June 01, 2005

Don't try to play no boogie woogie

Long John Baldry is getting back into the fit of things.

Posted by jason at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

Shelia Egoff dies at 88


Sheila Agnes Egoff, Officer of the Order of Canada, died on May 22, 2005 in her 88 th year at Vancouver B.C. Her multiple careers as children's librarian, professor of children's literature, and critic and advocate of children's literature had a profound impact on the development of academic teaching and criticism of children's literature, on the growth of Canadian publishing for children, and on Canadian public library service to children. Born in 1918 in Auburn, Maine, she grew up in Galt (now Cambridge) Ontario. Sheila's childhood in rural Ontario was marked by avid public library use and exposure to the children's books of the early years of the twentieth century. Her lifelong career as a scholar and critic of children's literature, and pre-eminent promoter of Canadian children's literature in particular, began at the Galt Public Library. After graduating from the University of Toronto and qualifying as a librarian at the University of London ( England), she worked at the Children's Room of the Toronto Public Library. As a children's librarian in the internationally renowned children's library service of the Toronto Public Library, Sheila Egoff was a disciple of Lillian Smith, a towering figure in early children's librarianship and a pioneer critic of children's literature. Sheila learned her philosophies of quality library service and stringent evaluation of children's literature under Smith. Sheila was instrumental in bringing the famed British Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books to the Toronto Public Library and was that collection's first curator. Her experience in serving the reading needs of contemporary children was balanced with learning about four centuries of writing, publishing, and illustrating books for children.

Posted by jason at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

on journalistic hubris... Guest Post from Rochelle Mazar

[as mazar.ca is offline at the moment, Rochelle let me post this on my site. ed.]

From the Baltimore Sun: The Long Arm of the Blog by Victoria A. Brownworth. In sum:

Blogs are not essays, but somehow blogs are going to replace essays, and that's bad because essays are great, whereas blogs are crap posted on the interwebs by the illiterate unwashed. Samuel Pepys and Jonathan Swift would not be impressed with the blogosphere. But you should be impressed that I mentioned those two men, because I am smart and am a Real Essayist. Respect me.

Why am I being so harsh? I generally try to be respectful of the articles I link to, but my sinuses feel like their full of concrete at the moment and I have less patience for this kind of strong-arming by the mainstream media than I usually do. And strong-arming it is: this article is maliciously disingenuous, and you can consider that my thesis statement.

Any dot-commer can blog - a serious journalist with years of experience like, say, myself, or the teenager down the block spewing political rants during breaks from Grand Theft Auto. The problem in the blogosphere is that the kid and I will be received with equal credibility.

To suggest that everyone in the blogosphere has the same level of credibility shows a startling lack of research on Brownworth's part. Even a basic understanding of the Google ranking algorithm flies in the face of this idea. Authority is calculable and regularly calculated online. Why, just yesterday I was talking to my buddy Jason about the problem of "A-list" bloggers, the ones with all the credibility and all the attention, and how that ranking system hurts women and minorities. So, not only are we not all equal on the internet as Brownworth suggests, but we are actively in the midst of a years-old debate about the lack of diversity in the blogosphere hierarchy.

[Jonathan Swift's] "Proposal" works as well today as it did three centuries ago, its ideas still relevant. Do you remember last week's blog? Yesterday's?

Brownworth obviously misunderstands the term "blog". If you want to make a comparison between "essay" and something related to the blogosphere, the term you're looking for is "post". A blog is not an essay. A blog post, however, could very well be an essay. It could be an essay that took four years to write. It could be an essay that was originally published in the New Yorker. Or, it could an essay that was published on a blog and then later in a book by a reputable publisher. A post could be a snippet of dialogue, too. It could be a link and nothing else. It could be an audio file, a podcast. It could be a picture. It could be a piece of short fiction. It could be a book review. But it could also very easily be an essay.

...blogs are pretenders to the throne of true essay writing. They mimic the essay much as Eliza Doolittle mimicked the Queen's English before Professor Higgins got his hands on her. Like Eliza, blogs are captivating in their earnest, rapid-fire approach. But they are rarely, even at their best, true essays.

No. they are not essays at all. They are sources in which one might find essays posted, but they are not in and of themselves essays.

What's a little fudged definition between friends? Am I being deliberately obtuse? What's the problem with confusing "blog" with "post"?

Brownworth's problem with bloggers is that they do not have all the careful editors and quality-control personnel imposed upon them the way that essayists do. Because the essay as a literary form is a technology so advanced that it actually comes equipped with five other human brains attached, so that whenever you sit down to write an essay you are immediately surrounded by an editorial team.

In blogging, the checks and balances of standard essay writing seem not to apply. With its component of endless ruminations, incomplete (and often inconsistent) ideas and run-on sentences, is blogging really an online tributary of the art of the essay or the Internet kudzu slowly wiping it out?

Here is where Brownworth's vocabulary problem twists around and becomes a non sequitur, where it becomes intellectually dishonest. The "art of the essay" is not being lost as she is suggesting. If anything, the literary form of the essay is at an all time high, since so many people are latching on to non-fiction writing. Suddenly it's not only paid "essayists" who are can write essays that other people can read and respond to. Anyone can do it; that means there are more essays around. They may not all be good, but they're definitely not all bad. If Brownworth's interest is in encourage thoughtfulness and good essay writing by us as a society, she should be applauding the blog, since writing is something that improves with practice. The pool of practiced essayists is in fact growing.

There are no "checks and balances of standard essay writing". There are "checks and balances" in the mainstream media, which is what Brownworth really means to talk about. This has nothing to do with Pepys and Swift and everything to do with big business and what it wants you to know.

I am the last person in the world to suggest that bloggers will or should supplant journalists. But the reality is this: the mainstream media, particularly in the US, has failed, and bemoaning this as the loss of an art form is disingenuous.

A wake up call: that little law about freedom of the press that everyone jumps up and down about? That doesn't actually apply to journalists. It applies to the press, as in, the publisher of the newspaper itself. The journalist is merely an employee of the person who has the right to publish whatever he wants. (See Fox News if you think I'm making this up.) If a journalist covers a controversial story, the owner of the press in under no obligation at all to publish it. Journalists are required to represent their employers first and foremost, not the "objective truth", whatever the heck that is.

Further, newspaper articles are never exactly the length they need to be according to the topic at hand, with just enough examples and quotes and research and exposition. Newspaper essays are never considered complete simply when they have reached the end of their argument. They are crafted and edited to fit into a certain number of inches on a page.

So here we have two clear influences on the "pure" art form that is the newspaper essay; the bias of the owner of the press and the space available that particular day. Do either of these things improve the quality of the essay as a literary form? Would Jonathan Swift have taken kindly to chunks of A Modest Proposal being sliced out to fit the confines of a particular publication? Why should we prefer this content to the product of blogs, since bloggers are, in fact, the owners of their own presses, responsible only to themselves with no word count limits?

And why exactly should we prefer an essay written by a journalist?

There are lots of active conversations about the relationship between the mainstream media and the world of blogs. Those are very worthwhile arguments to have. What we've learned is that objectivity is dead, everything is subjective. When publishing is as easy as it currently is, what sort of subjectivity do we prefer: institutional faux-objectivity or on-the-ground-running personal experience and upfront opinion? Whose point of view do you want to hear first: that of an intelligent and articulate Iraqi woman living in Baghdad during the occupation, or that of an intelligent, articulate and well-trained journalist embedded with the American forces?

This article of Victoria Brownworth's strikes an elitist and nonsensical low blow that is enabled by that legitimate argument about blogs and the media. Hiding behind the spectre of a dying literary form is intellectually dishonest. The issue at hand is about legitimacy. The jury is still out on how we as a society are going to rule on that one.

Posted by jason at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2005

Parents 'neglect ugly children'

BBC NEWS | Health | Parents 'neglect ugly children'

A team from the University of Alberta looked at how much care parents took to ensure their children were safe while shopping. They claim children they assessed as less attractive were more likely to be neglected.

Posted by jason at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2005

Alan does Nomi!

Alan Rutherford is a local artist yuka and I have known on and off for over a decade. He's opened a store on baldwin, AND he's doing a painting of Norman the CAT!

Posted by jason at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter dies

Bob Hunter, co-founder of green peace, named by Time as one of the eco-warriors of the 20th century died. He was a local TV dood who chatted about public media every morning...

From ThisisLondon:

It was Hunter who adopted the term Rainbow Warriors to describe Greenpeace activists, as well as the phrase Media Mind Bomb to describe the activist impact on the public consciousness. He left Greenpeace in 1981 and turned to writing and broadcasting. In his most recent role, Hunter was the ecology news specialist on Canadian television.

Herald Sun: Kids tuck into whale burgers [03may05] and The Standard - Whale meat back on Japanese school-lunch menus - World

Posted by jason at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2005

And the winner is...

Maureen won!!!! YAY Maureen!


Words: Finalists for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry include Maux!

Posted by jason at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2005

LBL's Babeee

LBL said I could blog this cute picture of her babeee wearing a cute bunny hat.



Posted by jason at 05:38 PM | Comments (2)

February 01, 2005



Brian Cantwell Smith, dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto Smith, the author of "On the Origin of Objects," combines degrees in computer science and philosophy and is an expert on the interdisciplinary convergence brought about by digitization. His talk is titled, "And Is All This Stuff Really Digital After All?"

Posted by jason at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2005

Yep, she has made the big time...

Library Stuff

Rochelle A. Mazar, who has a great title for her blog ("The Trials and Tribulations of a Subversive Librarian) wrote about this issue a few weeks ago:

"Most organizations already do something else in place of a group blog. They send mass emails. Hundreds of mass emails a week, which generally clutter up mailboxes or get deleted. Wouldn't a blog be better? Rather than spotty archives in people's email, everyone could have access to ONE keyword-searchable, date- and time- stamped archive. Rather than carry on a conversation on a listserv, forcing all staff to get our witty repartee via email, staff with questions could post comments and have them answered by the poster or anyone else with information. I suggested complex, threaded comments for educational blogs, and I would definitely suggest them in this context as well. With threaded comments, questions could be asked, answered, and archived in a forum open to all staff without clogging up inboxes."

Posted by jason at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2005

Dr. Bombay is Dead?

I just noticed this on LambdaMOO. It is the death of Dr.Bombay (aka Julian Dibble) this month. Or is it. This character was created 1 month AFTER dribble's article Rape in Cyberspace was published. Interesting nonetheless...

Subject: [The Undertaker (#666): Dr.Bombay (#53475)]

Date: Mon Jan 10 18:24:22 2005 PST
From: The Undertaker (#666)
To: *obituaries (#91852)
Subject: Dr.Bombay (#53475)
Sender: Yib's_Assistant (#61050)

Aliases: DrBombay, Samantha, Dr.Bombay, Faaa, DrBombaby, That_Couple, legba, hortonwho, niacin, mordecai-q, memphistopheles, memf, lisbet, emory, kropotkin, gracile, solanas, solveig, sebastiano, laurel, finn, finnegan, crotchet, crot, stingaree, margaret, furie, erato, tomtraceback, and ducko

Born: January 23, 1993
Age: 11 years, 11 months, and 18 days

Last Connect: 1 year, 7 months, 4 days, 6 hours, 58 minutes, and 49 seconds ago
Cause of death: reaped by Mandy (#93395)

[I asked Julian about it...]
Subject: Re: Dr Bombay
From: julianATjuliandibbellDOTcom
Date: January 28, 2005 12:44:21 PM EST
To: jason.nolan@utoronto.ca

Funny, I just noticed the death recently myself. Somebody else seems to have
claimed the name already. The late DrBombay was definitely me, though I
suspect some bug in the age-counting system, since I had the account for
several months before the article came out.

On the other hand, maybe the account you're talking about *was* made after
the article came out, with a slightly different spelling? Dr_Bombay or
Dr.Bombay or some such, e.g.



Posted by jason at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2005

What's in a Name?

[ken told me about this presentation he's going to. If you know me, you know my use of the verb bork...]

Privacy Protection Technologies: A Technology Assessment

John J. Borking
Director of Borking Consultancy

Posted by jason at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2005

Richard Bartle has a blog

Richard Bartle has a blog: QBlog!

If you don't know who Richard is and claim any space in the world of information technology at any level, for shame.

He co-wrote a little program called MUD.

Posted by jason at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2005

My dinner with the 'Za Crew

Yukazine and I hosted our first Za fest of 2005. KAT!, Muddy St. Mudshark, JuliaD, and first timer Danny Bakan all came over bearing various gifts, full of good cheer, wit and mirth. JuliaD baked brownies and brought wine. KAT! and Muddy brought cheezes and desserts, and Muddy, bless her, brought me a coooool bottle of wonderful port. KAT! bought some strange and wonderful tasting fruit that I can't remember the name of, but of which she made the following self-portrait. Danny played music on his banjo and my guitar, and previewed some tunes from his forthcoming CD.

I borked the pizza dough by leaving it to rise over the oven vent, and baked half the dough, but it was good over all. Each za was 50% vegitarian 50% sauteed elk. And every second pizza had no goat's cheese. And there was much rejoicing.


Muddy St Mudshark

Posted by jason at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)

December 08, 2004

Vote for me!

Julia D nominated me for an Edublog Award: Best use of weblogs within teaching and learning. Please vote and share this around.

I'm "KMD1002 & KMD2003 http://www.livejournal.com/community/kmd1002/ & http://www.livejournal.com/community/kmd2003/"

Posted by jason at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

One of a Kind

Marie-Jos Danzon (standing with Yuka) is one of the most wonderful artists we know. She and Wojar live in Montreal and the South of France, and comes to the One of a Kind Show to show her work. This year she wasn't selling anything, as they're all commissions. This one piece, I forget it's name, is really astounding. It represents an oasis in Algeria. Oh, and it is a quilt. Sorry that is isn't the best picture, but she uses a lot of metalic gold types of cloth, and it is all old bits of fabric that she collects in France...


Posted by jason at 04:37 PM | Comments (1)

November 23, 2004

Home Alone...

Anchorage Daily News | Baby dies after her arms are severed

PLANO, Texas (November 23, 4:54 am AST) - With a calm and dispassionate voice and a hymn playing in the background, Dena Schlosser confessed to the unthinkable, telling a 911 operator she'd cut off the arms of her baby girl.

The woman was sitting in her living room covered with blood when police arrived Monday. Her nearly 11-month-old daughter lay fatally injured in a crib in a bedroom of the family's apartment in Plano. The child died shortly afterward at a nearby hospital.

Posted by jason at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2004


Yuka and I spent the day with Elizabeth taking pictures of her for the back cover of the reissue of her "Dracula Handbook". Got some great pictures! Can't wait until she decides to let me blog them.

Posted by jason at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2004


The Official Website of Mervyn Peake, author of Gormenghast: "Mervyn Peake (1911 - 1968), artist, illustrator, poet and author of Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone, Mr Pye, Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor and Boy in Darkness."

Gotta love Peake...

Posted by jason at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2004

Styles of Address

I was just emailing my old teacher who is now archbishop of the Graceland Independent Anglican Church, when I realized that I didn't know how to address an archbishop Elvisian or otherwise. I blogged about him last winter after seeing him on TV in the guise of Elvis Priestly.

Anyway, to my aid, came the canadian government and their web page: Styles of address, which tells you how to address queens, archbishops, aboriginal band leaders. Very cool, though I notice that it doesn't cover more than the two apparently offical religions in Canada: Anglicanism and Catholicism... what's with that?

For more info on Mr B:

Anglican Journal, February 2003 -- Elvis imitator decides it's now or never

Mr. Baxter said the Elvis shtick, which has taken him around the world for performing and speaking engagements, started in 1996 after his two daughters persuaded him to enter an Elvis contest in Collingwood, Ont. Two years later, his Grade 8 class gave him the moniker Elvis Priestley.

CBC News:First anniversary for 'Elvis Priestly' church

Posted by jason at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2004

Hanging out with Dr Dru...

I had an LA dinner with Dr Dru, founder and chief motivator behind The Harrow, with whom I've worked since 1999. She's the online friend I've had the longest without ever meeting, I think. The first shot is her with her truck, emblazoned with The Harrow logo. The other picture was not that good, so I had to work on it.



Posted by jason at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

Stanford Law School Alum Allegedly Becomes Prostitute

Got this via Yuka via Chika Watanabe:
Stanford Law School Alum Allegedly Becomes Prostitute The student was one of Chika's neighbours. Chika also studied at Stanford.

Posted by jason at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Derrida's Dead...

Just got an IM from Sarah: Philosopher Jacques Derrida Dies at 74.

Posted by jason at 05:08 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004

The World's "Best Bad Poet"

From Great Stories, People, Books & Events in Literary History

On this day in 1902 William McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee, died. McGonagall was a middle-aged weaver when he heard his muse; today he is a cult figure, his many collections of poetry translated into over a dozen languages and selling well to those wishing to investigate a reputation for "the worst poetry ever written, in any language, at any time."

Posted by jason at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

Volume 5 is here...

The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomeryݬ - Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Vol.V :1935-1942 is already for sale in PEI. We'll be going to the book launch in Leaskdale on October 23.

Posted by jason at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004

Doctor J

KAT! asked me if I knew of Doctor J from Gundam Wing. And it is me:

ݬݬݬݬݬݬ"With his goggle eyes, leg braces, pointed beard, long gray hair, mechanical claw hand, and tan labcoat, Doctor J had about as many distinguishing characteristics as the rest of the scientists put together. He created the Wing Gundam, and seems to have taken on a sort of unofficial position as the leader of the scientist crowd. Personally, I kind of like him."

Posted by jason at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

I'm not dead, yet...

CBC News: Nfld. man telephones during own funeral

Thursday's funeral in Toronto, Dane Squires called his daughter Trina to report that he was alive and well.

"They [had] just loaded Dane's body in the hearse and the funeral director comes and says, 'Somebody would like to speak to you on the phone,' and Dane's daughter Trina took the phone," said Gilbert Squires.

"This was Dane on the phone, so she actually thought that she was dead or talking to a ghost or something and just about lost her mind."

Posted by jason at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Gina's thoughts on making google like you

Help the Googlebot understand your web site [Scribbling.net]

Right now I'd like to lock myself in a small padded room, froth at the mouth, and make menacing faces through barred windows at innocent passer-by. But my shrink says I should channel my anger into something productive.

Posted by jason at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2004

Megan's finally on board.

She's got a blog finally: Megan Boler's Weather Reports

Posted by jason at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004


I'm just hanging out withAniko and discussing strange things today.

Posted by jason at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

Landro and Millie

Just had dinner with Landro Kalrizian (Andrew Emig, Ken's brother) and his wife Laura Shutter. They've both been on the road since forever with Thoroughly Modern Millie, though Landro's been just traveling about and working from whatever Starbucks he can get internet access from. We went down to the Queen Mother for some Thai food, and a bit of insanity. Dinner was augmented by a racoon crawling around the patio and causing mayhem.

Posted by jason at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2004

How dinners should be run...

KAT! outdid herself. And outdid all who have desserted at my house, I think. She made "Snacky S'Mores". In one of her Flash Movies there is the line "Eat Snaky S'mores" in the final credits. [Actually it is "Eat Snacky Smores" at http://insanecats.com/flash/curtain.swf at the end.] And I've been asking her for some for a long time. So long that I don't even thing of it any more. Well, this time she said, upon arrival, I have the dessert you asked for, but not what you're expecting... and voila. "Snacky S'Mores"! Megan took photos of the insanity. And if she ever shares, then you'll see.

So, as mentioned, Jenny and Megan came by, along with KAT!, and at the last minute I got a phone call from sMom Cheryl, asking if I could babysit my sister. She's 15, but can't run around toronto unescorted all night. Unfortunately I got ripped off. I had to take care of her for 4 hours, and I demanded to be paid. Only got $20. She gets $7.50/hr for babysitting our other sister, Emmers. Emmers was showing at the CNE all week... and didnt' require babysitting. She's 12, I guess. Oh, and the main point, my sister's name is Cat. So we had KAT! and Cat over for dinner. Thank god for the exclamation point, or we'd not be able to tell them apart. Oh, and we took the $20 and went over the top with a really nice Amarone. Well, you can't get an Amarone for $20, but it contributed a lot. Of course, CAT couldn't drink it, cause she's 15. KAT! doesn't drink around me, though I've seen her once. Jenny was on call at work. So yuka, megan and I did the wine damage.

Kat! and Cat came early, and helped with the cooking. Cat made the raspberry vinegarette for the warm goatcheese salad, Yuka put the rest of it together leaving it to me to warm the cheese. KAT! cut most of the veggies for the pizza, and made all the pesto by hand. She's getting good at that. All I did was make dough for the Za, sautee the shallots, garlic and wild boar, and cook the pizza. KAT! actually made 2 of the pizza's up by herself. I guess I can retire, and just make dough. The pizzas were great, being a group effort. No one let me burn them like I usually do. Salad was good too... only second time, but the vinegarette is developing nicely.

Then snacky smores! Followed by grapes (including the first concord grapes of the summer), and some nice cheeses (manchego cruda and some raw sheepmilk gouda like thing.).

Jenny played some songs on the guitar. And the evening was done. Fun? Wow!

Posted by jason at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2004


KAT!, Megan and Jenny are coming over for another pizza experimentation tonight. Got five funky new cheeses, wild boar, and hopefully KAT! will get here in time to help make the pesto again. And of course grapes and port and more cheese, along with whatever shows up for dessert. I like Saturdays.

Posted by jason at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)