The death of logos #1

The warmer weather of the last few weeks means that I’ve resumed my lunchtime explorations of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. One thing I’ve been noticing is that some people’s monuments are marked by the logos or wordmarks of the companies they ran, owned, or founded. The first example is W. Garfield Weston, son of eponymous company founder George Weston.

Garfield Weston's monument in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Weston's wordmark on a bakery in Toronto

Doublespeak deluxe

“ISPs are the underlying telecommunications facility that customers use to access the Internet and that content providers, including broadcasters, use to transmit their content. ISPs do not buy, package or sell programming or any other Internet content.” [Emphasis mine.]

Rogers VP for Regulatory Affairs Ken Engelhart giving a presentation to the CRTC, quoted in the Star.

Oh, really? Selective memory is just so convenient, isn’t it?

I think what Rogers really wants to say to the CRTC is, “How dare you fleece our customers! That’s our job!”

The face of 24 below

Like the layers of an onion

In homage to Goldfinger actress Shirley Eaton, I leave one square inch of my skin exposed so that I won’t suffocate.

The worst thing about riding in -24°C windchill isn’t trying to stay warm. It’s not the extra time I spend each morning bundling up with a face mask, neck warmer, balaclava, and headband to keep the harsh wind off my delicate face and neck. It’s not even trying to unlock the bike while wearing lobster gloves. No, by far the worst thing about riding in this weather is frightening all the kids at the daycare next door to the office. Sorry kids; spring’s almost here. I know I said that last week, but I really mean it this time.

Who's up for burbee?

A story in Sunday’s Star highlighted the difficulty of counting the number of words in the English language, partly because of all of the local dialects constantly spawning words that never make it into dictionaries. And these aren’t just national or regional dialects, either; words can be hyper-local:

In Toronto, a popular schoolyard game involves painting (or chalking) a rectangular strike zone on a wall. There’s a pitcher, who aims for the strike zone, and a batter, who stands in front of it. It’s called “burbee” in Toronto’s east end, “french” in parts of East York, and “wall ball” in other areas of the city.

None of those expressions made it into Barber’s book, Only in Canada, You Say, a treasury of words unique to the great dominion. Nor does “squared,” a Torontoism of ancient coinage that means, well, kicked in the groin.

I grew up in three different parts of East York and we didn’t call it french in any of them. We always played burbee. I didn’t encounter the term french (for this or other entertainments) until well into my teens, despite regular exposure to kids from all over East York. There was a severe shortage of suitable walls during my Scarborough years, so not only did I not play burbee, but I have no memory of ever even mentioning it. Good thing too, as I probably would have been laughed out of the borough for calling it burbee instead of wall ball. As for getting squared, how can such a wonderful term for such an awful thing be limited to use by Torontonians? For that matter, I don’t think I’ve heard it for 20 years or longer.

It’s wonderfully surprising to discover that some of the language I grew up with would have sounded foreign to kids just a few blocks away.

Even in Toronto…

It can happen here.

Got that, everyone? Snow is going to blanket southern Ontario, even the city of Toronto. That’s right, the super-futuristic protective weather dome that normally steers all precipitation away from us and maintains a comfortable 21° temperature year-round is malfunctioning, with the result that even the city of Toronto will be snowed upon. The low pressure system, tracking from Windsor to Ottawa will veer as many as no kilometers off its path, ensuring that even the city of Toronto will see at least the minimum amount of snow expected from the storm.

Yes Canada, it’s winter out there. Even in the city of Toronto.

(The Weather Network storm watch has been updated since the above screen cap was taken late this afternoon; Toronto is no longer singled out as if snow is as unexpected here as it is in Miami.)

Locomotive 1, Cruiser 0

There's just something about police and parking

We all know that just like many other drivers, some police officers regularly park in bike lanes and other no-stopping zones. But the picture and an almost throwaway aside in this story from the Star illustrate that some officers don’t just have a rather liberal interpretation of the proper use of bike lanes, but they also seem a little confused about who has the right of way on those little ribbons of steel that crisscross the city. Surely even the most hubristic officer should realize that parking in the train lane is a losing proposition.

Also, top marks to the Star for using the fine phrase “stuck in the wigwags.” Although the term “wigwag” (yes, I had to look it up) is not technically applicable to the drop-down barrier that the cruiser is stuck in, I’m still filing it away at the very top of my “gotta-say-it-myself-someday” notebook.

So I see-um

Stylish Pants from the MEC

Says the blurb about these stylish insect-proof pants on MEC’s web site:

These breathable and lightweight bug pants are made of economical, airy, and bug-proof 100% polyester no-see-um mesh, and provide a very effective deterrent against bugs.

Now I’m no expert, but no-see-um mesh or not, I’m pretty sure that I can-see-um right through those airy pants. Fortunately, the official product picture on the manufacturer’s web site is a little more explicit about proper wardrobe etiquette when wearing mesh pants.

Picture (sans model) from MEC’s product page.

While I suppose that's strictly true…

This car is a vegetarian

…I still think that my transportation-related carbon footprint is slightly lower than yours, even though my bike is at least partially meat-powered. Also, it’s bad enough that I have to compete for space on the road with two-tonne metal and glass beasts, but now I have to compete with them for food too? Go back to (non-vegetable) oil and stop kidding yourself that you’re doing something noble.