Happy St. Patrick’s Day

On a train during a family vacation a few years back, with the carriage filled almost entirely by my large, chatty, argumentative, politically-charged American Irish Catholic family, my aunt-by-marriage explained to another by-marriage relative that it had taken her years to adjust to our style of conversation, which, according to her, consisted of endlessly assertingcontinue reading

I need a drink

More cocktails for the recession/depression, courtesy of the New Yorker online: Nasdaiquiri Add a dozen I.P.O.’s to portfolio, wait until bubble bursts, drink all day every day. BlackBerry Sling Discover that your BlackBerry doesn’t work because you haven’t paid the bill. Sling it against the wall, then buy a prepaid phone and make some rumcontinue reading

Why business television exists

The Globe’s John Doyle sums up one of the problems that plagues business television in his enjoyably tart column from Thursday: All-business television and business news segments had to create their own iconography, mainly because business news is essentially boring and difficult to illustrate. The natural, real-world imagery of business TV is footage of somecontinue reading

Fast melt

The current issues of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair both have good features on the end of Iceland’s short tenure as finance superpower. Both are worth reading, but if you only have time for one, Vanity Fair‘s piece, by Liar’s Poker author Michael Lewis, better captures the insanity that took hold: I spoke tocontinue reading

Graphological democracy

Democracy, Russia-style, from the Moscow Times: One of the most commonly used methods for eliminating undesirable candidates is to disqualify on “legal” grounds the authenticity of signatures that are required to register a candidate. “Handwriting experts” from the Interior Ministry find mistakes on lists submitted by opposition candidates, and this provides the pretext to disqualifycontinue reading

Toronto real estate gets real

Local real estate agents have assured would-be sellers that the real estate market will pick up in the spring, and judging by the number of new listings on MLS, many gullible (and/or cash-strapped) homeowners are taking them at their word. Guava.ca tracks the actual reduction in listing prices in Toronto (for single-family houses only) bycontinue reading

The kids are alright

Another day, another study showing that, all things considered, the kids are OK. Guess what? When kids play around with each other at school, they occasionally get hurt. Amazing, according to researcher Alison MacPherson: “When a mom or a dad sends their child off to school in the morning, they kind of expect them tocontinue reading

No place to hide

Public servants south of the border have more to fear than Rae Days. In Kansas, their pay cheques may be delayed; in California, they may not get a pay cheque at all as Governor Terminator does what he does best: Governor prepares to lay off 10,000 There’s a fair bit of obliviousness among civil servantscontinue reading

When localization fails

I got a little excited when I saw this month’s Atlantic Monthly on the newsstand. “The suburbs lose. The sun belt fades. Toronto wins. How the crash will reshape America,” touts the cover over a nighttime shot of Toronto seen from the lake. A little strange, granted, since Toronto is in Canada and there iscontinue reading