Index Cards, GTD and Glengarry Glenn Ross?

That’s it. I’ve given up on Outlook. The notes and calendar functions on the Blackberry are too tiny. I’m moving back to analog or, as we used to call it in the 80s – pen and paper. I’ve picked up some index cards, a Moleskine and a nice weighty rubber band (like the one on […]

Those wacky Parson’s MFA projects

Finally! Garanimals for Nerds! Chantal Mora’s project at Parson’s is the digitalwardrobe : “… I hope to demonstrate how users might regain control of imposed technology systems by harnessing it as a tool to track the transitory narratives in our daily fashion choices. This project consists of an RFID tracking system, a database, and an […]

Misinterpreting sports commentary

“…I’m off to the pub, sorry, I’ve got a litter of kittens to stroke and some hoovering to be done. …” With that, Georgina Turner closes off her commentary on the England vs. Bangladesh test this afternoon. You know that sentence could be radically misinterpreted.

The Prime Minister, plummeting boulders and Star Wars

As a speechwriter, how far should you stretch to develop an amusing metaphor? The Prime Minister gave a speech to the Empire Club today, mapping out his economic vision for the country to a group of dyed-in-the-wool financial and business leaders. Looks like Scott Feschuk is finally leaving his mark as the PM’s speechwriter: “I […]

What’s with all the B.S. and the Big Blue Ox?

“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard her intone the phrases “We are experiencing higher-than-usual call volumes,” “Your call will be answered in priority sequence,” and the Big Lie, “Your call is important to us,” I wouldn’t be writing this book. I’d be charging admission and selling snacks at my fabulous roadside […]

On the other hand, the French do have nice cravats

I’d love to see the methodology for a recent survey of European attitudes towards the French: For the Germans, the French are “pretentious, offhand and frivolous”. The Dutch describe them as “agitated, talkative and shallow.” The Spanish see them as “cold, distant, vain and impolite” and the Portuguese as “preaching”. In Italy they comes across […]

Things I Wish I’d Written, II

“Mmmmmmm … nice ass“ Headline in Promo, referring to the promotional donkeys in attendance at the MCCA Awards. Now, if only a evangelical marketing genius could work that into one of the huge promotional campaigns they always seem to have on the go. “Come to our Sunday dancercize session! You haven’t seen this much ass […]

Problems with comments

I know, I know. The comments function isn’t working. Teaches me to stay with an old install of MT. If you want to reach me, it’s colin(at) Sorry about the disruption.

How to write an indie music column

Go to tiny mix tapes. Read “How to Write a Tiny Mix Tapes News Story, v.1b03“. A little taste: III. Now, begrudgingly, give them the plain, unsalted facts (though a little attitude is okay): “Sam Prekop, in support of his Sealess, Cakeless second album, Who’s Your New Professor [TMT Review], which took most of a […]

When Popular Economics Theory and Personality Cults collide

Steven Levitt, the UofChicago economist and author of Freakonomics (the new hit pop economics sensation), blogged about an email he received from Malcolm Gladwell: “thought you would enjoy this. a man in the security line at toronto airport today recognized me, pulled out a copy of freakonomics, and made me sign it. we are totally […]

Mano cornuta? What does that mean?

Research at the University of Alberta reveals that hand gestures, when used during conversations, may be an attempt by your brain to better express your story through language, rather than a representation of meaning. When I lived in Italy as a kid, I was enthralled by how expressive Italians become by reinforcing their conversation with […]

Jacko Trial Media Co-ordinator

Why didn’t the j-school career counsellor mention this job? Peter Shaplen is the Little Bo Beep to the media sheep outside the Jacko trial in California: … He negotiates the so-called “asphalt fees” charged by Santa Barbara County to the assembled pack that allows them to stand in the courtroom car park (these began at […]

Nice going, Air Jamaica. Blow the unpaid placement

I admit it. I’ve been watching the Amazing Race. I’ve been particularly interested in the inadvertent product placements – the giant roadside hoarding in Argentina, the cigarette ad powerwall in an Indian corner store. Well, Air Jamaica blew their placement last night. In every past episode, the contestants have arrived at the international airport, begging […]

Pimping the OnStar, using kids

Am I the only one that really despises the new OnStar ad? You know it. The one where a range of children and teenagers, all suitably ensconced in their comfortable middle class lives, question their parents’ worthiness and reliability because they even doubted, for a second, about picking up the OnStar subscription at $24.95 a […]

Things I wish I’d written

Speaking of the use of human stem cells in lab animals: “The centaur has left the barn more than people realize.” – Stanford bioethicist Henry Greely in the WSJ last week.”

Puke and Live TV just don’t mix

Poor Tyrone Davies. Apparently promoting an upcoming showing of his film at a local film festival, he appeared on a Missouri TV show. He looked a little pasty and unsure of himself. The hair looked a little greasy, the shoulders slightly hunched. Still, he was holding his own until a few minutes in – when […]

Don’t screw with with safety messaging

This tag, which came attached to a new girls’ shirt, made me pause. Marks and Spencer makes a fine range of young children’s clothing. With most brands, I’ve become used to reading a safety warning along the lines of “please keep loose clothing away from sources of heat .” Marks and Spencer seems to be […]

My blackberry’s seen better days

The Blackberry has a very elegant and tactile design. But one of my colleagues took a look at my little addiction and commented: “that looks worse than the paint job in a dumpy bar bathroom.”

Pitching photonics to tweens

Do you write on science topics? Maybe one of your audiences is children? The latest edition of Sciencelink, the newsletter of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, may be for you.

When design gets too cute

Sprinting to the bathroom at a local Tex-Mex restaurant the other day, my five year-old was stopped cold in his tracks (despite a rather urgent calling) by poor design. Faced with two doors, much like an abbreviated Let’s Make A Deal, he couldn’t decide which path to take. Cowboy or Cowgirl, the signs read. To […]

Government Work + Web Design: You do the math

What does it say about the design of your comprehensive web portal if you feel the need to develop a separate tutorial site to help your employees use it? That’s the situation with the Government of Canada portal ( The single entry point for information on Government of Canada programs and services, it is touted […]

Paradigm? Low hanging fruit? 80 lashes of the cane!

Wouldn’t be great if you some formal judicial process existed to prosecute (or even just persecute) lazy writers dependent upon tired cliches and poorly constructed analogies? The Minor Fall, The Major Lift has taken a shot at what such an indictment would look like: 1. The defendant STRAWBERRY SAROYAN is a writer or “journalist” who […]

Should PR counsel judge their client’s morals?

Not Edward von Kloberg III, who represented the unsavory, the unwelcome and the unelected in Washington’s salons and corridors of power. von Kloberg told South America Report in 1999: “I’m an old-fashioned lobbyist,” [said] von Kloberg, 57. “I give a lot of dinners and lunches.” He’s also a name-dropper, and enjoys distributing photocopies of articles […]

List lust: quantifying instead of rationalizing

Marni Jackson has written a neat little piece for Walrus: 13 reasons for list lust. Although I don’t agree with her backhanded generalization about Americans and lists (after all, what the hell did Martin Luther post? A list. A loooong list), some of the reasons are amusing and challenging: 7. In music, the individual iPod […]

Giant Burrito causes the wrong kind of buzz

Michael Morrissey, an eighth grader in Clovis, New Mexico, prompted a school-wide lockdown after the police were called to investigate a suspicious object. Turns out someone had reported his “30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos. It was wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.” Ironically, the burrito was part of […]

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