A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘oddities

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Anthrodendum offers resources for understanding race in the US post-Charlottesville.
  • D-Brief notes that exoplanet WASP-12b is a hot Jupiter that is both super-hot and pitch-black.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining various models of ice-covered worlds and their oceans’ habitability.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the value placed by society on different methods of transport.
  • Far Outliers looks at how Chinese migrants were recruited in the 19th century.
  • Hornet Stories notes that the authorship of famously bad fanfic, “My Immortal”, has been claimed, by one Rose Christo.
  • Marginal Revolution notes one explanation for why men are not earning more. (Bad beginnings matter.)
  • Peter Watts has it with facile (and statistically ill-grounded) rhetoric about punching Nazis.
  • At the NYR Daily, Masha Gessen is worried by signs of degeneration in the American body politic.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg maps the strength of Ukrainian political divisions in 2006 and 2010.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is afraid what AI-enabled propaganda might do to American democracy in the foreseeable future.
  • Roads and Kingdoms notes an enjoyable bagel breakfast at Pondichéry’s Auroville Café.
  • Drew Rowsome celebrates the introduction of ultra-low-cost carriers for flyers in Canada.
  • Strange Company notes the 19th century haunting of an English mill.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Crimean Tatars, and Muslims in Crimea, are facing more repression.
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[PHOTO] On the half house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue

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Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (1) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (2) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (3) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

The strikingly halved house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue, lone survivor of what was a stretch of row houses on this street north of Queen Street West and just a couple minutes’ walk west from University Avenue, has received international attention, from sites like Atlas Obscura and Amusing Planet. In April of 2013, blogTO’s Chris Bateman explained how this building came to be and just how it managed to survive.

The row of houses was built between 1890 and 1893 on what was first Dummer Street, then William Street, then, finally, St. Patrick Street. The names of the roads in this part of the city area have been shuffled more than most: St. Patrick Street used to refer to the stretch of road that’s now part of Dundas west of McCaul; McCaul used to be William Henry Street, then West William Street, for example.

For much of its past the street was blighted by poverty. Early photos show severe faces, crumbling wall cladding, and backyards strewn with detritus. More recently the area between University and Spadina has been home to a large Chinese community.

Starting in 1957, most of the block bound by Queen, McCaul, St. Patrick, and Dundas Street was purchased in pieces by Windlass Holdings Ltd., the company that developed the Village by the Grange, sometimes using aggressive tactics to secure land deeds.

The owner of 54 St. Patrick Street – once part of the original terrace – complained to the Toronto Star that the company’s actions were “an extreme example of blockbusting,” claiming he had received over 300 directives on his property in a single year.

Despite some resistance, the owners of the homes sold up at different times, and the row was pulled down in pieces like tooth extractions. The sole-survivor pictured here was once in the third house in the row from the south – the similar buildings next door are a later addition built on top of a laneway.

Instead, the company demolished its neighbour to the north with surgical precision, ensuring not even the woodwork on the facade of the hold-out building was disturbed. An internal supporting wall became a blank exterior when the house next door came down.

Also in 2013, Patty Winsa wrote in the Toronto Star about the house from the perspective of its current owner.

The 120-year-old residence at 54 ½ St. Patrick St. bears the scars of a development battle.

The Victorian row house was awkwardly severed from its neighbour in the 1970s when the owners refused to sell, and it lacks the symmetry of another side.

It is literally “half a house,” says its current owner, Albert Zikovitz, laughingly from his adjacent office in the Cottage Life Magazine building. “Everybody looks at it.”

The house is one of a few single-family homes left on the densely packed street near Queen and University. But Zikovitz, who purchased the house last year after the owner went into a retirement home, says he won’t tear it down.

“I love the house,” says Zikovitz, who is president of the magazine. Plans are in the works this year to restore the exterior of the building and turn the interior into office space.

Work was being done on the house when I passed by Tuesday evening. Here’s to hoping this anomaly survives: the reflexive double-take of passersby is fun.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • At Anthrodendum, P. Kerim Friedman talks about the technologies he uses to help him navigate Chinese-speaking Taiwan.
  • Dead Things notes new dating showing the Neanderthals of Vindija cave, in Croatia, were much older than thought.
  • Far Outliers takes a brief look at the history of Temasek, the Malay polity that once thrived in Singapore.
  • Hornet Stories shares photos from New York City’s Afropunk festival.
  • Imageo shows the scale of the devastating wildfires in the western United States, with satellite photos.
  • Language Hat looks at the sort of mistakes characteristic of medieval manuscripts written in Latin and Greek.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Trump’s revocation of DACA and the harm that will face the Dreamers. I am so sorry.
  • Maximos62 looks at a new book examining how biologists, including Darwin and Wallace, came to draw a borer between Asia and Australia.
  • Peter Rukavina blogs about his visit to Wheatley River’s Island Honey Wine Company. (Mead, it seems.)
  • Strange Company takes a look at the life of violent war-mongering British eccentric Alfred Wintle.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the very poor state of sex education in Russia’s education system.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Charley Ross reflects on the story of Carla Vicentini, a Brazilian apparently abducted from New Jersey a decade ago.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog reflects on the concept of anomie.
  • Far Outliers looks at the southwest Pacific campaigns of 1942, and reflects on Australian-American tensions in New Guinea in the Second World War.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects briefly on the disaster in Houston.
  • The Map Room Blog links to two interesting longform takes on maps in fantasy.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the extent to which urban policy has contributed to Houston’s issues.
  • Roads and Kingdoms tells the story of a Shabbat celebration in Zimbabwe, and of the country’s Jewish community.
  • Strange Company tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of Lieutenant Paul Byron Whipkey. What was done to him?
  • Unicorn Booty reports on how the Supreme Court of India has found people have a legal right to their orientation.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the growing number of Russian citizens with Chinese connections.
  • Arnold Zwicky talks about Tom Bianchi’s vintage Fire Island photos.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links, from the $15 wage to parking lots, cow statues, and Jamaican patois

  • Torontoist takes on Galen Weston and the $15 minimum wage and poverty in Toronto (and Loblaw’s contribution to said).
  • At the Toronto Star, Shawn Micallef describes how high property values in Toronto discourage open-air parking lots.
  • Noor Javed looks, in Toronto Star, at the question of who authorized the cathedral elevated cow statue in Cathedraltown, in Markham.
  • The Star‘s Fatima Syed shares some old memories of Torontonians of the Centreville carousel, soon to be sold off.
  • At The Globe and Mail, Dakshana Bascaramurty takes a look at Jamaican patois, Toronto black English, and the many complex ways in which this language is received.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Charley Ross reports on an unexpected personal involvement in the disappearance of Kori Gossett. Did an informant know?
  • Citizen Science Salon reports, in the time of #sharkweek, on the sevengill sharks.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an article on the Chinese base in Sudan.
  • Inkfish has a fascinating article describing how New Zealand’s giant black swans went extinct, and were replaced.
  • Language Hat notes two obscure words of Senegalese French, “laptot” and “signare”. What do they mean? Go see.
  • Language Log argues that the influx of English loanwords in Chinese is remarkable. Does it signal future changes in language?
  • Lawyers, Guns Money notes how Los Angeles and southern California were, during the American Civil War, a stronghold of secessionist sentiment, and runs down some of the problems of Mexico, including the militarization of crime.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on what books by which authors tend to get stolen from British bookstores.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests that Donald Trump is not likely to be able to substantially reshape NAFTA.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports from the recent protests in Poland against changes to the Supreme Court.
  • Understanding Society takes a look at the structure of the cities of medieval Europe, which apparently were dynamic and flexible.
  • Unicorn Booty shares some classic gay board games.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is going to try to wage a repeat of the Winter War on Ukraine.

[PHOTO] A meeting for Toronto’s missing 2LGBTQA*, 1 August 2017

A meeting for Toronto's missing 2LGBTQA*, 1 August 2017

I saw this placard advertising a meeting, to be held tomorrow the 1st of August at 5:30 pm at the 519 Community Centre, discussing Toronto’s missing queer men on a building at Church and Wellesley. The community is paying attention to this alarming mystery.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 31, 2017 at 9:00 am