First, I’d like to extend congratulations to Qatar for being awarded the honour of hosting the World Cup.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
First, I’d like to extend congratulations to Qatar for being awarded the honour of hosting the World Cup.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Stackhouse was there to talk about the much ballyhooed Globe and Mail redesign and the future of print media in Canada.
It was an interesting evening. The crowd was mostly made up of bright-eyed J-school students and curmudgeonly journalists (I gathered this from the Q&A session and the number of wool scarves in the room). Stackhouse and Basen talked for about 45 minutes, and the remaining 40 minutes or so was filled with questions from the peanut gallery.
Full disclosure – I love the Globe and all things beautiful, so I’m a fan of the redesign. Have you seen the Weekend Style section? It’s smooth and silky and colourful and expensive looking. Made from the world’s finest pulp! Plus, the G&M employs Stephen Brunt and Jeff Blair, what’s not to love?
So yes, I was there to fan girl a little bit. Stackhouse, though he came off as a slightly robotic and completely humourless, remains a captivating Canadian figure. He’s so young to be in his position, and while I’ve heard he can be standoffish to employees and generally difficult to work for, you have to respect his big, pulsating brain and career trajectory.
Basen and Stackhouse touched on a lot of the things I’d been wondering about – The Globe and Mail’s business model, the difference between American and Canadian newspaper markets, the revamped website, moderating online comments, and the globe’s target audience to name a few. If you elaboration any of these, just ask. I have copious notes! Nerd nerd NERD.
- Stackhouse has had lots of time to shape and massage the language about the redesign and I noticed that the messaging always came back to quality. The Globe is quality. Its ultimate strategy is to pursue quality in print, journalism, advertising and readership.
- Quality in readership . Ohhhh the Globe. With the air of a man who breathes elitism, Stackhouse said that the Globe is interested in reaching affluent, educated and influential Canadians. Unapologetic snobbery.
- Later, Stackhouse was asked whether he believes that the media plays a role in shaping Canadian public policy. He answered that the media guides important public conversations, which in turn shape public policy. It left me wondering how much of Stackhouse’s own beliefs directly shape policy in Canada. I may have just been drunk on his power fumes, but whatever.
What else happened? There was a long questions and answer period. I was impressed that most of the questions were actually questions. People made their point and made it quickly. Of course, there were one or two ambling nerd alerts who used their turn at the mic to air personal grievances with the Globe. The moderator asked a few people to get to their point, and cut one man off entirely. This fellow evidently filed a human rights complaint against the Globe years ago and was there to give Stackhouse a piece of his mind. That moment of tension was diffused quickly – the gentleman (whose name escaped me, and if anyone knows, I’d love to hear it – he’s just the sort of guy I’d Google on a Friday afternoon) knew he was defeated, and left the auditorium, though not before passing out pamphlets telling his story. I didn’t get one.**Sidebar – buddy was drinking afterwards at the reception. I locked eyes with him for a second and not to sound like a total try hard, but I could see a lifetime of indignation written all over his face. I’ve been through my share of nonsense; I wonder what people see that when they look at me. That fuct me up for a few minutes.
My other favourite Q&A moment came when a reporter (maybe a digital strategist/who cares) for EYE Weekly asked about the Globe’s mobile app. He wanted to know what percentage of content from the website is included in the application. Really? You can ask the editor of “Canada’s national newspaper” anything you want, and you ask about statistics? GTFO. Stackhouse coughed up something about how the most popular stories are chosen, and we moved on.
Oh and because I know Toronto people care, one of the audience members asked Stackhouse about his decision to pull the controversial “Rob Ford is fat” article and the ethical dilemma (word used incorrectly, j-school student) of censoring news.**The article in question, written by Stephen Marche (who claims to have since been fired from the Globe) said that mayoral candidate Rob Ford isn’t popular despite his weight; he’s popular because of it. People were outraged, I guess, and the article vanished from the globeandmail.com (You can read the full piece here: http://www.openfile.ca/blog/topics/toronto-votes/2010/globe-calls-ford-fat-then-disappears-evidence)
Stackhouse responded by saying the article fell short of a number of Globe standards. He personally made the decision to pull the piece, knowing that it would generate even more controversy. Stackhouse said that the ethical conundrum lay in how to best communicate internal decisions to readers – he admitted they don’t have a good way of doing so. He didn’t seem too concerned with Marche’s future. Not his problem, I suppose.
So that’s about it. I’m on one of those personal and professional betterment war paths, so I’m trying to attend a lot of events like this. Let me know if you hear of any and I’ll geek out with you for the night.
Someone told me to start taking myself more seriously, and uh…. I’m doing that. Now please to enjoy a Christmas cat GIF.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It all started with a tweet.
Isn’t that always the case these days?
And so begins my Toronto-centric relocation. To my Doha readers, I apologize for the shift Hack the Bone is about to take. It can’t be helped, I’m moving back to the CoTU (centre of the universe).
G20 relocates Jays-Phillies Series to Philadelphia
They really did it. Halladay won’t be coming to Toronto this summer.
Upon hearing the news, I was all “road trip! Let’s party in Philly,” but then I remembered how the world’s most influential people are going to be in Toronto. It’s going to be madness! Am I the only one excited to see the kind of stealth operations that go down?
So the Jays won’t be here, but who’s to say we can’t have baseball? Wouldn’t it be awesome to organize a day of baseball at Christie Pits? We can get Toronto’s best amateur clubs to play in a tourney or something, dress them in Jays and Phillies gear and let the disappointed fans enjoy a mass picnic/tailgate in the sunshine. If I had the energy and connections to organize this, I’d be all over it.
Canadian Summer = desert winter. I’m a little frightened.
Remember that episode of the Simpsons when Homer drinks Grandpa’s love elixir for the first time? He and Marge are in bed, all post-coital like and Homie says:
“Where are my pants?”
“You threw them out the window in a fit of passion. You said you were never going to need them again.”
….are HORRIBLE. The worst. With Doha friends, it’s like “we’ll get together the next time I’m in London or Melbourne or Brittany or San Francisco or Edinburgh….see you never!!!” I’m emotionally drained and there's still four more days of this.
I’m really going to miss everybody.
Banksy in Toronto
Every white person’s favourite artist made an appearance in Toronto this week. Torontoist was the first to publish photos of Banksy’s work and soon the papers followed suit. The Globe and Mail, never to miss out on hipness (hey look, we’re hanging with Bono and Bob Geldolf hahaha) published an article on the “art versus vandalism” argument that Banksy's work ignites.
Honestly, I thought his art was already in Toronto. Remember those grey and white people with vespa heads that were plastered around Toronto? Not Banksy? They’re actually an ad campaign? All right then.
I think lots of what Banksy does is cool, but there was one thing about his Toronto visit that irked me.
Banksy wrote ‘TAKE THAT,’ on a branch that fell and landed on a parked car.
I guess Banksy was trying to say that the idea was the owner of the car deserved what was coming to him/her. Anyone who can afford to buy a Mercedes (is it a Mercedes, right?) must be deserving of public scorn and ridicule.
Look, if I worked hard enough and bought myself a Mercedes and some judgmental millionaire artist laughed at my misfortune when a tree crashed on it, I think my head would explode.
Seriously, maybe the owner of that car donates more money to charity than Banksy every year. Maybe she just left her dying mom in the hospital and had to walk to her car to discover that not only was it damaged, some anonymous punk thought it necessary to rub it in. Maybe she’s actually a good person who didn't deserve that kind of treatment.
Someone needs to stand up for the rich lady. To me, this tree job is a classic dick move.
Stick to wall drawings, Banksy. You’re actually kind of mean.
The Regent Park facades were better anyway.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
New York magazine cover story on Sarah Palin
New York Magazine’s latest cover story is available in its entirety online. NY Mag is cool like that.
Would you look at that? It took me all of one sentence to veer off on a tangent. This post isn’t going to go well.
ANYWAY. Sarah Palin. Nope, still not sick of her.
The 24/7 Palin watch is getting ridiculous, but I think there’s an explanation. To bump up fledgling magazine sales, it’s become mandatory for every publication ever to write a Palin-centric cover story. I’m pretty sure she was featured recently on the cover of Truck & Driver magazine.
This month, it’s New York’s turn. Ever avant-garde, the writers at New York approached their story from a new angle – the successful Palin brand.
In case you couldn’t tell, that thing I said about the new angle? That thing right there? Tongue firmly in cheek.
Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much about Palin, that the stories are meshing into one big expose, but there’s a lot of repetition between pieces. A common element I find is the journalist’s insistence on reminding us of her astronomic popularity and how she generates revenue for the media.
From New York: “Though Palin may not like it, she makes money for Democrats and Republicans alike. Across the political spectrum, Palin is a ratings magnet. Whenever she appears on Fox News, ratings tick up by 10 to 15 percent. At MSNBC, she’s also a ratings phenomenon, albeit with opposite adjectives. Tina Fey’s reprisal of her Palin character in early April juiced Saturday Night Live’s ratings, beating prime-time programming, a rare feat. Online, right-wing sites like the Drudge Report frequently plug Palin headlines, while Palin’s presence at liberal outlets like the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo routinely sparks hundreds of reader comments.”
The next sentence should read, “…and my editor here at New York Magazine is really hoping the web hits generated by this story will buy him his summer home.”
Omar Khadr’s trial finally FINALLY starts soon (if you count July as soon.) I’ve said it before, but this shit show is a national embarrassment. The Khadr trial will be the biggest and most interesting international news stories to come out of Canada in my lifetime. I hope Canadians pay attention. The CBC has an excellent recap of Khadr’s situation you should check out. The Globe and Mail (and other papers, I'm sure) has a journo stationed in Guantamo for the trial. Coverage should be top notch, so follow along. Form an opinion. Fight with me about it and I’ll buy you a beer.
Man, The Rumpus is good. Here’s a one-two punch of excellent essays for you to print out and enjoy:
1. All We Read Is Freaks – essential for book nerds
2. The Eyes of Texas Are upon You – immigration. Interesting to everyone. Especially you, Meg.
The Doha Debates
Now I’m going to talk about something I did in real life. Sometimes I do things that don’t involve a computer. I know.
Last night, I was invited to a taping of the Doha Debates. This is a huge score; these tickets are not an easy get.
Last night’s motion was a good one: the house believes Barack Obama is too weak to make peace in the Middle East.
As a former debate nerd, I had to vote against the motion, no matter my beliefs. The opposition had a harder position to argue and did a better job of staying on message and verbally bitch slapping their opponent. Ninety per cent of audience questions were asked by Arabs, so the result was biased, in my opinion. Don’t hate me.
On a more vapid note, as I sat there watching the eggheads work; I was struck with an excellent summertime idea. It’s actually a drinking game idea. I’m going to call it the first annual debate-beer-wrassle off. *
*Calling it the first annual means it’s sure to happen again and again. Every event organizer person knows that trick. Also, the name is negotiable because that one kind of sucks.
The debate-beer-wrassle off* is a four-person game, with a fifth player acting as mediator. Teams of two are selected randomly.
First, you have a neutral party decide on a debate topic.
Note – considering players will likely be drunk at the beginning of this game; there will be no debating the Israel-Palestine conflict or some such sort. Fluff or bust. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
The house believes the Olympic Games are a waste of money
The house believes Toronto Sports teams are cursed
The house believes Demi Moore hasn’t had any work done; she’s just a total bitch
The house believes there will be an Arrested Development movie produced within the decade
The House believes Meredith can deliver her closing arguments while walking around the house carrying her partner fireman style
Hipsters don't actually exist. They're an idea made up by yuppies
The teams have 20 minutes to prepare their argument. Debate ensues. After the arguments and subsequent rebuttals are delivered, the neutral party decides on a winner. The losing team then has an opportunity to redeem themselves by chugging beer and winning the feats of strength that follow.
Feats of strength include wrestling (Greco-roman, Sumo or Jake the Snake Roberts, whatever your pleasure), barefoot races, and push up contests.
Doesn’t that sound like fun?
It’s a mental and physical fight to the death!! Who’s with me? I’m thinking Canada Day long weekend for the first tournament.
Aaaaaand that’s how you turn a quasi-respectable blog post into a drinking game.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
’s fault. I travelled and remembered how I need to live in a proper city to feel normal. Shanghai
- It was time to leave my job. The universe gave me an exit and I took it. I’ll work for another month, and then it’s go time.
- DKM may have some news too. Inquiring minds should ask him about that directly.
- Why write it when it’s already been sung?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Sorry about the piss poor formatting. I don't know anything about anything.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I’m sorry it had to be
But it had to be someone, and I’m not sad
It’s no secret Duke has a whole lot of haters out there. Most of them wear that faggy baby blue colour though, and they should be discounted from all consideration. Any team that wins a national championship one year and fails to qualify for the tournament the next is a joke. A really funny joke.
I have no doubt all the haters will eternally criticize Duke’s flawless run in this year’s tourney.Sure, they may have had the easiest bracket. But what the hell does seeding mean anyhow? If
I can’t really remember when or why I started liking Duke. I know that in 5th grade I went to National Sports and bought a Blue Devils hat. You know the kind, circa 1995, snap-back, pinstripes, cursive writing.
I know that despite never wanting to be a doctor, never having had ivy-league like grades, nor never playing competitive basketball, as I entered high school I believed I was going to go to Duke. I know that in 10th grade, on a family trip to
I also remember that when considering a move to an unnamed country in the Gulf prior to grade 12, I was given a tour of a school by a princess of said country. During a bit of small talk she told me she was going to Duke in the fall. Meeting a royal in an abundantly rich nation didn’t impress me. Going to Duke in the fall?!? I was in awe. I definitely asked her more questions about Duke than about the school we were touring.
Then came University. Surprise! I didn’t end up at Duke. In first year at UWO, I came to the realization that March Madness would be spent planted on the couch, moving only to get beer. I would not be painting my face blue and white and hopping up and down in Cameron Indoor.Duke. Tobias Funke's favorite school.
As a consolation for my choice of Uni, I met Mere...And so began her lifelong support of Duke-by-association. She still thinks they’re just a bunch of nameless white boys.
My nutty roommate managed to get free cable in our dorm in March 2004. It was some sort of promotion where if you signed up, you got the first month free. I don’t know what EVER gave the cable company the impression that a bunch of broke-ass students living in a dorm weren’t going to cancel it the day they moved out of the dorms, but that’s not for here nor there. We had TV. And it was March. My essay on Jane Austen’s “Emma” (not my choice) might have been handed in two weeks late, but at least I took pride in introducing many people from residence to March Madness. I showed them how to fill out a bracket, and told them it looked ugly if they didn’t have Duke going all the way.
Unfortunately that year, like most, my will alone couldn’t crown Duke champs. Duke lost in the final seconds of a close game in the Final Four. Meredith was of great support after Duke blew their game-long lead and were booted from a return to the finals. She was genuinely awesome, suggesting things like “oh honey, I know you’re upset. Wanna make out?” and “How about I get you some keg beer?” What a doll.
Over the 6 years since, Mere and I always looked forward to filling out a bracket together. Despite winning a couple pools over that time, I was never fulfilled, as Duke got knocked out either during or before the Sweet 16. Five years in a row. And somehow winning the annual ACC tournament (which is practically a slamdunk deal – no pun intended) just doesn’t cut it if you can’t get more than three games deep in the tourney.
Chalk one up for the haters.
It didn’t help that
The massive amount of Blue Devils clothing I accumulated over the last 10 years was growing tatty, and was worn with diminishing pride.
Of course, all the haters still said they’d choke. Journalists encouraged fans to support the underdogs and spit on the contenders. The
Haters 2, Dukies 0.
Thankfully for me, Duke saved their best basketball for the end of the tournament, and truly deserved their first title since 2001. And it feels amazing. I’m now inspired to pass on my middle name, Keay, to one of my future children. But I’m just gonna spell it K.
(Meredith Ed Note. WHAT?)
The Dukies executed down the stretch and overcame the Haters two-point lead for the win.
I should probably tell you how much I enjoy a good humorist, that the writers of the 1920s absolutely slay me (in the good way), I love a suicidal female (Julia Stiles optioned the Bell Jar for a film – does that mean she’s playing Esther? Oh my god someone stop the madness) and am actively looking for the best sports books ever written.
Shanghai < Doha
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I am obsessed.