A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘holidays

[NEWS] Four links: post-strike education in Ontario, mummers of Newfounland, Vancouver, Mary Edelman

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  • News that one-tenth of Ontario college students dropped out during the recent strike is not surprising. The National Post reports.
  • Atlas Obscura shares photos of the mummers of Newfoundland and the backstory of this cultural phenomenon.
  • Making abandoned housing in the Vancouver neighbourhood of West Point Grey into student housing sounds great to me. Global News reports.
  • This obituary for Mary Edelman, long-time Toronto resident and repairer of the typewriters of famed authors, offers insight into a fascinating literary past. The Toronto Star has it.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Church and Wellesley, Ontario Place, Junction, Airbnb, Kleinburg

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  • Jenna Moon talks about her experience living and loving in a Church and Wellesley that is starting to feel dangerous, over at the Toronto Star.
  • Toronto Life notes the lights of the Winter at Ontario Place festival, transforming the west island into a fantastical array of shapes at night. I must go see it.
  • Toronto Life profiles Nations Experience, an immense supermarket in the former Target Canada space in the Junction’s Stockyards that looks to be as much a tourist attraction as a store.
  • One Toronto condo owner is interviewed criticizing the new restrictions on Airbnb. (I wonder what his neighbours think.) The Toronto Star reports.
  • In Kleinburg, in Vaughan region, the definition of “detached home” has been rewritten to better enable development. The Toronto Star reports.

[MUSIC] Robbie Robertson, “Ghost Dance”

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The song “Ghost Dance”, by Robbie Robertson, is the third track on his 1994 soundtrack album Music for the Native Americans. I first heard the song on MuchMusic, when I saw the video, and was caught by it. This song is as powerful now as it is when I first heard it more than two decades ago, in its promise of survival and rebirth.

You can kill my body
You can damn my soul
for not believing in your god
and some world down below

You don’t stand a chance
against my prayers
You don’t stand a chance
against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
but we shall live again,
we shall live again

Written by Randy McDonald

November 23, 2017 at 11:59 pm

[NEWS] Five GLBTQ links: gay Toronto musicians, Roy Moore, police, churches, Pride Toronto

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  • The Huffington Post has a nice list of some of the more high-profile LGBTQ musicians in Toronto from the 1960s on.
  • The virulent homophobia reported of Roy Moore’s supporters is upsetting, but not surprising. Global News reports.
  • While it is nice that Church and Wellesley is getting four dedicated neighbourhood police officers, some wonder whether these resources could be better spent elsewhere, in mental health for instance. Daily Xtra reports.
  • VICE reports on a new app, Church Clarity, intended to help queer people find queer-friendly churches.
  • The deficit of a half-million dollars reported by Pride Toronto, revenues dropping perhaps a consequence of last year’s controversies, is obviously not good. The Toronto Star reports.

[NEWS] Four queer links: trans IDs in Weimar Germany, Pride, Kevin Spacey, queer history

  • Atlas Obscura notes that remarkably forward-thinking IDs for trans people produced in Germany during the late Second Reich and the Weimar Republic.
  • Daily Xtra notes how Pride, in different Canadian cities, has (or has not been) corporatized in different ways.
  • This powerful essay by Alexander Chee at them.us asking what role Kevin Spacey can play, despite everything, in the gay community is a must-read.
  • VICE takes a look at some of the reasons queer history is finally getting mainstream attention, in pop culture and elsewhere.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

[PHOTO] The patriotic blue and gold, among others

The patriotic blue and gold, among others #toronto #ikea #ikeaetobicoke #flags #ontario #canada #sweden

I visited IKEA’s Etobicoke store yesterday with my visiting parents, down at Kipling and Queensway not far from the Gardiner. There, the Swedish flag was flying proudly alongside the flags of Ontario and Canada.

By happy coincidence, yesterday happened to be Gustavus Adolphus Day, an event commemorating the Swedish king of that day celebrated in the former realms of the Swedish empire.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

[LINK] “We’ve forgotten why we celebrate Halloween: to acknowledge death”

I quite like Daniel Richler’s essay in The Globe and Mail talking about how Halloween is fundamentally a frightful holiday.

For 50 years now, I have been offended by children dressing up at Halloween as sugar-plum fairies, ballerinas, cutesy Pokemon and the like, but no one’s ever taken my rantings seriously and now look: society’s knickers are in a knot, quite unnecessarily, over yet another fun and healthy tradition.

I was brought up with a respectful understanding of other peoples’ cultures and religions. I was taught the true meaning of this festival before it was appropriated by Cadbury, Wal-Mart, timid parents, identity-politics watchdogs and snowflakes across the land. And so, though I’m not a pagan (a closet goth, perhaps), I feel compelled, once again, to deliver my lecture.

The trouble began, I believe, with the dropping of the apostrophe. As with other attempts to address cultural clashes by exorcizing the lexicon, the Americanized “Halloween” has lost sight of both “Hallows” and “evening.” As we fret over whether kids should be allowed to wear sombreros, we forget that this was the night when a portal was briefly opened onto the dark side; when we welcomed the souls of the dead into our homes; when troubled, mischievous and evil spirits were let off the leash, not unlike letting your children tear about the garden to release some steam before bedtime. Think The Purge, for revenants.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 31, 2017 at 11:30 pm