Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Harbinger

I fell in High Park today in spite of my cleats. And not a diminutive pretty girl tumble, either. My dogs carried on, covertly anticipating a mutinous gnaw on my frozen leg and left me, a big green corduroy-wrapped mammoth, to wallow in my Pleistocene nadir. I’d reached my limit wearing my stupid coat and stupider trapper hat. But before another crazy-woman expletive escaped from my mouth Nature rewarded me with the promise of Spring. I know it is nigh because the minute my cheek hit the ice I smelled it, brown and melting and two centimetres from my nose.

Image by Christianm on Dreamstime.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Farch!

I had a history teacher who had fashioned a second career for himself as the “Wizard of Words.” Between lessons, he’d regale us with tales of etymology and enthusiastically promote the words he’d coined in his spare time, perhaps in the hopes that one of them would might just catch in our young minds.
     At the time, the smart money was on sesquilingual; but I was partial to Farch, a name he’d proposed for a single long month combining both February and March, and which today, on Farch 32nd, would go a long way to explaining this seemingly interminable winter.
Original pin-up by Enoch Bolles.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sexism Isn’t Rocket Science: A Response to Schulze (2014)

Schulze (2014) maintains that, for Baby Bear’s porridge to be “just right”, albeit smaller than the “too cold” dish of Mama Bear, the tale of “Goldilocks” must contravene a law of thermodynamics. Viewed through a feminist political economy lens, however, “Goldilocks” is devoid of science-fictional convolution. Obviously, Mama Bear has relinquished the opportunity to taste her cooling portion because she has been performing the emotional labour of consoling Baby Bear (traumatized by a raisin, or the like, in his dish), whilst manually labouring to provide Papa Bear and him with second / new (read: “too hot” / “just right”) helpings.

Image: “Mama Bear”, by Hannah Blosser.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Laws of Thermodynamics

Most parents eventually come across a beloved fairy tale that now offends their adult sensibilities. Mine was Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
     Yes, the story correctly posits that, given three servings of porridge at the same initial temperature, those portions, being of various size, will indeed cool at different rates. And yes, after an allotted time, the largest might still be too hot; but if the medium bowl is now too cold, the smallest couldn’t possibly be just right, because that would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
     And I really don’t think children should be reading stuff like that.
Photo by James W. Blinn. Bowls by Certified International. Oatmeal by Quaker.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Flight

Remember that long flight home, when they sat you next to that fidgety kid, and you didn’t know how you'd make it until finally, somebody offered to switch your seat? Remember how everyone got their own little screen and for the first time you could choose the movie you wanted to see? Remember back when the drinks were free, and maybe you did have too many, but the nap did you good, then a little nosh, more booze, and another movie?
     Not bad at all when you’re flying, but perhaps not the best way to spend a weekend at home.


Image by Paul H. Daines, United States Patent Number 5,740,989.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Eglinton West

Two-hundred tons of aluminum and glass meet 500 feet of rail and concrete at speeds that can approach 55 miles per hour—and yet for all the brute force behind it, the first sound you’ll hear at the Eglinton West station is a strange, slow trill that echoes up and down the tracks to tell you the next train is coming. It’s the sound steel might make if it was allowed to sway free in the breeze; a celebration of release from the long, cold wait; a song, high and sweet, that tells me I’m finally on my way home.

Photo by Kevin Dooley

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Where have you gone, Vicki Gabereau?

A friend of mine once found himself studying overseas, finally putting to use the Japanese lessons his parents had forced him to take. To that end, he took to making puns that could only be understood by people with a working knowledge of two languages—something I’d only ever appreciated in the abstract, until yesterday, when I wrote a tweet I thought particularly funny, but which could only be untangled by someone who knew their Simon and Garfunkel, followed Toronto politics (circa 1974), listened to CBC Radio, and still had enough wits about them to pull the whole thing together.

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