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  • Dangerous Minds points readers to Cindy Sherman's Instagram account. ("_cindysherman_", if you are interested.)

  • Language Hat takes note of a rare early 20th century Judaeo-Urdu manuscript.

  • Language Log lists some of the many, many words and phrases banned from Internet usage in China.

  • The argument made at Lawyers, Guns and Money about Trump's many cognitive defects is frightening. How can he be president?

  • The LRB Blog <"a href="https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/08/03/lynsey-hanley/labour-and-traditional-voters/">notes that many traditional Labour voters, contra fears, are in fact willing to vote for non-ethnocratic policies.

  • The NYR Daily describes a book of photos with companion essays by Teju Cole that I like.

  • Of course, as Roads and Kingdom notes, there is such a thing as pho craft beer in Vietnam.

  • Peter Rukavina notes
  • Towleroad notes a love duet between Kele Okereke and Olly Alexander.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy seems unconvinced by the charges against Kronos programmer Marcus Hutchins.

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  • The New York Times is but one news source to observe the findings of archeologists and geneticists that the Canaanites were not slaughtered. Was the claimed Biblical genocide a matter of thwarted wish-fulfillment?

  • At Wired, David Pierce mourns the standalone iPod, an innovative music-changing technology in its time now being phased out.

  • Catherine McIntyre at MacLean's describes how birding is becoming hip among young urbanites, in Toronto and across Canada.

  • Open Democracy looks at how Estonia is pioneering e-residency and virtual citizenship schemes.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the emergent evidence for exomoon Kepler-1625b-I.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the future of technological civilizations: what if they do not always ascend, but stagnate?

  • D-Brief takes issue with the idea of the "digital native." Everyone needs to adopt new technology at some point.

  • Are Elon Musk and Space-X backing away from the Mars colony plans? The Dragon's Tales notes.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a map of massacres of Aborigines on the Australian frontiers.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if widespread roboticization really will increase productivity much.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the traditional rum of Newfoundland.

  • Drew Rowsome likes a new Toronto show, Permanence, in part for its take on male sexuality and sexual presence.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes that Russia leads the world in cat ownership.

  • Strange Company reports on coin-collecting 1920 cat Peter Pan Wass.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the potential conflicts between "contingency" and "explanation."

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how a Nassau County legislator wants to block a Roger Waters conconcert because of his support for an Israel boycott.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Chinese outnumber Jews in the Far East's Jewish Autonomous Oblast. (Not many of both, mind.)

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  • Liisa Ladouceur's NOW Toronto review of the Rage and Rapture tour's stop in Toronto get it entire. Brilliant concert.

  • Emma Teitel in the Toronto Star is quite right to note that residents of the Beach complaining about unsightly commerce are so missing the point.

  • Global News reports that mosquitos which test positive for West Nile virus have been found on the flooded Toronto Islands.

  • The Toronto Islands will reopen Monday, on the first of the month, the City of Toronto announced.

  • Canada Post promises that its drivers will stop blocking bike lanes with their vehicles.

  • Metro Toronto describes how ESL learners in west-end Toronto are learning English via their concerns with affordable housing.

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Me and my ticket #toronto #blondie #garbage #concert #sonycentreto


Last night, I attended the Toronto date of the Rage and Rapture tour, featuring Garbage and Blondie. It was amazing.

My photo album featuring some of my photos taken in the course of the concert is here.
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  • In The Globe and Mail, Ian Brown and Nam Phi Dang's photo essay tracking the adventures of a bus of Chinese tourists who went from Toronto to the Island and back is insightful and amusing.
  • Alex Ballingall's account in the Toronto Star of his week-long trek along the Trans-Canada Trail from Niagara to Toronto is enlightening. Would I could do this ...

  • Mark Milke in MacLean's argues that, regrettable excesses aside, Canadians should be proud of our British heritage.

  • The Montreal Gazette's Brendan Kelly wonders why a supposedly Canadian music compilation does not include any French-language songs.

  • In the Toronto Star, Emma Teitel points out that visibility, including corporate visibility, is hugely important in Pride.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a new study suggesting some hypervelocity stars were ejected from the Large Magellanic Cloud.

  • Crooked Timber's John Holbo wonders how else Trump can transgress the norms of the presidency.

  • The Crux notes the exceptional hardiness of the tardigrade. These forms of life might well outlive the sun.

  • Gizmodo notes the evidence for a recently frozen subsurface ocean on Pluto's Charon.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the Israeli government's effective, if confused, opposition to same-sex adoption.

  • Unicorn Booty looks at the significant impact RuPaul's Drag Race has on music sales.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Putin's political allies have been having trouble coming up with a positive future.

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"Yeah, Whatever" is the title track off of Vancouver-based Canadian electronica group Moev's 1988 album "Yeah, Whatever". Produced by the second incarnation of this band, featuring one Dean Russell as vocalist and lyricist, this song deserved wider recognition. Russell's vocals and the guitar-driven lyrics bring to mind a sort of Canadian fusion of Depeche Mode with the Smiths.

Most unfortunately, Moev and Dean Russell never got the chance to break through into the mainstream, Russell dying of HIV/AIDS in 1994 and the band subsequently splintering. What could have been--But at least we have this.
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  • Sandy Garossino considers the furor over Omar Khadr. What if the 15 year old was actually not guilty of the crimes of which he was accused?

  • The Globe and Mail's Tabatha Southey points out, after the Proud Boys incident in Halifax, how the alt-right's claims to be joking reveals their intent. Hannah Arendt knew these kinds of people.

  • The CBC's Haydn Watters describes how one Ottawa couple is planning to visit in 2018 every location involved in every one of the 87 Heritage Minutes.

  • Ben Paynter at Fast Company writes about the system of funding and other support that keeps Canadian pop music thriving.

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  • Language Log argues that, despite a lack of official or public support, Cantonese remains the dominant language of Hong Kong.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the case for the global relevance of the Cranberries' song "Zombie."

  • Marginal Revolution seems to like the end results of Canada's immigration system.

  • The NYR Daily notes that, even after ISIS, Iraq will be beset by multiple ethnoreligious crises.

  • Out There's Corey S. Powell interviews an astronomer about the very strange Przybylski’s Star, rich in rare radioactive elements.

  • Savage Minds considers the decolonization of anthropology in the context of Iraq.

  • Arnold Zwicky considers the surprisingly deep historical resonance of the loon in Canada.

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Possibly Canadian folksinger Bruce Cockburn's signature song, his 1984 single "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" amply deserves its fame. It's a strong song, deserving its top ranking on any number of lists of top Canadian love songs, the poetry of Cockburn's lyrics carried by the urgency of his vocals.



This song arguably achieved greater fame outside of Canada by virtue of the Barenaked Ladies' later cover. That cover is decent, I grant, but it lacks Cockburn's signature urgency. Cockburn wrote this song, like other songs at this time, in the context of the Cold War, in his concern for refugees from Latin America. (I read somewhere that he was thinking of couples caught up in Argentina's then recently-concluded dirty war.) Other critics linked this song to the emergence HIV/AIDS crisis. The Barenaked Ladies' cover is light, too light--their Scarborough might have been boring, but it was not that bad. Cockburn understood perfectly that love matters, even especially when times were difficult, and his performance gets this across wonderfully.

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
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  • Vice's Noisey celebrates the life and music of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, whose medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" outlived him.

  • The AP describes how Britain's pop music charts have changed to stop future bouts of Ed Sheeran-style domination.
  • Hannah Ellis-Peterson reports for The Guardian about how (and why) Sony has opened a new vinyl pressing plant in Japan.

  • Carla Gillis reported for NOW Toronto about David McPherson's forthcoming book on the famed Horseshoe Tavern.

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  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.

  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village's Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?

  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds' eggs have different shapes.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)

  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government's interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.

  • Language Log's Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.

  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government's inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.

  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.

  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.

  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia's call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

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The Pet Shop Boys' 1996 song "Single-Bilingual" was not as big a hit as their iconic global singles of the 1980s. Perhaps it was because this song, like the rest of their album Bilingual, was a shift from their previous European-styled electronica, incorporating Latin rhythms. This is a shame, because this song and others are among the group's slyest.

The songs of the Pet Shop Boys, like those of all great songwriters, can say many things. See "Single-Bilingual". Listening to the peppy song, Neil Tennant singing in the voice of a self-styled cosmopolitan businessman who claims to be the master of his world, there is humour. As Wayne Studer points out, this man is not all he thinks he is. He's just a cog in the machine.

They call this a community
I like to think of it as home
Arriving at the airport
I am going it alone
Ordering a boarding pass
Travelling in business class
This is the name of the game
I'm single, bilingual
Single, bilingual


I find myself wondering, too, if this song fits on the soundtrack for Brexit. From a pretended cosmopolitanism down to an actual solitude?
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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about "cis", "trans", and the non-obvious meaning of this classification.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of a recent sailing festival in Boston.

  • blogTO reports on the trendy charcoal-black ice cream of a store across from Trinity Bellwoods.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of a "runaway fusion" drive.Crooked Timber wonders how a bad Brexit agreement could possibly be worse than no Brexit agreement for the United Kingdom.
  • D-Brief warns of the possibility of sustained life-threatening heat waves in the tropics with global warming.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how sociology majors are prepared, or not, for the workforce.

  • Language Hat links to a wonderful examination of the textual complexities of James Joyce's Ulysses.

  • The LRB Blog looks at how British big business is indebted to the Conservatives.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on China's emergent pop music machine.

  • Steve Munro reports on the latest on noise from the 514 Cherry streetcar.

  • The NYRB Daily has a fascinating exchange on consciousness and free will and where it all lies.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a successful expedition to Argentina to examine Kuiper Belt object MU69 via occultation.

  • Peter Rukavina celebrates Charlottetown school crossing guard Dana Doyle.

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  • blogTO reported that York University plans on opening a satellite campus in York Region's Markham. This is a first.

  • Dangerous Minds notes a new, posthumous release from Suidide's Alan Vega.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of Niven ringworlds around pulsars. (Maybe.)

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers burnout among sociology students, and suggests that engagement with issues is key to overcoming it.

  • The Great Grey Bridge's Philip Turner photoblogs his recent Rhode Island vacation.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on the arrest of a Christian activist protesting outside of the Pulse memorial in Orlando.

  • The LRB Blog shares considerable concern that the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland are now national powermakers.

  • Spacing Toronto shares the ambitious plan of Buenos Aires to make the city better for cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit
  • Transit Toronto notes that starting Friday, Metrolinx will co-sponsor $C25 return tickets to Niagara from Toronto.

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  • Crooked Timber enthuses over the remixing, or remastering, of arguably the Beatles' most iconic album.

  • Far Outliers notes the Albanian language's alphabet struggles in the wider geopolitics of Albania.

  • Joe. My. God. notes an American soccer player opted to quit rather than to wear a Pride jersey.

  • Language Hat notes a new online atlas of Algonquian languages.

  • The NYRB Daily argues that Theresa May's election defeat makes the fantasy of a hard Brexit, at least, that much less possible.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's concern at the dissipation of the prestige of its language and script its former empire, especially in Ukraine.

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  • Anthony Easton at MacLean's writes in defense of Nickelback, one of Canada's most popular bands if not a critical darling.

  • Also in MacLean's, Stephanie Carvin notes that the new foreign and military policies announced by the Canadian government could still fall short.

  • Bloomberg View's Stephen L. Carter considers the idea of the just war through the lens of Wonder Woman.

  • Nuclear energy, it seems, will be India's answer to global warming in the era of Trump.

  • Qataris, Bloomberg notes, are trying to deal with their island country's state of siege.

  • Airbus may pull its production plants from the United Kingdom unless the country keeps single market access.

  • Refugees, Lynne Olson notes at National Geographic, helped save the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

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I went with a friend to catch Wonder Woman yesterday, and I left impressed. This film caught my attention, with excellent plotting and filming and a star-making turn from Gal Gadot. I can easily believe it capable of supporting the future DC cinematic universe, though I hope it will not have to do so alone.

The song that played over the closing credit was Sia and Labrinth's "To Be Human". This song, all about the limits to love that we know in our world, was a good choice.
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  • Yahoo News shares the story of a cat that visited every national park in the United States, with photos.

  • CBC's Mike Crawley takes a look at the impact of the Ontario $15 minimum wage, finding it should have little effect on the economy at large.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Tony Keller suggests that Donald Trump's actions do a great job of promoting China as a responsible superpower.

  • CBC notes research suggesting that global warming will make the heat island effect in cities much worse.

  • It is easy, editor David Shribman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes in The Globe and Mail, to mistake Pittsburgh for Paris.

  • The Toronto Star notes Ariana Grande's surprise visit to her fans in hospital before tomorrow benefit concert.

  • The Atlantic reports on the problems of post-Communist gentrification in Moscow.

  • The Georgia Straight shares one Vancouver artist's goodbye to her adopted city, beloved but now too expensive.

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