Archive for September, 2010

Close to real English

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

“The problem is with how close some houses are being built” – Newsreader, CHQR, AM 770, Calgary What happens when news copy is worse than bad ’40s comedy? Case in point, a very average radio show starring Chico Marx: Straightman – “You know Chico, you’re awfully close to an idiot.” Marx – “Well, just keep [...]

Stalking the wily bolete

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

While many crave the latest electronic stimuli, some of us have fallen victim to a deeper, primeval impulse – hunting and gathering. Before readers have visions of elk in the crosshairs or clouds of lead blasting upward from a duck blind, rest assured we are talking about something much humbler. Humble yes, but as welcome [...]

Extending stupidistics

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

“We have extended an invitation to all the mayoralty candidates, and have given the same extension to Barb.” – Mike Blanchard, host of afternoon talk on Calgary’s CHQR Mr. Blanchard is the glib host of AM 770′s afternoon “drive-home” program, interjecting often-smug commentary between the mattress and home security ads. He periodically interviews people in [...]

Lies, damn lies and…

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

The two sides in the gun registry debate are essentially engaged in a statistical, cost-benefit argument about the relative merits of registering fire-arms – with a whole lot of emotion and politics layered on. There is a basic contradiction in the pro-registry’s argument, or world-view, which I describe below. But first a review. The pro-registry [...]

Temporary illiteracy?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

“It can cause long-lasting damage, temporary, and everything in between” – Calgary Police spokespersonman How often do you think “I know what this person is trying to say, but it just didn’t come out right?” This policeman (“crime-fighter”?) was commenting on the arrest of a young man for blinding a plane’s flight crew with a laser [...]

MacLean’s in the middle

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

If you believe Lawrence Martin, MacLean’s magazine might be part of the right wing media conspiracy in Canada. To borrow a tired advertising slogan, “perspective is everything”. As Bernard Goldberg pointed out the other day on the O’Reilly Factor, for most journalists anything rightward of the centre is “conservative”, any thing leftward is “middle-of-the-road”. But [...]

Cap & Trade: A Boondoggle at any Price

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

My “Open Range” column from the September 2010 edition of Alberta Venture magazine: Bound to fail, guaranteed to waste money Of the ways suggested for Canada to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the most seductive is “cap and trade”. It’s hailed as being both effective at cutting emissions and economically efficient, minimizing costs while maximizing benefits. [...]