June 24, 2011

Even with the Post Office on strike, deliveries must be made

Filed under: Books, Liberty, Media, Randomness — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 13:07

Just before lunch, the UPS guy dropped off a couple of books from my latest Amazon.ca order:

That’s The Declaration of Independents: How libertarian politics can fix what’s wrong with America by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, and Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. Now I’m just waiting for Rule 34 by Charles Stross to complete the order.

QotD: Defending the indefensible

Filed under: Books, Law, Liberty, Media, Quotations — Tags: — Nicholas @ 12:09

If you accept — and I do — that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said.

The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don’t. This is how the Law is made.

People making art find out where the limits of free expression are by going beyond them and getting into trouble.

Neil Gaiman, “Why defend freedom of icky speech?”, Neil Gaiman’s Journal, 2011-06-24

“Damn! Another cursed Mordecai!”

Filed under: Books, Cancon, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:02

Barbara Kay takes issue with the token that Montreal has chosen to commemorate Mordecai Richler:

Mordecai Richler is Canada’s biggest claim to literary fame. If he had been born and lived in any other province but Quebec there would have been an outpouring of ideas on how to commemorate his life and achievements: perhaps renaming streets in his honour, building schools bearing his name, or erecting a statue featuring the disheveled genius wryly peering over his pince-nez at a smoked meat sandwich on wry…er, rye.

Instead Montreal’s political mandarins have decided he is getting a gazebo — a crummy little open pavilion at the foot of Mount Royal, with no known connection to the author. A place for people to come in out of the rain. Not quite a public toilet, but close.

That’s like naming the change house at an outdoor skating rink after Margaret Atwood, a pellet dispenser at the zoo after Yann Martel, or a maintenance shed after Margaret Laurence. But then, if Mordecai Richler had been born outside Quebec, maybe he wouldn’t have been inspired to the kind of savage indignation that made him such a household word (and often not in a good way) in his native Montreal.

She provides a rather more appropriate memorial gesture:

Here’s an idea: Montreal is riddled with potholes. The French for “pothole” is “nid-de-poule,” literally a chicken’s nest. How about if the word is officially changed to “mort-de-caille(ou)” which means “death of stone” (well, death of pebble, close enough). Henceforth let all Montreal potholes be called Mordecais. In this way, his name will forever be on every Montrealer’s lips, because Montreal potholes are ubiquitous and eternal, and yet not in a good way – “Damn! Another cursed Mordecai!” I think Richler himself would have appreciated the irony, and approved.

Cato Institute: The President doesn’t take an oath to the UN charter

Filed under: Government, Military, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:08

Speaking of unusual drink ingredients

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:33

I’ll be honest and say I would never have imagined this being a popular beverage:

The hard cases among you who subscribe to the “I’ll drink anything, me” school are directed to the Green Man Pub in Wellington, which is serving up shots of apple-infused horse semen.

The tempting equine oyster concoction — dubbed Hoihoi tatea — forms part of the NZ boozer’s entry into the 14th annual Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge, and the stallion magic water is apparently proving popular with women.

The pub’s chef, Jason Varley, said: “Ladies thought it was great — a couple were going to go home and get their husbands to eat grass.”

More information at the Dominion Post site.

Newspapers still trying to adapt to a vastly changed world

Filed under: Britain, Economics, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 09:04

In a blog post at the Guardian, Roy Greenslade puts the financial changes into a bit of perspective:

So prepare — if you’re of a certain age — for a warm nostalgic bath. In 1950, with TV sets in only 9% of homes, a British street of 100 houses could be relied on to buy 140 newspapers a day and 220 on Sunday.

In 2010, with each of those houses containing an average of 2.6 TVs, the same street bought just 40 papers a day, Monday to Sunday.

Some advertising revenues fled to TV as it developed in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but not in such great numbers as to ruin newspapers, which could still rely on huge circulation sales income.

In 1966, the Daily Mirror sold 5.1m copies a day, the Daily Express 4m and the Daily Telegraph 1.4m. Last month, those titles had circulations of 1.2m, 631,000 and 635,000 respectively.

It was one of the things that struck me on my first trip back to England in 1979 — although not as badly as the bone-chilling damp — was the profusion of newspapers available. I was used to Toronto, where you could get the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and the horrible little upstart pleb rag, the Toronto Sun. Seeing all the different papers was quite an eye-opener.

No wonder why he chose to title the post “Those were the days, my friends, we’d thought they’d never end…”

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