Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the Fence Book Club

Here are some (very brief) thoughts on a few books I have read (or not read) lately. Yes, you're right, I'm just blogging this to show that I actually read the occasional book and not just blogs, Slate articles about meat and The People. Look at me! I have a library card!

Atonement by Ian McEwan:

This is probably the only novel about writing novels that I would actually recommend unreservedly. I went through a pro-pomo phase, then an anti-pomo phase, but I think now I can judge a book on its merit whether pomo is a gogo or a nono.

I suppose Atonement is not about writing novels really, though, but more about how we all write the novel of our life in our heads. It's also about Dunkirk and working in a hospital in World War II and a hot (and only slightly implausible) love scene in a library. What I'm amazed by is McEwan's ability to make a chapter about children at play as suspenseful as the climax of a spy novel.

Also: I like that childhood is not equated with innocence and purity in Atonement. In a way, the book is about growing up and how it is a good thing to do so. Not something you get in most romanticized accounts of youth.

Oh, I cried at the end too. I'm tearing up a bit just thinking about it really.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby:

Yes, clearly I'm trying to catch up on my British fiction. I enjoyed this muchly, if only because the protagonist's record store is in Crouch End and so am I... er, if I walk for 15 minutes.

I think every woman should read this book. Wait, scratch that... Hide this book from every woman!

Books I took out of the library and returned without finishing, part of my new plan to only read books that I'm enjoying: Yellow Dog by Martin Amis and Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie.


What I'm almost finished reading right now: How Happy To Be by Katrina Onstad. (Not to be confused with How to Be Good by Nick Hornby.) Yes, clearly I'm also trying to catch up my Canadian books written by ex-employees of the National Post.

Wait... maybe I should write a book. And develop a consistent style for what I bold and italicize on my blog. Nah...

Other things I like that aren't books:

1. 24. Yes, I'm downloading it ahead after it airs in North America rather than suffering the three-week (at least) delay for it to appear on British television. Sorry Sky One, but get with the globalized world.

2. Camille. Oh my god, what an awesometastic album!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Best. French Presidential Election. Ever.

Check it: www.discosarko.com

And in other surreal French election news:
[Ségo] Royal's supporters, following an example set by the extreme-right National Front party, this month opened an office in ``Second Life,'' a virtual world where users create avatars, move about, chat, buy land, build homes and do business.

``Come in large numbers and you'll find me there,'' Royal said in an online video posting to inaugurate the virtual headquarters, which drew a steady stream of visitors last week.

The ``Second Life'' presence of the anti-immigration, ultra-nationalist National Front has prompted protests and even violent virtual clashes between supporters and opponents.

One group of players - who call themselves ``Second Life Left Unity'' - moved in next to the National Front's office and vowed to carry out protests there ``until FN go or are ejected.''

The National Front later moved to another section of the virtual world because, they say, their new premises are more spacious.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another Royal blunder.

French comedian pretending to be Jean Charest: C'est comme si nous on disait: il faut que la Corse soit indépendante.

Ségolène Royal: Les francais ne seraient pas contre ! (En riant de vive voix)

Not Jean Charest: Ah oui --

Ségolène Royal: Ne repetez pas cela. Cela va encore faire un incident en France. C'est secret.

UnCharest: Non non, bien sûr...

Keep on diggin', Ségo. This is fun.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Headline Quiz.

One of these headlines is from The Onion and the other is from the Washington Post website. Can you figure out which is which without hovering your mouse pointer over the link?

Scientists Can't Get Sloth to Move - link

Nation's Snowmen March Against Global Warming - link

We're going all quizzes all the time here at OTF...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Razzies Quiz.

In honour of Little Man being nominated for seven Razzies (the same number as Basic Instinct II, which I had the pleasure of seeing on Tuesday night), On the Fence offers up a surprise exam on the Wayans brothers' latest instant classic, originally given in the National Post when the movie was released. Don't worry, the answers are included.

Hello class and welcome to the final exam for Ryerson University's African-American Cinema Seminar 412: Keenan Ivory Wayans' Little Man. Please keep your eyes on your own sheets or you will get an automatic failure and have to repeat the class. (Note: You will have to watch Little Man again if you repeat.)

Section A --

Short Answer

1. Describe the premise of Little Man without snorting in derision.

After a diamond heist goes awry, a pint-sized hood named Calvin (a CGI-shrunken Marlon Wayans) hides the bling he stole in the bag of a passing couple in order to evade the cops. To get the precious jewel back, he disguises himself as a baby and leaves himself on the couple's doorstep. (Where a passing dog urinates on him, but that's neither here nor there.)

As it happens, Darryl (Shawn Wayans), the male half of this middle-class Chicago couple, really wants to have a baby, but his wife Vanessa (Kerry Washington from Ray) just got a promotion at work and wants to wait. He convinces her that they should keep Calvin over the weekend until the can go to Child and Family Services on Monday. But the goons who hired Calvin to steal the diamond in the first place want their loot ...

2. What classic American film most obviously influenced Little Man?

The Merrie Melodies cartoon Baby Buggy Bunny. In this Chuck Jones-directed short written by Michael Maltese, midget gangster "Babyface" Finster loses his baby carriage full of stolen merchandise down Bugs Bunny's rabbit hole and must disguise himself as a tot to retrieve the loot. Released in 1954, a year before Rebel Without a Cause, Baby Buggy Bunny may have been the first 1950s film to tackle the hot-button issue of juvenile delinquency.

3. Name two things that distinguish Little Man from your typical low-brow American comedy.

One: The male protagonist Darryl actually yearns for the responsibilities of fatherhood. This is genuinely refreshing.

Two: The first father-son outing Darryl and baby Calvin go on is a trip to a professional hockey game. There, pint-sized Calvin drinks several baby-sized pints of beer, burps a lot and starts a brawl. But still: hockey!

4. Name three jokes in Little Man that got old a long time ago.

One: A dirty-mouthed old man. In this case Vanessa's father, who delivers such zingers as, "My sperm have fallen and I can't get up."

Two: A Barney-inspired children's character who gets beaten up.

Three: Rob Schneider, who cameos as a Barney-inspired children's entertainer.

Section B -- Multiple choice

1. Which of the following items hits Darryl in the crotch during Little Man? a) A T-ball bat; b) A toy rocket; c) A toy airplane; d) All of the above.

Answer: D.

2. What is the highest grossing film ever directed by an African American? a) Do The Right Thing; b) Boyz N the Hood; c) Waiting to Exhale; d) Scary Movie.

Answer: D. Keenan Ivory Wayans' horror spoof, co-written with his brothers (like Little Man), earned US$260-million worldwide.

3. What Wayans films have been hits at the box office?

a) Scary Movie 2; b) White Chicks; c) Little Man; d) All of the above.

Answer: We won't know for sure until Monday, but let's assume D. [Note: This exam was given on the day of the film's release. Little Man went on to become the 52nd most successful film in the U.S. in 2006 (earning approx USD $56.6m at the box office), just a smidge behind Little Miss Sunshine at number 51.]

4. What can critics do about this? a) Write critical reviews that will discourage readers from seeing Little Man; b) Write positive reviews about clever, thoughtful independent films to encourage people to watch them instead;

c) Cry like a baby over the impotence of the modern film critic.

Answer: C.

Section C -- Short Essay

1. Are there any reasons why anyone who isn't a teenage boy would actually want to see this film?

Well, in truth, it is somewhat funny to see Marlon Wayans' face on a little body. And, child-abuse and pedophilia humour aside, Little Man is actually a fairly moral movie, reflecting the strong family values of the Wayans clan and promoting the importance of fatherhood. Early in the film, we learn that Calvin turned to a life of crime partly because he didn't have a father growing up. Later, over a late-night snack of hot milk, Darryl pours his heart out to his surrogate son about his anxieties and hopes for his family. Does he have what it takes to be a father? Or will he end up abandoning his baby on someone else's porch, so to speak? "I would never abandon my child," Darryl decides.

Then, Darryl and Calvin realize that they are drinking breast milk and spit it all over the place.

1.5 stars
Tim Gardner.

The B.C.-based painter has an exhibit on at the National Gallery here in London. Ooh la la. Read my article about it on the Maclean's site. And on the 680 News site. And the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, etc, etc... It's fun to freelance for Canadian Press!
Big Honking Breasts.

Found myself at the Canadian High Commission tonight, as us expats sometimes do, talking to two people who work at Horse & Hound. (Yes! The Horse and Hound magazine. It actually exists.)

So, one of the two -- after a couple o' glasses of a Niagara region wine -- told a story about being stuck in London traffic recently and some idiot behind her honking obnoxiously. After thirty seconds of keeping her cool, she finally lost it and started making an obscene gesture at the loser behind her.

The honking continued, however. So, she made more obscure gestures.

It was only a couple of minutes later that she realised that, in fact, the car behind her was not honking. Her breasts were pressing into her own horn and she hadn't noticed.

So, yes. The punchline is the title of this post.

True story. She swears.

This post is for Sarah Marchildon who wants me to blog more about life in London. There you go.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lie Lady Lie.

Screw you, Bob Dylan. You've lied about grammar for too long.
Cinematic Schadenfreude.

Like bad films? Like making fun of bad films? Try the Bad Film Club. I'm going to the screening of Basic Instinct II tonight in Brixton, if ya'll want to come along.

(Remember when everyone used to use the word schadenfreude all the time? Ah, the early noughts.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Headlines that confuse me, Part I.

Apes may be primary winners as Canada battles Ebola: The Globe and Mail online.

This article is about how "Great Apes could be among the early beneficiaries of groundbreaking work scientists from Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory are doing to develop a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus."

But when it turned up in my RSS feed, I thought: Oh no! There's been an outbreak of Ebola in Canada and only the apes will survive!

I, perhaps, have been watching too much Celebrity Big Brother, which, if you are reading this is Canada, you may not know is a matter of the utmost importance to foreign relations here in the U.K.
Sunday Reading.

Well, Sunday reading if you're my mother wondering what I've been writing lately, anyway. (Hi mom!)

- Drowsy Chaperone composers Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison take on the Mayor of London's anti-pigeon policies... in song! Includes a bonus mp3 of Georgia Engel singing the paean to pigeons, A Breadcrumb Now and Then. (See how I'm becoming a journalist of the 21st Century?)

- Follow the bouncing meme: On January 5, the National Post published my interview with Jerry Haleva, the California lobbyist who has moonlighted as a Saddam Hussein impersonator in such movies as Hot Shots! Part Deux and The Big Lebowski. ("I have been getting a good deal of questioning about whether my career is permanently over... I think it's going to slow significantly, but the reports of Jerry Haleva's hanging are greatly exaggerated.") On Friday, after a bit of hang time, The Sun here in London reported on it. Then, the story spread to India...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Playing Hide the Sausage.

Slate investigates why meat is the most shoplifted item in America.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Drowsy Broverman.

- Just when you thought you were safe to check this blog... The Drowsy Chaperone is coming to the West End. We knew that already, but now it's all official like.

- Congratulations to my old co-blogger Alison Broverman for winning the Toronto Fringe Festival's New Play Contest. Brove's good people and we're sorry we're going to miss it being on this side of the Atlantic and all.

It fell on this dude's car
Originally uploaded by uncascrooge.
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my [blond] head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, and germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!


[That's my room, two bay windows up from the car's front bumper. The city has come to clear it up now and I can once again get at my bicycle in the shed. Here are some more pictures.]

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My S.O.B. Story.

Um... So I had the tickets all along. I just found them cleaning up.

Wah! I'm such an idiot....
Not too cool for school.

This is pretty classy. The Arcade Fire will be playing their first live gig in over a year on Friday -- in the cafeteria at Canterbury High School, the excellent Ottawa-area arts school. This is a bit of a change from their last show, which was opening for U2 at Montreal's Bell Centre in November of 2005.

AF guitarist/percussionist Richard Parry is a Canterbury grad (so many great Canadian musicians, actors and artists are) and the concert is a fundraiser for the Canterbury Arts Centre Development Association. Tickets are on-sale today and tomorrow at lunch. Don't go mobbing the school, though -- the tix are only being sold to students, grads and CACDA members.

After Canterbury, it's on to five-night, sold-out-in-seconds stands in London, Montreal and New York for the band...
My boss story.

Good news, re: my sob story. The fellow I traded tickets with contacted Ticketmaster and they say they can reissue the tickets on the day of the performance. Hoorah for technology! Back in the day, a ticket was a ticket, but now they can deactivate the old ones and print a couple new ones... Losers like me everywhere: rejoice!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Prairie Populism.

Old Dutch fans (Laureen?) may enjoy this old ad on YouTube.

And while we're at it: An old Winnipeg Jets promo.
Whew... Things are getting back to normal.

Montreal expecting temperatures between -40 C and -280 C this week: Le Journal de Montreal.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My sob story.

To make a long story short: Getting up early a few months ago, I managed to purchase tickets to the Arcade Fire show here in London on January 30. Later on, I realised that I actually needed tickets to the January 29th concert.

So, I went to the Arcade Fire fansite and offered to switch two tickets to the concert on the 30th for two tickets on the 29th. A kind fellow named Romain offered to make the switch.

So, this Friday, yesterday, I went down to meet Romain and we exchanged tickets. I got home about two hours later and patted my pocket: the tickets were missing.

Somewhere between Liverpool tube station and my home in Finsbury Park, I lost two tickets to see the Arcade Fire on January 29 in London. I retraced my steps, but could not find them.

I hereby post this plea on my blog on the off chance that:

a) Someone in London has found my tickets. If you happened to find two tickets on Friday, please drop me an e-mail at jkelly - at - gmail.com. I would be happy to give you one of the tickets and a reward; or

b) Someone has an extra ticket to the Jan. 29 concert I could buy off them. Has to be the 29th, I'm afraid.

Thanks!
I'm a sad ticket-losing idiot! A truly lousy start to the weekend...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Meeting People Is Easy when you're reading Paul Wells in public...

If you read Right Side Up -- Maclean's columnist Paul Wells' account of the rise of Stephen Harper and the fall of Paul Martin -- while eating pizza in London, strangers will talk to you. This has happened 100% of the times I have brought it out with me to consume a pie of an evening.

The first time, in a Pizza Express (nice restaurant chain even though it sounds like a fast-food chain) in Wapping, a middle-aged woman came over with a pen and paper and said, "What book is so good that you didn't look up once despite being surrounding by screaming children?"

I said, "Uh, you won't be interested. It's a book about Canadian politics."

"Oh." But she still insisted on getting the title. We chatted a bit; it was pleasant.

That was two weeks ago. Tonight (I'm a slow reader and I got caught up in High Fidelity; sue me), I was at La Porchetta, a friendly joint near by flat with cartoon pigs in the window, and once again engrossed in Right Side Up. A man named Pete, tipsy as all Londoners are if they're out after 9 p.m., leaned over and asked me what I was reading while his girlfriend was in the bog (that's washroom to you, Canadians). Anyway, said girlfriend, it turned out, was a) named Belinda, and b) from near Ottawa. Soon, I was invited out for a drink at this amazing pub, The Faltering Fullback, that's quite near where I live, but hidden away on a side street. New friends... for an evening anyway.

That's all I have to say about the book at the moment. I'll reserve judgement until it's finished. I'm still enjoying it by page 248, mind.
A bicycle built for nine.

Check out artist Robert Wechsler's bicycle carousel. Neat! O! [via Zeke's Gallery, or his Facebook anyway.]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On a Wire.

Is anyone else a little unnerved by all these stories about people stealing metal that are suddenly in the news? First, there was the bronze statue of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko stolen from an Oakville park, all but the head melted down at a scrapyard. Then, there was the Montrealer who was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire from a Hydro-Québec tower. And now three men have been arrested for dismantling and walking away with a shiny new set of aluminium bleachers on Vancouver Island.

Apparently, this is only the tip of the iceberg as the price of metals skyrockets due to Chinese demand for base metals.

I suppose I'm just worried because I've been watching the first season of the brutal HBO series Rome and now I'm picturing thieves cutting out people's teeth for the fillings...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Now this, I want to see...

Robert Lepage will direct Wagner's Ring Cycle at the New York Met in 2010-2011. Canadian tenor Ben Heppner will play Siegfried.

(I almost made this a CBC Arts Headline Watch: 2 Canadians in the Met's new staging of the Ring. I mean, they could've used the same headline if there were two Canadians in the chorus. Also, spell it out: two. Are they text-messaging in the headlines now?)
Concordia safe and sound.

It's unsettling to see pictures of tactical police a few blocks away from my home in Montreal... But I'm relieved that it was a false alarm that sent the cops to Concordia University's Loyola campus today and that no harm has come to anyone. Better safe than sorry. When in doubt, etc, etc.

I am a little displeased, however, to see Loyola described as "the suburban campus of Montreal's Concordia University" by CP. N.D.G. ain't no suburb, yo. It is, as the Concordia Web site properly puts it, "residential west-end Montréal."

This is like how I have to explain that Montreal West is not the West Island all the time...
The Revolution Will Not Be YouTubed.

For the National Post's Cultural Lessons series -- a look at what we learned from pop culture in 2006 -- I wrote about the latest in a long line of world-changing Internet phenomena: YouTube. Thought I'd post it up here in the blogosphere where it will be more likely to be disagreed with...

Remember that Bruce Springsteen song 57 Channels (And Nothing On)? How quaint. I don't imagine he pulls that one out at concerts anymore.

Not that I have any business talking back to the Boss, but may I suggest a tweaking of the lyrics to reflect the brave new couch potato reality of 2006? How about: Sixty-Five Thousand New Video Uploads Daily To You Tube (And They're All Reruns).

Yes, the world-shattering Internet phenomenon of 2006 was surely You Tube, that online repository of videos of pandas sneezing, experiments documenting the effect of Mentos on Diet Coca-Cola and clips from last night's episode of the Late Late Show with that Scottish Guy. Forget Wikipedia, My Space or that dude who slowly but surely bartered his way from a paperclip to a house; this year You Tube really cornered the market on unnecessary media coverage of online ephemera.

How often did Canadian journos write about You Tube this year? Well, in the first three months of the year, the video-sharing site was mentioned in a mere 21 articles in the CanWest chain of newspapers. In the following three months, 55 articles from the same set of papers name-checked You Tube. From August to the end of October, that number quintupled to 287. And in the last three months, there have been 500 mentions and counting! [UPDATE: Final count, including this article, for the last three months of 2006 was 625.]

Is You Tube really worth all that spilt ink? Google did buy the site for US$1.65-billion worth of stock in November, a flashback to the heady days of Bubble 1.0. But what about the rest of You News?

You Tube, you may remember, first appeared on media radar screens when the Saturday Night Live sketch "Lazy Sunday" was posted and viewed more than five million times. This seems more a sad reflection on the state of SNL than evidence of You Tube's newsworthiness. ("This Just In: SNL Actually Makes A Funny Joke!") As for the drama that ensued when NBC asked for the clip to be taken down, it was just one more chapter in the mind-numbing, never-ending war against online copyright violators.

Another "big" You Tube story this year was the revelation that the video diaries of one Lonelygirl15 were fake. But that was already clear to everyone but the poor souls who forward spam convinced Bill Gates will personally buy them a pony for each person cc-ed. And it was hard to get worked up about another Internet hoax after more than a decade of them. Likewise, the news that Hollywood agents were scouting You Tube for fresh talent just seemed like a remake of the stories about bloggers getting book deals.

Even the You Tube jokes seem stale: A popular video about male restroom etiquette simply recycled an old gag that has been passed around by e-mail since the days when it was unironically called the Information Superhighway.

Plus ca change, plus it's the same meme.

You Tube's effect on politics also illustrated the diminishing returns of new Internet phenomena. Circulation of John Kerry's badly phrased joke about Bush -- the one that made it seem as if he believed the U.S. Army were comprised of "special" forces -- was going to be You Tube's Rathergate. But, in the end, it paled in comparison to the Swift Boating bloggers gave Kerry a couple of years before, and the Democrats actually won for once.

Back in the day, bloggers took down Senator Trent Lott for wistfully remembering the days of segregation. So far, You Tube's only fallen racist has been Michael Richards, an already washed-up television comic.

It used to be that each new Internet trend came with a utopian dream attached. Blogs will topple the corporate media oligarchies! Wikipedia will make all the knowledge of the world accessible to everyone! With Lavalife, surely even I can get a date!

But while You Tube may be a great archive of dotsam and netsam, that it has brought the power of broadcasting to middle-class teens who enjoy lip-synching to Jessica Simpson is not something I can get worked up about. It's given me a few laughs at white dudes rapping, sure, but I can't help feeling that there's still nothing on, Brucey, my boy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wajid Khan: Now even more unrepresentative of his constituents!

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde

I can never work up any righteous indignation when an MP crosses the floor. In Canada, we elect human beings to parliament, not automatons. Deal with it.

Usually, the reason people get upset about the old MP switcheroo is that it is a betrayal of the wishes of his or her constituents. But, in truth, our system of government already discounts the wishes of the majority of Canadian voters.

Take Liberal-turned-Conservative Wajid Khan. (Please!) The majority of his constituents didn't vote for a Liberal anyway. In Mississauga-Streetsville in 2006, 34.8% of those who voted voted Conservative, 13.3% voted NDP, 4.5% voted Green, and 1.4% voted Progressive Canadian, whatever that was.

So 54.1% of voters in his riding were unhappy before. Now, 65.2% are unhappy. This is not something I can get worked up about, especially with a chance to throw him out coming up in a few months. Even the Liberals don't seem that upset about it...

If we want to be even more cynical, consider that voter turnout in Mississauga-Streetsville in 2006 was 64.8%. (That's just .1% lower than the national average, by the by.) Apparently, 35.2% of Khan's constituents don't care what party their MP belongs to.

If you do the math then, 57.8% of Khan's constituents are likely either pleased by or indifferent to his party jump. That's the majority of Mississauga-Streetsvilleans.

If we want candidates to stick to party lines, well, maybe we should change our system so we vote for parties instead of people. You know, a little something called proportional representation? Then, when someone crosses the floor, we'll have something to howl about...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Streets.

I can't remember if I've come out against the renaming of Montreal's Avenue du Parc on this blog yet, or if I've just joined the anti-Avenue Robert-Bourassa Facebook group. Regardless: No fence-sitting here, it's a dumb, backwards idea. (Just when we should be celebrating the Cinema du Parc's return, too!)

Lysiane Gagnon has an article in La Presse today urging the renaming opponents not to throw in the sponge -- towel, that is, in English -- but some of her reasoning is a bit skewiff. She says that New York never renames its streets and avenues, and Paris neither. That's just wrong. Take a look at this page and you'll see that almost every week in 2004 a street in New York was renamed after a firefighter who died on 9/11. As for Paris, the last big street-renaming kerfuffle was in 2003 when part of the right bank of the Seine was rechristened Quai François Mitterrand.

So, it's not "provincialism" as Gagnon writes. Montreal does seem to be particularly prone to jumping the gun on street renaming, though. Gagnon reminds of the strange case when the street Acadian writer Antonine Maillet lived on in Outremont was renamed avenue Antonine-Maillet -- while she was still living on it.

My favourite street renaming fiasco was one a Bill 101 baby. Mountain Street near McGill University was accidentally renamed during translation to rue de la Montagne -- nobody realised that the street was not named after the mountain, but after Bishop Mountain, co-founder of Bishop's University and President of McGill from 1829 to 1835.

The only uncontroversial Montreal street renaming I can remember was when they named an alley on Crescent Street after the late journalist/boulevardier Nick auf Der Maur. Everytime drunk people wander into its dark recesses to pee, puke or poke, it's a fitting tribute to the man known for his bon-vivant escapades. (One anecdote retold by Mordecai Richler: "Nick once told me that years ago he and Conrad Black, out on the town, inadvertently repaired to a gay bar for drinks. Taken for unwelcome intruders, they were asked to leave, but an irate Black insisted on their democratic right to stay as long as they pleased. And so they did.")

Language is politics in Montreal, so it makes sense that every street renaming will be the subject of heated debate. Changing Park to Robert-Bourassa seems to me a real travesty, though. I hope the Commission de Toponymie reverses the city council's decision.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Non à 2007!

Ah, the French.