A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[PHOTO] Descent, St. Patrick on the northwest corner of University and Dundas

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Descent

This staircase leading into St. Patrick station, on the northwest corner of University Avenue and Dundas Street West, looked especially interesting last night.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm

[PHOTO] Projection onto 800 boulevard de Maisonneuve, Montréal

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Projection onto 800 boulevard de Maisonneuve

I saw this image projected onto the west side of 800 boulevard de Maisonneuve, facing the Place Émilie Gamelin. It seems to have been part of the city of Montréal’s ongoing Cité mémoire project, a bringing to life for everyone to see of places and events in the past of the metropolis.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 21, 2017 at 11:59 am

[CAT] Shakespeare in blankets, eye aglow

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Shakespeare in blankets, eye aglow #toronto #Shakespeare #cats #catsofinstagram #caturday

Written by Randy McDonald

January 21, 2017 at 11:21 am

Posted in Photo, Toronto

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[LINK] “‘Embrace change’: Canada cautioned to keep cool for Trump”

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CBC News’ Rosemary Barton shares the basic concern of Canadians with the new Trump Administration.

Half a world away from the festivities and protests taking place in the United States of America, the former Canadian prime minister managed to hit the nail on the head.

“The U.S. under [Donald] Trump will focus squarely on America’s vital interests, narrowly defined, especially its economic interests. This does not mean the U.S. will be unwilling to work with friends and allies, but only when such friends and allies are only ready to bring real assets to the table,” Stephen Harper told a forum in New Delhi, India.

Don’t take just Harper’s word for it.

The supporters who have descended on Washington this week trumpet that view. A town that embodies the very establishment they fought against, they have now claimed as their own. Hundreds of them are walking proudly down Pennsylvania Avenue clad in red ball caps with the words “Make America Great Again.”

Time and again Trump supporters talked about what they wanted for America: jobs, fewer regulations, more for the people who live here. The “already” was implied.

“We have to stop being a hotel for the world,” one man said while pulling a last drag on his cigarette. His 17-year-old daughter, who didn’t vote, but would have chosen Trump, stood by nodding in agreement.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Canada, Politics

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[LINK] “Kevin O’Leary says French can wait, he’s fluent in ‘language of jobs’”

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Global News’ Tania Kohut notes Kevin O’Leary’s argument that his lack of fluency in French won’t hurt him. It’s worth noting that the general consensus is that it will, badly.

Kevin O’Leary has no time for accusations he held off on launching his bid for the federal Conservative party leadership until after Tuesday’s French language debate.

The unapologetic O’Leary says his fluency in Canada’s third “official” language outshines all others — the language of jobs.

“There’s three official languages in Canada: There’s English, there’s French, and there’s the language of jobs,” O’Leary told Global News Wednesday.

“Now I’m sure I’m going to get better at French in the next two years, but I guarantee you when I do my first debate with Trudeau, he will remain illiterate in the language of jobs.”
O’Leary has no experience in politics, however, he is a self-made multi-millionaire businessman.

Some believe federal politicians should be able to speak both official languages; a Nielsen survey conducted last year for the Official Languages Commissioner found 86 per cent of Canadians agree the prime minister should be bilingual.

Although O’Leary was born in Montreal, he is not fluent in French. His lack of French skills didn’t stop O’Leary from stepping into the Tory leadership race on Wednesday, his sights set on being Canada’s next prime minister.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[LINK] “Why Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Is Not The Next Donald Trump”

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J. Maureen Henderson’s argument at Forbes that Kevin O’Leary is not Canada’s answer to Donald Trump, but rather that he’s more flexible and personable, can be read as reassuring and cause for concern all at once.

When you think of an ego-driven business mogul turned reality TV star with designs on the highest office in the land, it used to be only a single name came to mind. Not anymore. Following in the footsteps of Donald Trump, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary has decided to leverage his small screen fame for political gain, throwing his hat in the ring in the leadership contest of Canada’s Conservative Party earlier this week. In Canada’s parliamentary system, this means he’s competing to be the guy who acts as a thorn in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s side for the next several years. While this sounds like a thankless job, the self-proclaimed Mr. Wonderful has plenty of competition for the role.

It’s easy to draw parallels between O’Leary and Donald Trump. Both are tonsorially-challenged businessmen with a taste for self-aggrandizing who gained pop cultural prominence through star-making turns on reality TV hits (The Apprentice for Trump and Shark Tank for O’Leary) where they gleefully crush(ed) the dreams of ambitious contestants. While Trump is fond of calling perceived foes “haters” and “losers,” O’Leary has no qualms about dismissing entrepreneurs with untenable business ideas as “cockroaches” among other colorful terms. Both men claim to be killer deal-makers, but O’Leary, like Trump, has lowlights on his resume that are bound to come under renewed scrutiny now that he’s entering the political fray.

To dismiss Kevin O’Leary as Canada’s answer to Trump, however, is to do his carefully-cultivated persona a disservice. O’Leary knows he’s on Shark Tank to play the intimidating alpha with a cutting one-liner for every occasion and he relishes the role. He’ll claim to be a vampire. He’ll announce he’s wearing $900 underwear hand-sewn by Italian virgins. He’ll offer predatory deals that no one in their right mind would accept just to test the savviness of inexperienced entrepreneurs. The other Sharks defer to him and mock him in equal measure.

And while O’Leary isn’t shy about shouting down his fellow investors, he takes their ribbing of him in stride. Not an episode goes by where someone doesn’t call out his ego or bombast and he simply smiles or offers a chuckle. Unlike Trump and his Twitter tirades about critics, he doesn’t push back against shade, he embraces its ratings potential. It’s clear that O’Leary knows that his persona, however much it hews to or deviates from who he is off-screen, is good for business and you can see him frequently winking at this understanding.

Pro wrestling became one of the de facto metaphors for understanding the 2016 election season, with writers who likely hadn’t watched a match since childhood trying to paint Trump as a heel (wrestling parlance for the bad guy), without acknowledging that the era of pure heels and faces (the good guys) is largely over. The WWE roster is currently packed with characters who can’t easily be slotted into either camp, but who manage to blend a fairly complex (or complex for sports entertainment, anyway) combination of arrogance, athletic aptitude, sharp mic skills and occasional flashes of vulnerability to put themselves over with audiences — think of Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, etc. WCW’s NWO faction of the mid-to-late 90s deserves a lion’s share of the credit for creating the archetype of these neo-heels and their ability to bring smirking self-awareness and wit to the idea of stock bad guys and treat the crowd’s boos as if they were oxygen. If we’re sticking to pro wrestling as a political metaphor, O’Leary with his obvious glee in manipulating his Mr. Wonderful persona is much more of a modern heel than Donald Trump. When he films a Facebook video in which he brandishes a spatula and talks about scraping the “crap” out of Ottawa, he might as well be cutting an in-ring promo.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Canada, Economics, Politics

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[LINK] “Arlene Dickinson on Kevin O’Leary’s entry into Conservative leadership race”

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Businessperson Arlene Dickinson’s reaction at CBC to the idea of her Dragon’s Den co-star being a politician, marked by incredulity and concern, has been widely shared on Facebook. It deserves to continue to be shared.

Since announcing his candidacy for the leader of the Conservative Party, I’ve been inundated with requests to comment on Kevin O’Leary. The question on everyone’s mind is the same: “Is the cold, money-driven person we see on television what we will get as a potential political leader?”

It’s the exact same question I’ve received from Canadians from coast to coast since we co-starred on Dragons’ Den together.

And the answer is: Yes, he’s exactly the same person privately as he is on camera.

For seven years, I sat shoulder to shoulder with Kevin. We’d spend long hours together, listening to hardworking Canadian entrepreneurs pitch their businesses, which, all too often, led to real-life stories of enormous struggle.

You get a window into somebody’s character by the way they treat people, particularly those who are vulnerable and need help or guidance.

Kevin’s total lack of empathy toward these Canadians who put their heart and soul on the line, I can assure you, was genuine.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Canada, Economics, Politics

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