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March 2009 Archives

March 1, 2009

OK, maybe it was an overreaction

When I heard that Daryl Katz, having bought Edmonton's Golden League baseball team, was discarding the wretched, idiotic "Cracker-Cats" brand, I swear my first thought was "Dear God, let us immediately build this mighty benefactor a new NHL arena at public expense."

March 2, 2009

Oracle of Omaha, or Wizard of Oz?

Warren BuffettMy Tuesday column about Warren Buffett's ever-so-slightly-fading patina of genius is on the Web early. I found it surprising that I didn't have room to explore all the borderline-dodgy or mildly irritating things about the Berkshire Hathaway annual report for 2008; for instance, Buffett and his right-hand man Charlie Munger have abandoned the tradition of fielding questions directly from the shareholders at this year's AGM, and are instead having queries pre-screened by a few journalists. [UPDATE: This last bit's not strictly true, as reader Ryan Cousineau points out in the comments.]

March 3, 2009

Bonus me!

You can find my byline in the notebook section of April's edition of The Walrus, Canada's plucky, award-winning general-interest magazine, and check out its fab new look at the same time. I've written a short piece about the Alberta Liberals that may surprise you (it includes the information, for instance, that there are some Liberals in Alberta).

It's, like, revolution, man

An opinion I'm hearing a lot lately is that Twitter, the fun social-networking toy that crunches everything down to 140 characters, is somehow going to supplant not only existing forms of news media, but a significant amount of the work done by in-house media and PR departments. Here's the sum total of what I have to say about this: really? Really?? You really think that? Really? Really really? That's really your real opinion? REALLY?

March 5, 2009


Full Comment takes one of its occasional peeks behind the scenes of the National Post's early-morning editorial-board meetings. The subject: bus killer Vince Li.

March 8, 2009


An exclusive Fifth Estate In Depth investigation has discovered that video games can cause your child to fall out of a tree and die!

Lies, damned lies, and McGuinty government announcements

Friday's National Post column takes a close-up look at the key "fact" behind the Ontario health ministry's latest anti-smoking initiative. I feel like I should have "fact" inside several more sets of scare quotes. I should check with the rim to see if they'll let me do multiple nesting in cases like this.

March 9, 2009

Just a little too long to be a Tweet

Like Jon Kay, I find it ridiculous that Richard Florida has gotten fantastically rich for, essentially, writing over and over again that gay people are the secret key to wealth creation. On the other hand, I can't prove it's not true.

March 10, 2009

A matter of public interest

I was vaguely unsatisfied with Monday's Post column about R&B damsel-in-distress Rihanna, but it makes a couple points worth making and got the treasured Full Pundit seal of approval.

March 11, 2009

Don't ever change, Glen Sather.

"We understand that this is a sensitive issue, but with all due respect to Alexei [Cherepanov]’s family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year."

March 13, 2009

Thank Maytag, not Steinem

The message of Friday's column: don't get mad at the Osservatore Romano for telling the plain truth about the emancipation of female labour from the home. Machines, not politics, did the trick.

March 14, 2009

But is it set to "stir" or "liquefy"?

Oilers radio broadcast note: how long has colour man Bob Stauffer been saying "MacT has switched on the blender" without having to explain or apologize for the metaphor at all? This used to be a strictly net-only cliché, but Christ, we're now one small step away from having an animated THE BLENDER IS ON! scoreboard graphic with audio effects.

March 17, 2009

Tuesday morning's column

I decided at the last minute that I wanted to contribute to the Post's star-studded series on Whither The CBC?, but Lorne Gunter had already expressed my basic view of the matter, namely that the ideal future for Canadian state broadcasting would involve lots and lots of ammonium nitrate. So I was forced to get creative and imagine a second-best CBC. It frankly seems less likely than the Gunter solution, but at least it's original.

The column is less clear than I'd like at one juncture, and has attracted mail because of it. I wrote:

Indeed, the real question is why the CBC, even at this early point in the history of media convergence, should consist of anything but a single Web site, backed by studio resources, that offers news, streaming audio and video and digital files of radio and television shows.

After writing this, I meant to insert language acknowledging that "Because not everyone has affordable broadband access yet" is one good answer. My future CBC is something that should be thought of as possible 10-15 years from now—perhaps sooner, with massive federal infrastructure investments on the near horizon. And since I'm aware that people in remote areas exercise disproportionate political influence, I don't mean to insist that the Corp would ever sell literally all its physical broadcasting assets—just an overwhelming majority of them.

March 18, 2009

Kook at the rudder?

It's Cosh vs. Jon Kay in Wednesday's National Post; after a nerf-bat fight over possibly-crypto-creationist science minister Gary Goodyear in the morning meeting, we decided to do a point-counterpoint for today's editorial page. Jon's piece is here, mine's here, and there's a disappointingly peaceable matching podcast on the way [UPDATE, 4:29 pm: that's now here].

March 20, 2009

Darwinism: just another religious outlook?

Obviously not, says my Friday Post column. When Mendel's work came to light everybody threw Darwin aside for 20 years, bringing him back into the fold of biology only reluctantly. But when creationists more or less specifically say "If they found X it would refute creationism", and X is found, no one's mind is ever changed (instead they say "Great, but show us Y"). This is the operating difference between scientific theories and metaphysical ideas. You don't even really need to read the column; that's pretty much it! But do.

March 21, 2009

On Ovechkin

Alexander OvechkinI had thought the social rule that covered enthusiastic goal celebrations in the NHL was quite clear: they're permitted to those who score more often than anyone else, whose creativity and individuality is a benefit to the game as a whole, and to those who score less often than anyone else, who can't be begrudged. A guy like Ovechkin has no peers fit to try him, and that's why Sid Crosby is being so diplomatic; he hasn't secured the unquestioned upper hand in their rivalry yet (quite the contrary), and it's worse to look like an envious wuss than it is to be a showboat. Look, when the All Blacks do the haka on the rugby pitch, no one ever asks "Who do these guys think they are?"

March 23, 2009

A dubious edit? Or is it just me?

EcstasyA Sunday Edmonton Journal article describes three girls who "allegedly overdos[ed] on a bad batch of pills" that they thought were ecstasy. The author is wise to use this cautious language, since ecstasy is difficult to overdose on, even intentionally. And he helpfully tells us that the girls fell ill "suddenly", suggesting that these are not the typical cases of brain edema or dehydration which carelessly go into the police blotter (and the newspapers) as "ecstasy overdoses".

My question is, why is the term "overdose" anywhere near this story at all, let alone in the hed and lede? Seems like these girls must have been poisoned by careless drug manufacturers or even by a run-of-the-mill murderer. Any poisoning can technically be described as an "overdose", I suppose, but it leaves the unfair impression that they took too much of whatever they intended to take. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but the whole concept of "overdosing on a bad batch of pills" doesn't make much sense in any context.

[UPDATE, 10:33 pm: CTV Calgary reports "Two teen girls are in comas Monday after they overdosed on ecstasy early Sunday on the Paul First Nation." Oh, electronic journalism, you always win the race to the bottom. Just plain confused: the Calgary Sun, which tells us the girls "reportedly overdosed on ecstasy tablets" but doesn't tell us whose "report" they are citing. Let me guess, it's nobody who has any particular reason to know what the girls actually ingested? A for effort goes to news radio station iNews 880, which uses "overdose" freely but is in pursuit of the real story—that there may be tainted E floating around in the Edmonton market.]

March 24, 2009

'Black and white situations'

How many things are wrong with RCMP Commissioner William Elliott's whining about the public's oh-so-lamentable tendency to second-guess officers who kill a guy? I fit about a dozen into my short Tuesday column for the Post, and in no way exhausted the list.

March 25, 2009

John Brattain, R.I.P.

A prolific legend in the baseball blogosphere, he might have been Canada's strongest, wittiest baseball writer. John Brattain, 43-year-old husband and father, died after planned cardiac surgery Monday, leaving his fans (and particularly his critics, who were always shocked to discover how enthusiastic and generous he was about being challenged) grief-stricken. At the Baseball Think Factory, fellow Primates are struggling to honour him in the bumptious, whimsical way he specifically requested as the date of his surgery approached. We'll try to get Rock into the Hall for you, pal.

We get letters

Mr.. Colby, NEXT TIME YOUR IN TROUBLE, CALL A HIPPY. You don't have a clue what it is like, especially someone that has snapped. I would love to see you sit in those shoes, naw your head is to swelled to know what it is like. Yes I am a retired RCMP Officer, and had my good share of hard knocks. In my day there was very little backup, single side band radios, that only worked at night if you want to talk to a squirrel hunter down South. Some of the older detachments that I was in charge of, no lock up, one set of leg irons and couple sets of handcuffs. Try dealing with some of these crazy either drunk, or out of it with moonshine, not to mention the ones that just snapped. Whether it be a Machete, or stapler, they all can do a lot of damage. Want to try a stapler in the side of your head, I would gladly experiment with you. Get on with it, show the police support, God only knows the way things are going in this Country, might not have any kind of Police Protection when the do gooders keep printing garbage. Look at yourself in the mirror sometime and ask, would I go through what our Police and Military go through. No, I guess it is pretty safe writing you columns behind locked doors. You know, I kind of feel sorry for you as you are so far behind the times writing trash. GET A LIFE and support the people that protect you.

Terry [tkc@hfx.eastlink.ca]

BCC: to members Retired and Veterans (RCMP)

Somehow I find myself skeptical that this person ever really passed the RCMP Aptitude Test, which ranks applicants on their cognitive skills, literacy, and judgment. (Snap quiz: is it a good idea to threaten someone with violence in an e-mail? If you said "No" you could be one of the few, the proud, etc.) Mounties may be lazy, careless, or even cruel, but I've never met one who was just a flat-out shit-for-brains.

March 26, 2009

Next time you want to know about drugs, CALL A HIPPY

Even when I think I'm onto a media story, it turns into a possible RCMP story. My Friday column is on the web early, hustled there at my request in the hope of staying ahead of what seem like inevitable revelations in the Paul Band ecstasy case.

March 27, 2009

Say what

Charles Darwin has a posse.Noticed late Thursday that James Travers was using Darwin as the hook for a column. Wondered as I clicked, without meaning any particular insult to Travers, how long it would take him to crash into some J-schoolish solecism. Didn't have long to wonder. 2nd graf:

Darwin's most quotable quote could have been written for Canada's current ruling party. "It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Sound like Darwin (or any 19th-century naturalist) to you? "Darwin's most quotable quote" is at the top of a Cambridge website's list of frequently-heard spurious Darwinisms. (Number of liberal-secularist Darwin-worshipping Star commenters who have picked up on this yet: zero.)

Paul Band ecstasy case latest

On schedule, Alberta Solicitor-General Fred Lindsay hints that the "ecstasy overdose" hypothesis may already be crumbling:

"Our heart certainly goes out the community and the family and friends involved ," Lindsay said.
"But it just points out again that we definitely have to get to down to the root cause of people using drugs, because there's no quality control on the manufacturing of drugs."
Lindsay said he couldn't understand the risks some people take.
"Why would you put something in your body if you don't have a clear understanding of what it is?" he said.

More to come, almost certainly...

March 30, 2009

A comedy to those who think

Accidental hilarity in a profile of KC Royals manager Trey Hillman by the KC Star's Sam Mellinger:

Trey Hillman is about an hour into explaining how the faith he learned from his father turned him into the man he is today when he thinks about the day it all came together. You’ll like this, he says. It gets at the crux of who he is and how he lives.
Nine years old, and little Trey is outside his family’s Texas home playing ball with kids from the neighborhood. He says something about Santa Claus, and a kid named Dean — Hillman will never forget that name — laughs and calls Trey a dumb little boy for believing.
Crushed, Trey goes to his father. Dad was a junior high principal and coach, one of the most respected men in town. Hillman calls him “a saint.”
On this day, Trey asks about Santa and Dad gives him the truth. OK. Trey asks about the tooth fairy and Dad gives him the truth. Hmm. Trey asks about the Easter bunny. Dad gives him the truth. Deep breath. Trey thinks for a moment. He goes the next step.
What about God?
Is that real?
Not to spoil the surprise ending, but Dad did not say "Jeez, that Dean fella was right about you, kid—you're really not very good at taking a hint, are you?"

About March 2009

This page contains all entries posted to ColbyCosh.com in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2009 is the previous archive.

April 2009 is the next archive.

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