A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for August 2014

[PHOTO] Last Sunday on Hanlan’s Point Beach, Toronto Islands

I hadn’t been to the Toronto Islands for years, and so hadn’t sunned myself on Hanlan’s Point Beach. Last Sunday, I decided to go.

Walking down the path  #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #dunes

Walking down the path to the beach evoked Prince Edward Island for me.

Entering "Clothing-Mandatory Beach" #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #dunes

Signage is appreciated.

Scrub giving way to sand #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #dunes

The interface between the lightly forested dunes and the beach was nice.

Leaving the "Clothing-Mandatory Beach" #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches

Here, I was leaving the clothing-mandatory beach.

Under an umbrella #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #umbrellas

Hiding under the brim of another’s umbrella produced a photogenic moment.

Sand #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #sand

White sand is nice.

The yachts of Hanlan's #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #hanlanspoint #beaches #lakeontario #boats #yachts

Dozens of boats were docked just off of the beach shoreline.

Looking towards Etobicoke #toronto #Torontophotos #torontoislands #etobicoke #hanlanspoint #beaches #lakeontario #boats

The view of the Toronto skyline–here, I think I was looking towards Etobicoke–is grand.

Leaving the beach #toronto #torontophotos #torontoislands #beaches #hanlanspoint

And so I left.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm

[PHOTO] Stripped building, University and Kent, Charlottetown

Stripped building, University and Kent, Charlottetown

This December 2013 article from the Charlottetown Guardian mentions that the façade was taken off late last year, in preparation for a grant for a new façade. I suppose the grant has not yet come through.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 31, 2014 at 3:58 pm

[FORUM] Do you think Kazakhstan will be next after Ukraine?

This interesting item from Kazakhstan’s Tengrinews popped up somewhere on one of my feeds.

Anna Sazonova, a student of the People’s Friendship University of Russia expressed concern over escalating nationalism in Ukraine and asked whether a similar scenario could unfold in Kazakhstan if Mr. Nazarbayev left his presidential post. “There are concerns over growing nationalist sentiments in Kazakhstan’s south. And the incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev seem to be the only deferring factor. Should we expect a Ukraine-like scenario if the President steps down? Has Russia got a strategy to deal with this possible scenario? And what are the prospects of Eurasian integration (and joining of the two countries together)?” she asked President Putin at the forum.

“Kazakhstan is Russia’s closest strategic ally and partner. First of all, President Nazarbayev is blessed with strong health and has no plans of stepping down. Being a wise leader, he has always been thinking about his country’s future. (…) But when it comes to individual statements made on the Internet, it’s quite natural that the worldwide web harbors various viewpoints (…)

“Kazakhstan is ten-fold smaller than Russia in terms of population, but it is still a big country. And I am confident that a majority of its population supports development of close ties with Russia.

“Nazarbayev is a prudent leader, even the most prudent in the post-soviet space. He would never act against the will of his country’s people. He is very sensitive to the people’s anticipations. And everything that has been done owing to his managerial capabilities and political experience has served Kazakhstan’s interests.

“He has done a unique thing. He created a state in a territory that had never had a state before. The Kazakhs had no statehood. From this perspective, he is a unique figure both in the post-Soviet space and in Kazakhstan.

Registan blogger Nate Schenkkan suggests, based on his analysis of Putin’s speech, that we should be worried.

– Kazakhstan’s population is 17 million people, Russia’s is 143 million. It has taken a lot of work for Kazakhstan’s government to get the population to 17 million after it declined in the post-Soviet collapse. Putin knows the number isn’t 15 million. This is intended as a slight, as you can see from the “all the same it’s a very big country”. I heard this as, “Kazakhstan is a kind of pitiful place compared to Russia, but they have a lot of territory.”

– The statement that is getting the most attention: is У казахов не было никогда государственности is literally “The Kazakhs had never had statehood.” It is not “The Kazakhs have no state.”

– He always refers to “Kazakhs” not “Kazakhstanis” (казахи vs. казахстанцы). This gives the speech an ethnic tone. When he’s talking about Kazakhs never having statehood, he means the nomadic Kazakhs before the Russian Empire. This is a very live issue in Kazakhstan, where Kazakh nationalism based in pride in Kazakh history has been growing stronger and stronger. The speech will be incredibly inflammatory for Kazakh nationalism. Putin knows that.

– When he talks about the Eurasian Union and how it was Nazarbaev’s idea, he seems irritated. Since the Ukraine crisis started, Nazarbaev has been saying loudly that the EEU is not a political project, that it is only economic, and that Kazakhstan could leave if it doesn’t suit them. He watered down the treaty in May right before it was signed. There is no question if you watch the video that Putin is irritated with Nazarbaev’s behavior on the EEU. And when he says the EEU will be taken to its logical conclusion, I read that as meaning a political union.

In the past, Kazakhstan’s president has explicitly stated that Kazakhstan can’t push too hard else it risk invasion by Russia. This might well be seen as a public dressing down of Kazakhstan by Russia, as a warning that the country really can’t take anything for granted.


Written by Randy McDonald

August 31, 2014 at 3:43 am

[PHOTO] Dominion Building, Charlottetown, 2014

The Dominion Building, Charlottetown #princeedwardisland #pei #charlottetown #architecture #queenstreet #dominionbuilding

I blogged briefly about Charlottetown’s Dominion building using a photo from my 2013 visit (direct link here).

The Dominion Building, located on the southwest corner of Queen and Richmond in downtown Charlottetown, was built in the 1950s to serve as a headquarters for federal government work on Prince Edward Island. This brutalist building never fit in well with the more small-scale and traditional downtown of Charlottetown, and when the federal government moved its offices out a few years ago I expected the building might be torn down. Instead, in 2007 the building was transferred to the Canada Lands Company, which in 2010 sold the building to condo developers.

The Charlottetown Guardian‘s Dave Stewart reported in March of 2012 that tenants were starting to move in then. A quick search suggests that there have been some complaints, discussion forums about high prices (high for Charlottetown, maybe) and comments in least one blog post complaining about building issues.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

[PHOTO] Captain John’s Harbour Boat Restaurant in front of One Yonge Street

Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant in front of One Yonge Street #Toronto #Torontophotos #restaurants #captainjohns #boats #yongestreet #oneyongestreet

The boat visible Captain John’s Harbour Boat Restaurant, a converted Yugoslavian passenger ferry that became a floating restaurant in 1970. The restaurant thrived during the 1970s and 1980s but gradually declined, in the past decade entering bankruptcy and entering into a downward spiral as described by its overwhelmingly negative Yelp reviews before it was shut down in 2012. The most recent news is that the decrepit ship will soon be towed away and sold for scrap.

Behind Captain John’s is One Yonge Street, the brutalist 25-story office tower that is home to, among others, the Toronto Star.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm

[FORUM] What do you think of the escalating Russo-Ukrainian war?

I’ve never had a Friday [FORUM] before, as alliterative as the phrase sounds. Today’s escalation in fighting in Ukraine, to the point of near-open conflict between regular Ukrainian and Russian military forces, made it sounds like a good idea.

What do you think of what’s going on? Consider this an open thread.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • 3 Quarks Daily links to an article examining the plight of Iraqi immigrants in Arizona.
  • A Budding Sociologist’s Commonplace Book links to a discussion about the connection between the Coase Theorem and legroom on airplane flights.
  • blogTO notes a new townhouse development on Ossington above Dupont.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper examining the once-stable, newly-changing climate of northern Labrador.
  • Language Log notes that some Dalit in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh want to raise a monument to a goddess of the English language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that in the American situation, switching to a multi-party system wouldn’t make politics more responsive.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Japanese exports are substantially below their 2008 peak, and observes that remittances lower crime rates in Mexico.
  • More Words, Deeper Hole’s James Nicoll reviews an anthology of Andre Norton’s science fiction.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes that the search for SETI via optical signalling is newly ongoing.
  • Torontoist shares photos of the TTC’s new streetcars.
  • Towleroad links to a Gallup poll looking for the best and worst countries for non-heterosexuals around the world.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes contexts in which wearing Confederate flag T-shirts creates a hostile work environment, and links to an American judge’s scathing criticism of two states’ gay marriage bans.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the mobilization of Buddhists, lists potential Russian military targets in Ukraine, and suggests that a Russian war effort in Ukraine will be problematic.

[PHOTO] Walking down Queen Street, Charlottetown

Walking down Queen Street, Charlottetown #princeedwardisland #pei #charlottetown #queenstreet

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm

[PHOTO] Queen Anne’s Lace by the sidewalk, Dupont near Dovercourt

Queen Anne's Lace by the sidewalk, Dupont near Dovercourt #toronto #Torontophotos #dupontstreet #dovercourtroad #flowers #queenanneslace  #Dovercourtpark

Daucus carota is a pretty plant that can grow anywhere. This particular clump has shot up from a thin margin of land between the edge of the sidewalk and a wire fence.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

[MUSIC] The Kate Bush Story: Running up That Hill

Joe. My. God. alerted me to the existence of a new Kate Bush documentary by the BBC, The Kate Bush Story: Running up That Hill.

KATE BUSH – The Kate Bush Story (2014 BBC Documentary) from Videodrome Discothèque on Vimeo.

Lucy Mangan’s review in The Guardian doesn’t do it justice. This hour-long show does a brilliant job of explaining where Kate came from and why she’s so important.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2014 at 3:52 am