anything.      What’s called the obligation to technology makes this worse.  If we can measure it and calculate it, we feel we should do so, regardless of the benefit […]

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January 4, 2017

You’re Going The Wrong Way!

  Those of us who live in the Centre of the Universe (Toronto) have our complaints about the local transit authority.  The Toronto Transit Commission runs squeaky light rail trams which they call street cars.  This term may be used to distinguish these street cars from the off-road variety, which don’t exist anywhere in the […]

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