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[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs’ challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country’s history of emigration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn’s smaller moons.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus’ religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin’s famous quote about what parents do to their children.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children’s literature.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.

[URBAN NOTE] “CRYSTAL CLEARer”

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In The Globe and Mail, Alex Bozikovic looks at what plans for redoing the Bloor street entry of the Royal Ontario Museum mean.

The Crystal is flawed. The Royal Ontario Museum doesn’t want to put it that way, but that is the message of what it calls the “Welcome Project”: Its architectural transformation of a decade ago, which was meant to revive the Toronto institution, doesn’t work as it should.

That message was hidden in a piece of news this week from Canada’s most-visited museum. It plans to reopen the entrance in its 1932 wing, add a new ramp and broader stair, and reconfigure the rotunda inside as a lobby once again.

A small step, but it’s an appetizer for larger plans that include new plazas, an outdoor amphitheatre and renovations to the current lobby.

It’s good news for residents and visitors to Toronto: The region’s most popular and most democratic museum will be a more pleasant place to visit.

And it reflects a new focus for architecture in institutions such as this: not in making showpieces, but on the nuts and bolts of making places that work.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Beyond ­Galleria Mall”

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NOW Toronto‘s Joshua Sherman tells the story of a Jane’s Walk organized by Shari Kasman around the parking lots of Dufferin and Dupont.

“Thanks for coming to this beautiful parking lot on this beautiful, sunny day in Toronto.”

Shari Kasman is speaking into a red-and-white megaphone. And it’s not sunny at all. It’s a drizzly May 6 Saturday afternoon outside the Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont.

Kasman, a local artist and author, is starting her latest guided tour, Parking Lots & Parking Spots: Galleria Mall & Beyond. It’s one of nearly 180 that took place last weekend in Toronto as part of the annual Jane’s Walk festival, named for the late urban activist Jane Jacobs.

While other local Jane’s Walks explore the historic aspects of the city, this tour is dedicated to the unglamorous and utilitarian: where Torontonians in a small pocket of the west end park “from the perspective of a non-expert,” Kasman tells NOW ahead of the event, making it clear this tour is no joke.

She may not be a parking authority, but Kasman, who already has two other Galleria-based Jane’s Walks under her belt, has been busy reading up on the subject for the past few weeks.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO profiles Robert Burley’s lovely new photo book, An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands.
  • Border Thinking’s Laura Agustín looks at the New Orleans sex trade in the fiction of James Lee Burke.
  • Crooked Timber argues that philosophy majors are uniquely well-suited to being good citizens.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the point that American conservative voters are not monocausal.
  • Steve Munro notes that the TTC can count on delivering unreliable service, thanks in part to its concentration on terminals
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the fables of Syrian writer Osama Alomar.
  • Savage Minds looks at the very serious anthropology of Bronislaw Malinowski.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi announces his upcoming participation in the Robots vs. Fairies anthology.
  • Window on Eurasia argues a Russian annexation of the Donbas would be doable only in the aftermath of a wider Russian war against Ukraine.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
  • Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley’s Comet.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the “Apache” dancers of France.
  • Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity’s future.
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.
  • Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.
  • Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.
  • The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom’s own UDI.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.
  • Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France’s Alstom.
  • The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the “thanatopolitics” of the Republicans.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at Trump’s constitutional crisis.
  • Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States’ planetary science exploration budget.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at Argentina’s underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.
  • Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.
  • Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.

[PHOTO] Ten photos from TCAF 2017 (#tcaf)

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This morning, I headed over to Yonge and Bloor in order to take part in this year’s latest incarnation of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Cover #toronto #tcaf #comics

TCAF is a big event, spilling over from the Toronto Reference Library into the conference rooms of the Marriott Bloor Yorkville hotel to the east and north into the Masonic Temple.

Welcome to TCAF! #toronto #tcaf #comics

(We actually got to see the fifth-floor conference room in the Masonic Temple, a chamber that looked uncanilly like the Canadian Senate.)

Entering fifth floor, Masonic Temple #toronto #tcaf #masonictemple

Whiteboard #toronto #tcaf #masonictemple #whiteboard

The Reference Library was packed. By mid-afternoon, the temperature was still comfortable, but the milling crowds will surely change that.

Crowded #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary

Ascending #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #elevator

Looking down #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary

From the fourth floor #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary

Bram and Bluma Appel Salon #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #bramandblumaappelsalon

I ended up coming away lightly, buying only Toronto Comics Mini #1. This, one of the latest entries in the successful Toronto Comics Line, is a must-have.

Toronto Comics Mini #1, acquired #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #torontocomics #books

Written by Randy McDonald

May 13, 2017 at 8:02 pm